Monday, July 25, 2016

The Next Step in Guided Reading (Chapter 7- Helping Struggling Readers)


The end is so close!!

This is the LAST chapter in our book study of The Next Step in Guided Reading. Since there was an uneven number of chapters, Erin and I split this chapter. She got the short end of the deal- her part of the chapter is longer! LOL!

Erin's post focuses on helping Emergent and Early Readers.  You can read her post here.

This post focuses on helping Transitional readers.

Dr. Richardson shared this quote from the amazing Dick Allington.  It summarizes all my thoughts about teaching pretty much in general, so I felt I had to share it.

Perfect right?

Dr. Richardson DID share some ideas how of how to support struggling readers that need help in a specific area of focus. I created a chart to share some of these ideas.

You can click on the picture to download the file FREE.

Another strategy she shared in this book was the Neurological Impress Method to help students  improve in fluency.  

I actually did this with my students.  We were lucky enough to have a teacher that had extra time in her day pull some of our kids.  It didn't take very long- only 15 minutes per child.  It can make a HUGE difference.  We actually used it as a strategy for students with a learning disability. I found this video online and thought it was a great explanation and model.

To wrap up this chapter, I want to share the intervention notes sheet Erin created!  It would be perfect for documenting and extra interventions.

Just click on the picture to grab it from her post!

If you are looking for MORE guided reading support, check out my Guide to Guided Reading pack.  To celebrate the need of this book study is will be 30% until July 28th, 2016.

If you are looking for more strategies to support struggling readers, please make sure to check out this post.

It has tips to help with reading comprehension AND a chance to sign up for a FREE newsletter FULL of tips for guided reading.

I hope this book study helped you wrap your brain around the beast that is guided reading!!

If you want to catch up, click below to see the posts about the past chapters.

Use this image to pin for later!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Next Step in Guided Reading (Chapter 6- Fluent Readers)


I am so sorry this post is late.

My plan was to have it posted last Thursday.  You can see how well that went.  Instead, I was at the TpT conference having fun and learning.  Obviously, my time management skills need some work. I will add that to the to do list. Maybe making a to do list would help with that whole time management thing....


This chapter is another beast.  For real.  It growled at me when I tried to read it on the plane. Then, it distracted me with pretzels.

At almost 75 pages of heavy, intense text, my brain is oozing. I have done my best to summarize and synthesize the information for you, while respecting Dr. Richardson's work.

If you have considered purchasing this book, I HIGHLY suggest it!  Here is an affiliate link!

Let's talk about what a fluent reader is, first of all!

If a student is reading at a level N and still needs to work on decoding, fluency, or retelling, the student will still be considered a transitional reader and will still follow those plans and strategies.

I thought this was a big "AHA!" moment for me! So much of guided reading has been dependent on "the letter," that sometimes I wonder if I lost sight of the READER. I think this makes the teacher more thoughtful about where the reader is and what he or she needs.

As always, Dr. Richardson focuses on thoughtful assessment. She uses an Assessment Summary Chart to determine which strategies readers need to focus on.

I found a copy of the summary chart online. You can find it here. The link also includes directions.

After completing the summary chart, use the information to form groups.  I love the emphasis Dr. Richardson placed on the READER. She really stressed teaching the reader and not the text.

I loved this quote.   After Mosaic of Thought and Reading with Meaning, I went nuts teaching the strategies...sometimes at the expense of the reader. I wish I had read this book, about thoughtfully using the strategies to propel the reader, a long time ago!!

You may recognize many of the strategies that are focused upon in the guided reading lessons. They have been around awhile.

I retyped the chart so that it was easier for me to read.  You can use this as a cheat sheet for sentence stems for students.  You could use this in mini lessons or conferences as well- it is just all around good stuff!  Not just good for guided reading! You can download the chart for FREE here.

After selecting a strategy focus for each group, select an appropriate text.  Most students are most successful with fiction text. Almost any comprehension strategy can be applied to a fiction book. Richardson notes that if you are teaching inferring, you will need to preread the book first to make sure it is meaty enough to contain inferences.

She also suggests using short stories, nonfiction articles, biographies, magazine articles, and poetry. If you have difficulty finding these, I did find some resources for you.

I have written several nonfiction leveled readers that are perfect for small group. The books are one page, front and back.  Each pack contains a beginning, mid, and end 3rd grade text, which is perfect for fluent readers. The packs also include ready to go lessons and activities for guided reading! Just click on the picture to download a document with links to each pack.

Poetry is a bit harder to find.  I did find three freebies on TpT.  They are link in the picture above.  Click on the picture to open a document that is directly linked to all the lessons.  I also found 2 websites with poetry in the public domain.

After selecting the text, you can choose a strategy to focus on based on the student's need.  Here is the lesson plan I found on Dr. Richardson's website.  I didn't redo it, because I thought it was really good- you can just click on it and type in it!

You can download the free lesson plan when you click here. Simply look under the lesson plan section.

