Stress-Free Organization For Guided Reading Groups
Hello Friends! Thanks for stopping by! I am so excited to share this great information with you, because honestly, it has been a life-saver for me when it comes to Guided Reading time! I have been using a reading workshop/guided reading format in my classroom for at least fifteen years now, and over the years, I have probably tried at least twelve different ways of organizing my data and notetaking! I am happy to say that I do believe I HAVE FINALLY FOUND AN ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGY THAT WORKS!
First of all, there are a couple must-haves that I need to tell you about. I purchased two of these Better Binders from Staples. These are the best! They are sturdy and they have a special pocket with a loop fastener inside to hold extra papers. They come in lots of different colors and sizes.
I label them as My Small Group and Conferencing Data Binder, and My Guided Reading Binder.
Each serves an important purpose in my Guided Reading process. (More on the specifics shortly.)
Another must-have are these Double Pocket Plastic Tab Dividers from Staples. I use these in my Guided Reading Binder to keep copies of mentor texts from each reading level so that I always have them right at my fingertips.
Okay, so let me tell you about my Guided Reading Binder first. I have it divided by levels. So, typically in first grade student reading levels range from level A-level M. For each level I have:
1. One or two mentor texts I can use to model relevant skills/strategies used at that level
2. An explanation of reading behaviors to notice and support at that level, as well as characteristics to look for in the structure of that level book
3. Multiple copies of a parent explanation of reading behaviors at that level and reading behaviors to support at the next level.
In my Small Group and Conferencing Data Binder, I keep:
1. Data Collection Sheets to keep track of individual student reading levels
2. Dibels Reports and Results
3. Conferencing notes and record sheets
4. Intervention Group Data
5. Small Group Planning Sheets
I know you are probably thinking, “Okay, well that all sounds terrific…but what do I do with those things once I’ve got them?” (Because honestly, you can fill those binders with silver and gold, but if you don’t know what to do with it, you end up right where you started!)
I try to schedule my groups so that I meet with two groups each day and then use the rest of my time to make observations about students reading independently and in partnerships. I keep track of my meetings with students on a record sheet to make sure I don’t miss anyone. We begin the year with thirty minute Independent Reading time and then work our way up to about sixty minutes. While I am meeting with groups, the other students are reading independently. Yes, this takes a great deal of modeling and practice, but I have found if everyone is reading “just-right” books that are of interest to them and they have learned the rituals and routines of Reading Workshop, independent reading time is a beautiful thing!
When I write my lesson plans each week, I also write my Guided Reading plans. I decide who I am meeting with, on which days, and which text we will be working from. I use past data and conferencing/small group notes to help make the decisions about what our focus will be.
I also use the Behaviors to Notice and Support pages for each Reading Level in my Guided Reading Binder to help me decide on what we need to work on so that I can get my students to the next reading level. Super easy! No more guesswork about where I should go next with a student, because it is all there for me!
The best part is…it is right there for the students too! I post the behaviors we are working on at the table, and we talk about them as we work. This way the students are able to take accountability for their learning, and have a better understanding of where their learning is taking them!
One of my favorite parts of this system is the Parent/Student Communication component! When I find that a student has completed all the behaviors necessary to move on to the next reading level, I can check each behavior off and then present him/her with this certificate to take home! At the bottom it explains to the student/parents what skills/behaviors the student will need to work on as he/she tackles the next reading level.
This has been a terrific way to stay in constant communication with the parents to help them develop a better understanding of the way reading levels work!
Do you do Guided Reading Groups in your classroom? How do you organize and plan? I would love to hear about it! Leave me a comment below!
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Thank you for being here! I love sharing ideas with other teachers! If you are looking to enhance your teaching and build a positive classroom community, you have come to the right place!