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Tag Team Reading Groups

Posted 04-07-2010 at 03:30 PM by tangerine

I am trying hard to be on Spring Break and not spend all of my time thinking about my students. I can get fixated, which is good for my teaching but not so good for the rest of my life.

A good teacher DOES need to be well rounded.

So the hubby and I took the boychild and his buddy to the local amusement park yesterday and had a great time. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous!

I had broken my toe the day before - so the walking was a challenge, but I did okay.

Today my mind is swirling again with thoughts of my students and how to approach reading groups when we get back from break. I am thrilled with the progress I see in many of my kids. One in particular who was basically at a preschool level in her literacy walk has made great strides and I'm just so proud of her. She is a reader now - albiet at a very early stage. Her eyes shine now when we read a book together and she can make sense of the words. She carries the book we start with on Monday around all week and asks whoever will stop if she can read it to them. I'm so proud of her. She is now at a solid beginning of the year first grade level. I am hoping to have her again next year because I think she will be fine with some extra support and TLC. This year she is getting two small group interventions a day along with 10 minutes of one on one with me and then whatever other folks I can pull in to sit with her to go over alphabetics and concept of word and read to her/with her. The day she was able to point word for word at our monthly Chicken Soup poem, I nearly cried on the spot.

On the other end of the spectrum, I'm working with a group of students who are soaring with their reading and comprehension (3rd - 6th grade) and they are so passionate about books and reading together. We just finished an awesome study of books about different facets of outer space and astronomy. They love nonfiction and we've done a lot of work in that genre lately. I'm thinking we'll switch now to some fiction chapter books for awhile and explore that way for a bit.

Our grade level was given the wonderful gift of an extra para at the midyear this year and it has really made my reading group time wonderful. We switched our reading group times so that the two paras can come in our rooms at the same time. So, at 12:30 each day I have two reading paras who each take a group of readers and work with them. Then I focus my attention on the other groups. I also have a parent volunteer who comes in twice a week to work with a group. I feel so good about the way we're doing it now - no unnecessary stations to fuss over - everyone is focused on reading and it all goes so smoothly with plenty of good intervention for struggling readers and enrichment for accelerated readers. The room just buzzes during that time with everybody reading and writing about what their reading and talking about their reading. We've incorporated some word study, too, and that has been fabulous.

I am crossing my fingers that next year we can get this tag-team para approach again, though I've heard this was a one time grant situation. I'm going to do all I can, though, to promote the idea again for next year. It has made such a difference for all of my kids and really meets them where they are at.

Ok. Enough thinking about work. Back to the balancing thing. We rented The Blindside today and are going to all watch it together tonight as a family. I have a haircut scheduled tomorrow, too. Woohoo!

'Till Next Time,

~Tangerine
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