Richardson talks in depth about comprehension scaffolds.

She classified literal, interpretative, and evaluative comprehension for pretty much each strategy.  She suggested beginning with literal comprehension since it is the most explicit before moving to interpretative or evaluative comprehension.

For the next 50 pages of the book she dives into each strategy and how to teach it on each level (literal, interpretative, and evaluative) of comprehension.  I don't feel like I can share the details of that from the book, because I don't want to break her copyright.  

Instead, I created a chart (similar to the one on page 246-247) to act as a reference for all the scaffolds.

 Since there is SO MUCH TEXT it is easy to get lost and bogged down in finding HOW to teach something.  This is like a small index for the chapter. You can find activities for each of the scaffolds and a page number on where to find how to teach it. This "index" is actually 3 pages long.  To download it for FREE, simply click on the picture or click here.

Whew!  I KNOW I didn't get it all, but I hope you where able to pull together some ideas from this chapter.  Did you have any aha moments?

I did manage to do a Facebook Live video about Fluent and Transitional readers. However, the video is blurry in parts because of my internet connect! Agh!  Hopefully you can still get some ideas!

Are you ready for the rest of the book study?  Here is the schedule! We just have chapter 7 left!

If you want to catch up, click below to see the posts about the past chapters.

Use this image to pin for later, and come back here for Chapter Seven!

Nonfiction Resources: Free Guided Reading for Fluent Readers

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Next Step in Guided Reading Chapter 5 (Transitional Readers)

Oh my word.

This chapter is HUGE.

I hope I do it justice.

I will say there is NO WAY I can cover the entire chapter as well as it deserves without my fingers falling off from all the typing.  RUN, don't walk, to get your copy of the book! It is worth every penny!

First of all...who are these transitional readers?

This is how Dr. Richardson defines a transitional reader.
Identifying and planning guided reading lessons for transitional readers.  A book study on The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson.
I think I was most surprised by this.  In my head, transitional readers, were just a hard a fast group determined by the reading level. It never occurred to me that the child's grade level would impact  this.  Speaking from the experience from teaching second, third, and fourth grade with readers that all fit in this group: this is dead on!

From chapter two, she suggests using a running record and a word study inventory to assess students.  Then, use that data to complete this summary chart, which is available free on her website.  She gives explicit directions on how to complete the chart in the book.

You can use this information to create your groups.  Dr. Richardson did say students, "one or two alphabetic levels apart can be included in the same group, but it is very difficult to meet each student's need if you have a wide spread of reading levels in one guided reading group."

She also says to evaluate groups each month with anecdotal notes taken during guided reading lessons so you can move student's groups as needed. She also said, "The average rate of progress for transitional readers is one alphabetic level every 8-9 weeks."

Dr. Richardson explicitly goes through a guided reading lesson plan for transitional readers with prompts and ideas for what to do with readers. She suggests a 3 day plan for books.

I also retyped the lesson plan she provided.  The one in the book hurt my eyes! LOL There is a different version for fiction and nonfiction so look closely at the teaching points on each plan!  You can get a FREE copy of the lesson plan here!

She suggests selecting one to two teaching points on day one and two.

Sometimes it can be reallllly difficult to figure out teaching points for readers when you are in the middle of groups and "tapping in" on a reader.  Richardson makes this SO much easier.  I wish I had this when I first started guided reading!

I made a cheat sheet compiling all her tips for reading focuses.  I divided the cheat sheet by student grade, since the grade level of the transitional reader can help determine a reading focus as well.

She suggested that instructional focuses for kindergarten and first graders reading above a level I should be on vocabulary and comprehension.  I complied her tips for text selection, possible teaching points/ instruction, and prompts you can use when a student needs help with this area. You can click on any of these images to download this file FREE!

Hopefully this will help with planning groups!

Second grades reading on a level J to M need to focus on decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. All of her suggestions were great and detailed..and too long to fit on one page!  A second page is included in the file!

Third to fifth graders reading  on a level J-P need help with self-monitoring, decoding, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. This file is also two pages!

After the reading on day one and two, students will answer and respond to a discussion question. Create a question that focuses on conferencing and / or drawing conclusions.

The last part of the lesson the first and second day is word study.  I LOVE her plans for word study.  She suggests using Sound Boxes, Analogy Charts, and Making a Big Word.

There are so many resources and word lists in her book, that I am not even sure where to start.  I was unfamiliar with the concept of an analogy chart, but I am IN LOVE. This is so smart.  Why didn't I ever think of this!??!!

If you are not familiar with them either, check out a short 3 minute video where she models this with students. If you have the book, she even provides the lists of words to use in the charts. GAH!

Day three of guided reading is a bit different.  If the book is able to be read in its entirety in two days, the third day can be used for guided writing.  If not, simply take 3 days to read the text and do guided writing on day four.

