Small-group reading instruction to four to six students

The Reading Teacher, 61(4), pp. 318–329 © 2007 International Reading Association
DOI:10.1598/RT.61.4.4 ISSN: 0034-0561 print / 1936-2714 online
Guided reading is a component of a balanced
literacy program providing differentiated,
small-group reading instruction to four to six
students with similar strengths and instructional needs
(Fountas & Pinnell, 1996) or to heterogeneously
grouped students (Cunningham, Hall, & Sigmon,
2000). It is recommended that these groups meet at
least three to five times per week for 20 to 30 minutes
each session in order for students to make consistent
reading gains (Fountas & Pinnell, 1996). This approach to reading instruction provides teachers the
opportunity to explicitly teach children the skills and
comprehension strategies students need, thus facilitating the acquisition of reading proficiency. Multiple
copies of graded leveled books are carefully selected
and used by the teacher based on the children’s instructional needs and interests. According to Reutzel
and Cooter (2005), graded leveled books are typically
categorized to include four levels of children’s reading
development: early emergent, emergent, early fluency,
and fluency. The language of these leveled texts developmentally matches the syntax and organization of
most young children’s speech. It is important that texts
chosen for the guided-reading groups provide children
with a reasonable challenge but also present an opportunity for potential success. In implementing guided
Modified Guided Reading: Gateway
to English as a Second Language
and Literacy Learning
Mary A. Avalos, Alina Plasencia, Celina Chavez,
Josefa Rascón
Modified guided reading provides
students with the understanding that
reading is about creating and gaining
meaning from text.
reading, teachers act as a guide to build upon the
knowledge, skills, and strategies the children already
All students benefit when teachers use the guidedreading instructional model. These benefits include individualized instruction, the use of books at students’
reading levels, the opportunity to create and sustain
meaning, the exposure to language that is context embedded, the structured format of the lesson, and the
systematic evaluation of students’ progress (Fountas
& Pinnell, 1996; Knox & Amador-Watson, 2002). Active
student involvement is key as the children talk about
the story, ask questions, and build their expectations
of the text. This active involvement includes everyone
in the group as students simultaneously read and receive support from the teacher and peers. In addition,
reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are implemented in a social environment by engaging in
conversations before and after reading.
English-language learners (ELLs) also benefit from
these aspects of guided reading; however, when a modified approach is used, they gain additional languagelearning opportunities that native speakers typically
acquire implicitly. The modifications described here
enhance and enrich language- and literacy-learning
opportunities to include detailed vocabulary instruction, variables concerning second-language text structure (e.g., semantics, syntax, morphology), and
cultural relevance. Modified guided reading (MGR)
addresses these variables, enabling language and literacy instruction to be emphasized in small-group settings (Figure 1). First we describe why modifications
are necessary for ELLs and provide a theoretical framework for this approach. Then we describe the components of MGR and walk through a lesson by means of a
planning guide, ending the manuscript by sharing a
small pilot study using this approach.
Why Modify for ELLs?
Some researchers have determined that ELLs are not
generally ready for English reading instruction until
they are at the intermediate stage of English-language
acquisition ( Knox & Amador-Watson, 2002), while
others advocate that reading and a second language
are best acquired simultaneously (Anderson & Roit,
1998; Barrera, 1983). Collier and Thomas (1999) found
that ELLs who receive support in their native language
can take 4 to 7 years to achieve 50th normal curve
equivalents in English reading and 7–10 years if support in the first language (L1) is not provided. More
recently, Slavin and Cheung (2005) reviewed experimental studies comparing bilingual and English-only
reading programs for ELLs. Although only 17 studies
met the criteria to be included in their review, the majority favored bilingual approaches to reading instruction for ELLs; however, paired bilingual strategies
teaching reading in both the L1 and L2 simultaneously were especially successful. Slavin and Cheung concluded that more longitudinal studies with
randomized designs are needed to determine how
reading instruction for ELLs should be approached.
