Monday, September 7, 2015

Work Smarter Not Harder! The Laborless Bloghop and a Giveaway

Happy Labor Day Y'all and welcome to our laborless bloghop!!

Main Graphic Laborless

Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!

All of us have been thinking about ways in which to treat our readers and followers.  We thought hard, and I mean ... really, really hard… and decided that we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!

We know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy! We also know that we crave time to ourselves and our families... so working smarter rather than harder makes sense ... right!!??

During the summer I get a little bit lazy ... and when school starts back up it can be a bit overwhelming so I have become a TO DO List Junkie! I am always writing my lists on sticky notes or scrap paper and somehow they get lost or misplaced ... but this year I found this free Weekly To-Do List  from a Scholastic Top Teacher and it has helped to keep me organized! I love that I can make my list for each day of the week on one piece of paper!! We all know... an organized teacher ... is a happy teacher!
I LOVE guided reading time but I know that it can be VERY time consuming to plan all those lessons if you are purposefully planning to meet individual needs. I work with a lot of teachers helping them learn about guided reading and writing lessons. So many of them try to avoid guided reading because it takes up too much time to plan for it.  Jan Richardson's book, The Next Step in Guided Reading is a wonderful resource for learning about the different levels of readers and what your lesson should look like ... teachers love this resource but they needed lesson plans that would make their planning for the different groups more specific yet less time consuming. 
Another thing I LOVE about this book is that it is like a menu ... once you know what your student's need, you can use this book to purposefully plan for meet those needs! I created these lesson plans and you can grab them for free
This summer I was a part of a book study for Jennifer Serravallo's new book, The Reading Strategies Book.  This is another time savor for teachers ... no more looking through resource after resource to find the just right strategy for your little ones ... this book is packed full of 300 strategies that equip the teacher with the why and the how for teaching them :) This book is another "menu" for explicit teaching!! I highly recommend both of these professional resources!
And since I am recommending books ... remember to take the time to read professionally ... you will be working smarter, not harder when you keep up with current research ... even when it is old research with a fresh twist! 

There are a lot of studies out that have linked a healthy lifestyle with work productivity. Similar to getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthy boosts energy levels, clears your mind and allows you to focus more easily. {We all know that TEACHERS have to be focused at all times in order to be productive!} My new motto is Healthy is the New Happy! I am working hard to live by this motto.  Below are a few things that I have been using or doing to meet my goals.
Detox Tea ... I drink this every evening to unwind and it is beneficial because it keeps my kidneys and liver cleansed from everyday toxins.  I have noticed that when I do not drink enough water during the day and when I eat too many carbs, I get very bloated! This tea helps keep me from getting bloated!
I CANNOT live without these fizz sticks ... I stopped drinking soda 3 years ago when I kept getting kidney stones {yep, because teachers can never get to the bathroom as often as they should} and my kidney doc told me to give up soda!! I was so happy when I found these because they do not have artificial sugar or flavors and they are certified vegan and gluten free too! They give me just enough energy mid-day! 
At the end of a long week, I have learned to treat myself with a facial mask and a relaxing bath to unwind!  I LOVE this aromassentials line. It is called UNWIND and it smells fabulous and leaves your skin feeling refreshed! There is also a second line which I love called AWAKEN :)
A good night's sleep is a must for a focused mind!  Sometimes I just can not unwind during the week because of my jam packed schedule, however this little bottle has been a life-saver or should I say sleep saver??  Seven squirts on the tongue {it tastes like lemon} and lights and electronics off it is ... and within 30 minutes I am out! All natural, no chemicals, not addicting ... just beneficial goodness! 

I can't forget the exercise ... I have discovered the SEVEN app and it has helped me become more active! I have set the alarm on my phone via this wonderful app and it reminds me that it is time to do some exercise ... I can determine what kind I want to do and how often!! 

Do you work with emergent readers in your classroom?? I have made some fabulous resources that go along with the Pre-A, emergent and early lesson plans in Jan Richardson's book called The Next Step in Guided Reading.

