As both an educator and a parent, I understand that distance learning can be difficult, especially when teaching reading. Our multi-sensory retelling activity is engaging and requires no prep–it’s perfect for distance learning! Plus it’s FREE right now:
Guided Reading Survival Guide Part 4: Integrating Strategies
Skills and strategies should be taught within the context of high-quality text rather than isolated splinter skills. Explicitly teach each strategy and provide ample practice for students to apply the strategy using authentic text during guided reading lessons and independent practice. As students demonstrate mastery, introduce additional strategies. The goal is for students to integrate and apply multiple strategies to develop deeper meaning of the text.
In my classroom: During whole group instruction, the class and I read the text at least 3 different times on 3 different days, each with a different strategy and purpose. For the first read, I focus on overall comprehension and retell of the literary elements or main ideas. During the second read, I focus on a specific skill such as character analysis or cause and effect. After the third read, I prompt students to make inferences, determine author’s purpose, and make connections. I practice the same strategies during small group instruction using leveled text.
During whole group instruction, my students read, “Animals Building Homes” from our Journey basal and the Reading A-Z leveled text, “What Lives in This Hole?” during guided reading time. Each day, we practiced a different strategy.
Here are some samples of the graphic organizers that students completed to practice and apply strategies:
Word work should also be incorporated during reading instruction. I use Sally the Sounding-Out-Snake and Charlie the Chunking Chipmunk to incorporate word work from both the basal and guided reading texts. Students also use the Sounding-Out and Syllable Slates during spelling center to practice their weekly words or word work from the selected text.
Reading Response Logs also help students synthesize strategies while they respond to text in written form. I first provide opportunities for discussion for students to formulate their thoughts. This can be difficult for young students, especially with students with language issues so I like to provide scaffolds and supports to help them be successful. I use Reading Response Sentence Stems (specific to each strategy) to help students respond to text.
While the Guided Reading Survival Guide blog series aimed to help teachers go beyond the basal, use research-based strategies, motivate and engage, and integrate multiple strategies, guided reading looks different on each campus. Check out our FREE Ultimate Guided Reading Templates to help streamline planning and instruction. Plus they are completely customizable! Each strategy unitcan be purchased separately and all include detailed lesson plans, I Can posters, graphic organizers, printable hands-on tools, assessment options and much more! Check out our bundle options and our new hands-on tools as well.
I’d love to hear your experiences, successes, and questions about guided reading. Please comment below or email me at Jessica@astutehoot.com
Welcome to my second grade classroom, my home away from home. Each year, I refine my classroom with special finds from Target and Hobby Lobby (my favorite!) to make it comfortable and inviting. I love to think outside of the box, using plastic table cloths for curtains and bath mats for classroom rugs. My goal is to make the room a safe, creative space that promotes engagement and exploration.
As a traditional academy teacher, I use Spalding spelling, HMH Journeys reading, and Saxon math to teach highly-performing students at an accelerated pace. I use the district-prescribed curricula along with our reading and math strategy animals to help students learn, apply, and transfer critical strategies across settings. My classroom décor centers around Hazel Hoot, an adorable green screech owl, and her special strategy friends. See how I integrate Hazel’s Reading Roost and Problem-Solving Pond along with our hands-on tools to support and enhance required curricula in this blog series.
Each day students attend Hazel’s Reading Roost, my guided reading group, as one of their four reading rotations. During guided reading time, I use the woodland animals to teach specific strategies and concepts through the context of authentic literature.
I use our animal puppets and reference our Decoding and Comprehension Banners throughout the lessons. Students use our accompanying graphic organizers and our hands-on tools to practice and reinforce the strategies.
To replicate the magical tree, I purchased an inexpensive faux tree from Goodwill and gave it a dusting of gold glitter spray paint. I glued glitter foam leaves to give it an enchanted gleam and used Velcro to attach the animals. This allows for easy removal during reading group time. Read more about creating a Reading Roost here.
During guided reading group time, students sit in a circle on our Astute Hoot’s Numbers and Letters Rug. I post a specific learning goal for each group and reference it throughout the lesson using our Learning Scale Banner. Students enjoy monitoring and reflecting upon their thinking and learning. They understand that honest ratings help me as a teacher because I can see what they understand and areas in which they need more help.
Read tomorrow’s blog to see my Problem-Solving Pond and accompanying math tools.
In part 1 and part 2 of my Guided Reading Survival Guide blog series, I explained how teachers must go beyond the basal and provide authentic, high-quality supplemental texts ranging in genre and teach research-based reading strategies using our cast of animal characters.
Guided Reading Survival Guide: Using Hands-On Tools
It’s time to put the strategies we discussed in the previous blog into students’ hands–literally. Hands-on tools motivate and engage students and make practice fun. Each of our strategy animals has an accompanying hands-on tool. Students associate animals with comfort, safety, and play and when animals are personified, students readily understand and apply the lessons and messages from the animals. Just yesterday, I was doing a fact assessment. I always remind students to double-check their answers, but they often need several reminders to do so. Yesterday I got out my Fiona Fact Fluency Fox puppet and had Fiona remind the kids about double-checking. What do you know? They all double-checked their answers.