In working with ELLs at all grade levels, we have found
Modified Guided Reading 319
Figure 1
Benefits of the Guided Reading and MGR Instructional Approaches
Benefits of MGR for English-language learners
Benefits of guided reading for all students
that the key to determining readiness appears to be
the student’s reading level in the first language, indicating the importance of L1 literacy assessment to
guide L2 instruction.
Generally, if the student is a proficient reader in
the L1, the act of reading is a known process (Heath,
1983; Jiménez, García, & Pearson, 1996; Krashen,
1985). With proper support from the teacher, students
in the early L2 acquisition stages can be successful L2
readers (Anderson & Roit, 1998; Avalos, 1999; Barrera,
1983; Goodman, Goodman, & Flores, 1979). Our experiences working with L2 readers mirror these findings
in that students with a higher proficiency in the L1
most often have a smoother transition to L2 oral and
reading proficiencies. It should be noted, however,
that students who were not proficient readers in the L1
have also made gains using the MGR approach.
While basic interpersonal conversation skills
(BICS) are acquired using guided reading or other interactive approaches, students’ cognitive academic
language proficiency (CALP) will develop more quickly when instructional needs pertaining to language are
considered as well. CALP is academic language, or the
language of texts. According to Cummins (1981), BICS
takes two to three years to acquire and CALP, the tier of
language necessary for academic success, five to seven
years. When using texts as the instructional vehicles,
CALP will be enhanced as teachers focus on students’
combined literacy and language instructional needs. In
addition, small, flexible groups lend themselves to accelerated learning; however, teacher planning for students’ needs is the key to learning gains (Foorman,
Francis, Fletcher, Schatschneider, & Mehta, 1998; Juel
& Minden-Cupp, 2000; Wiggins, 1994).
Guided reading provides teachers with a systematic, yet open-ended framework for evaluating students’ needs while building upon the strengths
students have already demonstrated (Fountas &
Pinnell, 1996). MGR adds to this supportive framework
by stretching the lesson from one or two 20- to 30-
minute sessions to three or more per text, adding a
shared reading of the guided-reading text and incorporating word work with objectives pertaining to morphological and phonemic awareness, as well as
phonics and explicit instruction of semantics and syntax (Table 1). Reading, writing, listening, and speak320 The Reading Teacher Vol. 61, No. 4 December 2007/January 2008
Table 1
Comparing and Contrasting Guided Reading and Modified Guided Reading
Guided reading Modified guided reading
â–  Instructional cycle varies (one to two days, 20-
minute sessions)
â–  Teacher presents the text through a guided
discussion connecting the content and language
structure to students’ personal lives (e.g., picture
walk, predicting)
â–  Emergent and early fluent readers vocalize softly
as they read the text; fluent readers read silently
â–  Teacher coaches the students by reinforcing
correct strategies and prompting to problem
solve during miscues
â–  Word work focuses on phonological and
orthographical awareness
â–  Instructional cycle of three or more days (20- to
30-minute sessions)
â–  Teacher presents the culturally relevant text
through a guided discussion connecting the
content and language structure to students’
personal lives (e.g., picture walk, predicting)
â–  Teacher reads guided-reading text aloud to
model fluency and generate discussions regarding
comprehension and vocabulary guided by teacher
and students
â–  ELLs with higher L2 oral proficiency vocalize softly
as they read the text
â–  Teacher observes and coaches students by
reinforcing correct strategies and using wordrecognition prompts to problem solve
â–  Word work focuses on morphological awareness,
phonemic awareness, or phonics connected to
guided-reading text
â–  Vocabulary journals and writing assignments
connect to guided-reading texts
ing are integrated and grounded within the selected
texts, offering relevant, meaningful instruction that validates and builds on what ELLs already know.
