This thesis reports a research investigation into teachers' practices in, and perceptions of, guided reading in the National Literacy Strategy. The study was framed by two connected debates. The first debate concerns reading\ud standards and has resulted in increasing centralisation of the education system, culminating in the National Literacy Strategy in 1998. The second debate concerns polarised models of the reading process. Recently, however, agreement has been reached such that contrasting models have\ud been superseded by a more valid model of reading acquisition.\ud \ud The research design incorporated two strategies - one a survey questionnaire, the other a selection of case studies. A descriptive analysis of the survey data provided a broad picture of teachers' practices and perceptions in relation to guided reading. The findings indicate that teachers' practices in guided reading generally adhere to NLS guidelines. Findings also suggest that teachers are generally positive about the effectiveness of guided reading and report confidence in its implementation. Analysis of the finer detail of guided reading in classroom contexts suggests, however, that there are not only variations in teachers' practices but also differing\ud interpretations of its nature and purpose. Moreover, such are the variations that its effectiveness in raising standards may in some contexts be compromised.\ud \ud Some teachers would benefit from an expanded version of the 'searchlights' to reflect a 'stage' model of reading acquisition. Additional guidance is suggested with regard to: selecting texts that promote productive reading\ud strategies; coaching to fully exploit each part of the guided reading teaching sequence; and help in connecting guided reading with the other components in the NLS reading programme
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