These resources go perfect with the Lesson Plans  I shared above!  

Now ... Let's top off all these great tips and ideas with these top-notch prizes!

A $100 gift card to Amazon

A $50 gift card to TpT


2 $25 gift cards to TpT

1 $10 gift card to TpT

Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading my tips!
Don't forget to fill out the Rafflecopter for your chance to win these wonderful prizes!!
Once you have entered ... scroll down to the link-up at the bottom and visit all the other wonderful bloggers that are a part of this blog hop and giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Reading Strategies Book Study: GOAL 3 ~ Supporting Print Work

  Welcome to the #ReadingStrategiesGals book study ... if you are joining in for the first time be sure to click on the links and read about Goal ONE  and Goal TWO!!

I am extremely excited that I discovered this wonderful book ... or should I say teacher resource!!?? This book is set up to be a learning tool and planning tool for teachers.  The author, Jennifer Serravallo did an excellent job setting this book up to give you just enough theory so that you will understand the goal and then she gives you a menu of strategies that explicitly show you ways to teach for it!! I love that this book is created for ALL teachers that teach reading. On pages 13-14, Jennifer explains how the use of this book can be incorporated in a Reading Workshop, in a Daily 5 classroom, in a Guided Reading lesson, and during Basal or whole class novel instruction. Seriously ... if you do not have the book yet I highly recommend it!

This week I am blogging about 
Goal 3: Supporting Print Work
Increasing Accuracy and Integrating Sources of Information 

Goal 3 is all about Supporting Print Work by increasing accuracy and teaching students how to integrate sources of information.  As a literacy specialists, I work with students on a regular basis that have the accuracy part down pat ... and they may even have pretty good comprehension, however as we move up in levels I find that if they rely mostly on visual information and read with great accuracy then their comprehension (meaning) is weak. The same holds true for the reader that reads for meaning but does not have a good understanding of how words work ... everything read makes sense but the words the child is saying do not always match the words in the text.  

Why is this goal important??
Fountas and Pinnell are famous for saying ... Reading is Thinking ... if that is so, then readers must know that we read to understand something. In order to construct accurate meaning from a text, readers must read the words in the text with accuracy while integrating the three sources of information: meaning, structure (or syntax) and visual (or grapho-phonics). Many of you may know this by the acronym MSV.

This matrix gives Clay's definition of the each source and a reminder of what to teach for when one source is used but others are neglected. 

Serravallo says that "integrating all three sources of information is like being a juggler with three balls in the air. It takes coordination, mental effort, and strategic action." In order for students to understand how to "juggle" all three of these sources, they must be taught how to monitor their own reading.  They must monitor when it does not look right, make sense, or sound right
Clay also says that the strategies we teach one by one would need to become secure and habitual so the reader can focus on reading with expression and/or deeper comprehension.

How do I know if this goal is right for my student??
Serravallo suggests, and I agree that you can determine if this is the right goal for your student by using a running record or oral reading record.  Marie Clay, Irene Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell and others have written about and developed resources to make running records a simple, yet essential way to record what a student reads in a short passage and then analyze their reading. {Analyzing ... you know ... that MSV thing!!} One thing I love about this assessment is that a running record can be taken on any selection of text-- on a blank sheet of paper. {I have taken a running record in the cafeteria at school on a napkin because I was sitting next to a child reading when she finished her lunch!} I prefer the blank sheet of paper vs a running record form ... especially the one with the words typed out {which makes it a oral reading record}, because it enables me more options for recording what I observe and hear while the child is reading. On page 78, Serravallo has included a sample analyzed running record (on blank paper) with side-notes for you to better understand what you are looking for.  