Theory to Practice
The theory guiding the development of MGR is the interactive reading model (Rumelhart, 1977). The interactive reading model divides the reading process into
two components: the reader’s experiences or background knowledge (top down) and the reader’s cognitive processing strategies (bottom up). Birch (2002)
explained that both components work together in order for the reader to gain access to the text and create meaning. She further explained how the reader’s
world knowledge base and “cognitive processing
strategies must be working together so accurately and
efficiently that they work at an unconscious level. All
the knowledge of English graphemes, morphemes,
and words must be readily accessible in long-term
memory” (Birch, 2002, p. 148).
Using the MGR approach during literacy instruction aims to increase automaticity and improve comprehension of texts through an interactive
understanding of the reading process. MGR builds
stronger “understandings and appreciation for the
low-level knowledge and processing strategies” involved in L2 literacy learning (Birch, 2002, p. 146).
Planning and Teaching a GuidedReading Lesson for ELLs
Authors specializing in guided reading suggest different procedures for a guided-reading lesson; however,
they all have similar teaching emphases and outcomes (see Cunningham et al., 2000; Fountas &
Pinnell, 1996; Knox & Amador-Watson, 2002). We synthesized guided-reading approaches with Birch’s
(2002) focus on bottom-up processing to meet the
needs of ELLs simultaneously learning to read and
speak in a L2. A sample MGR framework for lesson
planning (Figure 2) presents a model for the reader
to use when planning an MGR lesson. Because of
space limitations, this article does not discuss how to
group students, determine the purpose of the lesson,
or select a text for guided-reading lessons (see aforementioned guided-reading authors). Instead, we begin here with “analyzing the text” where MGR is
substantially different than a typical guided-reading
Analyzing the Text. Once selected, the teacher analyzes the text to prepare for the introduction, shared
and student readings, word work, and writing response for the lesson cycle. This is done to proactively
identify possible problem areas for ELLs within the
text as well as to embed the teaching objectives within a guided-reading context. The teacher begins by
reading the entire text (or portion of the text if students are reading at a higher level) and notes potential points of confusion with the semantics (meaning)
of the text. Two to three receptive and five to nine productive vocabulary words are identified for lesson emphasis. Receptive vocabulary words are those that are
low frequency and not necessarily used in everyday
speech (CALP), and productive vocabulary words
may be new or confusing to ELLs even though they
are commonly used.
Figurative language or phrases without literal
translations are other probable areas of confusion for
ELLs. Native speakers would read the word nevermind
and typically not have a problem with comprehension; but there is rarely a literal translation for it in other languages, making it confusing for ELLs. Similes
and metaphors are other examples of figurative language that would be difficult for ELLs to understand
(e.g., “The moon looked like a big, round cheese”), although not all texts contain figurative language.
The teacher also needs to note homophones and
homographs within the text. Fry, Kress, and
Fountoukidis (2000) defined homophones as words
that sound the same but have different meanings and
at times different spellings (e.g., bear cub and bare
bones). Homographs are defined as words that are
spelled the same but have different meanings and different origins. For example, a bat can be (a) used to
hit a baseball, (b) a flying animal, or (c) a wink. Some
homographs are also heteronyms, meaning they have
different pronunciations (e.g., bass as in a low male
voice and bass as in the freshwater fish). These types
of words potentially change the meaning of the text
for ELLs who are not familiar with their multiple definitions. (See Fry et al., 2000, for comprehensive lists of
common homographs and homonyms.)
Complex grammar or syntax (word order) is something else the teacher looks for when scanning the
text. For example, when working with emergent readers, the text may lend itself to instruction about comma placement when writing a list. Embedding skills
within a context provides meaningful instruction for
Modified Guided Reading 321
322 The Reading Teacher Vol. 61, No. 4 December 2007/January 2008
Figure 2
MGR Lesson-Planning Framework
School: Date of lesson:
Planning the lesson(s)
1. Determine objectives of lesson(s) based upon instructional needs (English-language learning and literacy
a. Determine the main idea or essential message from text and supporting information.
b. Read for information to use in performing a task and learning a new task.
c. Identify words and construct meaning from the text.
