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Trying to understand guided reading
Old 01-03-2012, 04:29 PM
 
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I am a senior member but don't want to be outed. I have been teaching over 25 years. I learned with traditional reading groups but student taught with independent reading. My first years teaching were with traditional groups. We went to whole class, literature based basals. We also had a program with novels and magazines. Now we are going to guided reading and centers. I have been tryhing to understand this but I am struggling. It is getting harder to keep changing.

I realize that with whole class reading you lose many kids. But trying to manage kids on 8 levels, even putting a couple of levels together, is overwhelming. I look at the matrial on what to do and ask with groups and it just seems like so much to manage and remember. I have to print things from Reading A to Z to use or use some of the old supplemental little books we have. Centers don't make sense to me. It gets noisier and I can't concentrate. Kids talk and visit, just like adults do. I am supposed to meet with most of the groups every day, even the ones that go out for intervention every day. And keep some of the kids for extra help after school a couple of times a week.

Believe it or not, i have a Masters in Reading, earned before this became popular. I know that as soon as I start t understand, I will be told to change again.

Thank you for listening. I am trying to make sense of things.


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typos
Old 01-03-2012, 05:26 PM
 
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Sorry--I just reread my post and saw a couple of typos. It should be "I look at the material on what to do." I apologize.
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Guided Reading frustration
Old 01-03-2012, 05:27 PM
 
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If it makes you feel any better, I don't think anyone can really do guided reading well under the conditions we have - even the reading specialists. Their 'small' groups are often 6-8 and their time is limited too. Lots of times kids are grouped together because of schedules, not needs. We don't have enough materials and sometimes we are lacking appropriate leveled materials, and it's up to teachers to figure out ways to supplement on a zero budget. Class sizes are too big and the span of abilities is too vast to be effective.

I've been teaching 17 years, and my friends at school (who've been teaching even longer than me and who also have advanced degrees) and I are astounded at how much time guided reading takes to plan each week. We agreed we all spend a minimum of 90 minutes planning for all the groups for the whole week and gathering appropriate materials. 90 minutes for one subject and we're all experienced teachers. Yikes!!

You are certainly not alone in your feelings.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:39 PM
 
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I think it is necessary to have an aide in the room to have the children focus on all the different things the children are doing while you work in the guided reading groups.
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totally agree
Old 01-03-2012, 06:17 PM
 
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with what beagles2 posted. I have 30+ years teaching and just about the time I understand the "new" reading program our county has adopted, then they change to the next new program that comes along.


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Circle the Band Wagons
Old 01-03-2012, 06:31 PM
 
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because I've heard rumblings that Common Core will eliminate some of the need for multiple guided reading/center style groupings for the teaching of reading.

I have heard from several sources now that with the implementation of CC standards, all students are expected to use grade level materials. The instruction and reading of those materials will be in a shared whole group reading structure.

We'll see, I guess.

Last edited by parker; 01-04-2012 at 03:56 AM..
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:16 PM
 
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Thanks for posting this. I feel the same way. It gives me some 'comfort' to know that even those who have been teaching longer than me feel the same way and struggle with how to accurately/effectively teach reading and meet the needs of all students while teaching all the standards and expectations we need to teach---yet at different levels and with different text!

Ugh---just typing it out overwhelms me.

Just wanted to say thanks for posting this!
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Thank you
Old 01-03-2012, 07:24 PM
 
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Thank you for your posts. I find it comforting that I am not alone. I know there are many people who post here who are very comfortable with this. I am trying, I really am. But I know that as soon as I start to get comfortable it will change again!!!!
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:33 PM
 
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Check out this week...Responsive Guided Reading in Grades K-5: Simplifying Small-Group Instruction (Solving Problems in the Teaching of Literacy)

It is a new type of guided reading that really doesn't involve planning and easier to implement.
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my dream...
Old 01-04-2012, 04:42 AM
 
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Would be if someone wrote a guided reading program that is similar to the basil. You would have all your stories for that level, questions, activities, vocabulary everying all together.

Our books in are sets, one book per bag. I have 5 reading groups and each group goes through 2+ books per week. It is a headache just to organize them!


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That's what the basal used to be
Old 01-04-2012, 03:51 PM
 
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Javamomma, Guided reading with little books is just like an old-fashioned basal taken apart. They eren't as bad as some people say. I learned with one.
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I have used guided reading for a long time
Old 01-04-2012, 04:20 PM
 
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Guided reading has been around for more than 15 years. Our school district has used it for at least 12 (that's how long I've been teaching here) It's all I've ever known, so it's hard for me to compare.

