Sunday, September 8, 2013

Guided Reading in the Intermediate Grades

School is back in full swing! My days of relaxation are now limited to weekends and holidays! I had a nice long break with maternity leave before summer break. Now it's back to the swing of things! This year presents more challenges for me with being a first-time mother. Managing motherhood and work has been tough, but I feel like I am finally getting a handle on the whole work/life balance thing. Having an amazing husband helps too! I am one very lucky woman!

This year I plan on beefing up my guided reading groups. I have always done guided reading groups in the past, but this year I plan on making them more in depth to go along with the Common Core. I like using centers during guided reading time. Centers are great tools that help students apply their comprehension skills. Plus, they free up time so I can meet with small groups of students while the rest of my class works.

Each year I level my students and put them into four or five groups based on my needs of my class. These groups are flexible and students can switch groups throughout the year. I like to have four to five small groups of students, so I can meet with each group throughout the week and meet the needs of my diverse learners.

Each week I focus my instruction on one comprehension skill. I find leveled books that go along with each skill for all of my groups. I use books I have gotten with Scholastic points, leveled readers from out textbook, books from our literacy closet, or books from www.readinga-z.com. At the beginning of each week, I do a whole class mini-lesson that focuses on that one comprehension skill. I usually make an anchor chart to help them remember how to use that skill during this time. After the whole class instruction, I have my students work on their centers.

The centers I use are more for the intermediate grades. Each week I have my students go through the following centers; meet with the teacher, silent independent reading, written response journal, word work, and  reading comprehension skill menus.
  • Meet with the Teacher- During this time, I meet with my leveled groups. The students read the leveled book I have for them that week, and we review the comprehension skill that we discussed with the whole group. I give each student a Reading Comprehension Bookmark as we finish up our meeting. This bookmark gives a brief summary of the skill we are focusing on and gives them a weekly writing prompt for their Written Response Journal.

  • Silent Independent Reading- This center is so basic but so important in creating lifelong readers! During this time, I let me students choose books out of the classroom library that they want to read. This is time for them to get excited about reading, and read books that interest them. While they read, I have them use the bookmarks I gave them during our small group instruction. While they are reading they are looking for an example of the comprehension skill we have been studying. For example, if we were studying problem and solution they might be looking for a way a character in their book solved a problem. When they have found an example of the skill, I have them place their Reading Comprehension Bookmark on that page to mark their spot, and set them up for their next center, their Written Response Notebook.

  • Written Response Notebook-While I was getting my Masters, I focused my thesis on best practices in reading instruction. Throughout my research, I found that there is a strong connection between reading and writing. When students write about their reading it increases their comprehension. During this center, my students use their Written Response Notebook. My students use the prompt on their Reading Comprehension Bookmark and write a letter to me about that skill in their Written Response Journals.

  • Word Work-
    Every week I like my students to work on their spelling skills for the week. I use a bunch of menu activities in my classroom. I like using menus because it gives the students a choice on how to apply their learning. Every week I give my students a spelling menu to work on in class, and for homework. During this time, they work on their spelling menu activities.

  • Reading Comprehension Menus-
    Like I said before I love menus! Last year, I spent time creating menus to go along with the different comprehension skills. I use the menu that goes along with the skill we are studying that week. The best part about these menus is that they all come with checbrics to hold the students accountable for their work! These menus are great for getting students to apply the skills they learned, plus they are great for daily reading grades!

This is my interpretation of guided reading for the intermediate grades. What practices do you use during guided reading instruction?

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