Updated: Guided Reading FAQ 2 and Johnny Appleseed Giveaway WINNER Announced!

So here I am again with more Guided Reading questions!  I am going to try to answer ALL of them in one long post, so please bear with me!

Nikki8 asked, "Do you follow a 2-3 day cycle with the same book? I read Guiding Readers by Lori Jamison Rog with the Teaching Blog Addict group this summer. It was very helpful, but she suggests that we not complete a chapter book with a group. Only a chapter or 2 from it and then let them finish it on their own during independent reading. What is your opinion on this? I am very weak in this area and that was why I read the book but I feel a little more confused in some ways."

I have not read the book Guiding Readers by Lori Jamison Rog so I can only base my response with the information provided in the question.  Please keep that in mind as you read my opinionated answer ;).

I do usually spend 2-4 days on one book, but I am not sure I would call it a cycle because I don't do the exact same things with every book.  However I do have certain things I do with every text, if that makes sense.

I agree, I do not like to read chapter books in guided reading groups and stick relatively exclusively to leveled texts and readers. I find that chapter books take WAAAAY to long and are better suited to literature circles than guided reading.

However, I STRONGLY disagree with in guided reading only  reading "... a chapter or 2 from it and then let them finish it on their own during independent reading." Holy cow!  That goes against about everything I believe to be the foundation of guided reading.  If the teacher is choosing texts correctly, then the teacher should be choosing texts on the students instructional level in which the teacher believes (based on observation and data such as DRA's and running records) the student will need support to comprehend. The children SHOULDN'T finish it on their own, because they can't- that is why the teacher chose the text to begin with!  Surely that really isn't in a published book, is it? Hopefully I just misunderstood the question because if not...wow.

Sarah asked, "When you do running records, do you type ahead of time the words from the book so you can refer to them, or let the child read and just make the check marks?"
I *wish* I were the type of teacher that was organized enough to have a copy of the text each time I take a running record, but sadly I am not!  Also, I try to do a short running record each time I tap in so there is no way I could always have the text typed and prepared!

I just do check marks. To be honest, my check marks are not a science and not even exact.  I am particular about marking the errors and repetitons because these affect accuracy and fluency.  I figure if I note the page numbers I can just go back and count the words to figure out how many words were called correctly. I try to keep a copy of the text in front of me if there is an extra copy because it makes it MUCH easier to make the check marks. But sometimes, there isn't an extra copy and I just wing it.

I generally use the running record from my tap in to back up my "gut" feeling about a child's reading.   I could use it for data if I had to and occasionally might for RTI ( I would be a bit more exact and attentive though if I used it for RTI). But usually I look at it to help me figure out what in the world to tell that child during tap in and if that text is appropriate or not!

Kaitlyn asked, "What do you have in your teacher's toolkit for the kids?"
Teachers Toolkit...hmm.  Lots of things.  I keep pens, mechanical pencils, white boards, dry erase markers, erasers for the white boards, highlighter tape, post it notes, post it flags, question prompts/ sticks, plain copy paper and my guided reading binder at hand at all times.  That's not too much is it ? ;)

Here is a long question (and don't apologize, I am so glad you asked!!!!!!!!!  It gives me something to blog about when I am all out of ideas!) from Brit so I will break it up a bit to make it easy to read and respond to:
Do you really plan 5 lessons for five groups along with whole group instruction? 
I have the advantage of NOT having 5 groups since I co-teach.  My partner takes two guided reading groups and I take 3. However when I taught all by myself in a self contained class, yes I planned 5 groups AND a whole group.  It took awhile, but I know it made me a.) a better, more thoughtful teacher and b.) more prepared for my students.

However I save the lessons for year to year so I can just edit them and use them as a guide when I think about the kids that will be reading the book THIS yea/ time.

What do you do with the high group? Enrichment?
I wouldn't call it enrichment.  They also get guided reading, but based on the text they are reading.  I have found that often my higher groups may have great accuracy and decoding skills and even some solid comprehension.  However, often they need instruction on fluency with the more difficult texts, vocabulary instruction that can then be applied in their own writing, or the DEEP inferring that can be found in the more difficult texts. So I wouldn't call it enrichment, just teaching them where they are at.

 How much do you plan and how much do you assess/listen to students reading? 
I am not sure what you mean by how much I plan.  I plan for each guided reading group daily.  I listen to at least one kid daily (unless disaster strikes and guided reading is all thrown off- it was like that ALL last week.  Calamity stuck every ding-danged reading block.  It was unreal.) I use that tap in time of guided reading to listen to a child, take a quick running record on my recording/ anecdotal notes sheet, come up with one teaching point based on what I heard the child do (this is on the fly and was REALLY hard when I first started teaching.  It has gotten MUCH easier the more I teach AND the more I read professionally about reading).  If I have a chance I make a note of what I need to do for that kid next.

What do you so with the data you gain besides teach strategies and adapt your lessons?
Pretty much that is it!  The data for the most part is for me.  The school does collect some data such as fall, winter, spring DRA levels for our local school improvement plan which is required by my district (I think it is called that!) and I have to note each month each students guided reading level to show progress.  

 How long do you have a group?
I meet with each group about 20-25 minutes.

 Do you give them any work to do at their desks after? Are the other students silent reading ? 
I have in years past.  I don't anymore because I do the Daily Five , which I love.  We really do the Daily 4 (read to self, read to someone, word work and listen to reading) and student's DON'T do each task each day.  Students usually do two Daily Five activities a day.  They read to self the most because I feel it is SOOOOO important, and listen to reading (and then write about and respond to the story afterwards) one time a week, and work on words twice a week.

After reading this post, I was inspired to create a guided reading 101 packet. Many questions (including the ones above) can't really be addressed in one blog post alone.  So I started to create a packet and it has grown and grown and grown! It is about 50+ pages!  Many of the ideas are updated, pretty versions of things from this blog, my website or are just plain old NEW.

Here is a sneak peek at my progress:

I have no idea when I will be done with it, but  I am going to keep picking at it so I can finish it soon!

Did I answer everything?  Want to know more?  Anything you want to be included in my Guided Reading 101 Packet?

Congrats to the Johnny Appleseed winners Lori and Janine!!!  Janine I will email it to you ASAP.  Lori can you please send me your email address to mandyholland@hotmail.com so I can send it your way!  Congrats!

If you did not win and would like a copy it is only $3!  Click here to snag a copy!  For some reason I can't get the picture to load (TpT is fussy tonight) but it is the same file as above!



  1. shut up!! i cant wait to see the guided reading 101 pack!!!!!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Thanks for answering my question. That was my exact thought when I read that. I need to make sure I understood it, so I'll go back and make sure. But you echoed my thoughts exactly. If it's an instructional level text, then I would not want them to try to read it on their own. I can't wait to see your guided reading 101 packet. It looks fantastic. You rock (as always).

  4. I thought of another question based on your answer and it was floating around in my head too. Can you meet with guided reading groups and have the kids do a book club also? Or are book clubs for the more fluent readers? I'm thinking of having my students do a series study where they meet once or twice a week with their group and I check in with them on this when we meet for GR group but that won't be MY focus with them. I hope this makes sense.

  5. I am loving my unit! Thank you so much for this, it is going to be a great addition to what I already do with Johnny!



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