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 :)

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