I love everything about reading. I love reading, I love teaching reading and I love reading about teaching reading. 🙂 Here are my top 10 books that I believe that every literacy leader should read. I have read most, and I have a couple that are on my summer reading list. 🙂 Teaching with Intention: […]
As a follow up to my previous post on sight words on a ring, I have created a PDF of Kindergarten and First Grade Sight Words. If you would like a copy of the PDF, please email me. The yellow cards are for Kindergarten students. The green cards are First Grade students. The combined yellow […]
It is no secret that this year I have been trying to create a classroom culture that respects and supports’ my students’ agency in their journey as learners. One of my biggest challenges this year has been figuring out how traditional approaches to reading instruction can fit within a model designed to help students take back ownership […]
In our classroom, I utilize a reading workshop model. A mini-lesson followed by independent reading and guided reading. I’ve always wondered how I could make independent reading more robust. I love the “why” of independent reading but there were always a few students who weren’t totally into it. Given that so much time is spent independent reading […]
By Irene Fountas, Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative Director/Author/Professor The following are some guiding principles from Irene Fountas that may help you get more power in your teaching: Notice the student’s precise reading behaviors. Eliminate ineffective behaviors and help the reader do what proficient readers do. Select a text on which the reader […]
Ο I use an assessment to determine the levels of my students (Assessing Reading Progress: Setting Goals & Monitoring, The most important focus for guided reading success, )
Ο I group my students based on their reading levels or needs (How to group students, How do I find out what my students need? The most valuable resource for literacy instruction)
Ο My groups are made of less than 6 students (Teachers can respond to children’s reading more effectively. Amendum, et al., 2009)
Ο I know the reading behaviors needed for my students to reach their next level (Guided Reading freebies! The most valuable resource for literacy instruction)
Ο I know the text characteristics for all the levels represented in my class (F & P Guided Reading Text Level Descriptions)
Ο I select books based on appropriate text characteristics for each level (Find information for selecting appropriate texts here)
Ο My students reread previous books for the first few minutes of the lesson (The Power of Rereading)
Ο I move students based on the results of the weekly running records (Assessing Reading Progress)
Ο My book introduction allows students to access the text, but leaves them work to do (How to Craft Strong Book Intros for Guided Reading)
Ο I take anecdotal notes while students are reading and note strengths and weaknesses (Observing and Noting Reading Behaviors)
Ο I engage groups in conversations about the text
- Literacy develops best through social interaction and dialogue with others (Dowhower, 1999)
- Teachers should make a shift from asking predetermined questions designed to ensure that the students arrive at the “right” meaning to facilitating conversations that encourage students’ exploratory talk as they arrive at a deeper meaning (Gavelek and Raphael, 1996)
Ο I have a variety of appropriate independent, shared, or project-based activities for the remainder of the class that keep them engaged while I am working with my groups (What does research say about literacy centers?, Powerful resource for small group instruction)
Ο There are no interruptions during my guided reading lessons from the remainder of my class (How do I organize my classroom for small group instruction?, 3 ways to ensure success at small group and center time, Powerful resource for small group instruction)
Ο I make sure when my groups leave the table they are applying what we practiced during guided reading (Critical component for guided reading success)
How’d you do?
Learners need to feel safe
Learners need to have structure
Learners need novel activities
Require frequent responses
Allow appropriate wait time
Combine content with music or movement
Provide water every 10 to 45 minutes
Offer fresh or dried fruits
Create a relaxing atmosphere that feels “homey”
Allow students to make choices
There is only one way to know if your students are transferring the strategies you teach in guided reading to their reading behaviors, and that is…independent reading!
If you do not have 15-20 minutes in your day for independent reading, find a way to fit it in! And by the way, you need to be available during this time to observe and confer with your students!
What the research says…
Students who read independently become better readers, score higher on achievement tests in all subject areas, and have greater content knowledge than those who do not (Krashen 1993; Cunningham and Stanovich 1991; Stanovich and Cunningham 1993)
Students who do a substantial amount of voluntary reading demonstrate a positive attitude toward reading is upheld in both qualitative and quantitative research (Long and Henderson 1973; Greaney 1980; Hepler and Hickman 1982; Greaney and Hegarty 1987; Reutzel and Hollingsworth 1991; Shapiro and White 1991; Mathewson 1994; Barbieri 1995; Short 1995)
Students’ reading achievement has been shown to correlate with success in school and the amount of independent reading they do (Greaney 1980; Anderson, Fielding and Wilson 1988)
Time spent reading contributes to reading achievement in ways that simply doing worksheets or other activities does not (Allington, 2002; Foorman et al., 2006)
We become more proficient at what we practice (Cullinan 1992)
A few things to consider…
You may need to build the stamina of the students to read for 15-20 minutes at a time, especially if they are new to independent reading. Start with 3-5 minutes if you need to- rather than having 20 minutes where you are redirecting behaviors for 15 of them!
Make sure students have several books they can read independently, in case they lose interest in one or finish before time is up. They should also have one or two books that stretch them a bit in the direction of the next level they are working toward.
Allow students to find a space alone n the room where they can get comfortable or move away from others to focus on reading. Rug squares or pillows would be a good investment. This sends the message that reading is enjoyable and not just a desk and chair activity!
Consider giving students the opportunity for the last few minutes to talk with a partner about what they read. You can even offer a topic for them to discuss like What was something interesting you read? or What made you laugh while you were reading? Or you could have them discuss a skill you are working one like, What did you learn about your character? or Was your book fiction or non fiction? How do you know? This brings in social context of riding and creates accountability for their reading time. At some point students can begin to come up with sharing ideas or questions.
What should YOU do?
Observe: Simply watch reading behaviors of the class as a whole, or individual readers to determine teaching or support needs. Especially when you are introducing things and building stamina. Here is an inventory you can use to note student behaviors during independent reading. You can adjust the form as needed here EngagementInventory
Confer: Listen in to students’ reading while scaffolding, questioning, or checking on specific strategies you’ve taught during your guided reading lessons. How else will you know if they are actually applying the strategies they have learned properly- or at all?? Before leaving each student, tell them 2 things they did well and one thing they should work on…”2 Hugs and a Push” or “2 Glows and a Grow”.
Here are some sample of conferencing forms…click on them to get the PDF
I was taught in college that to be a teacher reading role model, I should read in front of my students; not just read aloud, but actually sit down and read in front of them so they could see how much reading meant to me. So when I embraced independent reading, I did just that; pulled my […]
For teachers in the lower grades, this is a popular dilemma . In Kindergarten, formal guided reading usually doesn’t begin until around January. (That shouldn’t be a hard fast rule, though. Some young learners will be ready sooner, and if they are..START!) Taking time to front-load important strategies will make the guided reading lessons more meaningful!
According to author Joan Aldrich Knight, these are the 3 earliest strategies before formal guided reading…
Teach students how print works- left to right and top to bottom. During your read aloud model with your finger. When singing familiar songs, write out the lyrics and follow the print with your finger or a pointer.
Students need practice with pointing under each word and there are plenty of fun ways to do it. You can give them fun things to point with like chopsticks, popsicle sticks with eyeballs, fuzzy balls, or gems glued to the tip, or those witch fingernails that come out around Halloween. You can also make lily pads and use a frog to move from pad to pad. Be creative!
Emergent books are full of sight words. The more words students know, they more fluent they will be once they get started with guided reading.
Building a strong foundation will make your guided reading lessons a breeze!