Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Guided Reading

I wanted to share some thoughts on what worked for me when I did guided reading lessons with my students.

I always had 3-5 students in my reading groups. I found if there were more than 5, it made it more difficult to keep them focused. So if I had six students at a certain reading level, I may make two groups of the same level. I always kept my reading groups flexible, allowing students to move up and down as determined by the data from informal and formal assessments. As a teacher, you instinctively know when a student is struggling or when something is too easy for them to read. 

Flexible grouping is based on a student's needs. I determined levels based on observation, running records, report card assessments (these especially let me know which skills we should work on in our mini-lesson), DRA, DIBELS, or any other assessment for reading.

Before reading: Set the purpose for the reading. You may introduce new vocabulary words that can be found in the book, or let them know there may be "tricky" words. Have students make predictions by taking a picture walk.

During reading: Guide students through the reading. Ask reading strategy questions, such as: "Did that make sens?", "Does that look right?", "Can you re-read that?", "Do you know another word that might start or end with that letter?"

For the early emergent readers, focus on concepts of print such as: front/back of book, title, title page, directionality (left-to-right progression), word spaces, letter recognition, sight word recognition.

For upper emergent readers, focus on building prior knowledge of concept of print, identifying sight words, identifying most or all letters, punctuation, initial consonants and reading strategies.

For early fluency readers, teach them to take reading risks with a fear of making errors. Have them use picture clues as meaning for cross-checking (but not solely rely on this). Teach them to continue reading on to gain meaning, using first/last consonants, retelling, solidfying knowlege of upper/lowercase letters, and sight words.

At the fluency level, focus on increasing fluency. the ability to read text independently, reading strategies and literary elements.

There were occasions were I would have a child take turns reading each page but that was usually the last day of the week we were spending on that book. And it really depended on the group. I never wanted a child to feel pressure or under a microscope! So how would I have them read? Echo reading (where you read the sentence and a student repeats while following along with the text), choral reading (reading with the teacher as a whole group), Cloze reading (teacher reads to a point in the sentence and student fills in the word or completes the sentence), partner reading (paired students read together), and whisper reading or reading independently. During this time, I am listening, giving feedback, asking strategy questions and/or taking observational notes.

After reading: Strengthen comprehension skills, reflect on the reading, discuss literary elements (characters, setting, etc.). I often liked to have representations from the story for the students to sequence. We would fill in an anchor chart or a graphic organizer to also support comprehension.

An example: 


Sometimes this would be reflective writing about the story, sometimes it would be a teacher-led lesson. I might give students learning new vocabulary from the text words from the text along with magnet letters to create the words themselves. For upper grades, I would have them give a book review of what they have read or complete a graphic organizer together about a topic related to the reading. I would write out the sentences from the text on sentence strips, cut them up and have students order them. We would write sight words on mini-dry eraser boards or practice writing letters. We always did some sort of writing, word work, phonological awareness lesson, or letter identification. It really dependened on the needs of the group.

Conclusion: We would verbally or  do a written summarization of what we learned. Students would add the book to their book bag, which they also use during independent reading time. They would always bring their book bag with them to the table during guided reading. I kept a folder for each group with assessment, data info, notes, and anything we needed for the lesson that day.

My other students were in literacy centers at this time. I will have to make a separate post about those because there is so much detail to it, but they were actively learning while the other were doing guided reading work.
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