Guided Reading Series Part Two : Making the Most of Teacher Observation

Shoo-wee!!!! My fingers hurt from my last guided reading post. I don't anticipate this one being any shorter! Apparently I am slightly long winded. Seriously, such a shocker. 

In this post I really want to focus on that "teacher tap in" part of the guided reading lesson. I feel that I get so much mileage out of this part of the lesson. I feel that this is the time I get to see how kids tick and how their little minds work (or race) as a reader.

I try to make sure that I am very organized and prepared for this part of the lesson because it is really only a few minutes per child and I want to make the most of it. I use this sheet that I modified from the Sisters to help me.

This part of the lesson is about 8 minutes long and I usually read with 2 students. On a good day I may get to 3, but I am satisfied with 2 students. I have a pretty standard format. I have the students read that page orally to me as I follow along. I take a quick running record on the section and then I ask a comprehension question. Sometimes it is explicit, sometimes inferential, sometimes the students opinion. It is never written down what I will ask the student, I just try to think quickly on my feet. Some days this works better than others.

I try to keep track to see if students can answer the questions correctly.  This is a formative assessment for me and it helps me make sure I vary the types of questions I ask students.  I write the date next to their name under the column for the question style.  If they got it correct I mark over the date with a check.  If it is incorrect I mark over it with an X.

So far when I made this check list I had asked an inferential question, a prediction and explicit question of students. I cut the student’s name of the left side for privacy: ). Since I am part of a cotaught classroom I do not meet with all of the students in guided reading. I only meet with the highlighted names. That is what the big yellow marks are.

Often I find this teacher tap in time is a great time for a quick conference with that student. I do a modified version of the Daily 5 and the CAFE menu. I usually discuss where they are on the menu and what they can do to help themselves with that area next time. After I listen to the student I jot down my next step to meet their needs. Here is a student's sheet from earlier this year as an example.






Here is a close up of the sheet. Please excuse my messy writing!!

The first reading block for the student says "had some decoding trouble," "able to figure out with prompting" and "did not monitor." The next box is a quick running record. The last box is what I will do next to support this student. I wrote "Does that make sense?" because the student needs to ask himself this constantly (that was the point of my quick conference with him) and "decode book." The last part was a reminder to me to make some of the decodable readers from Reading A-to Z and read these with his group since he wasn't the only one with this problem!

To make sure I am not reading with the same students each time I keep a checklist.  I write the date next to the name to keep a running list.  It is the same copy of the earlier checklist, just another use!

Here is a copy of the checklist.  If you download it you can type directly into the form so you can save your students name rather than typing them over and over.  I am sure all of you already have a form like this, but I thought it couldn't hurt to share.

I hope this gives you some ideas to manage the teacher assessment and observation piece!  Next I will share how I organize and manage all my materials!  It is crazy how much guided reading requires (or at least, it requires me to keep up with!)!



Update: If you are looking for LOTS more information about Guided Reading and organizational  make sure to check out my guided reading pack, A Guide to Guided Reading. A hundred pages of guided reading goodness!





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