How do I know what to teach??
In this chapter, there are 23 strategies to choose from that will help your students meet Goal 3.  The chart below is scanned from the book and it shares all 23 strategies. I will only focus on 3 {well really 4} of them! {{I must say that one of the things I LOVE about this book is that for each goal, you have a menu of strategies to choose from... if one thing doesn't quite work ... there is something else you can try !!}} On this chart you will see the strategy "named" and what level, genre and skill it is for.
Remember, take a running record, analyze it, then look for strengths and needs.  Once you have a list of things that you want to strengthen and teach ... then use the menu to pick and choose what strategies and skills you are teaching for. 

Strategy: 3.3 Use a Word You Know
Level: Any  Genre: Any  Skill: Decoding

The first strategy I am taking a closer look at is 3.3 Use a Word You Know ... this strategy is about teaching students how to use a word they know, or parts of words they know, to help them solve a word they are having trouble reading.  They will learn to look for a part of the word that's the same as a part in a word they know. For older students, I like to teach them that this is called using analogies. In the picture below there is a sample of changing the first part {the onset} to make a new word in a rime family. It is a sample chart found on page 82.  I also included a way that I model how to read ... or write a new word by using the first part of a known word and the last part of another known word to read or write a new word. Using a technique like this is beneficial because it shows students the reciprocity between reading and writing ... they learn, "I can think about words I know to help me read and write new words."

On page 82, Serravallo lists an array of prompts for this Strategy 3.3, that can be used to call the student to use this strategy ... but be reminded that a prompt is only as good as the explicit teaching. You must first teach them how to use the strategy before you prompt them to use it.

Strategy: 3.6 Try, Try, Try Again
Level: Any   Genre: Any   Skill: Decoding, Integrating Sources of Information

I chose this strategy because it is an ultimate goal and one that will enable students to become more independent when reading complex text. As a Reading Recovery teacher and Literacy Coach I learned that we need our students to become FLEXIBLE Thinkers ... it took me a while to figure out exactly what that meant and how to teach for it but once I did, it made a difference in the progress of my students. {Especially the ones that were having a hard time pulling it all together ... they were good at using isolated strategies but did not know what to do if what they tried did not work.}  For this strategy, Try, Try, Try Again, you will teach students what to do when they get to a tricky word.  You will tell them not to just try one thing because sometimes you will need to try more than one strategy to help you problem solve. We want our students to think: "What will help me read this word?"

The picture below shows the chart from page 85. I would suggest building this chart after you have taught your students a variety of strategies.  I would also suggest that this chart not be "pre-made" but to build this chart as you go ... as you teach them!  Once you have two or three strategies taught and students are showing evidence of using them, then begin creating this chart and add those two or three strategies only.  After that, as you teach a new strategy, you can add it to the chart. Something that I like about this chart is that it shows students that they can not always rely on one source of information ... the chart has decoding (visual) and meaning and structure thinking on it. 

So what does flexible mean??  It means that if you try something and it doesn't help you, do not give up!  Try something else ... and if that does not help ... try something else! Referring students to the anchor chart will help your readers become more independent with choosing which strategy they will use. 

Strategy: 3.18 Cover and Slide
Level: E and above   Genre: Any   Skill: Decoding

I had a hard time choosing my last strategy to blog about!! There are so many good ones in this chapter!  For the third strategy I chose Cover and Slide. I chose this one because so many students, especially early and transitional readers, have a hard time TAKING WORDS APART when they read. Students will learn: When you are trying to read a word part by part, you can cover up the parts you are not reading yet and focus on the part(s) you are reading. The teacher should model this by showing students how to slide their finger left to right across the word, showing more and more parts as they read them. It will also be important to teach them that once you take it apart (segment it) you will need to put it back together and read the whole word. 