I do a combination of guided reading and readers workshop (that is when you meet individually with every child) My corporation takes book rental money and invests in our guided reading library every year. We have quite a few books available to use (younger grade levels will need more books than older grade levels)

I do not do centers. The students are all reading during reading time. Some with me, some independently, some with a partner. It does take some planning time, but I think the kids get much more out of reading at their levels rather than all reading from a basal. I incorporate mini-lessons with my focus in groups. I meet with my lower kids everyday and my higher groups 2-3 times a week. I do have 6 groups with no more than 5 in a group.
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Guided Reading
Old 01-04-2012, 04:41 PM
 
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I don't like guided reading either. With so many groups to get to, it always feel like I am rushing through lessons with each group. Guided reading is another reason why I left teaching elementary school.
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Understand where you are coming from....
Old 01-04-2012, 06:36 PM
 
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I also have my Masters in Reading along with several advanced certiications, and I find guided reading difficult to wrap my head around because every person you talk to sees it in a different way and they are convinced their way is the only way.

Guided reading is really nothing more than basals from the 1980s taken apart into seperate little books. That was guided reading with differentiatlon in place. The manuals had the resources you needed.

I also taught the whole language program and did well with it, but I still managed to pull small groups for individual needs.

Everything that goes around comes around under a new name!

Last edited by angelteacher; 01-04-2012 at 06:46 PM.. Reason: personal
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I appreciate the responses
Old 01-04-2012, 07:38 PM
 
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I am so glad that I am not alone. I am an intelligent person but this doesn't make sense. As several posters have mentioned, guided reading is similar to the reading groups we used to do. That makes more sense to me. I wory that this will be like whole language. Without a program to follow, many skills and strategies will be forgotten and not covered. It is very hard to keep track of everything that a student might need to learn.

Thank you!
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I started teaching in spec ed,
Old 01-05-2012, 09:17 AM
 
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and most was done with SRA-type scripted direct instruction, which was what the kids needed. I switched to general ed several years ago, had to learn guided reading, which takes an incredible amount of time b/c we don't have the materials to support it. Okay, fine, but now we have to do the Daily/5/CAFE stuff and my head is absolutely spinning. And don't forget RTI (can't be done during core reading time) and at my school the teachers do RTI--we have one literacy teacher for the whole school and... ?

So, after 19 years, I'm a "facilitator," not a teacher.

How much more fun will it be next year with Common Core?
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:04 PM
 
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and to top it all off...you'll be judged by how well your kids score on 'the test'
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One thing that may help
Old 01-05-2012, 05:38 PM
 
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I'm not sure what grade level you are in, but at this time of year, this idea would work with first graders on up.

You do not need to meet with your highest group every day. That should help some.

A way to help get centers moving along is for the same grade level teachers to share their centers with each other or at least share their ideas. There are many centers that you can do that do not take as much time as others.

I'm curious if any posters who have responded have worked with their Reading Recovery teacher if your school has one. (RR is only for first grade.)

Good luck.
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No words of advice....
Old 01-06-2012, 05:02 PM
 
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but I sure feel better reading this. This is my 24th year of teaching, and I'm really struggling to feel like I'm teaching Reading correctly this year. Honestly, I'd love a Reading program similar to Saxon Math. Trying to figure out all the components of guided reading has worn me out this year.
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Guided Reading
Old 01-07-2012, 03:33 PM
 
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I loathe guided reading.
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My thing with guided reading
Old 01-07-2012, 04:54 PM
 
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I think sometimes we get too caught up with all the details of guided reading. I went to workshop about what each guided reading lesson should include, how the lesson should be structured, etc. I felt it was stupid...how can ONE lesson structure/model/content be good for every student and every teacher?

What I think we need to remember about guided reading is that we are helping individuals or small groups with literacy skills they struggle with. Different students need different things and whole group reading doesn't always meet those needs. I think we need to stop saying guided reading is this, it's that, it's not this, and just let teachers do what is best for their kids.

Do you have to do centers? I struggle with the idea of too much partner/group work during guided reading time because of the noise level. Instead, my students have a menu of literacy related tasks to chose from while I work with students on reading skills. I have them spread out and very few times do I have partner activities. If they need to ask for help from a friend or do a partner activity, they need to whisper and be a good distance away from where I am working with my guided reading groups.

