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Language Arts: Guided Reading

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1 Language Arts: Guided Reading
Big Blocks Susan Roberts, Reading Specialist Jefferson County Schools

2 Probably the single most important factor in a child’s initial reading instruction is his or his teacher. No books, no curriculum, no computer can replace the enormous value of good human-to-human teaching.

3 National Reading Panel Research (December 2000):
Less than 1/3 of fourth graders are reading adequately (April 1995) Now we know that reading must be taught systematically and explicitly. Research has been systematically analyzed and the most effective methods for teaching reading skills have been identified. We must have balanced literacy in our classrooms! Reading is an enormously complex activity! TEACHING READING IS ROCKET SCIENCE!

4 Four Blocks Research: Both NRP and Duke and Pearson (2002) agree that explicit teaching, including an explanation of what and how the strategy should be used, teacher modeling and thinking aloud about the strategy, guided practice with the strategy and support for students applying the strategy independently are the steps needed to effectively teach any comprehension strategy.


6 Guided Reading: Four Blocks Style
Always focused on comprehension Teachers choose the material and purpose Students are guided to use reading strategies All types of reading materials are used

7 Goals of Guided Reading in Big Blocks Classrooms:
to teach comprehension strategies to teach students how to read and respond to all types of literature including content texts to develop background knowledge and vocabulary to provide as much instructional-level material as possible to maintain the self-confidence and motivation of struggling readers

8 What is comprehension? The different kinds of thinking that we do as we read are referred to as comprehension strategies. Good readers need to use some strategies on almost all text, including: Connecting relevant background knowledge Predicting Visualizing Self-monitoring and self-correction Using fix-up strategies such as: Re-reading Picture / context clues

9 What is comprehension? Ask for help
Determining important ideas and events Drawing conclusions Making inferences Deciding what you think – responding Compare and contrast to what you already know Summarizing

10 Other comprehension strategies might include:
Understanding figurative language Following the plot with understanding Determining character traits Extracting information from charts, graphs, maps, and other visuals Determining the objectivity or bias of an author

11 Effective Guided Reading: Three Segments
Before Reading During Reading After Reading

12 In Big Blocks classrooms, the Guided Reading Block is approximately 180 minutes per week and includes the following: Before-Reading Phase Before beginning a selection, students must: access or build prior knowledge make connections make predictions identify the purpose for reading

13 Students need to begin thinking about the text before they begin reading the text. This time is brief, leaving the majority of the time for actual reading. (Allington, 2000)

14 During-Reading Phase While reading, students must:
question and monitor what they are reading and thinking about make inferences visualize continue to make connections continue to set predictions

15 (Pearson and Fielding, 1991)
Students need uninterrupted periods of time to read and think, so this phase should be the longest of any Guided Reading lesson. For every minute spent talking about reading (including before and after), students should spend at least one minute actually reading. (Pearson and Fielding, 1991)

16 Formats for Grouping Students during Reading
Plan for students to participate in various grouping formats. Exemplary teachers were found to teach lessons to the whole class, to small groups, and to individual students. (Pressley, Allington, Wharton-McDonald, Block, and Morrow, 2001) Guided reading formats should vary based on the purpose of the lesson.

17 Whole Group, Multilevel Instruction (Big Blocks, p. 105)

18 Partner Reading (Big Blocks, p. 106)
Carefully assign partners. Decide how often you need to change partners. Decide where partners will meet. Decide how to handle absent partners. Decide how partners will read each selection. (Variations in partner reading) Make sure partners have a purpose for reading. Set a time limit. Provide a “filler” for partners who finish before the rest of the class. Model the expected behavior. Be visible.

19 During Reading: - Partner Reading
Variations: “Take turn days” “Ask question days” “Sticky note days” “You decide days” Variations Poster

20 Reading Teams Think of reading teams of two carefully selected partnerships making a foursome. The same concerns apply as with partners. Each team has an assigned team leader who ensures that all members participate. Teams may also need a recorder or a speaker.

21 Formats: Three- Ring Circus (Big Blocks p. 108)
This is a wonderful way to allow students to read a common selection in the most efficient way for them. In three- ring circus, some students read by themselves, some students read with partners, and some students read with you. These groups are not static and change with the reading selection.

22 Formats: Book Club Groups (Big Blocks p. 109)
Three to five titles chosen Titles area connected in some way Managed choice (book passes) Groups meet daily to read and discuss their books

23 Formats: Literature Circles (Big Blocks p. 111)
Like book club books, however, in literature circles students generally: Read on their own and only meet in groups to discuss what was read. Determine as a group how much to read between meetings. Have specific roles they play in the discussion groups. Choose books connected by genre, author, theme or topic.

