Saturday, July 6, 2013

Guided Reading: Chapter 3

I can't believe we are already in week 3 of the Freebielicious Summer book study! This summer is just going by way too fast! In Chapter 3 of The Next Step in Guided Reading, Jan Richardson does a great job of explaining exactly how to start guided reading! This week a few of the Freebielicious girls are hosting. We have Marsha from Differentiated Kindergarten, Jeannie from Kindergarten Lifestyle, Mandy from A Special Kind of Class, and Lidia from Kinder Alphabet.
This chapter was a biggie for me. Not just because I teach kindergarten and have a lot of emergent readers, but because I teach at a school that is heavily populated with ELL students. We get a lot of new students from South America, in all grades, and some need to start from the beginning as well! I honestly learned so much from this chapter and will be adjusting my reading groups this year for sure!

Letter Tracing
After reading this chapter I realized I don't have my emergent readers do this enough. So, I have a new plan! Jan Richardson suggests that students should use letter tracing books that include  the same pictures that are used elsewhere in the classroom. Right now I have the same images on my ABC posters and on my word wall.  
Every morning we sing the ABCs, 'A for apple, /a/, /a/.'
What I did today was create another version of my ABC posters on half size pages.
 I am going to print these and bind them into a book. I will have enough copies made for a reading group. These books will sit at a center. The first couple of minutes of that center, students will trace their letters and sing the same song we sing in the morning. I also made a black and white version to print and have students keep in their book bins.

Preparing/Teaching Pre-A lessons
Jan Richardson suggests keeping groups no larger than 4 students. Sometimes this is just not possible. I usually have 5-6 students per group; however, I do try my best to keep my struggling readers in a smaller group. Groups should last between 15-20 minutes and  should include 4 different items:
Working With Letters and Names- (3 to 4 minutes) It is important to know exactly what letters students need to work on within each reading group. Jan Richardson suggests creating a letter names and sounds checklist for each group-with all students names/scores on the same page. I have created one here that you are more than welcome to use. Just click on the image below.
Run the page, seen above, front and back so you have enough space for each child in your group. Having this checklist in front of you will be a huge help. If you notice that one student needs to work on a particular letter than you can specifically ask them to locate it in a book you are reading, etc.
Now, in a sheet protector, put an alphabet chart (with the same pictures that are used throughout your room) and a sheet on the opposite side for Rainbow Writing. On the Rainbow Writing sheet you will write the child's name to be used during the group. It is important to start letter knowledge by teaching the letters in a child's name. Children will trace over their name with dry erase markers.
Working With Sounds- (2 to 3 minutes) During this portion of your group, students should clap syllables, work with rhymes, and conduct picture sorts. Most of these activities I always include in my thematic packs on TPT. It is great to use those lesson activities during this time. However, when you clap syllables, you can just use the students alphabet chart or words that are in their guided reading book. I have syllable pictures included in my Guided Reading Starter kit that you can use as well. 
When working with rhymes, students should be able to hear 2 words that rhyme. The teacher should say 2 words and students should be able to give a 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' depending on whether the 2 words rhyme or not. You can glue these thumbs onto popsicle sticks for students to use:
I am also including rhyming cards in my guided reading pack. 
When students are ready, they should be able to match 2 rhyming pictures together. 
Lastly, during this 2 to 3 minute time period, you should do a quick picture sort. Give each student 4 picture cards (2 for each sound you are sorting) and tell them what the picture is. Write the 2 letters you are sorting onto a white board or piece of paper. Have students take turns saying their picture, the letter sound, and the letter. Then, let them sort their picture. Don't rush don't want them guessing. In my guided reading pack I am including pictures for a consonant sort as well.  
Working With Books- (5 minutes) Choose a simple guided reading book for this part. The book should be small enough for each student to hold in their hands. Start off by doing a picture walk, encouraging students to use complete sentences. Then, read the book with the students before having them read independently.  During these 5 minutes make sure to work on concepts of print as well: concept of a word, first/last word, concept of a letter, first/last letter, punctuation, etc.
Interactive Writing- (5 minutes) Dictate a simple sentence to the students with four to six words. This sentence can relate to the book you just read to keep students engaged. Have the students repeat the sentence to you. As they are repeating the sentence, pass out their alphabet charts and a dry erase marker. Make a line for each word in the sentence on a sentence strip. Have one student help you write. As you sound out the sentence with the group, one student will write the sounds they hear while the other students will find those sounds on their alphabet chart. During this time, don't use inventive spelling. For all of the sounds the students cannot hear, the teacher will write on the sentence strip for them. After you are done writing the sentence, cut the sentence apart and have students work together as a group to put the sentence back together. 
You can find all of the above information and activities in my Guided Reading Kit:

