We are continuing our Summer Book Study with Abigail from Kindergarten Chaos! This summer we are studying Jan Richardson’s The Next Step Forward In Guided Reading! Today we are discussing chapter 2 which is all about Pre-a guided reading lessons.
What Is A Pre-A Reader?
On page 26, Richardson describes a Pre-A reader as knowing fewer than 40 uppercase and lowercase letters. These readers also struggle with concepts of print, the difference between a letter and a word, writing their name and correct letter formation. In my class, a vast majority of my students enter kindergarten as a Pre-A reader.
Assessment: Prior To Pre-A Guided Reading Lessons
Before we can begin planning our Pre-A guided reading lessons, we need to assess our students to know what they know and where they need help. We use ESGI to our assessment. ESGI is a computer based, one on one assessment tool that makes assessing fast and easy. As soon as I finish testing a student, I get instant data and know how many letters the student knows as well as what letters they missed. This makes preparing my guided reading lessons much more efficient and means more time for teaching and less time assessing!!
For more on ESGI and how I LOVE ASSESSING check out this post!
Trace An Alphabet Book
One of the first things Richardson discusses for your Pre-A guided reading groups is tracing an alphabet book. I read this idea in Jan’s first book years ago and made an alphabet book for my students to trace. And the results are amazing! Jan shares some data in chapter 2 about using the tracing book and I will say I have the same results using the tracing book. To see our letter tracing book in action and get your FREE download, check out this post! (Click the image below!)
As I read about the tracing book, I had a full circle moment. Like a Smorgie Epiphany. On page 32, Richardson is discussing the tracing book and shares the results from a school where 86% of students are on grade level at the end of the year. She directly relates that to the students learning their letters and sounds fast. This is the exact reason I created our TKS BOOTCAMP CURRICULUM starting with ABC BOOTCAMP! I knew if I could give my students access to their letters and sounds in 26 days, their reading and literacy skills would soar. And that’s exactly what our data shows each year.
For more on ABC BOOTCAMP, check out our TKS BOOTCAMP page!
Pre-A Guided Reading Lessons: 4 Components
There are 4 components in your 20 minute pre-a guided reading lessons:
names and letters
Working With Names And Letters
Richardson suggests using names and name puzzles to help students with writing their name, letters and sounds. You can use name puzzles that get more challenging as they master their names. Students can rainbow write their names and build their names with magnetic letters. Students can identify letters in their names, locate letters in their name, spell their names, etc.
For working with letters, students can match letter to an alphabet chart, put letters in a line and name the letters from left to right, find letters on an alphabet chart, name words that begin with that letter, find a letter that makes that sound or name the letter that begins with that word.
Here’s an example of matching letters to an alphabet chart: (To get this chart and more letter identification ideas, visit this post!)
Working With Sounds
Richardson suggests working on syllables, rhyming words and sorting by sound. However, this is one area where I disagree with the book. Instead of clapping syllables, I teach my students to count syllables on their arm. I have found clapping can be confusing so we count up our arm. We stretch out our arm. We start art the fingers for 1, the wrist is 2, elbow is 3 and shoulder is 4. If we need 5 syllables, we count our nose! I have found this to be more effective for my students than clapping! We actually do this whole group as well during ABC BOOTCAMP as we add words to our circle maps!
Working With Books
This is something that I feel like we struggle with when planning our pre-a guided reading lessons: giving kids books even if they “can’t read!” I give every child in every group a book from the start. They can’t learn to read if they don’t have books in the hands. We do picture walks. I love Jan’s suggestion to have the students discuss “what’s happening” in the pictures to build oral language skills! Jan says to do choral reading (not guided reading) with your pre-a students. Teach students to track print with a finger UNDER the word! Students read the simple text with you and then on their own as you assist. Finally address concepts of print. Locate words, letters, the period, first and last words on a page, etc.
For my pre-a students, I like to use our One Word Emergent readers to put books in their hands, build vocabulary and work on pointing to text!
We can work together to write a sentence. Make sure the sentence uses 4-6 words , relates to the book and includes letters and sounds you have been teaching. Draw lines to show how many words are in a sentence. Students help write the dominant sounds such as /m/ in made. While 1 student is writing the M the others can also write the letter to practice letter formation. How much students write of the sentence varies. Make sure you’re constantly teaching. Students rebuild the sentence.
Here are my takeaways from chapter 2:
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 2!
And join us both on Facebook for more discussion on chapter 2
You can find the Kindergarten Smorgasboard on Facebook HERE!
You find Kindergarten Chaos on Facebook HERE!
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Hi, Greg! Now that you’ve read Chapter 2, I’m interested in your thoughts on teaching the letters (via BOOTCAMP) in order or out of alphabetical order, as Jan suggests letter names that say their sounds are perhaps the easiest/most concrete way to start. This year, I taught them in order, but next year I’m thinking of doing them in the order our Fundations (phonics) program suggests. What are your plans going forward?
For syllables I also do not use clapping. I actually have the students hold their chins. However many times your chin goes down is the amount of syllables!!
Love both ideas for counting syllables… Thanks Nicole and Greg….I’m learning from & loving this summer book study…. thanks for sharing…