This week has continued to be a learning experience for me and the guided reading method. So I'll just jump right in with all I've learned, contemplated, and considered.
First of all, I purchased two new books this weekend.  I've been using Pinterest or my own ideas to create all of my Work on Writing ideas for the rotations that my students do while I'm working with my groups. While it's nice to create my own materials to meet my students' needs, it's also very time consuming. So, I'm excited to be able put these resources to use in my classroom. Unfortunately, I already have the next two weeks worth of rotations planned out so I won't be able to put my new books to use for a few weeks.

I've also been comtemplating the place of guided writing during my small group reading times. Writing is a huge component of reading and literacy. So, my question became, "How much writing should I do with each group?" I see two of my groups at least 4-5 times per week. However, with the other three groups, we only meet twice per week. I decided to conduct an experiment of sorts with my guided reading groups this week. I decided to keep the same book that we read last week for all of my groups. This week we would solely be concentrating on writing activities  related to the book we read last week. Some of the activities I'm planning to do with my groups include vocabulary word work (writing definitions and sentences), completing a five finger retell which will lead us into writing a full summary, and completing a cause and effect flow chart.

Another issue I've contemplated is: how do I grade the guided reading and writing that I do together with the students? I do grade the students on a few of the activities that they complete independently during their daily five rotations, but I don't take any grades for the time that they spend with me. My problem is, we spend a LOT of time reading and writing together and this leaves little time for independent reading. The term guided reading and writing holds extremely true for me and my students because I want to guide them to be better readers and and writers. I will say that I have managed to get plenty of reading grades each week, I just wish there was an easy way to give a grade for what we are doing during our guided reading groups. I think I will use this weekend to look through my guided reading books and the guided reading websites I've found to see what they reocmmend.

Finally, I've learned that I absolutely LOVE guided reading and my students do too!It's not often that students come back to read
I decided to create this site to fulfill a requirement for a course that I am taking this semester. It is a practicum and requires that I create "something" technology related. Currently, I am a third grade teacher. Specifically, I teach reading, writing, spelling, and social studies.  

This year, my principal asked that all reading teachers use the guided reading method of teaching reading. We embarked on several book studies at the end of last year, met together over the summer to discuss how we would be implementing guided reading, and even had someone from another district skilled in the use of guided reading come talk to us. Despite all of this preparation, I still felt ill equipped to really implement guided reading like it should be in my classroom. If truth be told, I really didn't fully implement it and really start using it until the second semester.  

You see, it seemed like every time I sat down to work with a group, despite my best efforts, I could not get myself together enough to carry it through. I'd meet with a group here and there, an individual every now and then, and could never quite get a good system going. I hated getting up and teaching for almost two hours straight, but I just could not conceptualize in my brain how it would work otherwise.  

One book that we read at the end of last year was The Daily Five by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. This is a phenomenal book that basically set up five literacy "centers" within a classroom. The five centers include: read to self, read to someone, listen to reading, work on writing, and word work. The students in the classroom are to independently pick from the five stations and work there while the teacher individually conferences with other students around the room. I had implemented the Daily Five in my classroom at the beginning of the year, but I was still unable to really work with groups like I wanted to.  

Over the Christmas break, my mind began to clear and I was finally able to create a doable game plan that combined guided reading groups and the daily five. I ended up finding a fantastic resource called, "The Guided Reading Guru" at the Teachers Pay Teachers web site that ultimately helped me create my groups. Once I had my groups created (I have five groups per class), I decided that my students needed some more structure to the daily five. So, I created a rotation chart and the students no longer have a choice of what they go to each day. They simply rotate through three of the daily five centers each day. During those rotations, I am able to meet with three different groups each day.  

I realize that this may seem extremely simple to many primary teachers, but I've never taught below third grade so this is a foreign concept to me. This is where the idea for this site was formed. I really wanted to create a site that would lead a teacher step by step through the process of implementing guided reading in their classroom. Please know that I am novice, just like you. I am still learning, just like you. At the same time, I hope to provide you with a game plan, so to speak, to at least get you up and going. I hope that I can perhaps save you some time and frustration so that you can begin guided reading with your students on day one rather than day 101.

    Meet Marti

    Marti is 3rd grade ELA, Reading, and Social Studies teacher at Willow Bend Elementary. She has been in education for the past 15 years. In addition to teaching 3rd grade, Marti has also taught 4th grade and has been the instructional technology specialist at her campus. This is her first year to use the guided reading method in her classroom.


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