The picture below is a great graphic model of what it would look like to take the word plastic apart while reading it left to right. This strategy would also be helpful for teaching how to take words apart using syllables or meaningful chunks.  If we take a look at the word plastic ... you could start with teaching the to say the word and clap the parts {phonemic awareness ... done with the ears not the eyes}. Once they know it has two parts, then show them how to take the word apart using those parts {phonics ... done with the eyes and ears}.  Plas - tic ... This is a more sufficient way to take that word apart, however the main goal is that they are moving across a word in a left to right motion and looking all the way through the word saying the parts they see.  When thinking about meaningful chunks {prefixes, suffixes, affixes} you would show them how to read the base word or root word first then add in the other chunks. Using meaningful chunks is tricky for students that are having trouble looking through words in a right to left fashion so I caution you not to add this level until they have mastered the Cover and Slide strategy. 

A quote that sums up Goal 3

As we approach back to school time, it is important to remember why we do those mandated assessments and running records. It is important not do these tasks out of compliance, but because we want to know what our students can do and almost do. We want to know what they can not yet handle on their own. And we want to know WHAT to teach!  When it comes to teaching reading, there is not a one size fits all method or sequence of lessons.  When you take that running record and analyze it for MSV, you will discover what to focus on in your reading instruction.  If you have a lot of students that need the same thing, then start by modeling in whole group lessons. If only a few students need to learn a certain strategy, teach it in a guided reading lesson.

If you are interested in reading more about the sources of information, click here to go to a previous post about the reading process. 

In case you are interested, strategies 3.12 and 3.17 both focus on using sound charts to help students group letters to make sounds {blends and diagraphs} and to become flexible when it comes to vowels sounds.  CLICK HERE to get my sound charts that include ABC charts, Blend and Diagraph Charts and Vowels Have Two Sounds Charts. 
These are prefect for emergent, early and transitional readers.

Catch UP and a GIVE-AWAY !! 

  If you missed the first two goals from the  #ReadingStrategiesGals book study click on the blog buttons below to hop on over and read about Goal One and Goal Two.

While you are visiting Literacy Loving Gals blog, don't forget to enter WIN a copy of this fabulous book: THE READING STRATEGIES BOOK 

OR ... If you are like me and can't wait and need this book NOW, you can click on the picture and purchase your own copy

Are you ready to read more!!  On August 13th you can head over to visit Kate and read all about Goal 4: Teaching Fluency: Reading with Phrasing, Intonation, and Automaticity

Are you reading along with us?? Here is the schedule so you will know where to go for each goal. 

Let's Continue the Thinking ... Choose one of the bullets below and Leave some comments and or link up and share your thoughts on your own blog :)
  • I was helping a friend work with her own child and she needed a resource so that she could better understand Sources of Information.  I came across this website and shared it with her.  Check it out ... how would you use it with parents, or beginning teachers that you are mentoring?
  • If you are reading along with us ... which Goal 3 strategy are you looking forward to using with your readers this year?
Happy Reading!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Next Step In Guided Reading Chapter THREE... The Pre-A Lesson

Welcome to week three of the #GuidedReadingGals book study on The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson.
This week Julie over at Big Ideas for Little Hands and I are blogging about chapter THREE.
Chapter THREE is all about emergent readers (level A through level C). Emergent readers are typically in Kindergarten and first grade but may also be in upper grades if they are ELL students or students that have special learning needs. This chapter explains two lesson formats. I will focus on the Pre-A Guided Reading Lesson and Julie will focus on the Emergent Guided Reading Lesson. You can grab the lesson forms for both of these lessons by clicking here.

Jan Richardson states that The Pre-A GR Lesson is for children that are not yet ready for a traditional GR lesson because they know fewer than 40 upper and lowercase letters and hear few, if any sounds. A traditional GR lesson has 3-6 students in them however, in a Pre-A lesson you do not want to have more than 4 students at the GR table.  A traditional GR group is formed according to text reading level and skills needed ... however, in a Pre-A lesson, students are grouped according to their letter and letter sound knowledge. The Pre-A lesson was designed to improve visual memory, phonemic awareness, oral language and concepts about print {these four areas are the building blocks of emergent literacy~Clay, 1991}.

The Pre-A lesson format is different from a traditional Guided Reading lesson. The chart below {copied from the chart on page 60} gives a nice overview of the FOUR components of the lesson and what skill it focuses on.

