Guided Reading is a teaching approach used in an instructional setting that enables a teacher to work with a small group of students (usually 4 to 6) to help students use effective strategies for processing text with understanding. It provides daily opportunity for teachers to help students purposely think their way through the text. Sometimes after reading the text the teacher extends the meaning of the text through written response. Guided reading enables students to become fluent, established readers. Learning how to read and reading to learn is inseparable.
Many of my students enter third grade with good decoding strategies. They can read with general accuracy just about anything your put in front of them (This is not true of the struggling readers of course). The aim of guided reading is to help students understand what they read. The goal of guided reading is to read increasingly sophisticated text, both fiction and non-fiction, and develop strategies the students can apply independently across the curriculum.
What does it mean to "read" a text? To read a text is to identify and understand the important information and to connect personally with such things as setting, character, and plot. Reading elicits a reaction to the text emotionally, perhaps experiencing humor, loneliness, hope, terror, or grief. A reading derives and author's precise meaning even when it's subtle or ironic. A reader can incorporate the meaning of the text into our own knowledge of the world and make inferences beyond the text.1