Sunday, October 29, 2017

Guided Reading: How Do I Know What to Teach?

This post is super important. It's probably one of the biggest questions I'm asked about guided reading.  

How do I know what to teach? 

That's a pretty big deal. Guided reading is meant to be strategic and responsive to students' needs. If we're just throwing out random strategies, without thought as to whether students have already mastered them, or if they're ready for them, we're spinning our wheels and wasting our most precious commodity: time. So choosing a strategy to focus on for guided reading is pretty important. 

There are a few factors to consider when you're deciding what to teach in guided reading. 
*What strategies should students be able to demonstrate?
*What strategies are appropriate for the level of text?
*What strategies has this student mastered?
And a really important one:
*What is keeping this student from moving up a level?

This is where all of that record-keeping comes in. If you're planning your first guided reading lessons with a group, start with the initial assessment data that you collected. If you used my reading behavior records, great! If you used something else, great! Pull out the records you have for all the members of that group and lay them in front of you.
 
Also, print out my Good Readers strategy sheets from my Guided Reading Freebie or product. It's a good place to start and provides you an overview of common strategies for decoding and comprehension.

There are lots of other sources for reading strategies at each level, too. I found this great freebie on TPT, but in the past, I've referred to Fountas & Pinnel as well as Scholastic for these resources.

Then it's time to use your data!

Decoding Example: 
Frequently (but not always!), below level 18, students who are struggling to move on are struggling with decoding skills. Comprehension is always important, but it's not as common for students to be held back by comprehension at lower levels.
As you look across the assessment data for your group, think about this: what strategies are students using consistently across the group?
If students are consistently reading sight words accurately, using initial sounds to decode, and rereading to clarify meaning, then that's not a place to start. You already know they can do these things without instruction. Instead, look at the errors they're making. If you see several errors across the group where students misread vowel teams, or leave the endings off of words, then start there.

Comprehension Example:
Once you get to a level 20, it's really a mixed bag. Students should have been comprehending prior to that, of course. But the level of complexity really increases and students have to apply increasingly complex strategies to understand. 

So again, look across the assessment data for your group. What strategies are students using consistently? If students are able to make reasonable predictions and identify genre, don't start there. Instead, start with something that's keeping kids from moving on. If students are struggling to analyze characters or make inferences about character feelings, then that's a good place to start. 

As you move forward in your lessons with students, you'll have more anecdotal notes and records to help you decide what to work on. Pay close attention to student reading behaviors and take good notes to maximize your instructional time!

I hope that helps! Please, I'd love to hear about your questions in the comments!

Be sure to check back every Sunday for these informative posts. I promise you won't be disappointed. I included lots of information and tips to help you get rolling or to spice up your guided reading!
 
September 24: Getting to Know Your Readers First
October 1: What Are the Other Kids Doing?
October 8: Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder
October 15: Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading
October 22: Planning for Guided Reading
October 29: How Do I Know What to Teach?
November 7: Monitoring Progress in Guided Reading
November 12: How to Build Reading Strategies
November 19: Guided Reading: Make it Fun!
 

  
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guided-Reading-All-in-One-K-5-Editable-765963
Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5).

 
 
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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Planning for Guided Reading

Planning for guided reading doesn't have to be stressful.
There are basically three things you're trying to do:

1. Preparing students to read a text with strategy.
2. Monitoring and prompting as students read, so they use the strategy.
3. Recording notes about how students applied the strategy and used it to comprehend. 

That's why the guided reading lesson plan is divided into three parts: Before Reading, During Reading, and After Reading.

To get started planning for a group, here's what you do.

1. Identify a focus for the group. At first, you're basing this decision on the notes and records you took during your initial assessment. You want to look across the reading behavior records for each student in that group and notice any patterns you can start with. Start small - give the kids and yourself a chance to feel successful!

For students who are at a 20 and above, it's not a bad idea to start with visualizing the text. Many kids don't even stop to process, and visualizing is a good strategy to help them realize that they are meant to understand what's happening in the text.

2. Once you've chosen your focus, fill out the strategy portion of your lesson plan. That is really important. I've seen a lot of guided reading lessons where teachers are just having kids read book after book and hoping that they're gaining strategies. They're not. You have to explicitly introduce the strategy, and honestly, you need to do a little minilesson too. Model what it looks like so students know what you're expecting of them. 

