Saturday, January 10, 2015

Independent Reading: What Needs Some Work

Check out my other posts about why this is my focus {here} and what is going well {here}.

This past week I met with my literacy coach to chat about our independent reading time. We talked about some things that I liked about our time, and some areas that I wanted to keep making better. There are two main areas that I would like to see some changes and what I am going to start working on to make that happen!

Meaningful Peer Conversations

If adults love talking about books and what they are reading, we can probably assume that kids will want to as well! I want my kids to be able to share with someone an interesting find, comment about something new they learned, express surprise or frustration over an ending, AND then, get back to reading. Oh, and without distracting the whole class too.That is no small task for first graders! I think that being able to share with a partner something they noticed in a book will help deepen their comprehension. The goal is just to make sure they are staying focused on meaningful conversations. I think the key to this is LOTS of modeling, set procedures, and some guided practice of what it looks like and what it doesn't.

Conferencing and the "What Next"

Since we have been working mostly on decoding strategies, it is pretty easy to listen to my kids read a bit, then talk about the strategies they used really well and give them one to work on until we meet the next time. But as we move into comprehension, it is not so clear cut or easy to give a take away in a short amount of time. I don't want to leave my kids with a tip that only scratches the surface.

In the middle of my conversation with our literacy coach I also mentioned that guided reading was not working so great this year, for a variety of reasons. I can' pull groups, but am not always able to give them my undivided attention, the planning sometimes gets overwhelming, and it doesn't always feel purposeful. Then she mentioned STRATEGY GROUPS to me, and the light bulb went on! Its not that its so different then guided reading, it was just a new way of looking at it. It also helps the instruction between independent reading and small group time become more purposeful because the groups would be based on the decoding strategy or comprehension skill the students need, instead of just their reading level. They can practice the strategy using the books in their bag of books. And the groups will be really flexible because as I conference with kids I can create the groups. Is guided reading leaving my room? No, but for the needs in my room right now, I think that this flexible grouping will benefit us all a lot more, and help me to feel like we are more productive with the time we have.

I made this document to help me plan for strategy groups! Feel free to use it. :)

Give me a couple weeks to get things up and running and I will let you know how things are going!

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