Guided Reading Part 1: Getting Started
13 May 2013 - 5 min Read
We have heard from a lot of you that you are hungry for more information about guided reading. What is it? How do I plan for it? How do I fit it into my already jam packed day? What do I need to do to get started? While we are by no means the guru's of guided reading we have had training by the "guru". We have also helped to establish a whole of school approach to guided reading in two schools. Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to begin - Sound of Music anyone?) Before you can establish guided reading in your class you need to know what your students know! What is their instructional reading level (90 - 95% accuracy)? What strategies do they use / not use when reading? How well do they comprehend what they read? A running record will provide you with all of this information, and more.
We love to use the PM Benchmark kit for our running records. The kits are sooooo easy to use. According to their website... 'The PM Benchmark Reading Assessment Resources have been designed to explicitly assess students’ instructional and independent reading levels using unseen, meaningful texts. The PM Benchmark Reading Assessment Resources provide accurately leveled fiction and non-fiction texts ranging progressively from emergent levels to reading age 12.' Of course there are other options out there. These kits aren't cheap so if your school has already purchased a different program - use it! If not we strongly recommend this one. File 5974
Now let's be clear. Running records are time consuming - particularly when you are getting started. Please persist. Bang them out. It is really the only way to get accurate information on your students reading. The information you gather from the running records can then be collated on a whole class running record profile sheet, and/or onto an individual running record data sheet.
File 5976 Write your students names down the side (the levels are along the bottom) and each time they complete a level, place the date in the corresponding box. We like to colour code it so that we can see the students progress each term. This also helps to place the students into guided reading groups as you can see at a glance where each student is at.
File 5975 Use this template to track individual students progress over the year. One side has a column to write in the date, the book and level, and also the students accuracy each time you complete a running record. The other side has a line graph to fill in their progress. Write the months along the bottom where the dashes are and place a dot on their current level at the end of each month. Join the dots up to make the line graph. It is good to see their progress on the graph; to see when they are making great progress or when are stuck at a level for a month or two and they need to be taken a closer look at.
Once you have worked out each students instructional level you will be able to group them based on their reading level and reading needs (strategies to use. text types to focus on etc). In our next guided reading post we will share how we group our students and plan for the literacy block (including guided reading). If you embarking on running records, good luck! Please share with us on our Facebook page how you are going with implementing guided reading in your class. And for those of you who are ready to get started we have added our literacy block planner to the website. Enjoy! 'Remember keep calm and bang out those running records!' Top Teacher xx

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