Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer Reading: Jan Richardson's "The Next Step in Guided Reading"

I am loving this summer! On top of my traveling, I've had the chance to catch up on many of the books that have been on my list for the past year. One of those books is Jan Richardson's "The Next Step in Guided Reading." It was recommended to me by our curriculum coach early this year, but I just never found the time to read it during the school year.

First, a little background:
- Last year was my first year teaching Reading. Our school departmentalizes, so for my first two years I taught Math and Science. Last year, I took on Reading (one of my classes being AIG) and kept Science. I LOVE teaching Reading.
- Because we departmentalize, we have a 90 minute literacy block. 90 minutes for reading, writing, and grammar. In order to try to fit everything in, I ran literacy stations last year. Each student went through 4 stations each day - Writing, Vocabulary/Grammar, Reading/Reading Response, and Teacher Time. I was able to meet with each group every day. However, I think that my students felt overwhelmed.
- I didn't do nearly enough modeling, because with literacy stations, I had a strict schedule to keep to and often set students free before they were ready.

So, I made time to read what was suggested to me. It really was an easy, practical read.

Realization #1: I didn't do nearly enough assessment/progress monitoring. 

5th grade in NC only mClass tests our bottom 20% of students. For me, that was 8 students. Those students were progress monitored consistently and I really kept up with their data (because I had to). For the other 32 students, I relied on iReady (online program) and district benchmarks. I knew that I should be doing more - but WHEN!?

Jan Richardson suggests different assessments depending on your students' general levels. She gives instructions on how to administer and score the assessments. Next year, I WILL be doing running records with retell/comprehension check for all of my students. I also will do a word study inventory - reading aloud a list of words to determine phonics skills that students need.

Realization #2: Some of my kiddos still need phonics and other basic decoding strategies.

When a 5th grader is reading on a 1st grade level, I need to dig into the 1st grade toolkit to help those students. 

Richardson's book has 4 different models for guided reading lessons - Emergent (pre-A -C), Early Guided Reading (D-I), Transitional Guided Reading (J-P), and Fluent Guided Reading. Next year, I'll write each groups' plans following the models.

Realization #3: I don't have to meet with every group every day.
This took me a minute to wrap my head around. I still had literacy stations in my mind. If I don't meet with every student every day, then students will not get to each station and that's just not fair if I'm giving grades. So, I'm throwing my literacy stations out the window next year. Instead I'm going to steal those creative teachers' ideas of Must do/May do assignments. My plan for now is to have students in partners as they work through activities.

Blog: A Day in the Life of a Classroom Teacher
Realization #4: While I need students to write in response to their reading, I also need to have as much of a separate writing workshop as possible.
Right now here is my thinking for scheduling:

So, there it is. My plan for mastering the 90 minute literacy block. Anyone else out there who has a 90 minute literacy block? Anyone read Jan Richardson's book before? Any suggestions? 

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