Preparing/Teaching Emergent lessons
Now students are ready to learn sight words! Similarly to how you keep track of students letters/sounds, you will keep track of the sight words that they know. You can write the sight word in the first column and make a check in the students' column as they learn that sight word. You will have one form per group (click below for your copy).
When choosing the 'just right' book for this group, consider the following: 
-Story makes sense
-Strong picture support
-Mostly familiar concepts
-some familiar sight words
-some repetitive phrases
-one new sight word
I am using Journeys reading series this year and haven't had a chance to look at their guided readers yet; however, all of the series that I have used in the past have great emergent readers. I also have Maria's, from Kinder-Craze, Bundle of Books. They are fantastic! They introduce a new sight word, they are repetitive, they have familiar vocabulary, etc. Here is a student working with Maria's books.
I also love how students can add these books into their book bins to practice independently. 

Looking Ahead
Next week I will be one of the ones hosting Chapter 4. I am looking forward to it!! As always, let me know if you have any questions!!


  1. How do you run Guided Reading? Do you do it during centers and at your table you do guided reading stuff? Or do you do it at a different time of the day? When I tried to do more guided reading with groups during center time I found it extremely difficult because so many students need help just with centers alone that I was constantly being pulled away and not able to give enough direct instruction and time to my table group. Just curious how this looks in your classroom and what your schedule loos like. It seems that we barely have time to get through what we need to in one day!

    You can email me if it is easier, (at your convenience, of course). :)

    Thanks for all of your hard work. You are very talented and I love reading about your ideas and using your products!

    Thanks, Pam!

  2. Are you going to be making your ABC half sized posters and book available?
    Fun in ECSE

  3. This is one of my favorite professional books! I love all your ideas :) This post had so many amazing ideas. THANK YOU!

    Literacy Without Worksheets

  4. I am so excited that you are making a guided reading pack - I will definitely be buying that as soon as it comes out!!!

    Thanks for all the info on guided reading - I'm waiting for my copy of the book. Can't wait to read and catch up!
    Thanks again

  5. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas! I've been reading the book as well and loved chapter 3, especially the idea of tracing the letters daily for those children who need that extra support. However, our school uses Fundations, which has a specific picture for each letter. Is there any chance you would be willing to create a Fundations Edition of your Guided Reading Starter Kit?


  6. I loved reading all your ideas from this chapter. I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my Guided Reading lessons, so this was just wonderful to read. I've ordered my copy of The Next Step in Guided Reading and can't wait for it to arrive!

    Miss Galvin Learns

  7. Okay, you win Caitlyn. A great post and I am now going to order my book too. By the way I am also interested in how this is managed in your classroom and how many children you have in your class.

    With much thanks
    Julie :-)
    Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage

  8. Another great post! Thank you for taking the time to be so clear in explaining everything! I cant wait to purchase your new unit!
    Thanks a ton!

  9. Thank you so much for the free letter/sound and high frequency checklist! I will be definitely be using it this year!

  10. This is a great post :) I'm already using the letter/sound and sight word checklists with my summer VPK kids. Thanks!

  11. Wow, I'm so impressed! I need to become more organized, and so many of your ideas have inspired me! :) Thanks so much for your post (and the freebies!)