Guided Instruction and Practice

Guided Instruction and Practice in the Intermediate Classroom

Part 1

Whole Group Lesson:

  • Check the pace of the lesson. (Is it too fast or too slow? Are there a lot of questions?)
  • Check for understanding. (Who has got it and who hasn’t?)
 Part 2

Planning for Guided Instruction:

  • Teacher identifies students that experienced difficulty during the whole group lesson to receive guided instruction in a small group.
  • Teacher groups students (about 5) that share similar reading and/or writing level.
  • Teacher has a plan for what the remainder of the class will be doing while he/she is working with a small group
Part 3

Guided Instruction:

  • Teacher articulates the learning goal and decides upon his/her teaching point for the guided instruction for each group
  • Teacher guides the group (or individuals) with reminders, questions, cues, prompts, explanations and modelling.
  • Teacher may decide to re-teach the initial lesson with modifications to match the group’s needs
Part 4

Guided Practice:

  • Students practice reading or writing with the help of the teacher
  • Students practice reading or writing strategies with the help of the teacher in the form of prompts, reminders and encouragement

Part 3 and Part 4 describe reciprocal behaviours for teacher and student.

What is Guided Instruction?

Guided Instruction is a set of teacher behaviours based on what the student knows and what the student still needs to know. 

During Guided Instruction the Teacher:

  • Re-teaches a skill or strategy with necessary modifications.
  • Provides scaffolding and multiple entry points for students that previously had difficulty understanding a whole group lesson (Tell them what to do, ask them what to do, remind them what to do.)
  • Tailors his/her lesson to match the group’s zone of proximal development. (A concept developed by Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky which describes the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can do with help.)
  • Questions, prompts, explains, and models as needed
  • Monitors students’ understanding of the new concept or skill and plans next instructional steps.
  • Gathers data

Some Examples of Guided Instruction:

  • Assistance understanding the learning goals and checking the success criteria
  • Assistance with decoding
  • Assistance understanding the organization of text
  • Assistance with text features and how they aid comprehension
  • Assistance understanding genre
  • Assistance interpreting ideas
  • Assistance in making inferences
  • Assistance in making meaningful connections that further comprehension
  • Assistance in responding to the author’s purpose and ideas
  • Assistance in making generalizations
  • Assistance with summarization
  • Assistance with topic development and organization of ideas
  • Assistance with lesson-specific vocabulary and/or target words
  • Assistance in uncovering what is known and not known
  • Assistance clarifying misconceptions or partial understandings
  • Assistance in planning or drafting work
  • Discussion of next steps and targets
  • Gathering data, such as a running record, to be analyzed and inform next steps

What is Guided Practice?

Guided Practice is a set of student behaviours based on what the teacher says and does.

During Guided Practice the Student:

  • Attempts the target skill or strategy with assistance
  • Practices the target skill or strategy and stretches or extends it with help to consolidate new learning
  • Orally rehearses
  • Tries out new ideas from the comfort of a small group setting

 Some Examples of Guided Practice:

  • Reading out loud
  • Writing with close teacher observation and intervention if needed

Examples of Teacher Prompts during the guided session:

Let’s try one together…

I will guide you through it…

Another way of explaining this is…

Let’s build on what you know by…

So it says here…that makes me think…What about here…What does that make you think about?

What are we doing here?

What’s the skill that we’re trying to practice?

So what we’re doing is…Now let’s try it together…

Leland just explained…can you take us a bit further Chantel?

Let’s figure out what we’ve done and what we still need to do…


Learning Goal:



Example: I can find two facts from different parts of a non-fiction text to support an idea (Women had to fight for the right to vote.)

Teaching  Point: (teacher)


Example: I’m going to model how I skim a non-fiction text to find specific support for an idea and talk about how this is a kind of connection within a text

Setting the Stage:

(2-5 minutes)


Examples: review vocabulary, text features,  key concept or strategy

Guided Instruction

(5-10 minutes)


Example: listen to students read and/or practice writing providing intervention and guidance as required


(2 minutes, optional)


Examples: Discussion and/or reflection about learning goal (what did I do to find the two related facts that helped me prove that women had to fight to get the right to vote)








Next Steps




















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