Don't get me wrong, I think peer interaction when working on reading things is important...however, I save that for my "guided reading" groups. I do things with each group based on need. A lot of my groups just need work on fluency. Once their fluency improves, they will be able to jump at least 1 if not more reading levels. With the exception of 3 students, all of my 20 know the comprehension strategies like the back of their hand, use them a lot, etc. However, they are at a lower reading level because their fluency (lack of!) has prevented them from understanding texts at their level. Once they get their fluency up to par, they will have no problem understanding texts at or above their level. I have no doubt!
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Reading groups
Old 01-09-2012, 06:22 PM
 
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I too, have been teaching for a while now....22 yrs to be exact..... all in K. Guided reading didn't show up until about 11 years ago and I'm still fighting it. I did centers for years and got tired of all the prep, then read the Daily 5 book on my own and started last year (only 3 of us in my k-4 building did it last year). It has changed how I teach completely - so much easier to grab kids where they are and go forward. THey are all working at their level, all the time. I can grab a pack of books from the book room and pull a group anytime, mostly the lower kids, the higher ones are already reading good fit books on their own, so I don't pull them as often.
I think the difference is that I chose to try Daily 5 on my own, wasn't told to..... I would have completely resisted if it had come from above - the latest thing coming down the pike - jammed down my throat isn't the way to go!
I suggest you look at it again, it really does work and makes life Sooooo much easier...
Good luck,
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Old 01-12-2012, 04:16 PM
 
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I feel like I'm not "teaching" them if I don't see them every day! Is is just me, or does anyone else feel like that? And how can I get over it?

I am struggling with a "mini-lesson" of 10 minutes!

I know I'm an old dog, and it's hard for me to learn new tricks, but I just can't seem to wrap my head around it. It seems to me that if I don't meet with them, then they are teaching themselves how to read. Does that make sense? Or am I crazy?

Please help me with this!
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:44 PM
 
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You're not crazy! You're a concerned teacher!

"Fair is not always equal" is the mantra I have been saying for the last year or so... our low kids need more than our high kids - period. If you've taught your high kids to read independently, then they are getting the practice they need inbetween you meeting with them. Give them a goal to work towards and a date that you will be following up with them and stick to it - they will feel like big kids if you hold them to it.
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:47 PM
 
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I understand your feelings about seeing your kids everyday. A colleague of mine helped me to understand that by giving the top group a so-called adequate assignment, it would really be all right.

Ttop is right about
Quote:
If you've taught your high kids to read independently, then they are getting the practice they need inbetween you meeting with them. Give them a goal to work towards and a date that you will be following up with them and stick to it - they will feel like big kids if you hold them to it.
Additionally, after you have done this, you can move on to teaching your top group supportive follow-throughs on reading, such as responding to the reading and so forth which will extend the lesson, making it richer for the top group while again allowing you time for your lower kids.

At the risk of being run out of town... I have taught for 21 years, most of it at first grade, and I've taught reading only by guided reading, although I am familiar with other methods. I can understand the frustration with guided reading when I realize it would be just as difficult for me to try other methods as it is for several posters to use guided reading.
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Teaching Themselves
Old 01-14-2012, 05:37 AM
 
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I too am an "old Dog" who has been at this for 20+ years of which I taught Title I Reading for 20 of those years. The BEST way for any child to get better at reading is to read. The thing we have to do is to provide children with reading material at their level. I have come across few children who do not want to read. Give them material they have an interest in and material at their level and they generally will read. Guiding reading groups is a buzz word of the last decade and a half. Those of us in education know that education tends to have a pendulum that swings to the left then to the right and then back again repeating itself. While many so called new ideas have been brought to the surface, nothing that has "come to light" is really all that new.

Buss Word? Just ook at all the books for sale telling you how to teach reading (writing too), then look at the principals who jump on the bandwagon in order to get the students' scores to go up.

I specifically reach the vocabulary for strategies in reading, writing, and math because it is expected. A child tells me, "I used my five senses to help me remember what I read." I am not sure I can get this metacognition with all these children have to do after school in their lives. It's great if they can tell me, but I want to know are they remembering what they read? Do I get this in their reading responses? It is like pulling teeth to get these children to respond. Then there are the very bright children who write the minimal amount because they undersand what they read. Why? They read at lot.

Give children lots of time to read, because they do not do it at home either due parents having them on the go or because there is no reading material in the home.

Case in point: I have a second grader who told me, "Can I leave my books here at school? My mom don't want no books at home."

He has his own book shelf in my room at school.
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