Guided Reading

Learning to read is a complex task. When students have more than one strategy that they can use when they get stuck, then they have a feeling of success.

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When teachers analyse running records, they look at something called MSV (Meaning, Visual and Syntax) clues and describe what the student has used to work out the unknown word. Turning this into language students can understand, and using the same prompts during reading lessons, encourages students to fix their own errors and learn several strategies along the way.

When the students read and come to an unknown word they can check for: 

Meaning: Does it make sense? Students use their prior knowledge, picture clues, and the context of the text.


E.g. Lisa watched the child play. 

Syntax: Does it sound right? Students use their knowledge of language patterns and vocabulary.


E.g. Lisa watched the child play.

Visual: Does it look right? Students use letter sound knowledge and information in the print.


E.g. Lisa watched the child play.

The strategies of 

  • Does it make sense? 

  • Does it sound right? 

  • Does it look right? 

are applied all the time so the student perseveres. 

Teachers are there as a facilitator rather than always telling the student the word. Sometimes that is needed, if it is unknown vocabulary or a topic word that the student may not know.  

Professional Development for teachers is an important component of our teaching careers as we are always learning new skills, just like our students. As a class we have been active participants learning and putting  into practise these reading strategies with Literacy Consultant, Rita Palmer. The success shows in the enthusiasm the students show when using the strategies independently to find out unknown words.

Room 14 have been using these strategies in Cloze Reading activities,a teaching strategy that uses passages of text with missing words. The learner inserts the missing words using context clues and constructs meaning from the text. For younger readers you can introduce the first letter or blend as a clue.

 E.g. I am h.............   because I forgot my lunch . 

Once Room 14 had practiced the strategies, I asked the students how they worked out unknown words:

I read the sentence and use what sounds right.

I look at the letters in the word and sound them out. I also look at the pictures for clues.

Giving strategies that the students can use makes them more confident and independent to try again. They feel proud of themselves.

I miss the word out in the sentence and read on. I look at the picture.and then I go back and see what makes sense. I can do it.


Guided Reading, meaning, syntax, visual, cloze reading

2024 Flowers

Suzanne Flowers

My passion is to create a love of learning so my students become ‘lifelong learners’. My focus is the importance of acquiring knowledge so I can keep informed and keep my students up to date with new learning strategies.

I am a local here and enjoy all that Taupō has to offer. I love walking with my husband and dog by the lake or river, having coffee with friends, family gatherings, and gardening. When not in Taupō I enjoy being by the sea at Papamoa.

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