Dr. Richardson says that the entire lesson should last 15-20 minutes and should include only ONE activity from all four components.  I actually use five components on the lesson plan template that I use because I have the "Working with Names" section on the plan (so as noted on page 64 when she explains the options for working with names... there are really five components). In order to complete the four/five components in the allotted time, you should spend only 3 to 5 minutes on each activity. Changing the activity every few minutes keeps the students engaged and focused.

The Pre-A lesson is designed to be VERY interactive. It will be important that you have your materials are ready for each lesson ... be intentional about which activity and what materials you will use each time you meet with a particular group. The following list can be found on page 62 and is more detailed.
I added the 3M Correction tape to this list because it is perfect for using during the interactive writing component. I like to use it if a letter is not formed correctly or a letter or two letter word that you may have thought would be automatic/known but it was not ... cover it up ... practice it on the white board and then write it again on the correction tape.  This also allows you to keep track of work that still needs to be practiced. 

On pages 65-69 Dr. Richardson talks about working with letters and sounds.  It is important to know that these are two separate components of the lesson.  The purpose of working with letters is to build automaticity with known letters and to gain new letter knowledge {see page 65 for the eight ways of working with letters... you will choose one of these activities per lesson}. Students will also spend 1-2 minutes working on the letter formation of one to two letters per day.  On page 66 you will find explicit letter formation language (I have included this language in a chart in my letter/sound charts product listed below). The purpose of the the working with sounds component is to teach the three aspects of phonological awareness: hearing syllables, hearing rhyming sounds, and hearing initial consonant sounds. Students will also learn to associate sounds with a letter name. You will choose one activity from the list on pages 67-68 but be mindful of what students can do with ease ... if they can already do an activity without your support than choose something else in order to build upon their knowledge.  Do not waste to much time on what is already known ... the faster they gain more letter and sound knowledge ... the faster they can move to the emergent lesson format that Julie explains.

On pages 57 - 59, Dr. Richardson discusses the importance of learning letters through tracing letters. Students who cannot identify 40 any combination of capital and lowercase letters in the alphabet, should trace letters in an alphabet book in addition to the Pre-A lesson.  This is not included in the lesson... it is an additional 5-10 minutes of one on one time with a tutor, volunteer or with the teacher. This should be completed daily because the sooner the children learn the names of the letters, the sooner they will benefit from whole group and small group instruction. You can use a published alphabet book or cards... but the process works best if the pictures in the book or on the card match the classroom charts. On page 59 there is a little bit of data about the action research that Dr. Richardson did about the use of the letter tracing book ... it is worth reading and pretty impressive!
Here is a sample page from my letter tracing book... for each letter the child traces the capital and lowercase letter and says the letter name while tracing and then names the picture... "B, b, bear". It is important for the child to trace the letters with his pointing finger as he says the letter name.
Click on the picture to grab my Letter Tracing Book

Throughout the Next Step in Guided Reading book, Dr. Richardson emphasizes the importance of including writing ... guided writing ... in the guided reading lesson.  Reading and writing are reciprocal processes and when students learn to do both at the same time they learn how to make links between the two ... they learn that what they can say, they can write and what they can write they can read! Part four of the Pre-A lesson is all about interactive writing. Interactive writing allows children to work alongside a more knowledgeable other ... the teacher ... as they construct a text by sharing the pen.  Richardson has step by step directions of how to include interactive writing during the guided writing portion of a Pre-A lesson on page 70.  She also includes directions for using a cut-up sentence to end the lesson and suggests sending the sentence home with one student from the group ... Once the student brings back the sentence ... it can be glued down in a "group" cut up sentence book and added to their familiar reads browsing box for independent reading time.

