Action Research:  Guided Reading

by Jacqueline Moonier

Can we use Guided Reading to meet the diverse needs/support growth for all students in a classroom of readers ranging from below grade level to above grade level?


My plan was to work with an intermediate grade classroom teacher who is going to use student reading data (Running Records and STAR Reading) to plan for reading instruction to meet the needs of the students. The classroom selected had students ranging from below grade level to above grade level.

We used guided reading as our instructional strategy. Using the student data, we created guided reading groups and identified teaching points.  We supported our practice and expectations with Classroom Reading Instruction That Supports Struggling Readers: Key Components for Effective Teaching.


Using this plan, the classroom teacher kept anecdotal notes.  She noted student engagement with text in the form of group discussion was more voluntary and taken to high depth of knowledge levels (DOK) than at the start of the school year. Running Record Data showed a 10% decrease in the below level students and 10% increase in students at or above grade level.  STAR Data showed the average Scaled Score gain for the class to be 55 points. And 74% of students showed gains in their personal Scaled Scores. The average grade equivalency growth of the class as a whole was five months. Reading Logs supported that students who consistently read at home excelled in their personal annual growth expectations when compared with Running Record growth expectations.


Small group instruction in Guided Reading, using student data to plan lessons, was an effective tool for increasing student reading performance as measured by students’ Running Records and STAR Reading scores.


Student reading performance as indicated by Running Records and STAR Reading scores did increase, along with student engagement in discussions about the text they were reading. If I were to look at Guided Reading again in the action research setting, I would definitely look at using additional data collection pieces. For example, I’d want data for content/skill being addressed in the groups, data for fidelity of implementation, and data on student attendance for guided reading groups. Collection of additional data would hopefully give more support to the benefit of the tool we examine.  The teacher I worked with used data to integrate non-fiction and comprehension reading needs with science and social studies content areas. This along with the new Making Meaning and its emphasis on “book talk” could have been influential in some of the growth we saw.  Collecting additional data with clarity surrounding the intended focus in the Guided Reading groups would help clarify how the tools are specifically affecting student growth.