24 Exemplary classrooms provide:
Conversation about the texts students read (Allington & Johnston, 2001) Literate conversations mimic the conversations real readers in the real world have about real books they really want to talk about! Conduct discussions with readers as conversations – not interrogations. Model types of connections readers make (T-S, T-T, T-W). Arrange for students to have literate conversations in small groups.

25 Literate Conversations:
Increase the number of people with whom your students can have conversations through use of “Questioning the Author” and “Oprah Winfrey” strategies.

26 Questioning the Author
We do not just understand what the author is saying, rather we figure out what the author means. If you have you ever found your students cannot answer the questions because the passage “didn’t say!” then you know why students need their reading guided by a strategy called “Questioning the Author.”

27 Planning a QTA Lesson: The teacher carefully reads the text and decides: what the important ideas are – what problems students might have with the ideas how much of the text to read before stopping for discussion what queries to pose to help students construct meaning The teacher’s job is to pose queries that can help students use what they know to figure out what the author means. QTA continues with the teacher telling the students how much to read and posing both initiating and follow-up queries. Figure out what the author means….not just what he says!

28 “Oprah Winfrey” Strategy
Several students read the same book. Teacher plays the role of Oprah (initially) and interviews them about their lives and roles. Invite the students to appear on your “show.” Arrange chairs and welcome them. Begin with broad questions (tell me a bit about yourself). What seemed to be the problem? Ask others if they agree with her. You may even ask the audience questions.

29 Literate Conversations:
When students engage in conversations about what they have read, their understanding improves. (Fall, Webb, & Cudowsky, 2000) Exemplary classrooms provide: A balance of question and answer sessions

30 Literate Conversations:
Ask more open-ended questions: Is there anything you want to know more about? What are you wondering about? Does this book remind you of anything else you have read? Has anything like this ever happened to you? Did anyone in the story remind you of someone you know? Were you surprised by anything in this story?

31 Think-Along / Think Aloud
Thinking is the essence of reading! Reading is more than just saying words! Reading is thinking! Hmmm…

32 To create classroom conversations, students think about three types of connections: (Keene and Zimmerman (1997) Text to self: Do any of you have a pet that is creating problems like the one in the story? Text to text: What other book have we read where a person was brave? Text to world: Has anyone ever ridden on a subway? What was it like?

33 Thinking as we read may be modeled through Think-Alouds.
Teachers may wish to use sentence starters to think aloud about the connections: “This reminds me of ….” “I remember something like this happened to me when…” “I read another book where the character…” “This is like in our school when…” Handout


35 More strategies: Bookmarks, Sticky Notes, and Highlighters
ERT – Everyone Read To…Find out / Figure out (Big Blocks p. 116) Story Maps (Big Blocks p. 150) T-Charts (Big Blocks p. 111) (graphic p. 149) Students write an entry from the text in the left column and respond with their connections in the right column. Predicting – Guess Yes or No (Big Blocks p. 112) GIST (Big Blocks p. 113)

36 Informational Text Lessons: Use graphic organizers
KWL (Big Blocks p. 122) Feature Matrix Informational Web (Semantic Web) (Big Blocks p. 119) Data Charts Timelines Venn diagram (Compare & Contrast) (Big Blocks p. 118 & 120) Cause and Effect – Causal Chain (Big Blocks p. 121)

37 After-Reading Phase After reading, students must follow-up their predictions, connections, and purpose. They may need to: summarize identify important information evaluate or apply the information from the text to a specific problem or situation engage in conversations create a written response to reflect their thinking

38 The after-reading activity should be challenging and move beyond the “right answer” to the teacher’s question but not so involved that it takes longer to respond than it did to read.

39 Errors and Misunderstandings:
Teachers express anxiety about their redefined role. Primary purpose is to improve comprehension. Other Blocks provide an appropriate context for skills instructions such as phonics, grammar, and mechanics. Round-robin reading is not a part of this model. Non-prescriptive – every classroom looks different.

40 GOOD-BY ROUND ROBIN By Dr. Timothy Rasinski and Dr. Michael Opitz

41 Question: What do I do about worksheets and workbook pages?
…as little as possible Three criteria for a good worksheet… Must involve some reading and/or writing Majority of my class (75-80%) must be able to do it Students must need work on that skill

42 Four Blocks Research: Comprehension is what it’s all about!
Reading comprehension – and how to teach it – is probably the area of literacy about which we have the most knowledge and the most consensus. It is also probably the area that gets the least attention in the classroom.


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