Today we are discussing Chapter 4 of our summer book study book, The Next Step Forward In Guided Reading. Today’s chapter is about working with early readers who are level D-I. In my district, our kindergarten benchmark is a level D. Each year 95% of my students reach that level and many go above the level D so this chapter will be helpful for helping those students during guided reading.
Who Are Early Readers?
Richardson describes emergent readers as reading on level D-level I. I think it’s important point out that she goes on to describe emergent readers by their skills as well. Our students are more than a reading level and we must always consider all of the information when providing guided reading instruction.
Early readers are becoming proficient in skills such as monitoring for meaning, retelling what they have read, reading and writing 60-80 sight words, and using a variety of strategies to solve unknown words. However, they are still learning to apply the foundational skills such as letters and sounds to decoding challenging words.
The Early Readers Lesson
Richardson suggests a 2 day cycle for your early readers with lessons lasting 20 minutes. Here is where I vary from her guidance a bit. As with my emergent readers, I will do the same book for 3 days because most of my students are ELL. I feel a 3 day cycle gives them much more confidence in their ability which is a huge component to becoming a great reader and writer. The 3 day cycle can also help them build fluency.
After the 3 days I spend the remaining 2 days of the week doing one on one lessons with the book and really targeting students and the areas they need additional support. I also only spend 15 minutes in guided reading groups because I’ve found that 15 minutes is pushing them on how long the students can focus. 15 minutes also means I can see every group every day (for the most part!).
The components of an early readers lesson plan are:
Introducing a book
Reading a book
discussing and teaching
Sight Words And Early Readers
One of the main pieces of the early readers lesson is sight words. Our approach to teaching sight words both in whole group and small groups/guided reading is built on our Sight Word 60 routine!
For the sight word review during guided reading, we will write the words instead of reviewing the words. This is a more challenging lesson and will make a bigger impact on our early readers. However, Richardson points out that this is not a test. If students cannot spell the word, we need to scaffold for them and help them spell the word correctly.
To see how we teach sight words in whole group, check out our Sight Word 60 routine!
Introduce A New Book
Provide an introductory statement. We have used this strategies for years and always include key vocabulary from the book. But Richardson goes a step further and suggests stating the main idea including the characters and problem. This was a major Oprah AHA moment for me. In the trainings from our district, I had always been given the impression to only provide minimal introduction to the book because anything more would remove the challenge and instruction our students needed to learn and grow. After reading this chapter I will be improving my book introductions by providing characters and problems!
Make predictions. This is HUGE, especially for our ELL students. We can build their schema and give them scaffolding to be a successful reader. One thing I do and Jan mentions is a guided picture walk to address unfamiliar concepts or words/pictures that I know will be confusing or not accessible to my students. Again, this provides scaffolding for success. And we point out sight words as we look at the pages.
One thing I like that Richardson does is to introduce new vocabulary! These are words that the students can’t decode and words not in their listening vocabulary. In my class of ELL students, vocabulary is a major stumbling block for my readers so this another area that I need to improve on in guided reading. The steps outlined in the book could work for whole group instruction as well. (People, my mind is turning about how to make this a systematic piece of our literacy instruction….I’m inspired, ya’ll! Look out!)
Introducing New Vocabulary To Early Readers:
write the word on a dry erase board and pronounce the word
students repeat the word
discuss the meaning using illustrations/examples from the book
read the word in a sentence in the book
make connections to students’ personal experiences
Encourage independent reading as you listen to the students and provide them 1-2 minutes of conferring. If they finish, they can read the book again!
Discuss the book. Have a CONVERSATION about the book. This is exactly what I do in whole group read alouds. We have a conversation about our books because it’s much more natural. I can guide the conversation with questions and think alouds and prompts, but the kids are driving the conversation. Why not bring this into guided reading as well?! AHA MOMENT!
This is the final part of day 1. Students work on phonemic awareness and phonics. This is one area of guided reading where I feel very confident in my ability. But again, I vary from Richardson. For the word study, I target the skills my students need to work on AND I incorporate our phonics skill from our whole group instruction as well. This provides some targeted, intense, differentiated instruction in our phonics skills. Our district is really pushing phonics for kindergarten and so I like pulling our whole group skill into guided reading as well.
For us, this works out seamlessly because of our TKS BOOTCAMP curriculum. When I created the curriculum, I created whole group lesson and small group lessons. We can use the small group components during the word study portion of guided reading! Each of the BOOTCAMPS comes with a word building component that is great for whole group lessons but is incredibly effective and useful for guided reading instruction!
Another tool that comes in handy for our guided reading groups are our blending cards. These cards provide scaffolding and practice for blending words.
For more on our TKS BOOTCAMP curriculum, check out this post!
Emergent Readers Day 2
Now, lets talk day 2 of the lesson which is sight word review, reading and discussing the book but it also includes guided writing. As I have mentioned before, writing was the one piece of guided reading that our district says is optional but Richardson says it’s very important so this is an area I want to focus on! I like the idea of the writing journals made from paper (HELLO SIMPLE!) and drawing the lines to help students write. This is definitely something I will implement!
A few other takeaways….for word work, Richardson suggests picture sorting which is something we do a lot of in guided reading and is something integrated into our TKS BOOTCAMP curriculum, especially when working with cvc-e/silent-e words. On page 136, Richardson discusses analogy charts where you add E to a short vowel word to make it a silent-E word. We do this in whole group during our Vowel Bootcamp but now I can pull that into guided reading! I am loving how much this book is affirming our bootcamp curriculum and giving me new ways to use our bootcamps in guided reading!
Day 2 of the lesson is for building fluency! This is an area where I feel my students do well in because of our use of poetry and sight word readers during our Shared Reading time!