Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guided reading: vitamins in your reading diet *Freebie

I did promise.
So even though I really want to talk about these things...
*Fringe (what the what?!)
*Pigphony (like symphony, but pigs. More later)
*Room, which I just finished reading. O.M.G.

I am going to talk about something even more exciting!
Yes, you guessed it! Guided reading!

Guided reading is like vegetables for reading. You need a little bit every day.
For healthy readers, they might need less concentrated doses.
But for struggling unhealthy readers, you gotta hit em hard with consistent amounts.

At our school, guided reading is one of the few consistent initiatives we have - everybody does it, everybody's been trained in it, everybody has to provide evidence of it.

My stuff is not always cute. For example, my groups are labeled with post-its and my handwriting on this is ALWAYS messy if they're just for me. Because this stuff IS just for me, and maybe our literacy lead.
Kid stuff can be cute.
My stuff doesn't have time to be cute.

Space for Guided Reading
This is my table. It has five chairs around it;
sometimes we add another for larger groups.

Behind the table are my materials shelves
and our comprehension strategies posters. 

I have a vertical file folder for each group. Each group also has a folder in their color to keep their book for rereading in, and any extensions I give them to work on. We also practice answering questions about each book using The Test-like questions.

These are our comprehension strategies. Some of them, that I charted anyway. On the left is a description of what their brain is doing, and on the right, the mouth and the pencil show that this is the way to speak or write about your thinking.

To the left of the table (from student perspective) are our charts of decoding skills that we've practiced. Blends, Vowel Sounds, Vowel Teams, Digraphs, Syllable Patterns on a foldable, and our pocket chart of decoding strategies.
Structure of a Lesson
There's a formal lesson plan sheet we have to use to plan every lesson, but I don't know if I'm allowed to share it. Don't want to get in trouble!

The important part is it's done at the student's instructional reading level - not grade level, necessarily. We work through grade level text all day. This is an 18-minute (approximately) block of time where the kid gets to practice strategies on a text he or she can almost manage.

When appropriate, we start with practicing some high frequency words.
The more able readers don't really need that.

Then we do a little word work - could be blends, digraphs, syllable patterns, vowel teams, rhyming words, prefixes, suffixes, decoding strategies, even synonyms/antonyms, context clues.

Next, we introduce our focus strategy. I've always used "Good readers" statements.
"Good readers stop and think about what's important from their reading."
"Good readers read to the end of the word."
Although, I recently heard "Thoughtful readers."

We preview the text, plant some language they'll need, predict words and ideas they expect to encounter, access background knowledge - all that stuff.

Then they read. Independently. Teacher works with individual students, prompting them through the text and recording anecdotal notes.

Afterwards, we praise & reteach.

Structure of Groups
I meet with two groups a day. My most struggling group meets with me daily (M-F).
My next most struggling group I see three days a week (M,T,W). Then I see a group on Thursday, a group on Friday, and my highest group meets with me Wednesday during breakfast. They're actually slightly ahead of the game, so they don't need as much direct instruction.


This is my binder. EW! IT'S SO UGLY! That's my group schedule on the front.
The inside is ugly, too. In the pocket are question stems (the structure of  different kinds of questions on THE TEST. Then I have blank forms and assessment data on the right.

They gave us these cool plasticky pocket dividers. Each group has a divider.

Behind the plastic divider, I put the lesson plans for the group.

Behind those, there are dividers for each student in the group.
 That's where I put my running records.
Inside the kids' folders, they have this to keep track of their reading levels. I mostly use it with my more struggling (below grade level) groups, to motivate them to work hard during guided reading. They notice when they move up, and they feel proud!
You can grab it here at TPT.

Noticing: I need to make my own stuff cuter, too.

How do you work with struggling readers?
Is your guided reading program similar?


  1. Only in my dreams does my school do guided reading............. so I am loving this post. Maybe next year when my reading program consultant isn't yelling at me to stop differentiating things, then I can use your amazing information!! Thanks for sharing all of this!!!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

    1. Oh my gosh. Stop differentiating?! I mean, yes, eventually everyone needs to be on grade level, but that's not the way its (unfortunately). That makes my heart hurt lol

  2. Sounds pretty much like what I do - like almost to a "t". I do have an amazingly awesome parapro who is with me for 30 minutes during Daily 5 so she is able to pull kids to do a reading group, strategy group - whatever I need her for. One thing I need to get better at is organizing my plans/anectdotal notes, etc. in a binder. I SWEAR I plan on doing that this summer. Maybe you'll help me!?!? {hint, hint}

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  3. Wowza! This was a doozy! Only make your stuff cuter if you want it.
    Guided Reading. Oh my. Will you just die if I tell you we are not allowed to do it this year? And that we can only teach Houghton Mifflin direct instruction for two and a half hours? Because it's true. And it's awful. And it is against everything in me.
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  4. Oh my goodness. As a Team Leader and the literacy guru in my building, I'm begging my teachers to do guided reading. Or even just some sort of leveled instruction as well as grade-level instruction. My heart breaks for all of you who can't do what you think is best.

    Tales From Outside the Classroom

  5. you've got great organization for your guided reading groups--thanks for posting this! I can see some areas I need to improve on.


  6. I love the way you've organized everything. I have some of those same dividers! Remember, it only needs to be cute if you want it to be. (For me, sometimes I need the cute to motivate me to keep it organized, but clearly, you've got it together anyway!)

    Thanks for sharing how you do it! It's given me lots of ideas. (We JUST got a leveled library and I'm trying to do more with guided reading!)


  7. Oo I love your binder too! Yes those divider pockets are the best and they make everything so much easier! I like that you have your group schedule on the cover. That's something that I definitely need to work on!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  8. Hey Chrissy! Your reading posts are so helpful! Thank you for going into such detail in telling how you teach reading. Do you happen to have an editable version of the guided reading lesson plan? If not, I totally understand and thanks for the freebies!