Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guided Reading

Guided Reading is the rotation that I run during our Fairview Rotation time. I see 13 students Mon-Thurs. The goal is that I see every student two times a week. 
When a student comes to me for reading they bring their binder, previously read books from their book boxes, their reading vocabulary box and their homework bag.  Now that we are a few months in, I don't have to give as many reminders on what to bring with them.
For Guided Reading I use a variety of sources for reading materials. This is our large Guided Reading  library that we have accumulated over the years. We have leveled readers, fiction and non-fiction in levels A-R. We use the Fountas and Pinnell leveling system. This allows us to level a variety of books in different genres.
Something new that I'm using this year is the SRA Multiple Skills Series Reading set. I've had this in the classroom for a while and was using it as additional homework for my higher level students. But one of the things that really struck home at the FV training I went to this summer is that my Guided Reading lessons should be short and sweet, 15-20 minutes (the length of our rotations). I couldn't even begin to wrap my head around how that would work with my level L+ kids. There is no way we could get through a book in a session, let alone hit the target skills necessary for each kid. That's were the Multiple Skills Series comes in.  I can use the higher level books for my higher level readers. We're able to read a 'true' passage and get through all of our skills in one session.  They are not as colorful and entertaining as our other books, but we get in a lot more reading this way. I've also added my own typed questions to go with each unit story for my readers that need additional practice reading and answering questions in a written format.
So what does a Guided Reading lesson look like?

  • We quickly read their vocabulary cards from past lessons in their reading vocab boxes. If they know the word, I give them a star on the card. After 5 stars, they have 'mastered' the word and get to trash the card. They love to throw them away! It's a good motivator. 
  • We quickly re-read several of their past books. If they have read the book at least three times with me and they are fluent readers, then I send the book home for reading with their parents. (More on that later.)
  • We start our new reading book.  Many times they are teacher-selected texts. Sometimes I will let the student choose a new book from the appropriate leveled box.
  • We do a picture walk and I pick out new words for the students to locate on the page.
  • We predict what might happen and why.
  • Then we start our reading.
  • As the student reads, I jot down unknown words on their Guided Reading Book Log. (Which I need to redevelop to add more space for the unknown words, and new Bridge phrases.)
  • Occasionally, I will stop the student, cover up the words, and ask them to tell me about the page, looking for conceptually accurate signs and concepts.
  • After the student reads, I mark the Bridge phrases in the book (oh yes I do!) in pencil. For my higher level students that can bridge on their own, after the first read, I ask them to go back and bridge as much as they can on their own. (Bridge Phrases are English phrases requiring American Sign Language (ASL) translation for understanding.)
  • We go back and re-read the passage using the appropriate Bridge phrases and appropriate Adapted Dolch signs.
  • We talk about literary elements such as beginning, middle and end, problem and resolution. I ask for a re-telling of the story in their own words. (For some, this means page by page using the pictures as prompts.)
  • I ask the students to find specific words they didn't know the first time and they write these onto their new reading vocabulary cards. If there is time, they draw a picture on the other side. If there isn't enough time, that is one of the first things they do when they go to the centers rotation.
Usually by now our time is up... and I'm lucky if I made it through all these steps.
Reading homework is assigned as often as possible, and at least once a week. The students each have their own homework reading bag. Inside is a parent letter and chart where I fill in the book title and level. When the student takes it home and reads it with their parents, the parent signs off and the student returns the bag the next day.


  1. Hi! I am currently doing my student teaching and came across this blog on pinterest! i really enjoyed reading and learned some great things from this post! I did have one question, What is a bridge? You often refer to it but I have never heard this term used before.

  2. I too am interested as to what a bridge is?

    1. If yo click on the link it will take you to an explanation... Its a great site!! :)

  3. would I do the same for 3rd graders? Do I pick non chapter books?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Just ran across your blog on Pinterest and love your take home book bags! Where did you find these cuties?
    Thanks for sharing your great ideas and photos.


      Both bag designs are on Really Good Stuff's website.