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September 30, 2020

Guiding Your Students for Independent Work with Guide-O-Ramas

A guide-o-rama helps the students navigate an assigned text, providing support so they can read and learn at more rigorous levels.

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What Is a Guide-O-Rama?

Students often need assistance with reading text. A guide-o-rama helps the students navigate an assigned text, providing support so they can read and learn at more rigorous levels. Used by students as they read, a guide-o-rama is different from a regular outline or study guide in that it takes students by the hand and walks them through the text. It’s the next best thing to actually sitting down with a student and reading the text with them. The guide-o-rama is almost like a think-aloud written down on paper for the student. You could easily adapt these for online learning. Using Educreations, Flipgrid, Whiteboard.fi, Edpuzzle, or even Google Slides, you can easily screen record a section of text, share your thoughts, and then pose the question or task you want the students to consider before moving on to the next section of text.

guide-o-rama example

The following is an example of a guide-o-rama that could be used with a fourth- or fifth-grade social studies textbook. 

guide-o-rama example

Guide-o-ramas are also effective for videos. With remote learning, students are watching videos on their own, and they may not know how to watch the video or what to look for. They can also get stuck, and a guide-o-rama can help them move throughout the lesson.

guide-o-rama example

Finally, here is an excerpt of a sample webpage guide-o-rama that is suitable for lower elementary students.

guide-o-rama example

I’ve found that written guide-o-ramas are effective beginning in second grade. If you think the guide-o-rama is too complex for your students, simplify your language or shorten the amount of information you provide.


Barbara Blackburn

As a teacher, a leader and a university professor responsible for graduate training for educators, Barbara Blackburn has used her knowledge and experiences to write over 25 best-selling books.

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