2. Group students by name/oral L2 level–instructional reading level (e.g., Student 1/1-first grade, Student 2/1-first
3. Select guided-reading books based upon objectives and students’ instructional reading levels.
4. Analyze the text and identify literacy challenges based upon your knowledge of the students.
a. Semantics:
i. Vocabulary:
1. Focus on common English morphemes (e.g., affixes) or orthographic patterns
2. Identify two to three words for receptive vocabulary and five to nine words for productive
3. Understand the meaning of the story whenever possible
ii. Figurative language:
iii. Homophones (words that sound the same, different meanings):
1. Homographs (words that are spelled the same but have different meanings and origins):
b. Grammar (complex syntax, punctuation):
c. Text structure (narrative, expository):
d. Content or concept (cultural relevance):
e. Strategy instruction (if needed, identify good places to insert strategy instruction during shared reading
[e.g., think-alouds, elicitation of predictions, word solving])
Extending the lesson(s)
Word work:
Possible minilessons:
Note. As ELLs become more proficient (orally and literary), they will need less support. This framework should be adjusted to reflect more student
responsibility as the teacher facilitates learning and guides when necessary.
ELLs and enables them to learn from authentic uses of
the skill rather than isolated, workbook exercises.
Knowing curricular goals and objectives facilitates
identification of grammatical and syntactical teaching
points in order to match them with the group’s instructional needs.
Teachers should also be aware of how many narrative and expository texts are used during reading
instruction so that ELLS receive an instructional balance of text types. Expository texts use language differently with a greater number of low-frequency words
(Latin and Greek origin) and complex sentence structures that assist CALP development. Narrative texts
generally have more figurative language and varying
story structures or genres that not only facilitate language development but also provide a means for development of cultural knowledge. Table 2 outlines the
differences between expository and narrative text
types (Derewianka, 1998), demonstrating how they
each contribute to language development for ELLs.
Strategy instruction, word work, and writing are
other components of an MGR lesson that need to be
addressed before teaching the MGR lesson. Writing
should be connected to the guided-reading text and
considered a means of response. Story innovations, informational reports, poems, and journal entries are examples of assignments that can be connected to
guided-reading texts. When this analysis of the text
and examination of students’ needs have been completed and matched, it is a win-win situation for teachers and ELLs. Although the text analysis may seem to
be a lengthy process, with time it becomes automatic. As texts are analyzed and recorded, teachers just
need to refer to their notes when using the same texts
to make any necessary modifications for different
groups of students. Finally, reviewing the concept or
content of the text is important to ensure that your students have the background knowledge necessary to
successfully comprehend the text. Visuals or other
supplemental materials can be used to build the background knowledge during the introduction of the text
if necessary. For example, when planning a MGR lesson for a group of fourth-grade ELLs, one of the authors realized that the story was about jackals, and
the text did not have any type of picture support. The
students in the group were all from Cuba or Nicaragua
and would more than likely not know what a jackal
was. Pictures of jackals were found on the Internet
with basic information on how they survive in the
wild. This information was discussed with students
during the introduction of the text, and they were better prepared to comprehend the story. (For a complete discussion on supporting ELLs with content
learning see Echevarria, Vogt, and Short, 2000.)
Setting the Scene or Introducing the Text. The
introduction sets a successful reading experience by
mediating access to the text. Most introductions are
brief; however, it may differ for second-language
learners due to the language structures, the students’
background knowledge, or the content and characterModified Guided Reading 323
Table 2
Text Types and Language Features
Expository text language features Narrative text language features
Note. Adapted from Derewianka (1998).
Some action verbs (e.g., climb, quake, eat)
Generally in the “timeless” present tense
Many linking verbs relating one part of a clause
to another
Language focuses on defining, clarifying,
and contrasting
Descriptive language that is factual and precise
Writing is usually in a formal and objective style that is
likely to contain technical vocabulary; first-person
pronouns generally unacceptable
Mainly action verbs
Generally past tense
Many linking verbs to do with time
Dialogue typically included with tense changes
from past to present to future
Descriptive language enhances and develops the
story by creating images in the reader’s mind
Can be written in the first person (I, we) or third
person (he, she, they)
istics of the book. If a concept is unfamiliar to the
students, the introduction should be as long as necessary to scaffold the text. When a great deal of background knowledge building is required, it should be
done during other components of the balanced literacy program (e.g., shared reading, read-aloud) or other subject-area instruction (Batzle, 1994).
