The purpose of this article was to illuminate for early childhood teacher practitioners how guided reading, as a research-based approach to reading instruction, could address the challenges of early reading instruction. The early years are the focus for the prevention of reading difficulties and research conducted over the past two decades has produced extensive results demonstrating that children who get off to a poor start in reading rarely catch up (Lentz, 1988; Neuman & Dickinson, 2001; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998; Torgesen, 1998; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 2001). One particular research-based strategy, guided reading, is an important “best practice” associated with today's balanced literacy instruction. The National Reading Panel (2000) argued that balanced approaches are preferable when teaching children to read, based on their review of scientific research-based reading instructional practices used by teachers in classrooms across the country. Additionally, guided reading practices as part of a balanced literacy program conforms to the recommendations on literacy as suggested in position statements by the International Reading Association/The National Association for the Education of Young Children (1998), and the National Council of Teachers of English (2002).