3. Then you choose a book. I know! You wait till step 3 to choose a book! But you can't choose an appropriate book until you've figured out what you want to teach! If I want kids to work on decoding words with vowel teams, I have to make sure I choose a book with opportunities for them to practice vowel teams, which means the book has to have a lot of vowel teams in it! If I want them to make inferences, I have to choose a book leaves enough unsaid for kids to practice this strategy. So choose carefully. Ensure that the book is in the instructional range for your group.

4. Read the book. Yup, you have to at least be a pretty skilled scanner. Pull out vocabulary that students might struggle with - no more than 5 words. If it's more than 5 words, you might have chosen a book that's too difficult. What structures or features are in the text that the kids should notice? Record those on your plan, too. 

5. Think about a good introduction for the book. A good introduction plants proper nouns and introduces kids to concepts or ideas that are present in the book, very briefly.

But as your students progress in levels, you don't want to give the whole text away in the introduction. Choose carefully what it is that you want to introduce.


6. Set your purpose question. I have a handy planning guide in my Rolling Out Guided Reading materials that aligns questions with strategies. A good purpose question has students practice the strategy you're teaching, so think about a question that requires students to use that strategy.


7. Record prompts that you can use during the lesson. How will you prompt students to use the strategy if they're not? Think of some short prompts you can use to support the strategy.


8. Leave the anecdotal notes space blank - this is where you record what students did during the lesson, to help you plan for next time. 


At first, planning for guided reading can feel a little daunting. If you want it to really reach your readers, it takes a little thought. But after you've done it for a while, it will start to feel more natural and will take you less time. Practice helps!

So now you're ready to plan. How do you know what to teach during guided reading? My next post will focus on that!

Be sure to check back every Sunday for these informative posts. I promise you won't be disappointed. I included lots of information and tips to help you get rolling or to spice up your guided reading!
 
September 24: Getting to Know Your Readers First
October 1: What Are the Other Kids Doing?
October 8: Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder
October 15: Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading
October 22: Planning for Guided Reading
October 29: How Do I Know What to Teach?
November 7: Monitoring Progress in Guided Reading
November 12: How to Build Reading Strategies
November 19: Guided Reading: Make it Fun!
 



https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guided-Reading-All-in-One-K-5-Editable-765963
Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5).

 
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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading

If every time you head over to your table to do guided reading, you have to clear piles of junk off of
your table, let's just be honest: you're probably not going to be very consistent.

The purpose of having your space set up is to minimize transition time so you can maximize instructional time. Every minute wasted is precious: time is your most valuable and limited commodity!

There are a few things to consider when you're making sure your space is ready for guided reading every day.

Visibility
As you're making your plan for your classroom, you'll want to make sure that you select your guided reading (and small group) space carefully. Put yourself in the chair you'll be sitting in. Do you have visibility of your classroom? Are there nooks that students can sit in where you won't be able to see what's happening?

For safety reasons, and management reasons, too, you'll want to be able to see every part of your classroom, if at all possible. This minimizes the likelihood of disasters happening during guided reading.

Clear surface
If you have a guided reading table (a kidney table), then great! They're an excellent space because they are shaped to help you have visual access to each of your readers. But if you don't, you can use any table that works for you. I've done guided reading at rectangular tables, desks pushed together, and sitting on the carpet. You just want to make sure  that you can communicate with each student well. Have a consistent space, too - this helps your groups learn the routine.

Enough seats for the kids in each group
I've been in classrooms that are short on seats. For each lesson, the kids dragged their noisy chairs across the room, from their desks to the table. It contributes to the chaos of the transition and keeps the other kids from getting started on whatever it is they're supposed to be doing independently. 

Sometimes the school just doesn't provide enough chairs to have an extra six just sitting at your guided reading table all day. In that case, get creative! Make those cute crate seats or buy those little cubes from Target or Home Goods. I found really great kid-sized folding chairs at Wal-Mart. Whatever your budget, find a way to provide a dedicated spot for kids to sit in. It will simplify your transitions!

Access to tools students should use during guided reading
There are some things we want kids to use during guided reading. Whether this is comprehension strategy speaking stems, a word wall, or decoding tools, you want kids to have easy access to the tools they need to use to help themselves. If they have to turn around to see the chart on vowel teams, they probably won't really use it and you won't be building much of a habit.  


Don't have wall space? You can make a handy tools folder out of a file folder and the pages you want students to have access to. Glue them on and laminate. Then you can pull them out for each session.

Access to group materials
This is totally up to each teacher. Some people like to have their materials in baskets, and some use the vertical magazine holders. Some keep them in folders. The bottom line is: when you're starting a group, you don't want to spend three minutes digging around in a pile of stuff behind your table to find your guided reading book or your lesson plan. 

