I am so confused right now!! I'm used to guided reading being a part of the day... kind of like an invariable or a given. This board is always PACKED with people wanting to know what to do with their kids when they are with their reading groups. This summer I've read or re-read:
Reading Essentials (routman) The Art of Teaching Reading (caulkins) Reading with Meaning (Miller) Growing Readers (collins) -- not done yet
Not one of them has a time specifically for guided reading (that I can tell). I was kind of just ignoring that fact, but now, as I read this fourth and final book, I CANNOT ignore it anymore!
I just keep thinking-- if I didn't have to schedule a guided reading time, I would have a whole chunk of time freed up with which I could do a lot of things that I currently feel are squished into my schedule.
The big question is: What is guided reading's role in learning to read? I think it's a pretty important one, but not NEARLY as important as I used to think it was before I started Reader's Workshop. Before RW, I basically viewed it as my student's pathway to learning to read independently. Now, I view Reader's Workshop as the most important time of day for them, with guided reading an important extra secondary structure. If reader's workshop is the bridge to "the land of reading" , then guided reading would be like the steel supports that connect the bridge to the land.
So I'm left with what to do? I think I'm going to tinker with my schedule to see if I can possibly fit guided reading into reader's workshop. I think that maybe I'll only meet with each child with their guided reading group 1 time per week and any strugglers 2 times a week. All of the books above HAVE a guided reading element in their schedule, it's just that it doesn't have it's own time-- it's part of reader's workshop and there is not nearly as much emphasis on it. After all, I think of all the emphasis I have been putting on guided reading-- giving it a large block of time and then spending lots of time planning for the rest of the class in addition to planning for the groups. I want my focus to be on the groups-- not what the rest of the class will be doing.
the most, I have always struggled to balance my individual conference time with guided reading. One year I tried centers but it was way too much work for me... both in the preparation and helping the kids understand what to do. Otherwise, I have always used guided reading as a part of my reading workshop. I do, however, see so much benefit from groups of kids discussing common text that they have read independently. Once my kids are confident decoders, the role of guided reading changes. It becomes a vehicle for strategy/comprehension instruction that is an extension of the whole group mini lessons (and much more). Sometimes I feel that my individual conferencing becomes too piecemeal for the kids... I use the time to find an appropriate "teachable moment" but there is little flow from one of these moments to another. I do give the kids goals (something small to work on before our next conference) and try to monitor how well they meet them but I feel I get less continuity/thoroughness of instruction. The conferences really inform me about what I need to teach whole group and in guided reading, rather than being effective teaching tools on their own. This may be a result of my ineffectiveness with conferencing but I have lots of experience (and others seem to think I do it "well"). So, I try to do both during the workshop. I see my strugglers everyday for GR (short books, quick meetings). I try to see another group and conference with 2-3 kids.
My conferences used to run too long (have often used a modified form from Reading Essentials). So I streamlined them and don't always listen to kids read or have them retell too much. I find it most effective to have the student read a page or two silently, I read over their shoulder and have them tell me about what they just read (this technique is from Reading Essentials as well... I think). Then we discuss other bits about the book (problem, characters, etc.) and I may ask what they want me to help them with. I document all conferences on index cards mounted in a folder (one under each other). This year I want to write the short term reading goal in their reader's notebooks. I plan to add a page for these int he notebooks and have the kids mark through each goal as we decide together if they have mastered it. That will hold all of us more accountable and make easier reference for the child to know what to work on. This will only work with more fluent readers (I teach second grade now).
Sorry to be so long-winded... you just touch a cord and inspire me to articulate my thinking. This helps me focus...
You help me too! There really are not that many people who do NOT have a seperate time for guided reading-- either here on proteacher or at my school. I don't ever want to end up doing something just because "that the way I've always done it" or "because everyone else does." I think that the classroom schedule you describe is what I'm going for. In Lucy Caulkins and kathy Collins, for first graders, they have independent workshop, followed by partner reading. During the independent reading they conduct individual conferences, and during the partner time they conduct a guided reading group or two. Their partner work is phenomenal... I don't know if I'll be able to replicate the level of talk and depth of understanding that they bring their kids to during this time... but I"m going to try.
Thanks for sharing what works for you... that really helps me see a little more clearly!!
