Monday, January 23, 2012

Needing guidance for my guided reading

Okay, I'm about to show my ignorance here, so please, no judgement.  :)

So here's the story of what happened to my district in regards to reading.  At the beginning of last year, we got a new director of elementary education (yay! - no sarcasm).  She's brought a lot of needed change to our district and although it has been overwhelming at times, it is good change.  The first change was to implement Word Study and give teachers the freedom to NOT use the basal series.  Before hand, every 2nd grade teacher had to be on the same page, same story throughout the district.  If you were so much as a day off, it was noted on an observation.    The year before this, my grade level had begun doing literacy work stations and were excited to have more freedom with our stations.  I've enjoyed implementing Word Study (even took the class through the University of Virginia, which employs one of the main authors of Word Study as a member of their faculty and education department...)  I love being able to work where my students' needs are...I can assess and see what they need...

But when it comes to doing guided reading... I'm lost.  Seriously.  I've been told so many different things as far as you are supposed to do a different book at each lesson, you do skills and games, you hang from the ceiling by your big toe (just kidding...but may as well for all the different ideas that have been thrown out).  I keep hearing about gradual release and doing graphic organizers, running records and reading levels.  But what is right?

My week usually looks like this:  whole group lesson on Monday to introduce a reading skill (right now we are working on story elements using graphic organizers).  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we do literacy stations and guided reading, Friday is assessment day and free choice reading.

Well, I finally broke down and am going to read in all my spare time Guided Reading:  Good First Teaching for All Children by Fountas and Pinnell.  I figured at least go to the source and get it straight from them.  It's pretty hopefully a lot of answers will be answered.  

I have a state assessment that I use to determine my groups and instructional reading levels.  I feel pretty confident with that, as far as picking books and matching them to my students.  I have all my books in my room leveled by GRL.  My school even has a bookroom full of books for guided reading.  It's just what to do when you have 6-8 kids looking at you at the kidney table for reading...

My question to you is:  how do you do your guided reading lessons?  Do you use the same book or change them every day?  Do you work on fluency, phonics, or comprehension strategies, or all components?  How long are you there?  

Short of giving me lesson plans, I'd love to see a glimpse of what you do at your guided reading table.  Help a poor teacher out :)

Also, as a reward for reading all the way to the end (for everyone this time!)  I'm giving you my newly created Word Hunt template.  The graphics are from Scrappin' the giraffes!  
Word Hunt Template (1)
I am planning on using this for my word hunts in Word Study with the features for each group.  I also have one with 4 columns...if you would like that one, just comment me and I'll send it.  But I'm sure you could use it for other things as well :)  Download away :)


  1. Haley,
    Here is kind of a quick explanation of how I do reading in my class :) I'd be happy to answer any other questions for you if you want to email me after this. Ok, here we go...

    10:00 - 10:15 am Comprehension lesson whole group
    10:15 - 10:45 am Reader's Notebooks and Independent Reading while writing about strategy and practicing the strategy while independent reading
    10:45 - 11:05 am Round 1 of Daily 5
    11:05 - 11:15 am Work Work/Phonics lesson
    11:15 - 11:35 am Round 2 of Daily 5
    11:35 - 11:45 am Shared Writing/Share/Wrap-up

    During the independent reading and Daily 5 rounds, I meet with my guided reading groups. Everyday, we read the same book together but they also have JRBs to practice while I read with the other students in the group. We work on phonics skills, vocab skills, and review our comprehension/retelling skills. I meet with my lowest groups on a daily basis. The Fountas and Pinnell book is great! I also love the following books for guided reading: "Making the Most of Small Groups" by Debbie Diller and "The Next Step in Guided Reading" by Jan Richardson.

    I hope this is helpful and please let me know of you need anything! :)

    Lisa :)
    Made In The Shade In Second Grade

    1. I had to reply on her comment cuz I am having comment issues. Loved your comment on teeny tiny teacher...HILARIOUS...Honoring your fellow teacher...spread eagle...oh I am shuddering but laughing.
      sorry not answering your plea for guided reading help. :( have to do bedtime for my kiddos now!! ugh.

  2. Hey Haley!
    I did a pretty long post on how I "do" guided reading on my blog. I taught second for two years and I feel pretty confident that it would work for you. I have been trained in guided reading several times, have my masters in reading and read a bunch of books so it is actually my comfort zone. Ironically, word study is not because I can never make it fit within the time frame given! Ugh!
    Here is my step by step guide:

    Here are all my guided reading posts:

    Hope these help!

  3. I have that book too!
    This is such a hard thing to tell about in writing...but I will try!
    I do guided reading M-Thursday, and Friday my small group time is taken up with individual spelling tests (which I give in small groups sessions) and "making words" out of a mystery word from the book they read in guided reading that stuff!
    My kids use the same book all week, but 2 groups use one book, and the other 2 groups (or 1 group) uses a different book...and I see each group EVERYDAY!! high ones I see only like 5-10 minutes, and my middle/low ones I see longer.
    Each day they do something different in the books - reading skills, phonics, grammar, writing...but writing isn't like in my writing lessons, it's more like - how to respond to a question in written form with proper punctuation and it uses at least one word that we've been practicing from the book that they should be able to use their phonics skills to write.
    AHHH! This is probably sounding all jumbled, isn't it??
    If I were at school, I could take pix of what I'm talking about and show you me if you have any questions about what I!