To keep myself organized, I used an organized guided reading binder (more on that next time) and a series of plastic vertical magazine file organizers behind my table. The lesson plan and my copy of the book went in the binder, along with the necessary reading behavior record forms. The materials for the kids (each kid had a folder with their guided reading book in the pocket) went in the vertical organizers. Each group had a different organizer. This helps me stay on top of my materials and start guided reading quickly each day.

Here's another tip: Have a set of pencils in a cup. Don't ask kids to bring pencils them. It's just a time-waster. Three kids arrive at the table with a pencil and two don't. The two who didn't have to go back and get one. It wastes your time and theirs, which is your most valuable commodity.

Instead, I buy  a pack of unique  pencils and put them in a pencil cup on my table. They are always sharpened and always available. And because they're special, it's to tell if someone had accidentally walked away with one of my guided reading pencils.


Keep teaching materials handy
I use a dry-erase board for minilessons, so I need to ensure that I have space for my dry-erase board, markers, and (except for those times I just use my hand) an eraser. I have a stack of little dry-erase boards (you can often find them at the Dollar Spot at Target) so each student could write on them, as well as post-its for student responses.

I organize most of these materials (including highlighters, dry-erase markers, post-its, and index cards) into a handy supply caddy that I found at Wal-Mart for a few dollars. 


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guided-Reading-All-in-One-K-5-Editable-765963
Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5).

 
 
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder

An organized binder is a happy binder. Sounds silly, but tell me I'm wrong! When your materials are tidy and labeled, doesn't it give you a sense of satisfaction, that all is right with the world?

It's best to have your binder organized long before you work with your groups. Trying to throw it together after the fact is stressful, messy, and will cause you to miss some opportunities for noticing what your students' needs are.  

Here's how I organize my guided reading binder.

You'll need...
  • Regular dividers
  • Plastic pocket dividers (my favorite thing)
  • A hole punch
  • A 3" binder
  • And rectangular post-its, if you want to use this strategy for grouping

First, I put in the plastic dividers. I have one for each group, and then I leave one or two for resource. These are the labels on my dividers:
*Group One
*Group Two
*Group Three
*Group Four
*Group Five
*Group Six (if needed)
*Data
*Planning Tools


On each group divider, I put post-its with the students' names who are in that group. I use post-its so it's easy to move kids from group to group.

In the pocket, I keep index cards with anecdotal notes about each student (more on that later). I also keep a copy of the book we're going to work on during the next lesson. For upper grades, this could be the same book over several days, because we might do a small section of text each day until we finish the book.

Behind each group tab, I put one regular divider for each student. That's where I keep the reading behavior records and Fiction/Nonfiction Quick Checks for each student. I also include their BOY & MOY assessment data for reference.

If a student changes groups, which they do frequently, I just take that whole stack of records and the divider tab and stick it behind the new group. I also change the student's post-it to the new group divider.


Behind the Data tab, I keep class data, such as the roster of all the student assessment data from BOY and MOY, and the Guided Reading Levels for each month. It's helpful to look across and notice who has made good progress and who isn't moving. You can also keep results of reading assessments here, because they can give you insight on what strategies you might use as minilessons in the future.

Behind the Planning Tools section, I place regular two dividers. Before the dividers, I add in any planning reference tools, such as MSV coding, questioning, strategies, etc., that help me plan my lessons. Behind the first regular divider, I add a stack of blank lesson plans so I always have a copy when I'm ready to plan. Behind the second regular divider, I add a stack of blank reading behavior records.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guided-Reading-All-in-One-K-5-Editable-765963

Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5).

 
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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Guided Reading: What Are the Other Students Doing?

You're hard at work with a small group. Together, you're learning about the hibernation habits of bears. You're accessing background knowledge, synthesizing new learning, and making connections. The magic is happening! Students are engaged!

Suddenly, a student rises out of his seat. You see him from the corner of your eye. "Eddie," you think. "He knows better. I'm sure he won't come over here."

Like a shark, he slowly weaves around the desks. You attempt to make eye contact. "Sit down," your eyes say. "See three before me," they plead. Looming ever closer, he holds up the assignment he's working on and points. You shake your head from side to side. 

He moves to stand right behind the students you're working with. He holds up his paper and opens his mouth. You shake your head and gesture to his seat. He looks at you, uncomprehending.

You finally deign to open your mouth. "Sit down, Eddie," you say. "But I -" he starts. "Sit down, Eddie," you say again. "I am with a GROUP!" He looks at the kids at your table, confused, and decides it's in his interest to return to his seat. 

