The Ontario curriculum focuses on developing the knowledge and skills that will enable students to become effective readers. An effective reader is one who not only grasps the ideas communicated in a text but is able to apply them in new contexts. To do this, the reader must be able to think clearly, creatively, and critically about the ideas and information encountered in texts in order to understand, analyse, and absorb them and to recognize their relevance in other contexts. Students can develop the skills necessary to become effective readers by applying a range of comprehension strategies as they read and by reading a wide variety of texts. It is also important that they read a range of materials that illustrate the many uses of writing. By reading widely, students will develop a richer vocabulary and become more attuned to the conventions of written language. Reading various kinds of texts in all areas of the curriculum will also help students to discover what interests them most and to pursue and develop their interests and abilities.

As students develop their reading skills, it is important that they have many opportunities to read for a variety of purposes. A well-balanced reading program will provide students with opportunities to read for the pleasure of discovering interesting information as well as for the pleasure of self-discovery, for self-enrichment, and for the sheer fun of it. Such reading activities are particularly important in the elementary grades, when attitudes towards reading and reading habits are first being formed. Reading experiences that invite students to discover new worlds and new experiences and to develop their imaginative powers will go a long way towards convincing them that reading can be a rich source of pleasure and knowledge. Such experiences are likely to lead to a love of reading, which is among the most valuable resources students can take with them into adult life.

The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1-8 Language, 2006 p. 10

The Guides to Effective Instruction in Reading outline key components of a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning in reading. These work in tandem with the key components of a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning in writing. The reading components include:


Read Alouds/ Modelled

A carefully selected text, often beyond the level the students can read independently.


Purpose: An opportunity for teachers to model what “good readers” do; to make meaning of text.
The Students… The Teacher…

-making meaning

-active listening

-observing teacher modelling strategies and skills



-reads to students, generally whole class

-introduces vocabulary and language structures

-model and demonstrate reading strategies and skills(construct meaning, text- features, )

-models “think-alouds”

-determine a learning goal

Estimated Time per Day/Cycle: Daily


Shared Reading

Students, with the teacher, actively engage in reading a strategically selected text, (big books, smartboard , charts, personal copies).

Purpose: To make meaning by practicing comprehension and reading strategies.
The Students… The Teacher…

– All eyes on text

-join in reading


-read text out loud, inviting students to join in

– demonstrates the reading strategies and skills that are being introduced or reinforced


Estimated Time per Day/Cycle: Daily; at least 2-3 times per cycle, 10-15 minutes each


Guided Reading

A small group, formed by an identified need. During shared reading and conferences, the teacher observes and identifies a few students with a similar learning need.

Purpose: Precise and targeted instruction. It provides supported practice for students, based on student need, to make connections with the reading strategies and skills they are developing towards independent reading.


The Students… The Teacher…

-read for meaning

-practice and refine reading strategies independently and with support


engage in text with students, based on the student’s individual learning needs

-monitor students success, on-going assessment


Estimated Time per Day/Cycle: Daily; at least 1-2 times per cycle- based on need, 20 minutes each


                                                                     Independent Reading

Students read self-selected text individually


Purpose: Students apply their reading skills and strategies on their own, for a variety of purposes. For example, pleasure, find information, improve fluency.
The Students… The Teacher…

-Engage with text and make meaning while reading


–have conferences with individuals about their chosen text

-ask questions about their understandings and use of skills and strategies while reading


Estimated Time per Day/Cycle: Daily; (varies depending on student need)


Word Knowledge/Study


Purpose- Develop knowledge and skills in phonemic awareness

-Increased vocabulary

-high frequency word identification

-word-solving strategies

The Students… The Teacher…

-guided, shared, and independent work with letters/sounds/words


-facilitates the understanding of how words work through the gradual release of responsibility model

– provides a combination of reading experiences

-ensures the balance between explicit instruction and within a meaningful context

Estimated Time per Day/Cycle: Daily – Embedded in other elements of Comprehensive Literacy


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