Each of the hands-on tools is displayed in the classroom; most are in clear, inexpensive glass jars with the animal label glued to the front. They make a cute display and are easily accessible.
In my classroom: Since students used Quinn the Questioning Quail to use textual evidence to answer questions, I created a set of Quinn’s Quills. I purchased fuchsia highlighters from Amazon (to match Quinn’s color), printed, laminated, and cut out a set of Quinn’s heads, available in the Quinn Questioning Quail unit. I glued the heads to the highlighters. The head looks like it’s upside down when the marker is closed, but this protects the head and the topnotch.
Before the lesson, I enlarged and laminated my copy of “What Lives in This Hole?”, my guided reading text from Reading A-Z. The larger format allows all students to easily see the text and the lamination allows me to reuse it each year.
During the lesson, I modeled how to answer each question in the I Do section, thinking aloud as I went. I demonstrated how to use Quinn’s question mark topnotch to first point to the answer, then highlight it and write the question number next to it. We then practiced the strategy together by answering the questions in the We Do section. Students pointed to the answer with Quinn’s topnotch. Before we highlighted, we discussed each student’s response to ensure that everyone was on track. Finally, we highlighted the answer.
Students absolutely LOVED Quinn’s Quills and asked to use them during whole group reading time as well. Unfortunately, our basals can’t be highlighted, but this is another benefit of using Reading A-Z printable books.
Yesterday in part 1 of my blog series, Guided Reading Survival Guide, I explained how teachers must go beyond the basal to provide several authentic, high-quality supplemental texts ranging in complexity and genre to promote a deeper understanding of content. In part 2 of the series, I will explain how to select research-based strategies for guided reading groups.
Guided Reading Survival Guide Part 2: Selecting Strategies
Now that I have broken the bond with the basal, let’s talk strategy. My students used to struggle with transferring and applying learned strategies across settings, curricula, and various genres of authentic text. I partnered with Jennifer Zoglman, a veteran special educator, and her sister, Tina Rataj-Berard, an award-winning graphic designer, to create a unique cast of strategy animals that make learning safe and fun while teaching critical strategies in an engaging way. Each animal teachers a research-based strategy using a short, rhymed poem and child-friendly language.
Animals were specifically chosen because animal characters are present in children’s lives from the very beginning in toys, books, and cartoons. Children learn to associate animals with comfort, safety, and play. When animals are personified, children readily understand and apply the lessons and messages from the animals. Brain research shows that when material is presented in a novel way, it ignites curiosity and interest in learning new topics and leads children to readily grasp and internalize the information.
Students first meet the strategy animals in the read-aloud, “Hazel Meets the Reading Strategy Animals.” Hazel Hoot, an adorable green screech owl, is a struggling learner as she lacks the strategies needed to help her succeed. Hazel stumbles upon a magical tree in the forest. Out of the tree appear 10 colorful woodland animals that each introduce a reading strategy. These animals guide Hazel to become a proficient reader.
Students in all academic settings make an immediate connection with the animals and love to practice new strategies using the animals’ special tools. Read more about how animals help children learn here. Meet our complete line of strategy animals here. Watch this short video to see our strategy animals in action.
In my classroom: I select one comprehension strategy animal to use for both whole group and small group instruction. This strategy animal is introduced and modeled as we read the basal during whole group time. I use the same strategy animal during guided reading groups where students can practice and apply the strategy within leveled text.
In the Journeys basal text, “Animals Building Homes” the strategy was to answer questions in the text. I selected Quinn the Questioning Quailas the focus strategy animal. I read through the text and wrote a list of text-dependent questions, separating them into 3 categories: I Do, We Do, You Do.
I did the same thing for my guided reading text, “What Lives in This Hole?”, a multi-level book from Reading A-Z. Since this was the first lesson on this strategy, I created only text-dependent questions where the specific answer was clearly stated in the text. As students become proficient with answering specific text-dependent questions, I will incorporate questions that require students to use inference skills as well.
I use puppets to introduce the strategy animals. The students always greet the animal and then I read the poem which explains the strategy in a child-friendly way. Many students actually believe that the animals are real and often go home and tell their parents all about them. Tying the animals to strategies makes learning more concrete and helps students effectively apply and transfer across settings.
Guided reading can be daunting, especially with the new instructional shifts and standards. Teachers are asking themselves such questions as: “What texts do I use?” “What strategies do I teach?” “How do I motivate and engage?” “How do I integrate multiple strategies?”
