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Weaning Myself off the Basal

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Kacie409 Kacie409 is offline
 
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Weaning Myself off the Basal
Old 07-21-2017, 04:44 PM
 
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We have the option this year to either use or not use our basal (Reading Street). I would love to completely move away from the basal, but I feel overwhelmed when I try to figure out the best way to do that. So, I'm thinking of making this a transition year. I'm thinking of picking the stories I like best, and then spending two weeks on each of those stories. This will allow me to blend some of the structure the basal provides with some other lessons and centers that I add. Does anyone already do this? If you spend two weeks on each story, what do those weeks look like? I would appreciate your advice.


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Old 07-21-2017, 06:04 PM
 
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I hear a lot about basals on PT, but in my 12 years of teaching I've never taught in a school with a basal. I'd love to help, but I need a little clarification. Are the stories read alouds or shared reading? Do you do guided reading? Do you have requirements about how to structure your reading block?

Here's what I do:

Morning work is focused on word study. Students are in different groups based on their 'Words their Way' assessment. 10mins

One student a day shares a book talk with the class. 5mins

Afterwards, we do 3 rounds of guided reading with only 3 center choices (partner reading, reading/listening to reading on ipads , and word work). 1hr

Then during reading workshop, I do a read aloud focused on some type of reading strategy (ex: making connections), next students reading independently to practice while I work with students, and then a quick share. 30-40 mins depending on the read aloud.

We have shared reading time which is usually a poem of the week or a readers theater 10min

Last, we have writing workshop which follows the same reading workshop format. 30mins
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Weaning off the basal
Old 07-22-2017, 02:31 AM
 
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I admire you for making this change ! It'll be a good one since basals don't usually meet the varied needs of our students. Your idea of transition is excellent.

Is the series "structure" standards based so that you're targetting the essentials? Maybe make sure of that. Do some written response kind of activities like character webs for example. This work can be the kinds of assignments students will do during reading workshop or whatever you're doing in place of basals.Then will there be time for independent reading or guided reading?

Sounds like you're getting ready for an important transition. Keep posting back here for more ideas.
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Two Weeks on one story?
Old 07-22-2017, 07:47 AM
 
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I am not sure what that would look like. My third graders would have gotten bored with talking and analyzing the same text for two weeks. Isn't it our job to keep them excited about reading? If they like reading in class then maybe, just maybe they will chose to read for pleasure at home. The more you read the better reader you become. JMO I do agree that using something besides the basal is best for the students.
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:49 AM
 
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I would try to order sets of real books at different levels that you could do small group guided reading or book clubs with and focus on a comprehension skill for a few weeks at a time


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Reading Street Leveled Readers Only
Old 07-22-2017, 02:15 PM
 
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We ended up doing this last year around October when we realized that our basal didn't work with the new pacing guide our district provided. At all. We have Reading Street as well...

So we scratched it and it was a rough year. I don't feel like I did my kids a service because we were kind of winging it...but here's what we're planning for this year.

We will continue to use the leveled readers for guided reading groups. They're leveled and for the most part, go with our content. We will also use some outside reading passages that go with our science and social studies content.

This is tentatively what our team has laid out:

10 min- Vocabulary Instruction
15-20 min - mini-lesson <- this is focused on the skill of the week per our pacing guide, mostly
25 min - guided reading group (this will be focused on the skill of the week...but will be leveled...other students will be reading independently and working on a quick "must do" activity for the day
25 min - second guided reading group
5 min - wrap up/reflection

In guided reading, you will be using the Reading Street leveled readers and whatever passages you'd like to teach guided reading. The kids will be reading an independent book on their own that they'll use to practice the skill of the week on their own.

Not sure if this helps...it took last year of working through some ideas to come up with this. We will see if the timeline works or not.
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Two Weeks on One Story?
Old 07-23-2017, 07:08 AM
 
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If I did teach one story for two weeks I would pull in other literature that made connections to add interest. You could find a picture book to read aloud to the class that made a connection in some way. Then discuss and write about those connections. A good poem would also work if you could find the right one. Also you could focus on one aspect of the featured story and find a nonfiction connection. For example if the story is set during World War II you could read them some NF about the war. Or if the conflict of the story is a storm you could read NF about storms. Comparing fiction with NF would be interesting and get the kids really thinking and making connections which helps comprehension,
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What grade?
Old 07-23-2017, 09:30 AM
 
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Your profile says 4 to 6. But what grade are we talking about?

I bought books in sets like teacher0279 talked about. I focused on one genre at a time. That way we study the traits of that one genre together while each group enjoys a different novel.

For example we study the genre of mystery. I use a few read alouds during our study as mentor text. We read Grandpa's Teeth, Private I. Guana and The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History. We discussed the difference between fiction and non fiction mysteries and the traits of mystery.