Manipulatives or realia may be used to facilitate conversation and scaffold the meaning of the text.
Unfamiliar vocabulary can be presented at this time;
however, it is important to note that vocabulary is generally taught within the context of the story either before or during the shared reading with productive and
receptive vocabulary words identified by the teacher
during the planning phase of an MGR lesson.
The teacher may also have the students sample
part of the text by reading a sentence to call attention
to semantic or syntactic structures that may be unfamiliar to them. An example of this type of minilesson
would be explaining the use of called in the sentence,
“‘Gala! Kiss!’ she called.” (Scholastic, 1996, p. 254).
The owner of two dogs named Gala and Kiss was calling them to come to her in this story. In a study investigating ELLs’ L2 text comprehension, Avalos (1999,
2003) found that Spanish-speaking ELLs, from beginning to advanced English proficiency, interpreted this
sentence using the meaning of called as the Spanish
llamarse, which means to call oneself or to be named.
Participants in the study therefore interpreted the sentence as “the woman was named Gala Kiss” when
completing written recalls to check story comprehension. This interpretation completely changes the author’s intended meaning and demonstrates the
importance of the need for teachers to be sensitive,
aware, and knowledgeable of their students’ L1 syntax
and semantic structures. The introduction should provide enough support for the students to read the text
fluently while using known strategies, yet it should allow opportunities for problem solving and discussion
to facilitate literacy and language learning, specifically with regard to vocabulary, phonics, and comprehension.
Shared Reading. Shared reading is an excellent way
to engage learners with texts, particularly learners
from diverse backgrounds (Allen, 2002; Koskinen et
al., 1999; Meier, 2003). Knox and Amador-Watson
(2002) recommend a shared-to-guided reading format. Shared reading of the guided-reading text supports L2 readers by providing teachers the opportunity
to model fluent reading, discuss the story and vocabulary as the text is read aloud, make connections and
scaffold the content or concepts that may be different for the students, and focus on strategy demonstrations (e.g., think-alouds, chunking words to decode)
before the students read with guidance as needed
from the teacher. Using MGR enables ELLs to see reading as a meaning-making process while vocabulary
and strategy instruction are introduced within the context of texts.
Students discussing their understanding of the text
could reveal a misinterpretation due to a literal translation from L1 to L2, a different experience base than
the author’s, or a need for vocabulary instruction. It is
recommended that teachers of L2 readers assess comprehension in a manner that is open-ended and conducive to discovering language-learning needs
(Avalos, 1999). Bernhardt (1991) expressed this well
by explaining that L2 readers “approach a text from
their first language framework” (p. 16). Thus, there is
the possibility of a divergent understanding before any
reading ever takes place. These diverse understandings are a result of various causes ranging from microlevel text features (e.g., orthography) to
grammatical structures (e.g., How does word order
differ in the L1 versus L2?) to the issue of literacy access in the primary culture (e.g., What is a supermarket tabloid or fairy tale?). Examples of open-ended
comprehension assessments include retelling (i.e.,
written or oral in the L1 or L2), asking open-ended
questions without “known answers” (Heath, 1983), or
inviting the student to infer and explain a character’s
action (e.g., “Why do you think the grandmother always sat in the chair by the window?”).
Reading the Text. After the teacher has set the
scene, introduced the text, and conducted the shared
reading, the students read the book to themselves.
Emergent readers will vocalize softly as they read, progressively moving toward silent and independent
reading. The softly vocalized reading may initially distract some students, but soon they become accustomed to the routine and the soft vocalization is no
longer an issue.
