Fundamental Tool of Reading

Fundamental Tool of Reading

When we think about teaching reading, we often are caught up in the “teaching words” part of reading. Yes, being certain the students can read words is extremely important but using skills in reading is equally as important. Skills such as questioning, author’s purpose, point of view, using text features, and the list goes on.

Guided Reading is a fundamental tool in teaching students to comprehend what they read and become successful readers in every area. There is a special way I teach guided reading that is unlike many other teachers. We integrate the “how to read” portion into a skills-based lesson format. I focus on the skills, and while they are learning those, I am teaching other important things such as phrasing, inflection, and word knowledge.

How EXACTLY does this work? Well, I divide my students into Tier 1, 2, 3 and Above Level Students. Each lesson is approximately 20-30 minutes, depending on what your schedule allows for during the day. Below is a rotation schedule that I follow each day with my groups and I pair these with my literacy centers. When the students are in guided reading, the other students are doing literacy centers

NOTE: This rotation schedule would be for the first 10 weeks. Two more rotation schedules are included for the remainder of the year. 

What does each group do during their guided reading time?  

TIER 3 Students: (Mondays)

  • Choose the text level most appropriate for your students.  
  • Vocabulary: Choose any of the three dice vocabulary cards to use with the bold words in the text.
  • Before Reading: Teach the guided reading lesson.
  • During Reading: Have the students read silently but each takes a turn reading aloud to you. Ask them some of the questions stems provided. 

TIER 3 Students: (Wednesdays)

  • Vocabulary Review: Review the vocabulary words from the previous day.
  • Review Reading: Review the passage from the day before (without giving away any answers to the assessment)
  • After Reading Assessment: The students will complete the activity, share, and you will fill in the anecdotal record portion of the lesson.

TIER 2 Students: (Tuesdays)

  • Choose the text level most appropriate for your students.  
  • Vocabulary: Choose any of the three dice vocabulary cards to use with the bold words in the text.
  • Before Reading:Teach the guided reading lesson.
  • During Reading:Have the students read silently but each takes a turn reading aloud to you. Ask them some of the questions stems provided. 

TIER 2 Students: (Thursdays)

  • Vocabulary Review: Review the vocabulary words from the previous day.
  • Review Reading: Review the passage from the day before (without giving away any answers to the assessment)
  • After Reading Assessment: The students will complete the activity, share, and you will fill in the anecdotal record portion of the lesson.

TIER 1 Students: (Fridays)

  • Choose the text level most appropriate for your students.  
  • Vocabulary: Choose any of the three dice vocabulary cards to use with the bold words in the text.
  • Before Reading: Teach the guided reading lesson.
  • During Reading: Have the students read silently but each takes a turn reading aloud to you. Ask them some of the questions stems provided.
  • After Reading Assessment: The students will complete the activity, share, and you will fill in the anecdotal record portion of the lesson.

ABOVE LEVEL Students: (Fridays)

  • Choose a passageand questions for your students that best fits the skill for the week and the level of your students.
  • Give them the passage from the zip file to read in partners and have them answer the questions independently.
  • Once they are done with the questions, they can share with their group and discuss the answers they wrote.
  • (Basically a book club with a passage.)

Here is an example of all the three different levels of texts. They are essentially the same passage but differentiated by level to meet the needs of the different groups.  

Each passage is labeled with the Tier so you will know which group to place which passage with during the lesson. Above level students have a separate zip file of passages they will use during their guided reading time. 

Once, I have the skill in mind that I want to work on with my group, it is time to get busy! We dive right in with vocabulary first (after I introduce the passage to the students.) There are bold words in each passage to work through during the lessons. The students will roll a die during the vocabulary portion and complete the activity on the card.   

My entire lesson plan is already typed out. It makes it very easy to stay on track! I have a laminated copy of the rotation schedule nearby too, though.  The students are asked questions stems while reading. The students turn their chairs around so they are facing outward. This cuts down on the distraction while I am listening to them read. I go from student to student and their voice is projecting outward. The other students at the table are not able to hear the other child reading.  We do the vocabulary, before, and during reading portion on my first day with each group. The before reading is when I teach my mini-lesson on the skill for the day. Then the students read and I listen for areas where the students may be struggling.  

The next time I meet with a group, I do a review of the lesson before and the after reading portion (which is the activity such as graphic organizer, open-ended questions or multiple choice questions over the text.)

I always have the students share their “findings” (or activities) at the end. Then we discuss what they have learned and any other questions they may still have. Each skill is taught three times throughout the year. First, using graphic organizers. Next, doing open-ended questions. Lastly, doing multiple choice questions. Of course, this spans out over the entire year. I enjoy teaching this way because it gives them a dose of each skill all throughout the year, not just in the first six-weeks then again in April before testing. 

Finally, I record my findings on my anecdotal record sheet! These have served me so well in the past for documentation. I use them for parent conferences, with administration, and just for my own needs in understanding the progress of my students. The “glow” is what they are doing well and the “grow” is what they still need to work on. I only choose once thing per child (per column.)   Below I have included a sample of a graphic organizer, open-ended questions and multiple choice questions the students would complete.   

Guided Reading doesn’t have to be painful or scary. The kids should love it and want to come back for more! If you are interested in seeing more of the curriculum I use; check out the links below. Answer keys are provided for everything. All of the lessons are aligned to Common Core and TEKS (for Texas.) 

Guided Reading Lesson Plans: 2nd Grade

Guided Reading Lesson Plans: 3rd Grade

Guided Reading Lesson Plans: 4th Grade

Guided Reading Lesson Plans: 5th Grade

Also available on TeachersPayTeachers!

I do have literacy centers bundled with the grade levels, so check those out as well (if you need literacy centers.)

Most importantly, just dive into guided reading! It is crucial in building strong readers!  

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