I am following up on the guided reading webinar I conducted a few weeks ago. As promised, I am breaking the webinar down into more digestible sections. Guided reading is a huge section and I don’t want you to feel like you are drinking from a fire hose.
Organizing Your Resources
I keep all of my guided reading lessons, running records, books, sentence work, and resources in binders by level. Note: Levels H-I are not pictured here.
Here is a peek inside of the binder. You can see day 1 of the book lesson on the right. Day 2 lesson and the blank running records are kept in the same section.
The books are kept in the front side of the pocket. Simple!
All of these books and binders can be found HERE.
Magnetic Letter Trays
For a few dollars at the dollar store, you can create magnetic trays. We use these for many lessons, but they are great for learning the high-frequency sight words. Once they are made, I don’t have to prep them further. All I need to know is the word we are going to work with. Time SAVER!
We use response journals as we also work on writing during our lessons. You can prep composition notebooks. I put their group number on a dot so I could easily find their notebooks.
Another simple option is to simply staple several pages together to make a little book. You can click HERE to download the cover in the picture below.
You can find all of the leveled texts, lesson plan, and more by clicking HERE.
Because there is a LOT of work to be done at the guided reading table, we can’t afford to lose a second. So I prepare a student supply box. These stay at my table. In this way, we don’t waste a moment looking for a pencil, scissors, or marker.
How To Form Groups
There is no way around it. Small group instruction is based on students’ needs. So you have to conduct assessments. Here is a list of assessments that help me determine how to group my students:
- Can they write their name? (observation/sample)
- Letters (I use ESGI)
- Sounds (I use ESGI)
- Sight Words (I use ESGI)
- Phonemic Awareness (I use ESGI)
- Concepts About Print (observation)
- Writing Sample
- Sentence Dictation Sample
- Running Records
Let’s start with ESGI. I have used their assessment system for years and I am 100% convinced that it has kept me out of the loony bin. Yes, kindergarten assessments take time to gather, but they tell us where we need to take our instruction. Otherwise, it is like taking medication with consulting a doctor or having tests done. Not every child needs the same lesson.
Gathering the data is fairly simple. You sit beside a student and ask, “What is this ____?” If they get it right, you click “Y”, if they get it wrong, you click “N.” This assessment is still given one-on-one, but you are pushing all of the buttons. Before ESGI, this took forEVER with flashcards or a list. But for some reason, this zooms faster on the computer or iPad.
So how do you manage that data? Quite honestly, before ESGI, I would put it in a “safe place” and waste time looking for it later or trying to form a teaching plan from it.
Here is an example of a parent report. A fantastic way to keep families in the loop!
Here is an example of a whole class report. With a click of a button, I can see EXACTLY what students know and what needs to be taught.
Even better, once I form my groups, I can move students into a small group in the system. This helps me form a solid teaching plan.
NOTE: I am an affiliate for ESGI, but this program is bake-sale-worthy. It is a game changer!
Running records are part of guided reading. By conducting a running record, you can make sure you stay in their zone of proximal development. You want to select a book that is not too hard and not too easy. So when I am trying to figure out which level to start on, I first look at the data from ESGI. If they have strong literacy skills, I start the first running record higher. Some students you will need to start at level AA and work your way up the levels until you find their instructional level.
Here is a running record that I conducted on a kindergarten student at a school I work with. I was trying to determine his instructional level, so estimated a reading level, then tested it out.
(SIDENOTE: I am in a hallway of a school and at one point a teacher walks by with bulletin board paper… it sounds like a train.)
Here is his running record. (I made an error in annotating the self-correction). The check mark and “M” should have been on line 6.)
Based on this assessment, I found he was independent at a level D. (95%-100% = Independent, 90%-94% = Instructional, Under 90%= Frustration). The running records for assessment reading level are done on a cold read. As long as their fluency and comprehension is adequate, you keep assessing until you find their instructional level. Subsequent running records found that he was at an instructional E.
You repeat this process until you have all of your students assessed.
Once you determine the levels you can form your groups! Each column represents a day of the week. Intervention groups should have the fewest members. This is my Group 1. I meet with them most often. Group 5 are my advanced group and they don’t need me as often. These students tend to work independently and can read longer texts.
What if I Have a Student Who Reads WAY above or WAY Below the Students in the Other Groups?
This can happen. I usually place them in a group that is the closest to their reading level, but I also meet with them independently. In this way, they are still learning the skills and strategies that take place in the small group. These can be applied later with a more appropriate text. Also, keep in mind… decoding text is just one part of the small group lesson. There is also comprehension, oral communication, phonics, and writing.
Webinar Replay and FREE Resource
You can view the entire Guiding Reading webinar below.
Since other students are working at stations, I have listed a few blog posts that will help explain how I run those activities for student independence:
You can find all of our Guided Reading books, lessons, word work and more by clicking HERE.