Guided Reading Group Host or Hostess - The Ideal Intervention?

As a classroom teacher, do you have a child who is reading a couple levels below the expectation? Do they work hard, but never quite seem to catch up? 

Would you like to implement a 1:1 (or even small group) intervention for him or her - but find there just aren't enough minutes in the day?  Or are you already implementing this intervention, but finding that it is still not enough? 

Here's something to try. . . 

1) Keep that student in his/her own guided reading group. Continue to carefully select text at just the right level and provide solid instruction, as you do for each of your little sweeties. 

2) Look carefully at what this child is doing during the time he or she is not in your guided reading group. Consider an alternative to one of the reading rotations:

Invite that child to be your Guided Reading Host or Hostess! 

Have your Host or Hostess join a group one or two levels above his/her instructional reading level (as a helper and a guest). 

The Guided Reading Host can hand out the books and supplies for you. He/she will hear your book introduction and experience any word work activities you share with the group. The Host or Hostess gains exposure to any vocabulary you discuss with the group. Then the Host or Hostess simply chooses a partner to sit with. As the group member reads, the Guided Reading Host (or Hostess) silently follows along.

Surprisingly, they often offer help or pop in with the correct word when their partner is stuck! 

What is happening?  They are experiencing on-level instruction, free of stress. Many students learn best when they can relax and enjoy. They take pride in their genuine role as your helper. Participating as a Host or Hostess helps this reader build confidence and develop a special relationship with you. 

From my experience, it's both a joy and a huge academic boost for the child involved. In all honesty, my students sometimes gained more from simply helping me host another group than they did from the quick interventions I could fit into the day.  

As the group wraps up, the Host or Hostess can collect materials and put them away, helping prepare the area for the next group. 

** Note - This is never in place of their own leveled group.  It is in addition to it! **

If you try this idea, would you be so kind as to share your experience?  Just choose a student to help you host groups.  Record his/her reading level prior to becoming a host or hostess and after a period of time. Compare the growth with the average growth of the readers in your room. Help teachers take back research by sharing your results!  (To do so, just email me at 

P.S. - This routine works as well for students with impulse control/behavior issues as it does for students who need a little extra boost with reading. In this case, have your Host or Hostess go and gently give reminders to other students to stay on task and/or to keep the noise level down. You might even consider having him/her observe and take notes regarding students who are staying on task. What we teach, we learn. It's likely that your slightly behavior-challenged student(s) will internalize the behaviors they have the opportunity to help others learn. 

Thanks so much for stopping by!  

:) Anne Gardner (NBCT, Literacy)


Graphics by Tiny Graphics Shack



  1. I love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

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