The Next Step in Guided Reading

Reading to go the next step with your Guided Reading Instruction? I read a terrific book this past summer by Jan Richardson, called The Next Step in Guided Reading, and I'd love to do a little book review for you here so you can decide if the book is right for you! I found it to be clear and easy to read and the suggestions are totally terrific!
The second edition I have as pictured about has an introduction in which she explains her "assess-decide-guide'" procedure. You assess student first, decide what they need, and guide them through instruction at their level.

Chapter 1:
This chapter goes through the guided reading essentials and takes about read alouds, shared reading, independent, and self-selected reading which is all very important to get going in your reading class! Also importantly, she backs up what we know as teachers - during the first few weeks of school students need to learn to work cooperatively, get along, learn routines and expectations and teachers need to help build classroom community. She suggested six weeks to practice routines and build stamina, and start your teacher reading groups with all groups at the end of six weeks. Richardson explains that for reading workshop, you start with a mini lesson for the whole class, then run your groups for 45 minutes to an hour, and come back together at the end. She also provides many ideas for center activities for your students.

Chapter 2-6
The next few chapters break down the recommendations for doing guided reading with groups of students at different reading levels. Remember, get your information from your assessments and group  your students according to their instructional level. Remember the zone of proximal development? Students need to be working in that zone with you! Chapter 2 includes instructions for Pre-A readers.

The next few chapters are:
  • Chapter 3: Early Readers
  • Chapter 4: Emergent Readers
  • Chapter 5: Transitional Readers
  • Chapter 6: Fluent Reader
Each chapter includes a guided reading lesson overview, sample two day lesson plan, which includes a sight word review, a book introduction, reading with prompting, discussion prompt, teaching points, teach one sight word  and on day  two you do similar activities except students reread the text, reteach a sight word and do guided writing instead of word study.

In all chapters you analyze problem areas (charts included), look at the next step for struggling readers (advice and lesson plan), adaptations for ELLs and students on IEPS, and information on when to move on to the next level.

Note: when students reach transitional reading phase, the guided reading plans move into 3 day plans. Books may be read over a two day period. Lesson plans for day 1 and 2 include a book introduction, or new section introduction, reading, discussion prompts, teaching points and word study. Day 3 is guided writing.  Fluent reading lesson plans are 4 days; day 1  is to introduce a new book, share new vocabulary, read and respond, discuss and teach and new word lists. Day 2 and 3 include continuing to read, share new vocabulary, read and respond, discuss and teach and sharing new word lists. Day 4 is for writing prompt ,  planning and writing with prompting. 

Chapter 7
The next chapter includes detailed information abut teaching comprehension. Jan Richardson says that only "12 comprehension strategies are really needed".  Those strategies are listed as:
  1. Comprehension Monitoring
  2. Retelling
  3. Developing Vocabulary
  4. Asking and answering questions
  5. Identifying main ideas and details
  6. Analyzing characters
  7. Analyzing relationships such as cause and effect and compare and contrast
  8. Inferring 
  9. Summarizing
  10. Evaluating (understanding theme, authors purpose point of view, fact vs. opinion, etc)
  11. Using text features
  12. Understand text features (understanding how the author organizing the information such as description, problem solution, cause and effect, compare and contract and time order/sequence).

Even the appendices are chock full of helpful information. This has a ton of copy and go pages to help you get organized and things like Sound Box Templates and Word Walls for students that you should  copy and laminate or put in page protectors for students.

If you are teaching reading and using the guided reading model, I highly recommend this resource!

What is your favorite resource for teaching guided reading? Let me know with a comment!

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    Fun Ways to Practice Phonics

    Let's talk about some fun ways to get your students practicing phonics! When I was a student myself it was workbooks, workbooks, workbooks! Now there are so many fun options! I have found some engaging ideas that have worked well for my second graders and one of my own. If you have an additional idea, please comment and let me know!

    Kaboom! Game 
    The blog Fun Learning for Kids, has shared a great twist on Jillian Starr's Kaboom! game. She modified it for letters and sounds. You need craft sticks, markers, and a cup. Write a letter on the end of each stick. Take a few additional craft sticks and write "kaboom!" on them (4 is good). To play, students draw a stick and say the letter and sound it makes! They keep that stick, but when they draw a "Kaboom!' stick, they put them all back. It is fun!

