Some kids LOVE when they get called for guided reading. They may cheer, get their book baggie, and skip over to you with a smile.
But, some kids dread it and drag their feet across the room to your table.
If lack of confidence is the culprit for their lack of motivation, then you’ll want to read this post. I’ll share 6 ways to boost your students’ confidence to get them ready for a great guided reading session!
FOLLOW THE SAME ROUTINES AND EXPECTATIONS
If students know what to expect during your guided reading session, they’ll feel more confident about participating. Read this post for my warm-up routine and this one for the components of a guided reading lesson.
START WITH A REREAD, OR EASY TEXT
Sometimes students may give up easily when approaching a challenging text. Start by having them reread familiar text. They’ll feel successful at reading and be more willing to take risks with difficult texts. They can reread the book from your previous session, a familiar poem, or a guided reading warm-up.
TIP: In a bin or folder at your guided reading area, keep copies of class poems, shared reading text, fluency phrases, sentence or skill cards, etc. Students can use these to warm up while they wait for you.
After warming up with easy text, praise students for their effort and move on to the more challenging work, expressing that you just know they’re going to do their best!
Give them Time
Don’t rush students when reading or give them help too quickly. A little struggle is beneficial and can teach them they can do it. When they know you’ll have the patience for them to try on their own, they’ll be more willing to do so. Read this post about how I help with decoding with just the right amount of support.
USE JUST-RIGHT Text
When students are able to read the text given to them, it makes them feel more confident. Make sure the text you are using provide just enough challenge that they can learn, but not too much that they get overwhelmed.
Using decodable books/passages during guided reading is helpful because the controlled text ensures that students won’t encounter words they aren’t yet ready to decode. Pick texts that cover phonics skills students have already learned plus the focus skill.
My Guided Reading Warm-ups provide text to practice the phonics skill covered in each warm-up. Skills build on each other as levels progress.
REMIND THEM OF A TIME THEY STRUGGLED AND SUCCEEDED
If you have a student who is struggling with self-esteem or reading confidence, help them think of a time when they struggled and succeeded. Maybe it was at home, learning to ride a bike, or tie their shoelaces. Maybe it was at school, learning to draw an object, or write their name.
Any example of a time when they struggled, but achieved success with practice, is a great example to use for motivation.
If you can’t help them think of their own example, share one of your own experiences struggling before having success.
Just like they were able to succeed in that situation, they will learn to read well, too!
Mindset is powerful. I love using the book Rosie’s Glasses to teach growth mindset, then refer to it often.
TELL STUDENTS IT’S NORMAL (AND GOOD) TO STRUGGLE!
Sometimes kids just need to know that it’s ok to struggle! So many times kids think that struggling is a bad thing and this can make them feel defeated.
Tell students that a little struggle is actually GOOD for the brain and it helps the brain grow! We talk about our brains turning to mush if we don’t exercise it. Just like our bodies need exercise, so does our brain. And the best exercise for our brains is some struggle and problem-solving.
So remind your students that struggling is normal and will help their brains grow next time they say it’s too hard!
Make it Fun!
Finally, make it a fun experience! Use games and fun tools when you can to motivate your students for guided reading. Read this post to see what I keep in my “Fun Guided Reading Tools Drawer.”
Student confidence plays a big part in their learning. With a little investigative work and modifications, hopefully your students’ confidence can increase and they’ll learn to love their time reading with you!