Students will need to use letter and sound charts in the Pre-A, Emergent and Early lesson formats ... and sometimes will need blend charts or vowel charts in the Emergent, Early and Transitional lesson formats.  These charts can be an important part of teaching children how to recognize the individual letters and sounds of the alphabet ... which is part of the process for learning to read and write.  My chart set includes a variety of color and black and white charts. You will find just capital letter, just lower case letter, capital and lowercase letters, the letters and word, blends and diagraphs, vowels ... and all have a picture for linking a sound.  This set also includes the explicit language for letter formation chart and directions on how to use them during instruction.
Click on the picture to get these charts for your Pre-A and Emergent lessons

Jan Richardson has some video clips from some of the components from the Pre-A lesson ... scroll down to the Pre-A section.

Check out the rest of the #GuidedReadingGals posts by clicking on their blogs below and following our hashtag on social medial :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Oh ... Just Another Book Study

YEP! Call me cRaZy ... two books studies at once!!  I LOVE catching up on professional book reading during the summer!! Get your calendar out ... the schedule for The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers by Jennifer Serravallo is ready and the #ReadingStrategiesCrew is thrilled to get the book study underway!! You can read the first post on Monday, August 3rd over at the Literacy Loving Gals blog.  We will be posting each Monday and Wednesday through September 14th.  Grab your copy of Serravallo's book and follow along with us! If you don't already have your own copy, the #ReadingStrategiesCrew will be offering a giveaway for a chance to win a copy of this FABULOUS book! Stay tuned for details!

Happy Reading,

Monday, July 13, 2015

The NEXT Step in Guided Reading Chapter ONE

Welcome to our book study. Each week between July 13th and August 24th one the #GuidedReadingGals will share info on their blog from a chapter in TheNext Step in Guided Reading and all the other gals will be linked up from the main post!!  You can join in on the conversation about each chapter by commenting on our blog posts and joining us for discussions in the Facebook group, We <3 Guided Reading
The authors purpose of writing this book was to give teachers a tool kit ... a step by step guided to teaching guided reading across all grade levels using the following elements:
  • Analyzing reading assessments to identify an instructional purpose
  • Prompting students to use reading strategies when they encounter difficulties
  • Teaching skills that are necessary and appropriate for a specific reading stage
  • Utilizing guided writing to support and accelerate the reading process 
This week we are reading Chapter One ... in this chapter, the author, Jan Richardson lays out the groundwork for fostering independence in order to prepare students for guided reading lessons. Below are my THREE take aways/things I learned, TWO classroom implications and ONE related resource/product. 

ONE ... Reading Instruction Needs Balance

Dr. Marie Clay taught us that reading is a complex activity. It is a meaning making process that requires a balanced program that includes reading to {Reading Aloud to children}, reading with {Shared Reading} and reading by children {independent reading practice}. Reading Instruction also needs a balance of reading for meaning and decoding {learning about how letters and words work}. To read more about using multiple sources of information while reading check out my Understanding the Reading Process post.

The lessons in Jan Richardson's book will include direct instruction for sustaining strategies, expanding/comprehension strategies, letter and word work {phonemic awareness & phonics} and guided writing {because reading and writing are reciprocal processes}. Guided Reading is the "with" children part that is designed to meet the individual needs of a diverse group of students. 
A Balanced Literacy Framework for Reading Instruction

Reading Aloud to kinder kids ... 
What is modeled can be retaught or prompted for in Guided Reading

TWO ...Teach Routines, Independence and Build Stamina

In order to have success teaching at the guided reading table, two things need to be in place.  You will need to have all of your teaching materials, including leveled text, magnetic letters, dry erase board and markers, paper, lesson plans and notebooks, and any other materials that you use on a daily basis... ready to use, right there in your guided reading area. You must also have routines set in your classroom so that students will know what it means to work independently for an extended amount of time {{{stamina}}}. 