According to Richardson, "The purpose of using this activity {guided writing} during the transitional guided reading lesson is twofold: it helps students retell what they read, and it improves writing skills. The writing is completed during the guided reading lesson with your support.  It is assisted writing, not assigned writing."

I bolded the part about assisted writing vs assigned writing because I'm guilty of assigned writing. That was TOTAL "Aha!" moment for me!

I felt like many of the guided writing activities overlapped or complement the comprehension activities and teaching points.

I thought this blog post at Big Time Literacy all about guided writing was FABULOUS!

Are you ready for the rest of the book study?  Here is the schedule!

If you want to catch up, click below to see the posts about the past chapters.

Use this image to pin for later, and come back here for Chapter Six! I will be at the TPT conference in Orlando, so I might be a bit late, but the post is coming!  I promise!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Back to School Books

I started organizing all of my books a few weeks ago.  I have MASSIVE amounts of books from when I was in the classroom.  I actually got rid of/ donated several boxes to a friend (Hi, Sarah!) who was in desperate need of more books for her classroom.  However, I still have a ridiculous amount!

As I was going through the books, many brought back so many sweet memories: books that were gifts, books that went with favorite, specific lessons, and books that I reread many times over the years.  I thought I would compile a list of favorites for the Back to School season. I will also be sharing about these on FB Live.  You can check out the video below.  Please note that any links to the books are affiliate links!

You can skip to the bottom of this post to see the Facebook Live video!

I have always and I STILL am a huge book nerd and LOVE reading for pleasure and learning. My professional books collection is ridiculous- and I have even manage to pare it down a bit!  Every summer I would reread certain books to get me in the right mind set for school.  Here are a few of my favorites.

This is one of my most favorite rereads of all time.  It looks dated, and it isn't exactly cheap (about $20), but every year I find the refresh invaluable.  The author is Chip Wood (which considering  his book is named Yardsticks gives me TONS of giggles!)

It is a very quick and easy read.  The book focuses on the growth and development of children from ages 4 to 14.  The book is divided by age group.  I simply read the chapters that matched the ages of the grade I taught.

For example in second grade, I would read the chapters for ages 6 (for that rare baby), 7, 8. The beginning of each chapter/ age is a few paragraphs.  After that, he has bulleted for that age of child's physical, social, language, and cognitive  growth patterns. Another set of bullets is the age of the child in the classroom and another section  curriculum.

This book is also about $20, but I love it. It is by the Responsive Classroom folks and it is perfect for helping to develop a classroom community.

There are sample plans for grades k-2, 3-4, and 5-6 for the first few weeks of school.   It gives ideas for morning meeting and even schedules and activities  for each set of grades.  The book doesn't need to be read sequentially and can be read in pieces that best match your grade level.

So this book is a bit personal for me and how I ran my classroom.  I chose to use the Daily 5 approach (or pieces of it) in my classroom.  Every summer I would reread (the original book, because I was too cheap to purchase the newest edition! LOL) the book.  This helped me remember how and what I would be introducing during reading the first few weeks of school.  

You may want to read a book that will help you with a specific aspect in the classroom such as writing, guided reading, or guided math.

I also had several children's books that I used to teach a variety of lessons. 

To introduce myself, I often used a Me Bag.  Have you heard of this before?  It has been around forever. You can find a FREE version of this activity on TeachersPayTeachers here.

Often, I would read either one of these books to introduce the activity.  Both are cute for the activity and I just picked and choose depending on my mood that year!



Each year we made a Classroom Promise.  I have written about it several times.

You can read about it here and here.

To introduce the concept of rules to keep everyone safe, I like to read aloud this book.

It is funny and completely ridiculous, which is why my kids love it!


I also like to discuss how we are all individuals each year.  This is a great way to get to know each other AND celebrate differences.

I LOVE to read the this book aloud for that lesson:

Tacky is an ADORABLE character and this is a series of books, so it is a great first series to hook your kids on. We also created our OWN Tacky the Penguins to showcase our own differences.

The pack is only $3 and has everything you need to create your own Tacky with your class!  These are super cute to glue around your class promise, too!


Another book I like to  to help establish behavior expectations is 

This book was great because anytime students would blurt or interrupt, I simply said "Volcano" and it was a nice and easy cue to remind kids without being ugly.

Look at this idea for a craft I found?!?!  Isn't it super cute!! Click on the picture to read more about it!


Right before we went to the library for the first time OR I opened my classroom library I read aloud:

This was a super cute book to help reinforce how to treat books and act in the library (and make kids grateful their school librarian isn't Ms. Lotta Scales)!


I also like to EXPLICITLY teach listening and speaking skills because so many students had communication issues.  It was also a way to develop classroom community.

We read several books throughout the unit and did many activities, including create this poster.

The mini unit has 6 lessons with additional activities. You can pick it up here in my TeachersPayTeachers store!


Looking for other Back to School themed books?  I simply had these out on my book shelf for kids to read.

Check out the Facebook Live video on all these books here!

If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to catch all the freebies and ideas and more!!