Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Next Step in Guided Reading- Chapter 1~ Preparing for Guided Reading

Since I was a child, my favorite subject has always been reading. As a teacher, I LOVE teaching children how to read, finding new ways to better reach the needs of all my learners. When I found teachers planning to study The Next Step in Guided Reading as a summer reading linky party, I couldn’t have been more excited! I’ve been teaching second and third graders for the past few years. Next year, I will be teaching kindergarten. I am hoping that this book can help me reach my kindergarten readers using the best practices in reading instruction. I have used the Daily 5/CAFE in the past and love the ease of use and reading success that it brings to my students. I want to use this in my classroom and love that this book really couples well with the Daily 5 program.

Chapter one was a great introduction to guided reading instruction. It focused on setting up your guided reading instruction time segment. It also give detailed lesson plan examples on how to teach your literacy stations to your students during the first six weeks of school. This chapter really got me thinking about two things…
·      How do I want to manage my work stations? What will my work station board look like in kindergarten?
·      How will I take the information discussed in this chapter and use it in my classroom? 

~Things to Think About~
·      How do you introduce your students to read alouds? Shared reading? And independent reading?
Starting the very first day of school, I use read alouds and shared reading experiences with my students as a key teaching tool. In the past (2nd and 3rd grades), I have started the second day of school building student stamina for independent reading. In my kindergarten classroom, all three components will be a huge part of my daily reading instruction.
·      Do you have your schedule set? Do you set your Literacy block up in a workshop format? What will your RW block look like?
In the past, I have used the reading workshop framework during my reading instruction time segment for both second and third grades. After teaching a mini lesson to my students, I would dismiss students into their Daily 5 activity while I pulled strategy groups and met with individual students. My students also completed a Daily 5 time segment for their morning work time and at the very end of the day. I really enjoyed using Daily 5 centers during morning work time. Students quietly worked on a literacy activity while I completed the morning chores. It always started our day out right. I am still thinking about my schedule for next year, but want guided reading and Daily 5 literacy centers to be a large part of my day.
·      What activities will you have your students do for the first 6 weeks to teach independence? Literacy Work Stations? Daily 5? Others?
I use the Daily 5 (read to self, read to buddy, listen to a story, word work, and writing) in my classroom. After following many kindergarten blogs, I still want to use this framework but am spending a lot of time deciding how I best want to set up my centers. Do I want to have a set activity for each center each week? Or do I want to let it be more student choice, student directed centers (students pick activity in each center)? During the first six weeks of school in the upper grades, I have slowly introduced students to our Daily 5 work stations, modeling activities and discussing expectations. Setting this time aside at the beginning of the year really helps my students know what I expect from them and gives me more time to teach. 

Was it just me or did you love the Oral Retelling literacy station discussed in the book? In this station, students play “Guess the Story” while a leader in the group retells key parts of the story for the group. I can’t wait to use this with my kinders.

·      Reading Notebook:  How will you use these? What will you use for this?
I have used reading notebooks in the past that I have made for each of my students. They have had a section for…
·      Reading Log (Students would log each book they were reading)
·      Genre Log and Graph (Students would log the genre of each book they read for a month and then graph the results. It really helped students see what types of books they were choosing to read.)
·      Reading Goal Sheet (I would help students identify reading goals to work on during our individual conferences and they would list these here.)
·      Reading Response Journal
I don’t plan to use a reading notebook in my kindergarten classroom.

I would recommend that all teachers or reading read this book. I honestly couldn’t stop reading at the end of chapter 1. It is such a great book that can help guide reading instruction K-8. 


  1. I enjoyed reading your perspective on The Next Step... since you're planning your move to K5. I also read Daily 5 last summer and tried to implement that format in my classroom last year. I used a mix of having a set activity or choice within my centers. Most days I would have a set activity in either Word Work or Working on Writing. Often those were new activities that I introduced to the center and my assistant would teach the activity to the students as they came to that center. Later, it would be one of the choices available on free choice days. Sometimes it was an activity that we do with regularity like a Letter Circle Map. I had difficulty getting to the point of free choice with our Daily 5 centers overall, although I saw the need to not have to move on a timer and have extended time in some workshops. Some of my kinders still couldn't tell you if they had been there or not at the end of the day! I'm definitely going to work more on that this year, but I think I'll step back and reteach Daily 5 workshop expectations when we return in January. So maybe you can do some of both, student choice or teacher choice, in your centers.

  2. Thank you for your response. My second and third graders could handle making their own choices at their Daily 5 centers, but I'm really questioning whether or not my kinders will be able to make choices. I think I am leaning more towards having a set activity in each center for each week. I do like how the book set up the introduction of centers. I think it would provide optimal support for students at the beginning so more can get done later in the year.

  3. Thanks for your sights on this chapter and thanks for bringing your knowledge of working with older students. I wish you the best this next year in Kindergarten. It will be much different that working with the older ones and I hope that you love it as much as I have for almost 28 years. :)