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September 1. 2016

What’s New in Guided Reading, Second Edition? It’s not a revision…it has been re-envisioned.

You’ve had your trusty white-covered copy of Guided Reading on your shelf for years. Its frayed edges and bent pages from constant referencing have made it difficult to jam in between other books. You’ve even written your name in black marker across the cover to deter potential thievery. It’s a familiar friend. And now there’s a new edition?! What?! Don’t panic. Your friend is still as inspiring as ever. This is not a revision to a classic text, but rather… it has been RE-envisioned.


While this second edition is a completely new text, the “nuts and bolts” of how to use guided reading are still there. There are many new changes, but we’ve listed the key differences below.


More Emphasis on Responsive Teaching

One of the most important differences in the second edition is the extra emphasis on responsive teaching. It’s even in the subtitle, “Responsive Teaching Across the Grades.” What is “responsive teaching” you ask?  “It is the observation and analysis of the students’ reading behaviors that informs your next teaching moves. No matter how well you plan and structure learning tasks, it’s the one-on-one interactions that inform the power and effectiveness in your teaching,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). Responsive teaching is about teachers knowing their students well and knowing how to better teach them.


A Multi-text Approach to Teaching

Guided reading is important. We know that. But it isn’t the only instruction students need on a daily basis. In this edition, Fountas and Pinnell emphasize that guided reading should be embedded within a coherent literacy system, which means teaching that ranges from high teacher support, like interactive read-aloud and shared reading, all the way to independent reading. “Small-group instruction is more powerful when nested within a variety of instructional contexts with varying levels of support,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).


A Focus on Creating a Community of Learners

One of the goals of this new edition is to get teachers to not only treat the classroom as a place to learn to read, write, and expand language skills, but to create a community of learners. “It is a laboratory where they learn how to be confident, self-determined, kind, and democratic,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). This new edition provides teachers with a list of behavioral and emotional expectations to look for in students. If students are not displaying these behaviors, teachers can provide numerous opportunities to help build them up and develop a sense of agency.


Support for Teaching in a Diverse Classroom

Fountas and Pinnell believe that there is an increasing need to prepare our children to become global citizens. Throughout this new edition there are many references that show teachers how to support English language learners by addressing the unique ways they can adjust their teaching to serve these students well.


Examples of Student-teacher Interactions

While students are learning a new topic, it is helpful for them to see demonstrations on how it is done. It is also helpful for us adults sometimes. For that reason, Fountas and Pinnell have provided many helpful examples of student-teacher interactions within guided reading groups in a clearly laid-out chart form.


New, Super Pretty, Colorful Book Features

There are over 100 full-color spreads of guided reading books, example charts, classroom photos, and more that punctuate the teachings throughout this new book. It’s just plain stunning. 


So yes…it’s a whole new book. It’s a beautifully-written, clearly presented, colorful, important new edition of your old companion. The world has changed and so has the thinking surrounding small-group instruction. “Change is not good or bad—it’s simply inevitable,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).


Jill Backman

Fountas & Pinnell Marketing Manager


Explore the NEW Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades at

Join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group for more collaborative conversation at



Fountas, I.C. & Pinnell, G.S. (2017). Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Second Edition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.


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