Guided Reading Essentials: Summer Book Study

We are officially kicking off our Summer Book Study with Abigail from Kindergarten Chaos!   This summer we chose Jan Richardson’s The Next Step Forward In Guided Reading!   Today we are discussing chapter 1 which is all about guided reading essentials!

What Is Guided Reading?

On page 13, Richardson gives this definition of guided reading:  “a small group differentiated instruction that supports students in developing reading proficiency.”  Working in small groups allows to provide targeted instruction to our students to address their challenges as readers.  It also provides us time for one on one work with the children in each group.

Now for some real talk.  Guided Reading is my biggest weakness.  I struggle with making that 10-15 minutes effective and beneficial.  I am confident in choosing my groups and choosing texts for each group and helping them read but I know there is much more I could be doing to help my readers.  And that is why we chose this book….because Mr. Greg needs this more than anyone!

For more information on my guided reading groups and how they’re organized, check out this post:

guided reading

A Balanced Reading Program

One of my biggest take-aways from this chapter is that I am doing a great job of creating a balanced reading program (and I bet most of us are!).  Chapter 1 talks about read alouds, shared reading, and independent reading, all of which are very present in our classroom.

A whole group read aloud is a MUST DO if we want to build readers and writers.  It is the single most effective thing we can do to foster language development and a love of reading in our class.  Read alouds build motivation, models fluent reading, allows students to engage in discussions about text and can be a lot of fun!

Shared reading is another type of whole group reading using big books, charts, poems, and texts displayed on white boards.  Shared reading is a time to teach skills and strategies, increase fluency and support our students as they read.  In our classroom, our shared reading is done daily with a poem and an emergent reader.  Check out this post to see what that looks like in our classroom (and grab your own file of FREE poems and emergent readers!)

Students should have opportunities throughout the day to choose texts to read that they want to read.  No levels.  Just books they enjoy.  This builds motivation and fosters a love of reading.  Self selected texts can build fluency and can build sight word recognition!    In our classroom, our students can choose any book from our classroom  library to read.  They can read their library book or they can read books from their book bags!   To see how we set up our classroom library to be very kid friendly and teacher friendly, check out this post!

guided reading

Making Guided Reading Work

In order for guided reading to work in my classroom, my students have to be able to work independently and not interrupt me during these valuable minutes of guided reading!   In our classroom we accomplish this independence with our literacy centers.  Our centers are managed in a way that gives students a great deal of choice and voice in their learning.  The choice gives them freedom and buy-in.  When our students have buy-in we empower them.  When we empower them they are more focused and more engaged.   The more engaged our students are, they less likely they will be to interrupt us!

To see how we set up and manage our center time, check out this post:

kindergarten centers

Another key to the success of guided reading is to limit interruptions.  And we all know how much our kids need to tell us everything.  I mean EVERYTHING.  My favorite guided reading interruption this year was a little guy parading to the table during a guided reading group and announcing “Today I am not wearing underwear!”  Of course we all laughed and that group was thrown off track.  I had tried lots of ways to limit interruptions but nothing worked.  Then one day the light bulb (literally) clicked on.

The Guided Reading Stoplight 

Our students are so visual so why not give them a visual that means STOP!  And what says STOP to a 5 year old?  A RED LIGHT!  I use a lamp with a red light bulb.  If the red light is on that means you can’t come to my table.  You have to ask your friends for help!  There are, however, 3 situations that mean you can interrupt Mr. Greg:   you’re hurt, you’re in danger or you’re dead.  Everything else you and your friends can handle.  If you’re sick, go to the bathroom because if you get sick on Mr. Greg, he gets sick on you.  And that ain’t pretty, folks!

To see more on our stop light, check out this post:

And finally here are my overall takeaways from Chapter 1:

For some more information on guided reading, here are some additional posts to check out:

Guided Reading Supplies

Guided Reading Area

Remember to check out Kindergarten Chaos to read Abigail’s thoughts on chapter 1.

And join us both on Facebook for more discussion on chapter 1!

You can find the Kindergarten Smorgasboard on Facebook HERE!

You find Kindergarten Chaos on Facebook HERE!

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