As I’m wrapping up this year and looking towards next, I’m reflecting on what went well (and what didn’t) with Guided Reading.
My school uses Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessments 4 times per year to determine Guided Reading levels and groupings:
AUGUST – establish baseline (I also compare the previous June, if available, to see if there’s any surprising discrepancies)
DECEMBER – there may be a few adjustments in our groupings, especially if the baseline in August seemed lower than expected
MARCH – if you’ve ever worked with first graders, you probably already know about the MAGIC that occurs in spring. Light bulbs are going off like crazy and groups are switching often
JUNE – our final hurrah to see all the growth that occurred during the school year
We start forming small flexible groupings around October and then adjust as necessary as the students’ levels progress.
As a special educator, I provide service hours to my caseload throughout the day/week. I am strategically assigned assigned to specific reading intervention groups to meet students’ needs.
FIRST GRADE GUIDED READING
This past year I worked with first graders on Level AA-C (well below-level). Along with another teacher, we rotated 15 students between 3 groups:
- Guided Reading (small group with one teacher)
- Phonemic Awareness/Phonics (small group with other teacher)
- Literacy Centers (i.e.: word work, writing practice)
With only 15 students, we were able to provide intensive instruction in small groups. We are just starting our last round of assessments, yet we’ve already seen students “graduate” from our group – reading at Level E and beyond!
Not quite where they should be yet by our schools’ standard expectations, but INCREDIBLE progress none-the-less!
Second Grade Guided Reading
I also had the opportunity to work with 2nd graders reading between Level K-M and then M-P. This was my first time working with students who were reading on-level.
I learned SO much from this experience and throughout the school year found many excellent resources to support their comprehension and reading growth. I relied heavily on Reading A-Z, and Fountas and Pinnell’s Guided Reading.
Now I’m already looking towards next year…
I will be working with a student who requires significant visual supports. I’m already looking into learning how to enlarge his “paper and pencil” written work, such as reading responses and interim assessments.
This will most likely involve me spending some quality time with the copier (who I’m convinced hates me). If anyone knows of a better solution that doesn’t involve that dreaded machine – please pass it on and thank you!
I’m also looking at the use of white space, writing lines, and cute-yet-distracting graphics. I started creating graphic organizers that we will be referring to during Guided Reading. These organizers are graphics-free and provide proper spacing to support independence.