Monday, March 2, 2015

How I Run Guided Reading

As with anything else in teaching, my guided reading groups have evolved over the past 12 years. When I think back to the chaos that was once group time, it makes me giggle!  Teaching is trial and error, and I think I had a lot of errors way back when!  Today I want to take some time to share with you how I currently run my groups.  I use currently loosely because this could change next year with cuts/positions lost, class size, etc...I will also answer some commonly asked questions about my group time.

I always begin with assessment.  With the help of our support staff, I administer running records.  We use Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading Leveling Kits.  These come with a fiction and non-fiction book for each level.  We have had these kits for several years now and I really like them.  The books are in color and are high quality, professionally written text.  We re-assess quarterly.  Once all students are assessed, I look at my range.  This is always fun.  Did you sense my sarcasm?  Way back when, I used to be hell-bent {excuse my French} on grouping ONLY A students together and ONLY F students together, etc...but, with time I realized that my groups don't have to be that rigid.  Now, I group "like" students together that are close in level.  So for example, I have a group of level A and level B students.  We work on both level A and level B skills in group because they all can benefit from skills at both levels and what does a refresher hurt?  I'll usually start with the easier of the two texts and we'll transition to the harder of the two texts after a few weeks.

How do I group my kids?

I try to have as few groups as possible, because time is of the essence these days and ain't nobody got time to run 10 groups.  By themselves.  I will give you an example of my current groups for 3rd quarter.  Let's just admire that range, shall we?  I teach in a Title I school, so there is always a GIGANTIC range of ability levels.  Many come to 1st grade unprepared because they came to kindergarten unprepared {didn't attend pre-school}, know.  The never-ending catch-up game.  Anyhow, below are my current groups:
  • Pre-Reader
  • Level C
  • Levels E/F
  • Levels I/J
  • Level K
  • Above level K

Do I have any help with Guided Reading groups?

I do have a little help for guided reading, but that help comes with a lot of flexibility on my part.  My students leave at various times throughout the day to go to their groups.  This takes many a re-do of my schedule each quarter.  Frustrating, yes, but I want my kids going to groups and with minimal support, a girl's gotta do what is best for kids.
  • I meet with my pre-reader twice a week.  He meets with a support staff member 5x a week. 
  • I meet with my little level C group 5x a week.
  • I meet with my level F group 5x a week.
  • A support staff member meets with my levels I and above groups 2-3x a week and they work on beginning chapter books.
  • My students on level K work on Accelerated Reading 2-3x a week.  I use a schedule with them that doesn't allow for more than 3 students to be doing AR on any given day.  I only have 3 computers so it's nice to not have a crowd of students around them.
Do I meet with every child every day?

I do not meet with every student every day.  It logistically can't happen for me and I am ok with that. At some point in the year, I have met with every child.  As I mentioned above, our groups change quarterly, so I will be with some students one quarter and not again the next.  I will add that I do whole-group Phonics as well as whole-group Reading so all of my students are getting both of those daily.

When do I meet with my groups?

I have computer lab 2x a week for 30 minutes each time.  I meet with my pre-reader student during those days.  Everyone else is doing Headsprout or RAZ Kids.  

I meet with my levels E/F group during literacy centers.  This is not ideal, because there are some interruptions but it's better than nothing!  We meet for about 25 minutes 5x a week.  *NOTE-I did not start using my center time to meet with groups until 3rd quarter.  Prior to that, my students still needed monitored during center time.  

I meet with my level C group during silent reading.  The room is very quiet during this time, so it's perfect for group.  We meet for about 30 minutes 5x a week.

How do I organize my supplies?
I have a 10-drawer cart where I keep my supplies.  I have a drawer for each of my groups that holds the books and activities we'll work on through the week.  I keep my Differentiated Graphic Organizers on hand, as well, as I use them frequently.  I keep my individual student supply bags handy for the kids to use as we need them, which is daily!

What materials do I use during Guided Reading?
In addition to the leveled books, I use some good ole' regular supplies that most of you use during groups {slates, chips, whisper phones, etc...}.  I also use materials that I have created.  I use lots of things from my Guided Reading Resources pack as well as things from my new, growing Guided Reading Bundle.  Currently, Pre-Readers , Levels A & B , Level C , Level D, and Levels J/K are finished in my growing bundle.  To see what they include, you can look below or head to my TpT store.  **The growing bundle will be going off sale very soon!**  FYI!  

These and more included in the Pre-Readers pack.
These and more included in Levels A-B pack

Purchase early to snag a great deal!
See what people have been saying about the bundle:

Questions?  Leave them below!


Alicia said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates
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Alicia said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I loved this post!! For your students that are level I and above you stated they were working on beginning chapter books. What kind of activities are they working on at this time? Thanks!

Lori said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I enjoyed reading about your guided reading time! You made me laugh about using the word "currently". I am always tweaking and changing things up a bit too. So what I do this year may be different (and usually is) from last year, last month even at times!
Conversations in Literacy

Jennifer said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks for sharing your guided reading group information! I always love looking at what other teachers are doing for their guided reading groups! I love how you broke it down and really explained what you do in your room. Your guided reading bundle looks great! This would be perfect for my firsties!! I will have to go look at it on TPT.


Amanda said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great post! I know what you mean about such a wide variety of levels. Every year they seem to range from the pre-PRE-readers to above grade level. You are lucky to have so much time to meet with all your groups! I usually only have about 30 minutes a day for groups ( 2 groups a day for 15 minutes each).

First Grade Garden

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