Guided Instruction, Coaching
, & Engaged Learning

Posted on 3/11/2017

Visualize this.

The teacher presents the learning point for the day’s reading lesson:

LP: Readers think about the character’s desires and struggles.

That takes all of about a minute or two.

Then, the teacher moves to the mini lesson. First, the teacher reads from a mentor text and models the authentic act of thinking and doing for the learning point after every page or two. After the teacher models the authentic act of making meaning, the students are directed to turn and talk with their partner in order to apply what the teacher modeled. The teacher might model two or three times. This takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

When the"mini lesson" is finished, the students are sent off to read independently with the intent of making meaning per the learning point just modeled by the teacher.

While students are engaged in independent reading, the teacher moves from student to student (or gathers a small group) with the aim of engaging them in conversation – guiding and coaching them to grow their ability to apply the learning point modeled. (Guided instruction and coaching are driven by formative assessments and data.) With a gradual release of responsibility, the aim is for students to ‘learn to learn’ in order to self-direct their reading.

By definition, guided instruction is a time when thinking and learning begins to shift from teacher to student through a gradual release of responsibility.

The teacher’s role changes as he or she follows the lead of the learner who is attempting to apply the skill or strategy to a new situation.

By definition, coaching is when the teacher asks essential questions facility thinking and supports a learner in achieving a specific learning point that has been made explicit.

Teacher: Max. What kind of person is Eugene? What are his desires? How does he struggle as a result of his desires?

Student: Eugene is an angry kid. He’s always bullying children who are weaker than he. He seems to be struggling every minute of the day. I’m not sure what makes him so angry. If I can determine what his desires are, maybe I can figure out why he is struggling. 

Teacher: Excellent Max! You are making meaning by thinking about the character’s desires and struggles. You are looking for a cause and effect relationship. Keep reading to see if you can figure things out. And remember; always aim to support your thinking with text-to-text, text-to-self, and/or text-to-world evidence. I will check back with you a bit later. 

Engage students in learning.

With a gradual release of responsibility, guide students to become self-directed learners.

Learn more about Brian Kissman's work at