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 […]
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?
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 […]
Here’s a great way to celebrate Women’s History Month! Show the video of actress Kierman Shipka read the story The House that Jane Built by Tanya Lee Stone.
This is a true account of Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, who transformed a poor neighborhood in Chicago by opening up her home as a community center.
Here is the video!!
There is also a Teachers Guide AND a Family ActivityGuide!!
Click below to get a copy of either….or BOTH!!!!
I have been delving into what I consider to be the best resource for finding easy to implement strategies for children at all reading levels!
You cannot go wrong with this book because there are even strategies for non-readers to interact with books in a meaningful way. The layout of the book is a teachers dream because you don’t have to sift through excessive paragraphs to locate the information you need. Quickly see the level, strategy, visuals, and even prompts for you to use with students while learning and using the strategies each on one page.
Click the book cover for ordering information!
Here is a sample page from the book…
Click the picture below of the author to watch a video of a comprehensive walkthrough of the book. Trust me, you will buy it…and you will love it!!
As of today, I am anxiously awaiting the release of her new book The Writing Strategies Book!! Check back soon for more information!
If we want our students to succeed, we cannot afford to leave to chance what happens when they do not learn.
How to Support Struggling Students (Jackson & Lambert, 2010)
As a continuation of my post on The Seven Principles of Mastery Teaching, we will look more closely at the first principle, start where your students are.
When determining the competencies students bring with them to the classroom, we usually tend to focus on academic performance. Beyond that, we also may explore their background and culture. Although this information is valuable and necessary, there are some other noncognitive characteristics that can provide insight into student potential and possible success.
In the book, Beyond the Big Test by William Sedlacek (2004), eight attributes are defined as predictors of future success that may not be typically looked at when determining where students are.
1. Positive self-concept: leads to the determination to succeed
2. Realistic self-apprasial: accurate assessment of strengths and weaknesses
3. Successful navigation of the system: accessing resources to achieve goals
4. Preference for long-term goals: setting and achieving goals and persevering in spite of obstacles
5. Availability of a strong support person: particularly in times of crisis
6. Leadership experience: ability to organize and influence others
7. Community Involvement: any type of a community (group)
8. Knowledge acquired about a field: a particular field of study (or subject)
Some of these competencies are more relevant as students progress through grade levels, but do allow us to notice, value, and build upon characteristics that usually go unrecognized. More importantly, being aware of these strengths and informing students of them can offer an open door to challenge students in areas in addition to academic performance. For students who struggle academically, here are areas where they may be able to succeed, and that feeling of success and achievement could positively impact their academic performance in the long run!
Want to read more? Here is Sedlacek’s book!
Food for thought,
Guided Reading instruction is critical in students’ reading progress. Accurate levels, appropriate goals, and consistent monitoring will bolster that progress!
In order to get the most bang for your buck in guided reading, you must make sure your students are leveled appropriately and you are consistent in monitoring their progess towards an appropriate goal. Let’s look at these a little more closely.
Assess your students’ instructional levels
- Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System: this assessment will most accurately align with guided reading levels.
- DRA2 assessment is acceptable, however be aware this assessment is set up to find independent- not instructional level. The manual does give instructions on finding instructional level so find that information before testing students!
- If you do not have access to an assessment product, you can still assess your students levels as long as you have leveled books and know how to conduct a running record. Click here for info on taking and scoring running records. A Google search is also full of running record information. After taking he running record, the following information will help you determine whether the level is independent, instructional, or hard for the student.
To determine appropriate levels and set goals
- First know the guided reading levels for your grade level.
- Compare their levels to the grade level expectations
This will inform you of how to proceed…students who are “Approaching Expectations” are your Tier 2 students and should be seen at least 2-3 times a week for guided reading…and those in “Does Not Meet Expectations” are your Tier 3 students who you need to see daily for guided reading. The heading at the top will help you set goals for each group of students.
Monitor students monthly progress
Use this resource to track students’ monthly progress towards their guided reading goals
Keeping track of this information is critical to maximize your students’ growth during your guided reading lessons. You MUST take constant running records to ensure students are in the correct group. Be prepared to use the running record information to move students to higher- or lower level groups. Need instructions on running records- click here. Each student will move at their own pace and this is why groups need to be flexible. Don’t impede students progress by having them in incorrect level groups. This is about the only way you can really mess up guided reading!!
So move ahead- but with appropriate knowledge of where your students are, and where you need them to be.
- Using Fountas & Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention! (diywithrti.wordpress.com)
Once you have data on the specific skills and/or strategies students are lacking, one good resource that offers ideas for intervening are If-Then menus. These menus give you examples of areas in need and possible ideas for supporting instruction.
Get the PDF here…
Based on the following book…which we may as well add to the Book Club!
Click the link below for the If-Then menu based on the book…
- The Abecedarian: A Free Comprehensive Reading Skills Assessment! (diywithrti.wordpress.com)
Running records are records of oral reading that inform reading instruction and show changes in reading behaviors over a period of time. They are mandatory for planning your small groups/guided reading lessons. For struggling readers, weekly running records will help in targeting areas for intervention.
There are even running record apps now that make the process effortless and also provide a way to record and save students’ oral reading. Check them out here!
Here are some resources for your professional library on running records…
First up, one from the creator of running records, Marie Clay…who better to learn from than the creator??
Next up, a book written by a teacher who shares her personal experiences on taking running records and using the information to improve students’ reading
Lastly, running records aren’t just for elementary grades, here is a resource for using them in grades 5-8