I know everyone does not love to teach reading, but I really truly do love that I get to teach reading all day, every day! All my experience has been with teaching little friends and one of the best things about teaching reading to these little ones is seeing firsthand the progress they make- whether it takes a whole year or a very short amount of time. Guided Reading is definitely what I spend most of my time doing with my students, so I am constantly trying out new ideas to see what works best for each one of my little friends. Today I wanted to link up with the awesome Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper to share some things I’ve been trying in my guided reading groups.
The best part of guided reading is that students are doing daily what they need to do in order to become better readers….which is…READ! No matter what leveling system you use or books you have, the key is that we become better readers when we read more. We use Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarking System to assess our students three times a year where we find each student’s independent/instructional/frustrational reading level. We then use their instructional reading level to guided our guided reading lessons. As an intervention, we use Fountas & Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention System (I use the green kit for the little ones). We just began using this kit this year and the main reason I love it is because there are lots of books for my students at their ability level.
As soon as we starting assessing our student’s with this benchmark system at the beginning of the year, I quickly realized I needed to ‘up my game’ in regard to what comprehension questions I was asking my students each day. I created what I call “thinking questions”- these relate directly to the F&P levels of Within, Beyond and About the text and the Common Core Standards. Each section is slightly more challenging than the previous one because it requires my little friends to really think about the text and find evidence within the text to support their answers. I have a reference chart that I use to plan my lessons and question cards on binder rings to use while actually going through our guided reading lessons- this has been a huge help to me in actually getting me to ask a variety of questions of varying levels.
Here’s a peek at my Guided Reading materials…
The question cards and all the rest follow my “Constructing Readers” theme- I tell my little friends they are working so hard to build themselves as readers, just like construction workers who build things! My girls and boys both love this because they know how hard they are working each day. Before we read each day, we review our fix up strategies that they can do while reading by pointing to the various tools on the page and providing a little example of how they can use that strategy. After reading, we also refer back to this page and each student points to which strategies they used that day! This page goes in their Reading Toolbox Folder, which I have for each little friend.
One important thing that every teacher should try to include in their guided reading time (especially with little ones) is reviewing the strategies to use before reading and then following up with which strategies the students used for reading that day. By doing this each day or at least a few times a week, kids will begin to do this naturally on their own rather than with your prompting all the time and they will hopefully even use the strategies while they are reading on their own!
The Reading Toolbox folders also include graphic organizers that I have my students complete once done reading as a way to respond to their reading to ensure they were actually paying attention to their reading and are able to cite evidence from the text. I choose a few to use each week based on the stories and allow my little friends who are quicker readers to begin completing the graphic organizer while another student may still be reading so everyone is busy! Once everyone is done reading, we come back together to discuss questions (within, beyond and about the text) and then everyone gets busy responding to the specific question of the day on their graphic organizer. The question cards and graphic organizers help me make the most of our guided reading time so my little friends are learning how to read and learning how to be readers who are thinkers which is critical to begin early on so that comprehension comes more naturally to each student as a reader. If you have only 10-15 minutes to do each guided reading lesson, these graphic organizers can work well as a follow up activity after students have left your guided reading table!
Earlier in the year I also snagged these ridiculously cute erasers shaped like tools from the Dollar Tree– I mean really, they are so cute and so cheap- my little friends just love them (and so do I!). I usually switch up our pointers based on the season to keep it exciting, but truthfully these tools are my students’ favorite pointers. Nearly every week someone asks me, “where did you get these??” 🙂 Anyway, these little tools also happen to fit perfectly with our Constructing Readers theme!
I keep all my materials together in my Guided Reading Basket right on my table– got this basket recently at the Target Dollar Spot. I’ve used a lot of different containers for housing my guided reading materials, but currently I’m loving this one a whole lot!
One last important piece of guided reading- Word Work! I generally do a phonics skill or sight words that relate to our stories on the iPad– check out this post here for more specifics of sight word ideas. This is usually just a few quick minutes of our guided reading time to get my students in the mind frame of whatever it is we are reading that day.
Check out this pack here if you are looking to add something new to your daily guided reading groups!