    ♥ Jen
    The Teachers' Cauldron

  4. I love this, I LOVE the clip art. It fits so well in our area, huh? I want to reply to your post more thoroughly tomorrow....but I have this book and need to read it as well...maybe we should sponsor a bloggy book club? LOL! You are not asking silly questions, I still want a list of guided reading lessons!!! I think the hardest part is the fact that we know how to read so breaking it down for the little guys is tough! I will email you a book that has some scripted lessons and is divided up by fluency, comprehension ,etc. I LOVE it!

    Chat soon, ps: NO ice, snow, or DELAY! :( I did hear if all this rain had been snow we would have had 50 inches so far this winter. boooooooo :(

    Let's keep wishing for each other!..ohh I am almost forgot...I gave you an award...I think its a new one and I am excited for you to head over and check it out!

    2nd Grade Paradise

  5. That book is an awesome resource for guided reading! I use reading selections from The Mailbox Bookbag instead of using books. I find that short passages on nonfiction topics interest my kiddos more. The thing I LOVE about Bookbag, is that the selections also have, wait for it....activities that hit various skills that are ready to go. Often it also has copies of assessments, or activities too. I have 4 guided reading groups and meet with 2 each day. So basically I meet with my low and med low group Mon-Tues and med-high and high Wed-Thurs. I leave Friday open for my Dibels assessments that are required by my district. I would be happy to share what I do during planning if your interested. Let me know if you have other questions.

    Twins, Teaching and Tacos.

  6. Guided reading...such a loaded question :)

    I start each day with a 20-30 minute mini-lesson:
    Mon - Phonics
    Tues - Comprehension Skill (main idea, cause/effect, etc.)
    Wed - Vocabulary Strategy (synonyms, antonyms, etc.)
    Thurs - Comprehension skill again.
    Fri - no mini-lesson because we take all of our assessments on Friday

    Small Group Time:
    20-30 minutes with each group - Low, Medium, and High based on standardized testing data and class observations.
    My small groups include a Teacher Center, a Skill Center (word work, comprehension skill, etc.), and a Technology Center (Listening, iPod Sight Word Games, Computer Games).
    I meet with every group every day.
    Within the small group, I usually use the story from our basal (ugh!) to work on what we learned in whole group for the day. My high group I do stray away from the basal and do literature studies in small group (sshhhhh! Don't tell!). :o)

    Hope this helps!
    Jamie at 2nd Grade Stuff

  7. I think that first you need to know the purpose of each group that you are working with. For my low students, it may just decoding and understanding the text in basic terms. With my high, I might be trying to work on their fluency and going deeper on their comprehension. Once you figure out your goal that's when your planning starts. We are reading Guided Reading too!
    At the start of my groups, low or not, they reread previous books to build fluency (also a good tactic for your low because they already feel successful). Then we get started. For low, we do a picture walk in which I point out words they may struggle on and we look at the words pointing out chunks etc. They all go back to the beginning and whisper read to themselves. This part was tricky for me to have to listen to them all read and support them with strategies as they make an error, "Oh did you notice what you did? When it didn't make sense you went back to reread. That's so smart." or "Did that make sense? What can you use to make it make sense?" After the text is read, work on comprehension and do a quick word work pointing out something that was challenging for the reader (maybe write the word big, small, scary with their eyes closed or build it with magnents and look at the parts).
    Basically with low its very high support from beginning to end. With higher its lower support in the beginning of the group but gets higher towards the end when the comprehension piece comes in.

  8. I am working on improving my guided reading groups too. I just ordered The Next Steps in Guided Reading Groups by Jan Richardson and another book Guided Reading: One level for all Levels...I am blanking on the author. I meet with each group once a week. Each group reads a different book that fits their abilities, but we all work on the same comprehension strategies. Normally this involves a graphic organizer and discussion. Since I meet with each group for a half hour I spend the rest of the time working on the skills that group really needs to work on whether it is phonics, grammar, responding to questions, writing whatever they need and this part changes daily based my groups. Thanks for the word hunt! I am always looking for something to add to my word work station.
    Apples and Papers

  9. Hi Haley,
    The advice above all sounds great!

    I just wanted to add that what I have learned from teaching guided reading is that:

    -groups need to be leveled, leveled, leveled (and flexible of course! Those kids will be moving out of those groups, very important to reflect and see how groups are going)

    -I think I have tried every type of literacy centers....and the best I have seen in other classrooms (and that have worked best in my classroom) is a Job Board or Work Jobs where students move at their own pace through centers that hit the Big 5 lit concepts (and leveled!). It's so important that work is not too easy or too hard or they will not leave you alone so you can pull groups : )

    -I like having small journals with my materials for the students to write reflections, retells, etc in for the follow-up to a story. Quick, easy, but there for recording such things.

    -I try and make sure my guided reading materials are very organized. One year I had a tall drawer thing (?) with each drawer labeled (rhyming, phonics, word building, sight words, levled books for the week, etc).....very helful.

    sorry this is so long!