On pages 9-13, Jan Richardson does a nice job explaining the first SIX weeks ... yes, six weeks to get your assessments complete, build a sense of community with your students and teach routines for each center they will be working in. I like to think of this time as SHOW and TELL ... don't just tell them what to do ... show them how to do it and you will set your reading workshop time up for success! 
Side Note: It will not take all classrooms six weeks to learn the routines.  If students learned how to work independently the previous  year, it may only take 2-4 weeks.... none the less ... take the time for this ... you will be a happy teacher when you have no interruptions when you are teaching guided reading lessons.
All materials are stored and ready for use.  
The pile of books on the table are familiar books that were 
collected from the student before introducing the new text.

THREE ...Purposeful Literacy Independent Activities

So what do the other students do while you have 3-6 students with you in a guided reading group???  That is the million $$$ question that all teachers ask! My favorite literacy researchers all agree that while a teacher is teaching a guided reading lesson with a particular group of students, the other students must be independently engaged in literacy activities that are purposeful and relevant to what they need to practice in order to grow as a reader. On pages 13-22 Jan Richardson explains what the independent literacy work should look like in primary grades and in intermediate grades. She reminds teachers that all activities should be engaging ... not busy work and not a time filler. She also shares the importance of having materials ready for students so that they do not have to interrupt the teacher. It is re-emphasized in this section to take the time to set routines for how to work in each workstation. A variety of literacy stations and activities that are appropriate for primary and independent grade levels are explained in this section.
Students are actively engaged in a variety 
of reading, writing and working with words tasks. 
All materials are available and organized for easy access and clean up.
This book is a wonderful resource for K-2 teachers.
Click the picture to see what is inside!

ONE ... Managing Workstations 
One implication to consider before you begin implementing workstations is how you will group your students for independent work time.  The easy thing to do would be to have the students rotate from station to station with their members of their guided reading group... right? The issue with doing it that way is this ... if all of the members of your lowest reading group are in the same workstation group, problems will arise when they need help with something ... or they all finish their work lickety-split {you all know what I am talking about}!! It is best to have students work in workstation groups that are a range of leaners ... this ensures that there is at least one or two students that they can ask questions or seek help from. On pages 18-22 Richardson lays out a few ideas for how to manage your students at while they are working independently. Students in second grade on up can use individual choice boards or learning contracts to manage their time. Another question that teachers ask about managing Guided Reading time is how do I get it all done?? Jan Richardson clearly says ... use a timer and make every minute in your daily schedule count! Set your timer for 20 minutes for each guided reading group. When the timer goes off ... students at the stations clean up rotate on their own while you call your next group!

TWO ... Reading Notebooks (for intermediate students)
In intermediate classrooms, daily independent reading and responding to reading should be encouraged! I was so happy to see that Richardson thoroughly explained how to set up and use a reading notebook for independent reading. When I taught third and fourth grade I loved using these notebooks with my students. They would write their responses in letter format ... writing a letter to me which shared their thinking about the text they were reading. I also liked them to use a section of the book for responding to prompted questions from our read alouds and for jotting thinking about the books they were reading for literature circles and book clubs. CCSS has a big focus on written response to reading and this is one way that you can fit that it without always doing a prompted response. The main purpose for a reading notebook, in my opinion, is to deepen our students ability to think, talk and write about what they are reading. Click here for one of my favorite places to get pages for creating reading notebooks. I can not lie ... these notebooks are time consuming to read and respond to ... but they are the best authentic formative assessment I have ever used!

Differentiated Guided Reading Lesson Plans ... the freebie that everyone using this book needs!
One of my VERY FAVORITE things about The Next Step in Guided Reading book is that Jan Richardson does a wonderful job teaching us how to teach guided reading at any level! She explicitly explains, step by step what to do in each component of the lesson for pre-readers, emergent readers, early readers, transitional readers and fluent readers.  She provides a lesson plan for each level also ... but I found that her lesson plans did not give me enough room to specifically plan on nor did they give me a place to take anecdotal notes while working with my students.  My lesson plans are a version of hers ... with all the things that I felt hers were missing.  Click the picture to go straight to my store and grab them for FREE :) 

Check out the rest of the #GuidedReadingGals posts by clicking on their blogs below and following our hashtag on social media.