    Ball and Cap Game
    The Ball and Cap Game is also fun for students and credit goes to Matthew Wilson, whose idea is at the Internet TESL Journal.  You need a hat and a ball, and fill the hat with papers with a letter or letters on it. Play music (I have a great blog post with ideas here), students pass the ball and hat separately,  and when the music stops, the student takes out a paper and reads the sound , not the letter names, The one with the ball guesses the letter!

    Teaching OW
    Teach-nology also has 4 fun activities suggested  for the sounds of ow, as in snow and wow. The games are bingo, baseball card browse, a scavenger hunt, and a concentration game. Check the ideas out here.

    Mystery Words
    From me, I have the Mystery Word card sets! There are more than a dozen and you can start with a freebie to try it out if you want. With Mystery Words, students take a card with a clue on it, and can refer to a resource list of possible word choices. They figure out the mystery word, and write it on their record sheet. They come with answer sheets so either you can check or students can self check. Keep reading to see some examples and links, and for the freebie sample.

    Mystery Words Consonant le (the biggest seller from the series!



    Mystery Word Y Endings
    Mystery Words Consonant Blends

    Mystery Words Suffixes
    You can also save money and buy the BUNDLE here! Woohoo for economical choices!

    Now here's your freebie if you want to try it out! The Double Consonants sneak peek! Click here or on the image below to grab it!

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      Thankful Turkey Craft - Free!

       Ready for  a quick, fun, and free Thanksgiving themed craft?  Here it is! I don't like complicated crafts so I made this as easy as possible!

      Print the masters and copy the body onto brown paper, and choose colored paper for feathers. The beak goes on yellow and  the "gobbler" is red or orange. Students can make their own feet if they want. If you don't have colored construction paper, you can print on white and students can color them in.

      I organize the supplies in several spots around the room to prevent log jams. I list what they need on the board and send half the students to go to get scissors and glue, and half to get the papers.  It will take some students about 15 minutes but your students who need more time may take 45 minutes to an hour.

      This can be easily differentiated! You can tell some students to make three or four feathers and some to create more. In the image below, this student wrote complete sentences, but you might also tell some students to just write their idea down, without using complete sentences. For example "my family", and "my dog" instead of "I am an thankful for my dog".

      To grab it, click here or on any of the images in the post! Let me know if you use it!

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        How to Bring Thanksgiving into the Classroom

        I love connecting with a Thanksgiving theme when teaching during November. My second graders begin to realize how much that they are grateful for! There are so many ways to get students reflecting on thankfulness during the month of November, or all year! 

        First of all, you can incorporate this free Thankful Turkey Craft ! For this craft, students will brainstorm reasons they are thankful, cut out colorful turkey feathers, and glue them on to create a cute turkey craft! Fun and free! 
        I love this Joy in a Jar idea from Education World. Every day, students can write down one thing they are grateful for and put in the jar. Teachers or students can read aloud some if they want on the last day of school before Thanksgiving , or my idea would be to turn it into a class book of joy!   

        These books are great read alouds for the theme of Thanksgiving and gratefulness. 

        Gratitude Journals: Have students keep a journal in the classroom Encourage them to be specific. For example, instead of writing I'm grateful for my family, students might write: "I am thankful for my brother because we have fun playing LEGOs together"..

        Gratitude Collage: Have students cut out or illustrate something they are grateful for such as animals, shoes, etc. and put them into individual or class colleges.

        The gratitude collage idea came from Imagine Learning. They have several other great ideas on how to teach gratitude in the classroom and you can check them out here.

        There are  some arts and crafts ideas here - 
        Turkey Craft from Hello Wonderful
        Thanksgiving Table Setting Craft from View from the Fridge
        Pine Cone Turkeys from Fireflies and Mudflies
        Turkey Napkin Holders from View from the Fridge

        If you have a fun way to get students thinking about being thankful and grateful in the classroom, let us know!