Friday, May 9, 2014

Chapters 4-6 Guided Reading

Now that we have background knowledge on the Guided Reading program, we can start researching the means for incorporating it into your own classroom. Chapters four through six begin detailing the implementation process.

Chapter Four:
While reading chapter four, I found myself thinking about the word, "purposeful". The principal at Westside, Robin Braun, used this term many times when describing the Guided Reading program. During her presentation I noticed that this word kept coming up, but I assumed that it was a word that she just liked to use.  However, as we are reading this book, I am finding that "purposeful" is the perfect word for describing each piece of the program. In this chapter we find suggestions for setting up your classroom in a purposeful manner in order to get the most out of your literacy program. While the author was describing each component of the Guided Reading classroom, I found myself envisioning the classroom that I observed at Westside. This classroom was a "textbook example" of the ideal literacy-balanced room. The teacher had the following components:
  • Clearly defined areas that the children knew how to navigate.
  • The teacher could see ALL the areas of her classroom from any vantage point.
  • The classroom was ORGANIZED!
  • She had plenty of display space for student work. Student products were all over the classroom.
  • She had a clearly labeled and organized classroom library.
I could definitely see that she had designed her classroom around the literacy learning she expected to take place. I have been in all of your classrooms and I have seen many of these components already in place. What do you ALREADY have set up that is aligned with Guided Reading? What do you plan on implementing for next year? Don't forget to refer to the checklist for analyzing the classroom environment when you are setting up your room for next year!  What is one change that you could make NOW to your classroom that would support our Guided Reading initiative?

I loved the idea of arranging the classroom library  by "author, illustrator, genre, series, theme, or topic" (48). I think too many times we organize our library by level. I can see where the library might seem more appealing to students if it were organized by topics. The students wouldn't be confined to one or two leveled baskets. They could find books in their level in ANY basket. Believe it or not, this wold increase student interest in reading!

Chapters Five and Six:
Throughout the years I have seen many examples of classroom work boards. I have even seen great work board examples on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers. Do any of you currently use a work board in your classroom?

Did you notice the author mentions over and over that each new activity introduced on the work board needs to be introduced SLOWLY? Procedures, procedures, procedures, people! I know I am preaching to the choir, but the work areas will not succeed (students working independently) if they are not drilled on how to effectively use each area of your classroom. When you begin planning the start of next year's school year, please remember to refer to the Getting Started chart on page 63. What an awesome resource!

So, how do you feel about the management aspect of the program? Do you feel comfortable with the idea that the students can navigate each area on their own and work independently? Are you nervous?

In chapter six the authors detail the link between assessment and Guided Reading. Currently we are working on gathering the money needed to purchase DRA kits for each grade level. It is my hope that by the start of next year we will have the DRA kits at Ney and ready to be put to use. From this chapter I surmised there will be many ongoing, informal assessments that take place throughout the year. How familiar are you with running records and anecdotal records? Are you sufficiently comfortable to be able to use these next year?

We are almost halfway through this book. How are you feeling about Guided Reading for next year? Do you feel like this is going to be a good program for Ney? What are your biggest concerns? Do you foresee yourself needing support in any specific area?


  1. Chapter 4:
    I liked this chapter, in that it gives you lists for things to be in each station. I found myself making a list of things I need to make or save. Right now, I am working on getting book boxes together for my guided reading groups for "free reading" after we have done the book in GR. Thank you so much for the pictures! I love resources from TPT, I have a great FREE resource for pictures for your stations made by Deanna Jump. I will share them with you Brandye and you can pass them on.
    Chapter 5:
    I am not a micro-manager (I think) but it really bothers me that I would have kids moving through stations at their own pace. I know a few of mine now would be done in 3 minutes and causing havoc in my room, even with ample training. I would have to manage differently than suggested in the book..... Anyone know how to keep them quiet while in stations? Please share suggestions :)
    Chapter 6:
    When the kids are in GR, I have a difficult time making notes on each of their reading beyond (work on fluency, good job, watch for tracking finger) I would love more information on good notes to keep after doing a running record or guided reading group. Or, I love lists! Do you have a list of comments and I can go from there?

    1. I totally agree about not having the kids randomly roaming around the room! I can see it now....they would rush through the tasks they don't particularly like so that they could get to the "fun" station. By the end of the GR time, everyone would be witht he iPads!

  2. Chapter 4:
    I feel like I have well defined areas in my class for large, small, and independent work and that the noisy and quiet areas are separated as well as they can be. I do a lot of lessons using a pocket chart but have not used it for a work station. I could easily turn the lessons I do using the pocket chart into a workstation.
    In the several years I have been doing balanced literacy and guided reading I have learned to try to do it how the books say and if it doesn't work for me try it another way. I am not super organized so some things I see on pinterest or in the books over whelm me! Too much organization makes me crazy! I wish I could be more organized!
    Chapter 5&6:
    I am currently using a work board using the icons from the guided reading book. I have 13 stations and 7 groups. There are 2 to 3 students in a group and they each go to 2 stations a day. I have tried to let them navigate their own way through the stations but it has never worked very well for me. I choose the two stations they go to each day and tell them when it is time to switch.
    I have not done a running record since I have been at Ney. I do however take notes on each group after the lesson. I write what book we read and the skills we worked on. I also take notes on any kids that might have struggled and what it was they struggled with.

    1. I do not like my children moving all over the room while I am having small group. I rotate cups with their names on them to the different centers. They stay in that center for that day. I have always loved reading books to the children and focusing on different skills from the books. This is similar to the whole language approach.

    2. You are good at using literature in your classroom! You are my BEST big book checker-outer! HA!

  3. I feel this year has been a learning experience for me in setting up my room. I know I can't expect that everything will run smoothly the first time, but I already know things that I will do differently next year. I have learned a lot from chapter 4 about setting up my room and I plan to use some of their suggestions. However, I feel that giving them an assigned station works best in my class.

    I do have a work board but it is not what I want to use next year. I plan on using some of the icons in the back of this book for my work board next year and I feel it will be easier for the students to transition on their own. I am not real familiar with running records but in reading this book I have a better idea of how to take one and I know that my good friend Meghan can help me out when I need it. I know that I have not been real good at taking notes on the individuals but I have been taking some on the groups and I feel that I will do much better note taking in the future.

    1. I totally agree with assigned stations! The free roaming school of thought is too chaotic!