Then my lowest readers read Nate The Great. My middle readers read one of the Cam Jansen series. Then my high readers read one of The Boxcar children's mysteries.

If we had a mystery in our basal we read that as well and made connections with other mysteries.

Organizing a year of reading through genres made planning easier. I was also able to buy novels a few at a time this was focusing on one genre at a time to build my classroom novels for instruction,
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Kacie I doing the same thing this year
Old 08-02-2017, 06:51 AM
 
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I am used to the structure of either a basal or direct instruction (Reading Mastery). This year, like you, I would like to use better literature and I'm finding it overwhelming. I don't have any advice, but I just wanted to chime in to let you know you're not the only one. So far I've gotten awesome help from the people on these boards!!
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Guided reading or literature circle
Old 08-11-2017, 07:54 AM
 
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1956, when you had your lower readers read Nate the Great, the middle read Cam Jansen, and the high read Boxcar Children, how were they doing this... was each group reading with you in a guided reading group? I know I will have kids who are 1 to 2 grade levels behind in reading, so I am trying to make sure I meet their needs. In the past I was teaching the direct instruction/reading mastery, which is awesome for struggling readers. But I'd say half of the stories are kind of blah. But they really learn how to read. This year I'm going to be trying to use "authentic literature" but it's very overwhelming and I'm also trying to figure out what literature to use for my lower readers in a guided reading group.


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Old 08-11-2017, 04:18 PM
 
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Nate the Great, Cam Jansen, and Boxcar Children are all books that I've pulled for reading group as well. In the lower grades especially, it's crazy how far apart they are in terms of their reading skills. Last year, I had to have 6 reading groups because one student was reading level A books (like..."This is a dog. This is a cat." while way on the other spectrum I had a student who could read Boxcar Children chapter books. I met with 4 groups each day. The lowest groups met every day. While the higher groups alternated.
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Yes, they read with me
Old 08-18-2017, 06:49 AM
 
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at least most of each chapter. There were times when Nate the Great was difficult for a student. However, that student also received reading instruction from a reading specialist on a daily basis as well. So he or she got double dipped for reading instruction. When they went to the reading specialist they read on their instructional level. Then they worked on decoding. But with me they worked on comprehension and just enjoyed a grade level or slightly below piece of literature. Hopefully that helped they stay interested in reading. It took a great deal of support to get through the book for some students, even in the lower reading group. But they loved being a part of the class and learning about the same genres at the same time as their peers.

By teaching the genres in reading groups they learned what genres they enjoyed reading more. They also learned what to expect from each genre. This helped with comprehension.

My main goal was to get as many students liking books as I could. Before I retired I read a great deal of children's literature. I knew many books and authors so I could help them find books they liked. I read aloud just a little of a chapter book daily. I also read picture books for content in SS, science and math. I wanted them engulfed in literature.


I can only handle three reading groups a day with time constraints so that is what I did. I saw all three groups daily because I felt that was the fair thing to do. The high readers deserve instruction too and need to show growth over the school year. JMO But many times the low group spent more time with me than the higher groups.

In reality I felt like I taught reading all day long! It is such a big transition year for reading comprehension. I taught non fiction reading comprehension strategies in SS, science and math so they could also learn the content. I had many students who could calculate in math but when it came to understanding a word problem and how to solve, they were lost. So we spent a great deal of time reading math problems and discussing what they were asking you to do to solve.

Hope I said something helpful.
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Super Core
Old 08-18-2017, 07:44 AM
 
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I recommend the book Super Core. It lines out how to blend your basal with reading and writing workshop. The book has sample schedules, directions, and more. Great book!
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Old 08-19-2017, 07:58 AM
 
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Thank you 1956 that sounds like exactly what I want to do...engulf them in literature. I have tried to read a lot of children's literature over the summer. But now that school's about to start in 5 days, and I have had a chance to look at the kids who will be in my class, I'm getting very nervous. There will be many kids in my class with some severe behavior problems. So naturally I feel like I want to go with what I know, which is of course the SRA reading mastery. But while I feel like it does a great job of teaching them how to read, I really think it is important to get them to love to read. I mean I have always had lots and lots and lots of children's books for the kids to read, and I've always read to them, but actually teaching the reading group with children's books is brand new to me. And with some of their behaviors I know that if I'm not completely confident with what I'm doing, some of them will go for the jugular . Anyway, now I am rambling. Thank you so much for your ideas, I will continue to try to learn from them.
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Reading a book aloud to help teach reading
Old 08-19-2017, 06:28 PM
 
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As you read you just do think alouds. Share what you are thinking.

Oh, okay, the setting is today in NYC. Did everybody catch that?

What is the main character's name? Do you remember? Yes, it is Sally. We don't hear that name often today.

What can you tell me about Sally? You are right the author did tell us she is eight years old.
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