Friday, May 2, 2014

Chapters 1-3 Guided Reading

You made it through the toughest part of the book! I am sure we can all agree chapters one and two were not the most stimulating or entertaining! However, chapter three seems to be where we start learning the "meat" of this Guided Reading program.

As I was reading chapters one and two, I kept a few notes in my journal. I was resisting the overwhelming urge to highlight in this book. It is, after all, a library book. I will be honest though, by chapter three I couldn't resist any longer. I HAD to highlight a few things that stood out to me. If you feel the same as you are reading, highlight to your heart's content. We will beg forgiveness later.

Chapter One:
While I was reading the first two chapters, nothing startling came to mind. However, I did find myself wondering about YOUR classrooms. I rarely get to come into your room while you are teaching, so I am generally unaware of your routines and how much of the Guided Reading program you already use. I would like you to fill me in on what you are already using.
  • How much of the program do you feel like you are currently comfortable with and utilize weekly?
  • Are any of you using Interactive Writing?
  • Do you have a solid hour for reading within your day? I noticed this was what the authors recommended, but I am not sure this works the "real world" of BISD. 
I will admit that I had a misconception about the small group part of guided reading. I was surprised to find that during the reading of the book, the students read it alone and the teacher listens in. I don't know why that surprised me since I observed a teacher at Westside doing this very thing. I think it just contradicted the way I taught first grade years ago. I will admit back then I did a LOT of round robin reading. I never felt like it was effective, but it was the only way I knew how to teach reading. It is interesting that the round robin way of doing things really doesn't have a place within guided reading.

Chapter Two:
It was helpful to be reminded by the authors that reading and writing are COMPLEMENTARY. So often, we separate the two when really they will both be more successful if we look for ways to integrate them. 
  • What are you doing for writing? Do you tend to separate reading from writing?
  • Can you think of ways to incorporate the two together?
Chapter Three: 
Finally we get to the part we need to know! What makes a comprehensive guided reading program? The eight components the authors listed: Reading aloud, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading, shared writing, writing workshop, and independent writing are all strategies that we must focus on integrating into your classroom. 

I found it interesting that I have learned about each one of these components separately, but I have never thought about how together they create a comprehensive reading program. I feel certain that you are probably utilizing many of these in your classrooms now. Doesn't it feel good to find out you are doing something right? My prediction is that the parts you are not currently using, you have probably tried before, but as the education pendulum swung to something else, they fell to the wayside. 

Finally, my favorite quote (and the one I think is most relevant to us right now) was, "Each educator has to find his own point of entry into the framework" (42). So, what will be your point of entry? Pick one of the eight components to guided reading and give it a try in your classroom next week. We will come back next week and share what worked or didn't work. I look forward to hearing what you will try! If I can be of assistance, just let me know!


  1. Chapter 1:
    I too have a hard time with the "silent" reading. In Kinder, I think it is very important to read with the kids. It helps to build their confidence in knowing they are doing the right thing. If I left them to themselves, we would have major meltdowns. As for an hour, ha! I am blessed to have 30 minutes for guided reading, it is crammed between specials and lunch. And double blessed when I have Lisa join me on Mondays and Wednesdays. I didn't start guided reading until Jan, before then we worked on skill building so we could "read".
    Chapter 2:
    Loved hearing how tied reading and writing are to each other. I do a "Chit Chat" every morning that includes the word work for the day and we share the pen using the Mimio (fingers crossed everything is working including my brain). I want to work more on doing shared writing that is more in-depth.
    Chapter 3: realllllly long chapter and lots of info. But my favorite parts were the charts on page 22 and 27/28. They helped to be a reminder of how it should all work and look together. I plan on making a copy. :)

  2. I tried both shared and interactive writing this week. Interactive writing worked much better for me. The students did not pay as much attention during shared writing because I was doing most of the talking and all of the writing.
    When doing interactive writing the students sat and listened better because they were helping by doing most of the writing. The students also love reading what they helped write!

    1. I found the same thing, Interactive is much better for holding attention. Have you ever used Wikki Stix with your Interactive Writing? The kids like it, too! You take the Wikki Stix and have kids "circle" certain things in the writing (like punctuation or short a words, etc). The Wikki Stix stick to the paper!

  3. Combining reading and writing for me is a must. My kids have only a set number of minutes with me, so I cannot make time later in the day for completing reading or writing work. My small group setting is definitely advantageous for listening to kids read to me. In a two week unit, we spend 3 days listening to the kids read for nearly an hour... my favorite days!!!

    1. You do have the perfect set up for this, Amy!

  4. In reading the first 3 chapters I found it to be a lot of different information that I know I will have to refer back to in order to remember it all. I'm sure I will be copying some of those helpful charts before I give the book back.
    I found that the way I was doing guided reading was not correct and I am now doing it the correct way. I had begun by doing it the round robin way and after reading and watching the PD360 videos on guided reading I have a better understanding of how I'm supposed to do my groups.
    I am doing some of the interactive writing this week and it seems to be going well. The students are eager to be the ones to come up and do some writing which is great!