The teacher’s role is to maintain anecdotal records
as he or she listens and observes the students implement strategies, stepping in to guide by reinforcing
and providing appropriate prompting as teachable
moments present themselves. The teacher also reinforces positive reading behaviors by calling attention
324 The Reading Teacher Vol. 61, No. 4 December 2007/January 2008
to the strategies being used by a student or by using
this time to model effective reading strategies.
Fundamental to the success of this approach is the
teacher’s ability to create a learning environment that
facilitates a high level of comfort. Students must feel
that their remarks and conversation are important.
How teachers react to students’ comments determines
how and if they will continue to share their thoughts
about texts, take risks in using the L2, and inquire
about language use (Krashen, 1982).
When a child does not use a cueing system correctly he or she is making a miscue. For many struggling readers, particularly ELLs, it is common for
students to make miscues because the form (language
graphophonics, syntax, or semantics) is new and the
content could also be unfamiliar; therefore, both are
competing forces while performing or reading aloud.
Syntactic (language structure) cues may be one of
the most difficult for ELLs to understand because they
may not always know if a sentence sounds right due to
their developing English-language proficiency. Knox
and Amador-Watson (2002) stated that
Typical lists of coaching prompts used during guided
reading lessons are often incomprehensible for English
language learners. For example, “Does it make sense?”
or “Does it sound right?” require the student to call on a
native speaker’s intuitive grasp of English, which the second language learner naturally does not have. Many
prompts include abstract language that describe unseen
processes inside the reader’s head and are inaccessible
to ELLs who need concrete support for language to be
comprehensible. (Unit 7, p. 95)
Instead of prompting, it is recommended that ELLs
be coached with explicit demonstrations integrating
the cueing systems using a three-step process. First, the
teacher models the strategy, describing the process by
thinking aloud. Then the student applies and demonstrates the strategy modeled by the teacher. Finally,
the student is asked to verbalize the strategy by thinking aloud in order to internalize the process.
Returning to the Text. When the students have
completed their independent reading of the text, the
teacher engages the students in a conversation similar
to the introduction. Students share their thoughts
about the text, including questions and connections
they may have had during the reading. The teacher
asks open-ended questions to enhance comprehension and generate dialogue. Accepting students’ answers without criticism is key. Repeating the student’s
response to a question and then asking why they think
that provides teachers with clues as to how the text
was interpreted in such a way. This in turn provides
teachable moments and a guide for future instruction.
Upon subsequent teacher analyses of retellings, when
consistent language patterns or miscues are noted,
assessment will drive instruction as language- and
literacy-learning needs are identified and met.
Responding to the Text. Many books lend themselves to the extension of learning activities through
art, writing, or drama in response to the reading, thus
expanding the meaning of the text. Although it does
not always seem feasible to plan such activities for
every book because of time constraints, these extensions can be beneficial for ELLs to further develop
their understanding of concepts and reading or language skills. Whenever possible, the teacher should
plan to have students respond to the texts using different activities that are tied in with identified objectives. It is highly recommended that reading, writing,
listening, and speaking be integrated as much as possible throughout the curriculum for ELLs (Au, 1993).
Word Work. ELLs learn more when new concepts
are context embedded (Cummins, 2003). Guidedreading lessons provide optimal opportunities for students to apply and learn word-solving skills
throughout the lesson. Word work can be taught explicitly after the text has been read in order to minimize interruptions of the reading process. This explicit
instruction is particularly important for ELLs because
of their developing language proficiency. The wordwork lessons should incorporate systematic phonics
as well as morphological instruction. ELLs are in the
process of acquiring the sounds and structure of the
L2 and typically encounter difficulties with pronunciation of sounds that are not found in their L1 (e.g., the
English /th/ sound for Spanish speakers). The Words
Their Way (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, & Johnston,
2004) approach to word study allows us to assess
spelling and integrate word work within our MGR lessons at appropriate levels according to the ELLs’
knowledge of the English sound system.
