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.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

New Blog Design and a Book Study!

 So if you have been on my blog in April, May or June ... you know that I am a newbie at this blogging thing and that my blog design was just a purple blah (I LOVE purple... I'm an ECU Pirate).  I am so excited that Lindsey over at L. Paull Designs For All  gave my blog a makeover...and I love the shades of purple and gold!! She is very creative, wonderful to work with and super sweet! If your blog is in need of an updated design, Lindsey is the one for the job!! 

 I am also excited to announce a blogging book study for The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson! {YES!! I am in two book study groups this summer.} There was an overwhelming amount of interest for learning about Guided Reading over in our We <3 Guided Reading group on Facebook so the #GuidedReadingGals (8 bloggers and 2 guest bloggers) decided to share our thinking via our blogs and discussion in our group. Blog posts will begin tomorrow … right here on my blog! Come back tomorrow to read about Chapter ONE. 

If you don’t have the book, that is ok … we will be blogging from July 13th-August 24th … get your book and read along with us!

Find us on Social Media by searching #GuidedReadingGals

Happy Reading,