Best Practice for Long Distance Reading Instruction

As personal interaction with students is curtailed, it is critical that educators enact strategies that compensate for the interactivity of the classroom

By Miguel Melendez and Brian Knuth from Scholastic

One of the main challenges of teaching over the internet is continuing to provide systematic, and individualized, reading instruction.  As personal interaction with students is curtailed, it is critical that educators enact strategies that compensate for the interactivity of the classroom.  Adapting best practices from Scholastic’s Guided Reading programme could help you to enhance every assignment.

The foundation of a Guided Reading lesson is the introduction.  By providing key details, setting a purpose for reading, and activating prior knowledge, teachers create a powerful scaffold that will guide students as they read.  

(These tips require access to an audio and video platform, including video recording)

Before the lesson:

  • Step One:  Establish and communicate how you will deliver the lesson. Will you be delivering a live lesson on a video conferencing platform? Or sending a video of yourself with activities that students can view and complete later?
  • Step Two: Decide who the lesson is for. Is it for all students, for a small group, or for an individual?
  • Step Three: Establish what skills you want students to practice during the lesson. Tailor and deliver your lesson based on the skills you want students to practice.

Note: If your students have access to the text, ask them to read along with you silently (if delivering a live lesson) and reference the text in any post-reading activities. If they don’t have access to the text at home, plan a lesson in which you model the skills you want to practice as you read aloud.

How to Craft an Effective Introduction

By thoughtfully and systematically enhancing your introduction to the assignment, you will help students be successful as they read.  An effective introduction includes:

  • The author and genre of the text.
  • A purpose for the reading centered on the skills you want to practice.  Should students pay attention to the illustrations?  To the adjectives?  Verbs?  The punctuation?  If you set a purpose for the reading you will guide them to practice specific skills.
  • Activate any prior knowledge students have about the topic.
  • Indicate any challenging text features or content they will encounter.

In addition, plan out strategic stopping points during the session where you can ask relevant questions that will further support students and model the behaviours of an effective reader.

During Reading

While students are reading or you are reading aloud to them, stop at pre-planned times to ask them questions about the text. Model good reading behaviours for students during these times and how to problem solve while reading.

If students have access to the text, ask them to make specific references to the text to keep them engaged as they read.

After Reading

After you have completed the reading, ask students questions about the text to build upon the specific skills you are trying to enhance. Review the challenges that students may have faced while reading the text and review best practices and problem solving strategies.

If you are sending the assignments in a recording or an email, you can still adopt this methodology. The goal is to model for students the behaviour that a good reader exhibits as they read.

If you need any additional support adapting to teaching reading online, Find out more here:

Sign up to the Bett MEA newsletter to keep up to date with our event and hear the very latest and most important announcements over the coming months