Monday, January 30, 2012

Guided Reading Groups? Not here...

Did that get your attention? :) It is true that I am no longer doing guided reading groups. I know, I know, your jaw probably dropped about 2 1/2 feet... BUT I am conferencing with each of my kiddos on their reading. Earlier this year, someone on my team mentioned that she had been reading about it, and research has proven it to be effective, often more effective than reading groups. I was skeptical at first, but I have been doing this approach since October, and I LOVE it!!! 

Here's what I do:

I carry this basket around with me. It has a clipboard to take notes on about each kid's reading, books in it for me to give to them, and other tools I may need such as magnetic letters.



I take notes like these on each student. Funny, I get to know my kids and I think I get to help each of my kids much better than when I did reading groups. I read with each kid 1-2 times a week. At least 3 times if they are struggling.


Each Monday, a reading folder goes home with books I have heard them read and they should be familiar with along with 2-3 new books on their level. The parents have a reading log to fill out where they rate if the book was easy, just right, or too hard. Between the parents notes and mine, I can tell when the child is ready to move on. 

Now, you may be wondering if this really works, and I think it absolutely does! All of my kids have been moving in reading levels just like I would expect if not better. They read at home with their parents and every day in class during read to self time for at least 20 mins most days. That doesn't include the time they spend reading when they read to someone. I am more than happy with the way my reading workshop is going this year. I think it's the best year yet!

My favorite part is that it doesn't affect me at all if my students are all on a different level. No more stretching kids too much or giving them easy books just to have a manageable amount of groups. Yes, it may be less teacher time on paper with each student, but it is MUCH more valuable when you can hear each one read and give them strategies specific to their needs.

Anyway, just wanted to share a different perspective on reading with students. If your principal says it's alright, maybe you could give it a try!

In other news, I am working very hard on my February Math and Literacy Center unit. It has a love bug theme. I'm just loving bugs right now. :) It should be ready no later than Wednesday night!

Photobucket

32 comments:

Camille said...

Thanks for sharing! I am very interested in your new technique! Sometimes it is hard to change our ways, but if something is better for our students, than of course we should switch!! Question: Do you have a separate note page for each student or is the page you photographed for several students? I am just trying to figure out the logistics.
Camille
An Open Door

Jessica said...

I have just been revamping my guided reading and my jaw did drop when I first started reading. I love this idea. I would be curious to know how you organize this especially in the way of taking your notes and sending items home. It seems to be a great system. Thanks for sharing!
Jessica


Apples and Papers

christine said...

Great post! I usually decide which way to teach (individual conferences or guided reading groups) depending on my class and their level of independence. Would you be willing to share your parent reading log? I'm interested in starting something like this.
Thanks so much!
kcahcrim@comcast.net

Lori said...

Thank you for this post! I love to hear how you are meeting with and getting to know each student's reading so well. I teach struggling readers so I know how much it means to their reading to have a teacher that knows their reading inside and out. :) I am your newest follower!
Lori
Conversations in Literacy

Tania Knapp said...

I have heard about this. If you are doing daily five and cafe... This is what they are al about :) new research is changing the way all of us think of 'small' groups.

billi said...

what book did you read that talked about this? I would love to try it.

Miss Foote said...

I have been doing this for a while and I love it. Every once in a while I will pull a similar group, but 98% of the time I am conferencing. Thanks for the post.

Laurie
chickadeejubilee.blogspot.com

Kelly said...

Thanks for this post. I need to muster up the courage to switch from reading groups to lots more conferencing. Right now I am trying to do half Daily 5 and half guided reading groups with some more traditional centers and the juggling act is just too hard!

Come check out my giveaway....
Kelly
"Kindergarten Kel

Elizabeth said...

This is exactly the way I used to teach when I taught first grade. It does work! Way to stick to something that you know works, even when so many people are using guided reading groups. Kudos!

Elizabeth

Fun in Room 4B

Randi said...

I love this post. It's so honest and I am in agreement with you. I would love to hear a little more about this-when do you do this and how does the conference go? If you have more info and decide to share (maybe a how to get started in the middle of the year post ;) let me know!
Thank you!
randifleming1234@gmail.com

Randi @ Teach It With Class
My TPT Store
My Facebook Page

Kristen said...

I loved reading this...you always have the best insights and ideas. I don't teach guided reading either--just conferences...they work so well for my students.
Kristen

abby said...

Thanks for sharing this! Two years ago I did a guided reading/ reading conferences combo and I LOVED it! I'm so glad you just posted this and reminded me about how fabulous conferences can be!

abby
msalleysclass.blogspot.com

Mrs. Patton said...

I see that this is a popular post already! I'd be happy to post more in depth about it. I'll plan on doing that once I get it all together in the next week or so!

Ashley said...