Bookmuncher, this is exactly what I've been struggling with--how to fit guided reading and reading workshop into everything else. I recently attended a weeklong college course that used Lucy Caulkins and Collins theories. I've worked and reworked my schedule so many times since that class (only three weeks ago). Our school began this week--so I've seen my kids three days. However, I actually did mini-lessons yesterday and today on doing picture walks. The kids already have three books in their individual book baskets (one is a guided reading set that I have enough copies of for everyone) and two from our bears basket. The kids went to the floor and did a wonderful job of browsing, picture reading, etc. I was so impressed. Then I let them share with a partner (partner reading). After this was so successful, I felt like things would fall into place. I think I will continue with this: mini lesson, individual reading, partner reading, and reading response journals (I have to fit this in somewhere). Then we can all come back for a short sharing time. I will do this in the morning (after shared reading with our required basal). That will leave the afternoons for literacy stations. I figure if I run short on time for guided reading, I could always pull some during the literacy stations in the afternoon. I really enjoy hearing all you have to say--you are helping lots of us. Thanks.
I struggled with this all of last year too. I think this year, but since I have second grade this may not work as well in first grade, I will meet with struggling readers 2-3 times a week and for the other readers if I have at least one reading conference or strategy lesson to reinforce the mini lesson a week. And once the year gets going, I meet with the higher readers lit circle at least once a week. I tried to meet with everyone all the time last year and I drove myself nuts. This year I am going to devise a schedule and stick to it. Even though I may not stick to the exact strategy if something else comes up, I will stick to the time frame.
I really believe that having the sharing and reflection time helps with this because it reinforces strategies for others and shows students what they need to do to become stonger readers. I keep antedoctal records of this time and am able to get so much info for report card time. I use this everyday and it is the best 15 minutes ever spent.
Yes... I think I may be moving towards your way of doing it. I could easily meet with my strugglers everyday almost b/c they are reading AB level books with very few words on page. That would also enable me to meet with one other group at a time each day.
The big problem I'm still faced with is: My title one students HAVE to be pulled out for 30 min. a day. They used to leave during centers/ guided reading and I could catch up with them, but now, what do they miss???? I cannot think of one half hour block that I could sacrifice them at. I certainly will not have them missing reader's workshop. Just when you think you get it all figured out!!!
In our school, we are using our Reading Specialists (Reading Recovery Trained) to do literacy groups for any first grade readers below a DRA 4. They pull them at a set time each day but I dont want them to miss anything!
We just adopted Houghton Mifflin this year and are expected to use it. My grade seems set on doing a story a week with the spelling words that match. Anyone have any ideas on how to do this but with a more individualized/readers workshop approach? I was thinking of introducing the story to the whole class then let those I think should be able to read it go off in pairs and read it together. Then, depending on the number of students who need guidance, I will sit with them and we will read it together in a guided or shared reading format. If the group is too large, I would split them with my TA.
When you do reader's workshop, do you teach sight words, grammar, phonics whole group? Or some other way? Thanks for any insight into this. I have not used reader's workshop (per se) but think I have elements of it in my classroom.
I have been toying with the very same questions in my schedule. There just doesn't seem like there is enough time to do everything.......we also have to fit in Message time and OG or Phonemic Awareness....so I am having nervous anxiety. I like your idea of doing guided reading during the time allotted for partners....however, on the K level I will not be starting partner conferring until a little later in the year< or until at least my children know what they should be looking at in conferring with partners.......something like that entails a lot of modeling. I will have however, several children coming in reading or ready to start, so I need to have guided reading in place. I also need a block of time for my own sanity that I can work with my strugglers daily. Combine this with Breakfast and the formentioned activities and I am a little nuts!
Have you read "The Daily 5" by Moser and Boushey?
I struggled for ages to try and fit my guided reading (Read Well) into a schedule that was valuable to the children. I began by giving the other students table activities while I taught my guided reading groups but soon realized that this was just busy work. I then tried centers and found it both time consuming to plan, too noisy to do guided reading groups, and hard to monitor learning. I then read "The daily 5" and I am amazed at the time that has been freed up for me to do guided reading groups (they suggest one-on-one conferences but my district mandates RW), the kids are taking responsibility for their learning, they are on task, quiet, motivated and the content of their work is amazing. Its a great book easy to read and WORKS!