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September 5, 2023 @ 9:00 am October 29, 2023 @ 3:30 pm

Guided Reading: Differentiating Literacy Instruction in Grades 3-8

Person studying books at a desk.

Learn how to use Guided Reading with your students in grades 3-8.

In this 8-week online graduate course for teachers and literacy educators, learn how to plan and teach effective small group, differentiated instruction lessons in intermediate and middle school classrooms.

September 5 – October 29, 2023 (Fall Term I)
Number of Days:
8 weeks
Grade Levels:
Literacy Teaching
  • Classroom Teachers & Interventionists
  • Literacy Coaches & Teacher Leaders
Must be taken for graduate credit
$2,325 ($750/credit + $25/credit comprehensive fee) + required texts
  • Course Number: EEDUC 6045.80
  • Fees are subject to change
Course Description & Outcomes
Policies & Graduate Credit Option


Guided Reading is an instructional context in which teachers work with small groups of students to support each reader’s development of systems of strategic actions.

In this course, you’ll take an in-depth look at how to use Guided Reading to support readers in the intermediate and middle grades.

Discover how to observe and assess intermediate and middle school students’ reading behaviors. Learn how to analyze and select appropriate texts. Build an understanding of how to form flexible groups, and how to plan Guided Reading lessons that address the needs of each reader within the group. 

We’ll also discuss the complex nature of the reading process. Learn how each element of a Guided Reading lesson presents opportunities for teaching and learning that supports the varying needs of all students, including students whose first language is not English. 

Course Outcomes 

  • Build knowledge of the reading process and the strategic actions that enable students to become effective readers 
  • Observe, assess, and analyze reading behaviors in order to plan for instruction taking into consideration the diverse needs of all students including English language learners 
  • Use the 10 characteristics of texts to analyze books along a gradient of difficulty to consider the supports and challenges that texts offer to readers 
  • Choose and introduce appropriate books for Guided Reading instruction based on assessment data 
  • Explain how each part of a Guided Reading lesson presents opportunities for teaching and learning with attention to the needs of English language learners 
  • Group students dynamically for Guided Reading instruction based on assessment data 
  • Identify characteristics of fiction and nonfiction to support students effectively as they read in a variety of genres 
  • Learn how the reading workshop provides a structure and management system that allows for whole-group, small-group, and individual teaching 

Nikki Drury, Literacy Trainer

Nikki worked as a literacy coach and teacher in public school for many years before joining the Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative as an Intermediate Trainer. She has experience as a primary and intermediate classroom teacher and literacy instructional coach at the intermediate level. Over the years, she has worked with students, educators, and administrators to improve literacy outcomes. 


Required Texts 

You are responsible for purchasing/having access to the following professional texts for this course: 

  • Fountas, I.C. and Pinnell, G.S. (2017). Guided reading: Responsive teaching for all grades. Heinemann. 
  • Pinnell, G.S. and Fountas, I.C. (2017). The Fountas and Pinnell literacy continuum: A tool for assessment, planning, and teaching. Heinemann 

This option must be taken for 3 graduate credits. Take the course individually or as a required course in our 18-credit Online Graduate Certificate in Developing Literacy Expertise Through Responsive Classroom Teaching. 

Interested in professional learning at your school or district? Schedule a meeting with one of our trainers.

“What a rich learning opportunity! This course pushed me as a teacher, made me think and question, and gave me new ways to approach teaching Guided Reading. I cannot wait to put my new knowledge into practice!”

Jennifer H., Literacy interventionist, Cambridge, MA