I am very intrigued by this post. Guided reading groups is something that I find difficult to juggle! Sometimes, I would have to have a group of one or two because they really struggled and were below the lowest groups level. I would love to read more about this. I know that a lot of teachers work on words during small groups. How does this factor into conferencing?

Ashley
Live2Learn

Ashley said...

I'm also very interested. I would love to see the form and if you could tell us the title of the book you read, that would be great!

Thanks in advance!

Kathy said...

This sounds interesting. I am wondering how this would work with an upper grade. No time to hear a whole book and a few pages just isn't enough.

Anita said...

Up for a game of tag? You're IT! Check out my blog for details of the game!
Anita
Mrs. Bremer’s Kindergarten

Courtney said...

I would love to see this. You have inspired me to do this today. I was really getting tired of my students doing reading groups. I don't feel like it is as beneficial as it could be.

Micheal said...

I would also love to know more about this technique. I am so bored with reading groups and so are my students!

Lauren Morse said...

It's so refreshing to find other teachers willing to ditch the small groups. I LOVE reading conferences and do them almost 100% of the time (except I still meet with my lowest two children everyday for a "group"). You will know your kids so much better. I have a conference sheet, that has worked really well for me, posted on my blog if you want to check it out. I hope you post again about how it's going.
Lauren
justaddclipart.blogspot.com

Meggan said...

Can you recommend any good books to read on Readers Workshop or Daily 5? My district uses a scripted reading program and I absolutely HATE it! However, it's been too long since I've read the latest research on reading instruction. Any ideas? It would be GREATLY appreciated!

Kinderpond said...

We still do reading groups, but I listen to my students read at least twice a week during Daily 5 time. I tell kids they have appointments- they love it and it keeps me honest and NOT work during that time. I make their names large and put them on the board for who is in my calendar.


Jennifer

Freckleteacher said...

Amen! I am so thankful that I read your post tonight (I should really bein bed!) I have taught many guided reading groups in my years as a teacher, but I have not done them for several years in kindergarten. I just find it is not manageable in a 1/2 program and that i have to let the rest of the class "go a little crazy" , so I can meet with my small group. It never goes as well as I'd like and I am interrupted and can't really focus on so many kids (4 max) I do a modified confernece with each child, but it isn't as organized as I would like. I am VERY interested in what you do and I am so excited to hear what others say too. I feel that I can better help my syudents if I work with them individually, even if it is for a short time each week.

Thank you so much for this honest post and for starting this conversation. I think there are many ways to help children learn to read and Guided Reading groups in kindergarten is not the only way. Thankfully my district has no guidlines about it.
I'll be looking forward to more on this subject! :)

Mrs. Maxwell said...

Thanks for sharing this! I'm really intrigued. I'm wondering how much time you spend (on average) with each student? What about students without much home support? I'm looking forward to hearing more! --new follower :)

tmarie said...

I can't wait to see further explanation on this! You have me excited!
Tessa
Spotlight on Kindergarten

Learning said...

We have been doing individual conferences for years. I love them. Our new curriculum has us doing guided reading groups too. We are working on a good balance of both. I also have my parents reading with my kids weekly. I have a form that I and my parents use while working with the kids. I usually do an Individualized Running Record from Fountas and Pinnell. During guided reading groups I find I can have mini-conferences with multiple students and give a more focused lesson for the group I have gathered.

Mandy said...

This was a popular post and really got people thinking! I teach art, but wanted to check out your blog because I worked with two Kindergarten students on reading for about three months. At first I had them share a book to read aloud and realized one was progressing more than the other. So I split them up and began working with them one on one. I did not try having them read to themselves, and are interested in the results I would have seen with that.

Thank you for your insightful blog!

Kelly Grote said...

Love, love, love this idea! I have never liked reading groups. This post validates individualized reading for me. Thank you! Can't wait to start on Monday.

Kate said...

HI!!! I also am in my fourth year of teaching and I agree that it is a little difficult sometimes to get in guided reading and conferencing. I totally prefer one-to-one conferences myself, but am also torn between personal preference and school/district requests. My aim is to try both again this year now that I am teaching in a charter school. In which district do you teach?

Kate said...

HI!!! I also am in my fourth year of teaching and I agree that it is a little difficult sometimes to get in guided reading and conferencing. I totally prefer one-to-one conferences myself, but am also torn between personal preference and school/district requests. My aim is to try both again this year now that I am teaching in a charter school. In which district do you teach?

Nina said...

How do you keep track/records of who you conferenced with on a particular day - calendar? Are you able to read with everyone in one day? I generally have 15-18 students. Also, do you match students with books or are they self-selecting? Thanks for sharing your running records.

ELI said...

You can layer Post-It notes on a clipboard with student names showing at the bottom. Lift the notes on top to reveal the child's Post-It and take running record and notes. Include dates. When note is full put it on another piece of paper to keep a larger sort of running record that shows progress over time (at a glance). Great for conferences. Can include parent contact and behavior notes and stories to share w parents. Students can also look at this.