I have always used Guided Reading Groups to focus on 2 main areas ….
Why Guided Reading?…
1. 30% on the mechanics of reading – flow, word clues, sight words, etc….really when you think about it ‘phonics’ is for writing not reading! (Bold statement I know – but it rings true with me!)
2. 70% on the main one – Comprehension – reading for meaning and enjoyment – this is the reason why we read – we don’t read to get every word correct – we read to learn or enjoy some information / story….
My overall goal each time I sat down with a group was to practise the above reading skills and come away knowing exactly how each child is ‘approaching’ their reading – I look for clues and signs and would often use this time to observe and write ‘running records’ for each child.
I would then know each session what to focus on the next session and what to talk to the parents about for practise at home…
Guided Reading Process…
Basically, I allowed approximately 20 mins with a group of 4 (tried to keep smaller groups for better individual attention).
Before starting with each group we would do a quick overview of reading techniques – for example, what is a full stop for, what could you do if you come to a word you don’t know (could use ‘keys for tricky words’)– but reminding them that we read for fun and learning – not for a chore! (important to instil early).
Each week, I introduced an appropriate new reader (or continued on a new section of a previous reader). We would start by looking at the Title, Author, Illustrator. We would then discuss the pictures and other book features and elements (fiction/non-fiction, contents, etc), with each child sharing and predicting what they thought the book was going to be about.
Occasionally, I would ‘scrap’ the ‘readers’ and use a party invitation, or photocopy my shopping list for guided reading.
I would then read the entire text slowly and with appropriate voice ‘inflections’, while the children follow in their individual books.
We would then review whether the book was about what we thought… and discussed what we liked/disliked about it.
The children would then re-read the book silently to themselves while each child read a small section on their own to me. During this time – I would ask each child to come up with one question about the story that they can ask the rest of the group.
Once they have all finished silent reading and I have heard each child read independently (approx 10mins)- each child then shares their question. Children then need to practise their comprehension skills to answer that question and/or find the page which answers that question.
Asking each child to come up with a question about what they have read is a really great way to reinforce reading for meaning…
If we have time – we would play some ‘find-a-word’ games – such as find a word beginning with ‘t’ in your book, find a word which has the sound ‘th’, how many ‘The’ are in your book? etc….
Hope this helps a little and PLEASE we would love to hear about how you structure your ‘guided reading’ sessions…
Whilst you are instructing reading with a small group, the other children should be working on activities that will improve their reading. The activity depends on the child’s reading instruction level (I use PM Benchmarking Levels), e.g. Level 3 children need more work on to increase their sight word knowledge, whilst Level 11 children may be working on blends. You should make sure that you give the children a variety of activities to develop vocabulary, comprehension, phonics, sight words and grammar. You will need to teach the children to work in groups first.
Thanks for you question…
Yes, while I am doing Guided Reading – the other children are working in groups (usually with parent help)…
You can view the overview of a ‘typical year one day’ I put together recently to see how I would do this…(very basic overview)
Only did guided reading 2 times per week with 3 groups. Usually had parent help with the ‘trickier’ activities but children were taught and practiced working in small groups quietly for other such as ‘silent reading’ and word card activities, computer etc. (had a group leader who reported etc…)
Here is the Year One (also good for other years) overview page….
I love the look of your guided reading sessions and mine are more or less the same. I only wish I had more uninterrupted time to do these literacy and numeracy sessions properly. We have so many other things to deal with it is almost impossible to get a half hour session in. Any more time than that is pure fantasy.
Thanks soooooooooooooo much Donna for that insight. This coming year I will be teaching a remedial class for the first time and have been looking for ideas on how to structure my schedule or timetable . Your page has been a huge help but do you have any more ideas on how I can begin my programme? These are Grade Three who are unable to read. Thanks from desperate Ansea.
What do you think about the kids having to read the book together at the same time. One of our teachers is adamant on this, however the kids go at different paces and I’m finding it difficult to follow this principle.
Just in reply to the first comment (by anonymous), I used to do the “round robin” thing and I’ve tried choral reading also, but this year we have tried just reading at your own pace. So all students (after orientation) return to their desks and just read their text twice, out loud to themselves and at their own pace.
It’s a great opportunity to walk around and listen to kids reading. It is noisier than usual but I have found it to be really effective. The noise level doesn’t bother anyone as it’s productive noise.
This term we’ve just focussed on whole class teaching of strategies and each group working on an activity targeted at their needs. I have never felt guided reading to be more effective than it has been this year so far.
Hope that helps 🙂
I am actually not teaching at the moment and I am afraid I am a little rusty – however, I am sure that some ‘active’ teachers can help you – I will start another thread with the question also Kim…
Try Margaret Menner great resource the books are full of games and the web site is full of helpful hints.
I like your insight in this, where did you find this information i would like to know more about it and what i should be focusing on for levels below 10 below 20 and 20 and above. Any suggestions.
I like to divide the class into small groups to read and come-up with questions. After each group have finished the reading then we regroup into whole and exchange the questions with the other groups. The other group will answer the questions accordingly and at the end we all listen to each group answers. This will give students the opportunity to comprehend what they read.
Donna, do you track your students in anyway during or after GR? I would love to know how you organise it if you do?
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