Sunday, October 4, 2015

Guided Reading. Guided Reading? Guided Reading!!!!!!???????

Focused on Fifth: Guided Reading

Hello, this is Brandi from The Research Based Classroom. I have been really excited about getting my guided reading groups up and running this year.  That is until I actually got them up and going.  Most of my guided reading years have been spent in first grade.  Visualize flipping through the books as the students are headed over to the guided reading table and being ready to go. Yep, ready that quick. One of the reasons I've been excited about fifth grade is the opportunity to read great literature and dig deeply into comprehension. I have been anticipating these great discussions for the past 5 months (ever since my principal agreed to this grade change). Then last week all of the sudden it's here and it's not so easy. Here are my top hurdles and how I'm trying to solve them:
  1. How do you read all of these books? It's a bit of a stretch, but I have six students in each group and I am able to have only four groups. There's one group with students at different reading levels, so I tried to find something in the middle. There's no way I could split them into 3 different groups of two students each. But even with only four groups, that's a lot of reading for me. I picked two books that I already know well from multiple readings with my own children. Then I picked only one that I have never read and one that I have read once before but it's been a while. I hope this helps me with being able to read quickly. I am also writing chapter by chapter summaries to help me in the future. I figure I can't start from scratch every year.
  2. How do you make the time spent in groups effective? I have only 15 - 20 minutes for each group meeting. My first meeting had way too many possible conversation points. I am going to narrow down the number of conversational topics for each book. The first thing I am doing is beginning our reading hour with a whole class comprehension mini-lesson. I'm using topics that apply to all of the books we are reading. Right now we are reading realistic fiction and my first lessons have been about theme and character. This not only gives topics for reading responses, but cuts down on the instructional time within our groups. My dream is to have students come to meet with me as a group after already thinking through how our whole class mini-lessons apply to their books.
  3. How do you keep students reading and writing about their books when you aren't meeting with them? With four groups, I should be able to meet with each group every other day. Very quickly at the end of each group meeting, my students are filling out a bookmark that tells their assignments for up until our next meeting. I already learned my lesson about asking them how many pages they wanted to read before we met again and I am now assigning the reading myself. (One group wanted to read 80 pages by the next day and I'm sure they would have accomplished it, however, I need to keep it reasonable for me too.) You can grab a copy of my bookmark below. On the days they don't meet with me, they are meeting as a group to discuss their reading and they are writing reading response letters to each other. These are going in a spiral notebook so I can quickly see that they are completing the assignment. Every other week I will have them write me a letter about the book and I can check them then. I am also assigning a reading response each week in their reading response notebooks that they will bring to our group time. The bookmarks will be turned in each meeting and a new one given out.
  1. Click on the picture to grab this from my google drive.
I've been told, "Brandi, it's too hard." and "Why do you think I don't do small group reading?" But I am not giving up. I am going to make this work well for me and my students. So please, please, please give me your best tips. And for now, I'm off to get some more reading time in.

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