MGR in Classrooms
We have used MGR with elementary, middle, and
high school ELLs in a large, urban school district. Each
time we have implemented MGR in these various
Modified Guided Reading 325
classroom settings, reading gains have been made.
Because of space limitations, only the results of a
small study with middle school students will be reported here (Table 3).
After nine months of working in Ms. Lopez’s classroom (all names are pseudonyms), her group of 13
students gained an average of 1.8 grade levels in L2
reading. Ms. Mays’s 10 students made an average gain
of 1.3 grade levels within four months of implementing MGR. Figures 3 and 4 demonstrate the growth
recorded for each participant. Students 9 and 10 from
Ms. Mays’s groups (Figure 4) appeared to make no
progress; however, they were reading at the preprimer
level with frustration for the pretest and at an instructional level for the posttest. Students 6, 7, and 8 made
1–2 grade level gains, reading at the preprimer (instructional level) for the pretest.
Student perceptions of the MGR approach, as
measured by a survey following the intervention periods, were overwhelmingly positive. All participants
enjoyed participating in the intervention and felt they
learned more about reading, writing, and speaking
English during the MGR sessions. Specifically, they
learned more about English sounds and how those
sounds related to the letters. Participants also felt that
the small-group instruction format helped them to
comprehend what was being read because they could
ask questions and clarify anything they didn’t understand. In addition, they all agreed that they enjoyed listening to books being read aloud by the teacher and
would like to continue using the MGR approach for
reading instruction.
Creating and Gaining Meaning
From Text
From our work with MGR in elementary and secondary
classrooms, ELLs have enjoyed this approach to reading and English-language instruction. Student engagement was high when working in small groups; thus,
literacy and language learning needs were met using
326 The Reading Teacher Vol. 61, No. 4 December 2007/January 2008
Table 3
Context of Pilot Study
Ms. Mays Ms. Lopez
School population (% ELL) 2,100 (22%) 1,363 (10%)
Environmental context of school Inner-city urban Urban
School population qualifying 96% 65%
for free or reduced-cost lunch
Assessment instrument used Ekwall/Shanker informal Burns/Roe informal
reading inventory reading inventory
Number of students receiving MGR 10 13
Mean age of students 13 13
Months in USA (Average/range) 25/3–48 months 36/24–48 months
Range of Spanish (L1) instructional Preprimer to fourth grade At or above fourth grade
reading levels prior to MGR
Range of English (L2) instructional Preprimer to second grade First to fourth grade
reading levels prior to MGR
Time receiving MGR 24 30-minute sessions 36 30-minute sessions
Average reading level gains in 1.3 grade levels 1.8 grade levels
L2 after receiving MGR
Modified Guided Reading 327
Figure 3
Reading Gains of Students in Ms. Lopez’s Classroom (as Measured by the Burns/Roe Informal Reading
Figure 4
Reading Gains of Students in Ms. Mays’s Classroom (as Measured by the Ekwall/Shanker Informal
Reading Inventory)
texts as vehicles to provide meaningful instruction.
MGR also allowed us to get to know the students better as we had many conversations that enabled them to
make connections between the texts and their lives.
MGR provides students with the understanding
that reading is about creating and gaining meaning
from text. Teachers work with students as they develop the strategies, allowing the students to be successful when they encounter syntax, contexts, or
vocabulary that is unfamiliar to them. More research
needs to be conducted in order to assess the extent
of MGR’s effectiveness when instructing ELLs. The
goal of guided reading is for children to progress and
read more challenging texts independently and successfully. Using this modified instructional model,
teachers are able to monitor ELLs’ progress, meet their
needs in order to facilitate literacy and language learning, and enable students to self-extend their reading
and language proficiencies by building on what is
known in their L1.
Avalos teaches at the University of Miami, Florida,
USA; e-mail [email protected] Plasencia and
Chavez teach in the Miami-Dade County Public
Schools in Florida. Rascón teaches in the Boulder
Valley School District in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
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