Monday, June 23, 2014

The Next Step in Guided Reading {book study, Chapter 2}

I just love having time to read during the summer.  I have three books going right now, one of them being this one, and I love being able to get in some professional reading while still having time for personal reading.
I love the way I am really able to envision my classroom and students as I read this book.  Jan Richardson paints such a clear picture of how to implement her strategies in your classroom.  Even better is when I realize that I am already doing so many of the things she recommends.  Makes it seem so doable to implement a few new things for next year!

Here are some of my thoughts on chapter 2:
1.  What part of the reading caught your attention?  Maybe it's something you never thought about.  Maybe it's something that you've been trying to get a grip on.  Maybe it's something that you've never heard quite they way it was put.
I was really challenged by the emphasis she puts on assessment.  I wasn't surprised by it, because I know that assessment is critical for really knowing your students academically and meeting them right where they are to focus on just what they need.  I do focus on regular assessment, but I know I can do more.  This chapter caused me to re-think how I spend the few spare moments I have each day, and to consider how I can make assessments more fluid in my classroom.

2.  How do you already incorporate this into your guided reading routine?  There's probably at least some part of the chapter that you're already doing!  Tell us about it!
I am so fortunate in my school to have a major emphasis placed on reading instruction.  To that end, we have reading specialists and para-professionals that work with teachers in a push-in program.  We are able to break our 50-ish Kindergarten students into 6 leveled groups to focus on specific, targeted reading instruction.  We meet for 25 minutes, 4 days per week.  This time is critical to our students' overall reading progress and I am so thankful for it!  Within this approach, our bottom 30% of students are assessed frequently and their growth is monitored closely.

3.  What is something new you want to try next school year?  How do you want to make your guided reading time better or what new things do you want to try?
I want to re-think my system of organizing assessment materials.  I used to use a binder with a section for each student.  The past few years I've used a file box with a file for each student.  I also have used an electronic file and spreadsheet system.  There are great things about each of these, but I'd like to find a way to record information so that I can easily test specific skills and measure growth for my students.  Please comment if you have a system that works great for you!!

4.  What are some resources that you ALREADY HAVE that you can use to teach what you read about in this chapter/section?
I already use several of the assessments mentioned for emergent and early readers.

5.  What are some NEW resources that you want to get or try to use to teach what you read about in this chapter/section?
I've never done a dictated sentence assessment with my students.  Of course I look at my students' writing closely and am able to get a good idea of how comfortable they are with hearing the sounds they need for words and getting them onto paper, but this assessment is more specific with every child writing the same thing.  I like that it would give me an easy way to quickly see what I should be focusing on in my writing mini-lessons or what I could pull small groups to work on.  The sentences suggested in the book for Kindergarten seemed difficult and I would probably simplify them.  But, it's a great starting point and something I plan to implement next year.

Are you reading along with us???  We would love to have you link up so that we can hear what you are learning from the book too!  Our book study host this week is Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade.  Click the link to head over to her blog to read her thoughts on Chapter 2 and snag a great freebie!  You can join our linky there or at the end of this post.

Have a wonderful Monday!!


  1. Dictated sentence assessment sounds like something I definitely need to be doing in my classroom. Might give it a go tomorrow! Thanks!
    Growing Little Learners

  2. I am really interested in hearing about your push-in program and how that works. We are moving to that next year and I'm not sure how to make it work in my room. Do your specialists/para-pros do their own thing or do you have things for them to work on when they come in? Does your whole kinder group divide kids into groups and each teacher is responsible for something? Any help is greatly appreciated. I'm just trying to figure out how to make things work!