Can I tell you a secret? You will not treat all the data you collect in your classroom the same. You may have district benchmarks, end of unit assessments, reading inventories and more to conduct, but the reality is you only have so much time in your day to analyze and do something with the data you collect. Although you may look at all that data and take it into consideration you do have to prioritize which data is going to carry the most weight in your classroom so that you can make the most informed decisions for your students.
The most often used and often most reliable is that of a running record or reading inventory. This is where the teacher has the student read a piece of text to them and observes their reading behaviors. The teacher is looking to see what the student does when they come to a word that they don’t know, does the student read fluently, make minimal reading errors and understand what they read. This is all useful information that helps the teacher know what their student needs to move on to the next reading level.
After the running record data is collected teachers should keep that information on a tracking sheet so that they can then use that information to make instructional decisions. If a teacher notices a pattern across their entire class then these are lessons that need to be taught in the whole group mini lessons. For example, if the class as a whole struggled with retelling then a class mini lesson or series of mini lessons about what it means to retell the story would benefit their students. On the other hand if only a handful of students struggled with fluency then those students would benefit from being grouped together and conducting guided reading lessons especially if they fall within the same reading levels.
Guided Reading Defined
Guided reading is a chance for teachers to work with students in a small group setting with no more than six students reading at the same instructional reading levels or closest instructional reading level. You will choose a target skill or strategy depending on the needs of the group.
Guided reading consists of three main components: Before Reading, During Reading and After Reading. This takes place while other students read independently. Each group should be in between 20 to 30 minutes of actual instruction time. Be sure to build in time to circulate and check in on other students during transitions.
Before Reading: Introduce the book and words students may not know or have trouble with. Model strategy that will be used during the reading lesson. These activities will vary depending on the reading level of the students you are working with.
During Reading: Students read with prompting. Each student whisper reads to themselves while you touch base with each student to check and see what coaching they need.
After Reading: Recap the strategy. Engage in guided writing related to the strategy taught today. If appropriate explain that students need to use the strategy taught when reading independently.
**Note that during reading you are looking to help coach your students in the strategy that you just taught, but things may also come up so use your discretion to decide if you are going to help them with the pressing needs or the strategy that you are teaching. For example a student may be struggling with decoding or fluency and you might want to address that or just notate that and teach a strategy to address that the next time that you meet with them in guided reading.
In person resources: You will use leveled text to work with your students. I prefer using books to articles especially for students in younger grades. Most reading basal programs come with leveled text. Check to see if your campus has a guided reading closet or room that you can check out books from.
Digital resources: Reading a to z has digital books and text in English and Spanish. Pioneer valley books, oxford owl and Epic offer digital books that you can read with students and then drop into your lms portals.
Digital Delivery Options
I would highly recommend that you deliver your guided reading instruction in a synchronous platform to allow for real time feedback for students.
Asynchronous-You could record your lesson with prescribed books for students and assign follow up activities for students to complete. You could also teach students how to record themselves reading the book so that you can provide feedback on their reading behaviors.
Synchronous-Make sure all of your digital resources are ready to go before loading google meets or zoom. Familiarize yourself with breakout rooms so students can read their books without distractions from others in the meeting and you can confer with them in real time. You could utilize digital text or provide book bags for students to use leveled text. Make sure students know in advance what materials they would need to bring to your meeting time.
Have a Plan
Guided reading is such an important time in a student’s day. It is crucial to have a plan. Using a template is one way to make sure that you are prepared for all of the components of guided reading and will also help you keep track of your students and their varying needs.
Curriculum publishers will often provide teachers with ready made guided reading lesson plans, which is great. The only problem is that they don’t know your students, their needs, your time constraints, your district timeline or your state standards.
Grab your leveled text, guided reading resource and this template then choose only those components that you need to deliver your lesson.
Use your reading data to make decisions about your students instructional needs. Decide how your findings will inform your mini lessons or guided reading groups. Reach out to me on social to let me know how it worked for you or click here to work with me and I can guide you through this process.