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!
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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