Chapter 1

Guided Reading Essentials

Focus questions:

Q1: As a GR teacher, your job is to observe, listen, question, prompt, and coach. How does this portion of the lesson look in your guided reading groups? How do you make instructional decisions for each group? 

  • Of course looking at data helps me set up my groups throughout the year but one area that I have been working on in the last 2 years is making my groups more flexible based on the anecdotal notes that I take. But I have never kept weekly running records. This is a goal for me this upcoming year.

Q2: What routines, structures and procedures do you have in place to help you run an effective guided reading block?

  • I have used the Daily 5 routines to set up my routines. I love the 10-steps to independence that they recommend and the tracking of the daily stamina at the beginning of the school year. All I need to do is swap my word-work cards at the end of every unit and bring new words and spellings and my kids keep the same routine. I like the idea of having students choose their own station but I don’t conference with students 1:1 as suggested in the CAFE menu. This has also allowed me to do flexible seating with my kids and it sure has helped them stay on task longer because they don’t want to loose their coveted spots. With 27 kids it has been a challenge to get them to stations quickly when I called one by one, so I started using the Promethean to move things faster.

Q3: Case scenario: Student A struggles working independently during stations (literacy activities). He is capable of doing the work but would rather play and watch what others are doing instead of completing his independent work. What steps would you take in order to support this student?

  • Every year I always get one student A and I love Jan’s suggestion of having students write a book report. I think I will combine this with a retelling activity and at the end of the week have my student A give a “book suggestion” to the class based on the books read.

Q4: Write down 3 take away ideas you plan to implement next school year.

  • Re-do my word-work stations to align them with a list of words for each one of my bins.
  • Improve my writing station. Right now my kids are told to write stories, many write beautiful stories but I think this would be a great time to push more writing styles. I have seen some teachers provide prompts or word lists, so maybe I will do something like that too.
  • Look into reading coach partners in my new school. I love the idea that Jan Richardson offers on p. 21. Older kids love being needed and younger kids love having the attention. I wonder just how I can go about having this done during guided reading. I currently have read-to-friend set up in my classroom but the idea of a coach sounds very appealing.

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