Getting a signature by such an amazing children's author made me think about my love for reading. I love, love, love to read! I grew up in a home filled with books, newspapers, and magazines. We made numerous trips to the library. I was blessed with the natural ability to read. I don't remember learning how to read, and I don't remember a time when I couldn't read. But I know that not all children are quite so lucky. They struggle with reading and, therefore, hate to read. This breaks my heart.
As an upper elementary teacher, I've never really been in charge of teaching children to read. They've always come to me already reading. While most of the students in my room can read, they come with varying levels of reading skills. Most can read, but many still struggle with reading. I've found that guided reading is the perfect solution for meeting children where they are and improving their current reading skills.
This year has been a very gratifying experience for me, especially with the implementation of guided reading in my classroom. I've learned how to differentiate considerably with regard to reading skills and truly meet my students where they are. In turn, they have improved their reading skills and have learned to love to read. I've never heard students say, "This is fun," or "Can we read another book?" before. The students truly enjoy reading and the support they receive in their small guided reading groups.
With that being said, my students will be taking the STAAR test on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm sure they will do great...they've worked soooo hard this semester. Regardless of how they do on this test, it's really not the test that I believe is a true measure of how hard they have worked and how much they have improved in their reading skills. The test that really matters to me is the end of year DRA test that we will administer in the next few weeks. This test is a more authentic measure of a student's reading abilities. I believe that it is the test that will truly show just how hard my students have worked and how much improvement they have made since the beginning of the school year. Now if I can just remember this when test scores come out next year.