Monday, January 11, 2010

Just Think of the Possibilities: Formats for Reading Instruction in the Elementary Classroom

Kimbell-Lopez, K. (2003). Just think of the possibilities: Formats for reading instruction in the elementary classroom. Reading Online, 6(6). Available:

In this article Kimbell-Lopez describes six different formats that can be used to teach reading in the classroom. They are: shared reading, read-aloud, guided reading, Reader’s Theatre, sustained silent reading, and literature circles. She explains each format thoroughly, guidelines for implementation, and links to other sites that provide more in-depth information. The benefits of each format are also shared, but she states that there are many different options that can used effectively to “meet the literacy needs of our students” and that we must remember that kids vary greatly in their needs and abilities, and therefore multiple opportunities to read must be present in an effective reading classroom.

“Using a combination of these six reading formats, it is possible for students to have multiple interactions with a text and thereby to practice and apply word recognition, fluency, and reading comprehension strategies.”

“The students in our classrooms today vary greatly in their needs and ability levels. As a result, it is necessary to provide multiple opportunities for students to read so that they can develop their ability to read and comprehend text.”

“Duffy-Hester (1999, p. 489) states that through reading aloud, students hear quality literature read to them; through guided reading, they read materials written on their instructional level with teacher guidance and minimal support; through shared reading, they read materials that may be too difficult for them to read independently with the support of other students and the teacher; and through independent reading, they read easy materials. One other format, literature circles, makes it possible to transform power relationships in the classroom, to make students both more responsible for and more in control of their own education, to develop lifelong readers, and to nurture a critical, personal stance toward ideas (Daniels, 1994, p. 31). In addition, the use of Readers Theatre provides an opportunity to enhance comprehension of text (Burns, Roe, & Ross, 1999, p. 204) as well as to create interest in and enthusiasm for learning (Ruddell, 1999, p. 236).”

“In IRA's summary of the National Reading Panel Report, guided oral reading with feedback was found to positively impact word recognition, reading fluency, and comprehension.”

“This format provides an opportunity for students to develop fluency in reading through the multiple readings of the text, using expressiveness, intonation, and inflection when rehearsing the text. The Readers Theatre format offers a way for readers to participate in repeated readings in a meaningful and purposeful context.”

Text Sources:
Duffy-Hester, A.M. (1999). Teaching struggling readers in elementary school classrooms: A review of classroom reading programs and principles of instruction. The Reading Teacher, 52, pp. 480-495.

Burns, P.C., Roe, B.D., & Ross, E.P. (1999). Teaching reading in today's elementary school (7th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Ruddell, R.B. (1999). Teaching children to read and write: Becoming an influential teacher (2nd ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

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