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!