Amanda Spielman, [Chief Ofsted Inspector, focused on ‘getting the basics right’](http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/ofsted-annual-report-201718/), with a huge emphasis on literacy skills. Spielman rightly said, “ensuring that children master literacy is a central issue of social justice.” She also said that Ofsted would, “strengthen (their) focus on the inspection of reading”. But the reality of making guided reading sessions differentiated, engaging and effective is a huge challenge for teachers on the ground. ## Guided reading in real life Guided or reciprocal reading sessions take a lot of time to plan. They are often around 20 minutes in length and occur each day of the week. Commonly, they are structured as carousel activities: each group will swap around a series of activities each day, giving the teacher the chance to work with a small group at least once in the week. ## You’re too late Planning for the groups that work independently is a minefield. Tasks need to be engaging and effective: a difficult ask when there is no adult present to provide assistance and feedback. By the time you get to Red group on Thursday, it’s too late to be realising that Jonathan has been stuck on one question since Monday and Annie has been reading the wrong chapter. ## Is the juice worth the squeeze? Another issue with guided reading is the time needed to plan the sessions. It takes hours to plan a week’s worth of guided reading and even more time to gather the resources needed each day. Teachers run themselves ragged finding age-appropriate, language-rich, attention-grabbing, imagination-capturing, life-enriching texts. They meticulously create resources that differentiate for each pupil’s needs. All for Jonathan in Red Group to have been stuck on the same question since Monday and for Annie to have read the wrong chapter. Guided reading is necessary, perhaps now more than ever. But with teacher’s time becoming ever more precious, how can we cut down the time spent planning, whilst increasing the effectiveness of guided or reciprocal reading? ## The solution LbQ has a team of teacher authors who use their experience in teaching to write reading age appropriate texts, questions that require a range of reading skills and feedback designed to encourage and progress students in reading. All LbQ Question Sets provide students with instant and personalised feedback throughout, ensuring feedback is given even when the teacher can’t be there. The specially designed feedback that tackles common misconceptions provides the confidence that students can independently and effectively improve their reading skills. We asked LbQ author Kate Brindle about the writing process and how she creates suitable and engaging texts: “I draw on my 23 years of experience in the classroom. I remember the texts that lit up the classroom, that inspired great learning experiences, the books that made the children laugh aloud, the books that made us all cry, and the books where the children begged and pleaded with me not to stop reading even though it was playtime! “ “I often look back at the National Curriculum requirements to ensure I cover a range of themes and genres, and I love getting feedback from teachers who use LbQ who tell me what they want.” “I consider the type of questions required for the Question Sets I put together, as I am writing. I think carefully about each and every word I use; for example, if I have the opportunity to imply a feeling rather than be explicit, I take it.” “Texts and questions that I write go through a rigorous editing process here at LbQ. I send out the text to children of the right reading age, and they often provide me with some of the best quality feedback.” “I think back on time in the classroom when writing feedback. I consider what would be the most helpful and encouraging feedback the student needs to progress.” If you’re interested in the texts that Kate has written for LbQ and how our Guided Reading Question Sets could help progress your students’ reading skills, come and [visit us at BETT](http://www.lbq.org/Bett/), Stand F160 from the 24th January to the 27th January 2019.