As educators with a combined total of almost 30 years spend in early childhood and special education, Jennifer and I have cultivated four instructional practices that incorporate our effective animal-based curriculum to maximize guided reading time. Read our four part blog series that outlines these practices and show how students enthusiastically embrace them.
Guided Reading Survival Guide Part 1: Going Beyond the Basal
Most teachers are required to use district-prescribed curricula, which often includes a basal and a series of leveled readers, many of which are dry and designed to fit the weekly basal skills. The basal can be used as an anchor text, but it should not stand alone. Provide several authentic, high-quality supplemental texts ranging in complexity and genre to promote a deeper understanding of content.
Reading A-Zis the ideal resource because its vast library of more than 2,500 downloadable books allows teachers to search by strategy, skill, or topic, making differentiation much easier. Several titles are part of a multi-level series, making quality content available to all readers. Plus, the printable books allow students to practice test-taking strategies, such as highlighting answers in the text, while using authentic text rather than mundane practice tests or contrived passages.
In my classroom: I select Reading A-Z books that complement the weekly basal story, complement the current science unit, or focus on a specific reading strategy that I am teaching. In a recent unit, I chose, “What Lives in This Hole?” because it aligned to our Journeys basal story, “Animals Building Homes.” This was a great supplement to deepen student understanding, apply learned strategies, and build academic vocabulary.
Tomorrow check out part 2 of our Guided Reading Survival Guide blog series to see how I incorporate various reading strategies across multiple texts.
Create an amazing interactive whiteboard table for guided reading groups and math groups in two easy steps! Purchase a roll of self-adhesive dry-erase paper.
1. Measure Table. Use a yardstick or measuring tape to determine dimensions of table. Roll out dry-erase paper and cut large sections to fit measurements. It is easier to do the sides first and then the middle. Working in three smaller pieces will prevent bubbling and wrinkling.
2. Trim to Fit: Use an Exacto knife to trim around the edges. Colorful duct tape can be used to seal the edge of the table to prevent peeling.
My students LOVE using this table to share their learning and engage throughout the lesson in a novel way. In guided reading, we use the dry-erase table to create Thinking Maps, cite evidence, ask and answer questions, and note connections. Students also write down key vocabulary words and illustrate the story elements.
During math groups, we use the table to demonstrate thinking and solve problems. Students draw mathematical pictures, tallies, number lines, and number sentences as they work through problems. Students are encouraged to explain their work using their drawings.
The whiteboard table can also be used as a behavioral incentive. Stars or points can be awarded to each student in a little square or circle near their workspace on the table to encourage on-task behavior and work completion.
Wondering how to integrate multiple strategies within context of authentic literature? Are you overwhelmed at thought of planning a comprehensive literature study? At last, the secret to successful literature studies is revealed in 5 simple steps. Sound too good to be true? It’s not!
Guiding reading can be daunting, especially with the new instructional shifts and standards. Teachers are asking themselves such questions as: “What text do I use?” “What strategies do I teach?” “How do I keep all students engaged?” “How do I foster rich literary discussions?”
Does the thought of reading groups make you shudder? Unfortunately for many teachers, the answer is yes. Teachers simply don’t have the necessary resources needed to meet the diverse academic needs of students. Available resources are usually old, outdated basal readers and accompanying workbooks, none of which is engaging, differentiated or aligned to Common Core.
We understand your frustration and our Reading Intervention Essentials Bundle is your answer. With over 25 years combined experience in special education, general education and reading intervention, we have compiled our top reading products to create a 385 page complete reading K-3 reading i bundle that includes fluency, comprehension, sight words, and phonics activities. We used this bundle in our reading intervention program and our students consistently made the highest growth in our school district as measured by DIBELS. This bundle continues to make significant reading gains in classrooms across the country.
This bundle includes:
-Common Core Guided Reading Strategies Unit
-Common Core Phonics Intervention for Multisyllabic Words
-Sight Word Intervention Bundle
-Reading Comprehension and Fluency Flash cards
-Reading Fluency Progress Trackers
-Fluency and Retelling Rubric
This colorful and engaging bulletin board introduces 10 research-based comprehension and decoding strategies to children. Each animal character represents a strategy such as Chunking Chipmunk, Visualizing Vulture, and Predicting Possum. Detailed explanations and directions are provided. Students LOVE to meet each new animal as they introduce their strategy.
Parents, does this sound familiar: “I’m too tired to read,” “You read it to me mommy,” “I already read at school today.” Sometimes having kids practice their reading at home can turn into a chore or a fight, even when children are capable readers. I was experiencing this at home with my own son, and my students at school. This inspired me to collaborate with my partners and develop the “Hoo Can Read?” flashcards. This learning game makes reading time fun and eliminates all the anxieties and frustrations children have with reading. By providing choices, support, and taking turns reading, children begin to experience success, increase their confidence, and become motivated to read. It is truly amazing to me that now my son and my students who used to avoid reading, now BEG me to get the “owl” cards and read with them!