Reading instruction and recommended books

The adventure of reading: Contents 

  • Inspiration
  • Reading instruction tips and resources
  • Impact of reading
  • Book list
  • Resources

Inspirational Speech 

The power of reading… 


Introducing and teaching reading comprehension strategies: 

  • Explicit teaching of strategies
  • Teacher modelling
  • Collaborative use of the strategy
  • Practise strategies as part of guided reading 
  • Use strategies when reading independently for pleasure or information

Adapted from Duke & Pearson 2002


Examples of Guided Reading sessions, for explicit teaching of reading strategies 


What I do during guided reading…

Note: I am always adapting my guided reading lessons and trying new things.

  • Guided reading texts are linked with learning in other curriculum areas. For example, when we were designing a garden in STEM, all our guided reading texts were about living things. Another examples is when we were learning how to write poetry, all our guided reading texts were poems.
  • Before reading: Activate prior knowledge, predict, pose questions
  • During reading: focus on a reading strategies (I often focus on a strategies for at least 3 weeks).
    • Read. How this happens: We will read it out loud all at the same time, OR students read to the person next to them. No ’round robin reading’, where students read in front of the whole group.
    • Teacher poses questions, with a focus on the strategy of the week. Past strategies are also referred to, as revision.
  • After reading: re-emphasise strategy of the week. For example, each student might explain why their initial prediction was or wasn’t correct.

Vocabulary book

This is good when guided reading texts are linked to a topic, such as ‘gardening’. Students build their vocabulary knowledge. At the end of each guided reading session, the group decides on 1-2 of the most important, topic specific vocabulary words to include. As a group we write a definition to go with the word, and may use dictionaries or thesauruses to help us.

I have also used this same strategy, as a ‘Question book’, which is good when reading non-fiction texts. Students pose questions that were not answered in the text, and need to find the answers. This can also be done as a wall display.



What is the rest of the class doing, when the teacher has a Guided Reading group?

During guided reading, the rest of the class reads rather than doing other literacy activities, such as writing. This is due to research which shows that 20 minutes of reading per day makes a considerable difference to achievement of students and helps vocabulary development. Reading activities may include:

  • . This is an expensive resource and requires individual student logins. Benefit is that students practise reading and comprehension, it motivates reading and you can track progress.
  • Partner reading. Students read with a partner that is in their guided reading group. I rotate the pairs. Students both read the text out loud, at the same time.
  • Reader’s Theater. Students read and rehearse a play which they act out to the class, after guided reading. I use the same script for the week.
  • Independent reading: students read a book silently to themselves. This can be the guided reading book, but doesn’t have to be. The focus is on reading for pleasure.
  • Teacher Assistant or Student Support Officer. If you are lucky enough to have a teacher assistance or student support officer, they can also run a guided reading session.

Impact of reading



Book List 

This list includes books I recommend, as well as some recommended by colleagues and past students.

Great Books

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Daisy and the Trouble with Vampires by Kes Gray
  • The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell
  • The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine
  • The White Giraffe by Lauren St John
  • The Peppermint Pig by Nina Bawden
  • Ingo by Helen Dunmore
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
  • Mystic Lighthouse: Mystery Of The Dark Lighthouse, by Laura E. Williams
  • Starring Grace by Mary Hoffman
  • Kaspar: Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo
  • This Morning I Met a Whale by Michael Morpurgo
  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
  • The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Magic Faraway Tree (Book 1) Enid Blyton
  • A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan
  • Beetle Boy by MG Leonard
  • The Legend of Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood
  • Tilly and the Time Machine by Adrian Edmondson
  • The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd
  • The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson
  • Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes by Louis Sachar
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  • Stormbreaker, Alex Rider Series, Book 1, by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Boy Who Biked the World: On the Road to Africa by Alastair Humphreys
  • Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid banks
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate


  • The Brilliant World of Tom Gates (Book 1) by Liz Pichon
  • Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure: Book 1 by Alex T. Smith
  • The Twits by Roald Dahl
  • Jiggy Mccue: The Meanest Genie by Michael Lawrence
  • Diary of aWimpy Kid (Book 1) Jeff Kinney
  • Oliver and the Seawigs Hardcover by Philip Reeve
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume


  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia, By C.S. Lewis
  • Stuart Little By E.B. White
  • Anne of Green Gables By L.M. Montgomery
  • Charlotte’s Web, By E. B. White
  • Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
  • A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett


Picture Books

“The Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig

“Have You Filled a Bucket Today?”  by Carol McCloud

“The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others” by Maria Dismondy

“Rosie Revere, Engineer” by Andrea Beaty

“Luke’s way of looking” by Nadia Wheatley

“Rose Meets Mr. Wintergarten” by Bob Graham

“The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley “ by Colin Thompson



Australian Poetry Collection

Forgiven by A A Milne


A guide to poetry

Resources for specific books: 




Other good literacy resources: 

Teaching Resource: One picture everyday. Great for literacy writing prompts.

Click here for good resources for other curriculum areas.


Quotes about reading… 


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