Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guiding Readers Chapter 1 - What We Know

Today it begins... my very first book study!  You should go check out Misty over at Think, Wonder, & Teach, she has done an amazing review of Chapter 1.  I also wanted to give you my thoughts on it, so here is my quick recap.  I'm still pretty new to teaching and luckily I have worked at some great schools that give us creative reign over our reading blocks.  That being said, the district is making a big push for Guided Reading this year and I wanted to know more about the specifics of it (because after reading chapter 1, the focus groups I was working with WAS NOT GUIDED READING).  It was purely working with a small group for 30 minutes on a focus skill that they needed.  Was it beneficial?  For the most part, yes, but after reading "you have two ears and one mouth," and realizing that I should be doing more listening and less talking in these groups I knew that they could be better.

I was really excited when I started reading this book because already from the first chapter there were things that I was doing in my classroom that I realized I could improve on and things that I was doing right (which always makes you feel good)!  One of the things that I'm excited about is our Reader's Workshop.  The studets write me letters once a week about what they are reading, their thoughts and feelings, predictions, using the strategy of the week, etc., and I write them back.  Definitely connecting their reading and their writing I feel!  Now I want to think of some more creative ways to incorporate writing.  If anyone has other ideas please let me know!

The "Light bulb" Moments for me:
  • Guided Reading is the "We Do" of a lesson
  • Independent learning should be student directed and engaging in what was practiced in guided reading groups - Reading, Writing, "Must-do" (Ch. 2)
  • LOVED the analogy of the just right books to standing on your tiptoes!!!
  • The 90/10 percent (challenging words) when put into context was an eye opener of how many words were too difficult for them to read on each page.  200 words on each page = 20 challenging words per page!
  • Use easier text to reinforce strategies and skill and revisit the text
  • When revisiting the text provide a different purpose each day
  • Students have different ways of learning so why not different ways of thinking?  Don't get upset with the student who keeps on talking out their response - they are just thinking out loud.  Or the student who doesn't answer right away - they are just thinking internally for the right way to say it before they put their words out there. 
  • Three or more 18 minute sequences of guided reading lessons with each passage (this made me feel better because in my mind the title made me think that it all had to fit in one session)
  • The reading-writing connection helps them think about what they are reading

Those are just a few, haha.  The book is really great so far and I can't wait to delve more into it.  Remember if you haven't received your copy of the book yet, or just want to follow along, you can still go Stenhouse Publisher's website and read an online copy for free!  I would love to know what you all think so far so please feel free to leave comments (and don't forget to go give Misty some love too!).



  1. Wow, great comments Sabra! I too am looking forward to diving more deeply into this book as I am always up for learning new ways to improve my guiding reading time. Thanks for reminding me of the 'two ears, one mouth' analogy! :)
    Tori's Teacher Tips

  2. Great job! What a fantastic post. I am so glad that you are hosting as part of the book study and I hope that you plan to post as much as possible during the book study. I really enjoyed reading your ideas about chapter 1.
    Don't forget to link up on my blog for the linky party so more people can come over and read your great post!
    Thinking of Teaching