You look back at your group. What were you doing? Magic suspended. Womp-womp.

If this has happened to you, you're not alone. It's happened to all of us. The question is: will it keep happening? In order to maximize your guided reading time as well as the independent working time of your kids, rituals and routines are incredibly important! 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. What do you want students to accomplish during this time?

I wanted students to practice strategic reading in a book of their choice, so I adopted the reader's workshop model with daily independent reading.

Students read independently and respond to their reading in reader's notebooks, practicing various strategies that we had learned. You can learn more about this in my Rolling Out Reader's Workshop unit on TPT.

Others answer this question differently. Some teachers use a Daily 5 approach, where students practice reading and writing at five different stations. Others use more traditional reading centers, where students rotate through reading and writing skills. Think about what you want students to invest in, and decide what's best for your kids!

2. What requisite skills will students need to be independent during this time?

For my independent reading example, students needed to be able to:
* Choose an appropriate book
* Sustain attention to their reading
* Practice a strategy while reading
* Know what to do when they finished reading a book
* Respond to their reading in their notebooks

I spend about 5-6 weeks at the beginning of the school year, before I start guided reading, building these skills a little bit at a time. This time is well spent, because it will support my readers in being independent while I'm working with a group. 

3. What management strategies do I need to implement to help students be independent?

I recommend charting out 4-6 expectations for students. Make them clear and framed positively. For example, rather than stating, "Don't get out of your seat," say, "Stay in your seat." 
This is what my chart looked like. You'll notice the last point is pretty important!


One of my basic expectations for this time frame was that students will not use this time to go to the restroom, sharpen pencils, or get a drink of water. They are strategically building their reading skills, so nothing else is more important. (Of course, I made agreements with individual students if they had a medical condition or an emergency situation.)

4. What routines will be in place to support students' independence?

How will you start the time of independence,  how will you structure the time, and ho will you end it smoothly, so you can move into the next part of your day? 

A couple of things that have worked for me:

Post the schedule! 
If you have your schedule posted, you are more likely to honor it, and your kids will keep you honest! You can learn more about building your guided reading schedule here.



Start consistently.
At the beginning of independent reading, we'd chant the expectations on the chart above together. I'd write the kind of response kids were expected to write on the board. While I was doing that, I'd ask students to pull out their independent reading books and their reader's notebooks with a pencil. They left those on the side of their desk, ready for when they were supposed to write their response.

Use an auditory signal.
I used a little bell. Once kids were reading independently, I'd verbally call over my first group by stating the name of the group. "Group Two," I'd say, once. Group Two knew they had to grab their materials and move to the table calmly.
At the end of their session, I'd send them back to their seats and call, once, "Group One." They'd come to the table calmly as well. When there were about ten minutes left in independent reading, I'd ring my little bell, and students knew it was time to respond in their notebooks. They had until I was done with the group to finish writing the response they had been taught to do.

Have a check-in at the end.

Whether this is a rubric where kids self-evaluate the way they spent their independent working time, or a signal that they flash to show that they've been working continuously, it's important to check in with the kids at the end of each session to show that you value their independent work.
I frequently used the Kagan Fist of Five. It was an easy check-in. If students had done an incredible job during independent reading and followed the expectations to a T, they held up all five fingers. If they did none of the items on the chart, they held up zero fingers. 1-4 was a range of how many items they had successfully done during independent reading.

One other easy guided reading tip: Have a signal that guided reading is in progress. Some people wear a hat (not too distracting, please!) or have a lamp that they turn on to show that guided reading is happening and the group is not to be bothered for any reason. Others set up a small stuffed animal in a designated spot.

Whatever you try, keep it consistent! If you put out the Guided Reading Bear, and Sammy walks up to the table to ask you a question, and you answer it, you've undermined yourself and the bear. Now the bear means nothing! Teach it, and then hold yourself and your kids accountable for it, and it will work!

Be sure to check back every Sunday for these informative posts. I promise you won't be disappointed. I included lots of information and tips to help you get rolling or to spice up your guided reading!
 
September 24: Getting to Know Your Readers First
October 1: What Are the Other Kids Doing?
October 8: Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder
October 15: Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading
October 22: Planning for Guided Reading
October 29: How Do I Know What to Teach?
November 7: Monitoring Progress in Guided Reading
November 12: How to Build Reading Strategies
November 19: Guided Reading: Make it Fun!
 
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guided-Reading-All-in-One-K-5-Editable-765963
Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5).


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