Happy Friday, Friends! I hope you all had a fabulous week. This summer, I led a two day workshop called Success with Small Groups and it was SO much fun! During my workshop, I shared my Guided Reading binder with my class. I thought I would do a blog post for you with a glimpse into what my Guided Reading binder looks like inside. Here we go! 🙂
When you open it up, my weekly guided reading plans are the first thing you will see. I keep my plans short and sweet. I’m big on having a FOCUS for each small group but I’m careful not to plan too much on purpose. I want my reading groups to guide themselves based on my students’ reading actions and our discussions. I write down the new book I will introduce, any vocabulary words I want to preview to set them up for success when they whisper read, and a main focus.
A FAQ I receive is: “Do you see every group every day?”
Truthfully, I USED to for the past few years that I’ve had the inclusion room. I was blessed to have an intervention specialist in my room during my Daily 5 time, so between the two of us, we saw every child every day – often more than once a day. It was the definition of Teacher Heaven.
But this year I am taking a break from having the inclusion room, which means I am now back to this place the rest of you probably call “reality.” I do not see every group every day but I do see my lowest two groups every day. I see my other top 2 groups three times a week and once a week during our intervention time. (So essentially, they still get four reading groups a week. #iloveinterventiontime) I also have two little friends this year reading WAY above everyone else. They join my top group but the three of us always meet separately on Fridays and additionally during our intervention time throughout the week in individual conferences.
SECTION TWO: THE FOCUS CHILD CHECKLIST
When I start my guided reading groups, my students reread familiar books from previous days out of our Fluency Basket. While they are “warming up their brains” as I say, I take a running record on a focus child from the group. I flip to my Focus Child Checklist page, and choose a child from the group. I check them off and take my running record. This gives me a simple, easy glance at who I have done a running record on, and who still needs one. Once my class has all been given one running record, I move on to column #2 and start again. This just keeps me focused and ensures I am reaching every child within the class. (You can see that my list is not very complete yet. I took this picture last week and we have only been in school for 4 weeks.) 🙂
SECTION THREE: THE RUNNING RECORDS
Above is an example of a running record I took on a child last week. When I study the errors he made, it was clear he was using his visual and syntactic cuing systems when he read. His errors all started with the same letter as the word and they made sense within the structure of the sentences. However, he was not activating his semantic cuing system because his errors did not have any meaning to the text. After reading with him for just a few minutes, I jotted down a note at the bottom that the strategy “Check for Understanding” and summarizing each page is the direction I want to go with for this little one. (I often don’t take the running record on the whole book – I want enough to get a quick snapshot of his current reading skills.) The rest of his group was making errors in sight words and decodable text. This little guy was reading too high for this group, so my running record helped me know that I needed to change his small group to a higher leveled group.
SECTION FOUR: FLEXIBLE GROUPING PAGE
This is my favorite part of my binder! I laminated a page that coordinates with the colors of my guided reading groups. (If you use animals or shapes for your groups, you could put those on the page.) I stick every child’s name on a Post-It Note sticky tab when I arrange my students into their initial reading groups. This makes it EASY for me to quickly move my students based on their running records and weekly needs. Groups are flexible and never stay the same for very long.
Remember my little guy who needed to move to a higher group? You can see that while I was taking his running record, it was easy for me to move his name to the next group because the page was right there with me in my binder. I don’t want to risk forgetting to move his name at the end of the day and the idea that I can just re-stick a tab is perfect for helping me keep the mentality that data and my groups are ever-changing.
SECTION FIVE: THE RUNNING RECORD COLLECTION
At the end of the day, or often the end of the week, I file all of the running records I took. Each child has a tab in my binder with his or her number on it. This helps me keep a collection of each child’s running records throughout the year so I can refer to them and track progress/lack of progress. By the end of the year, these forms become a “diary” of each child’s reading instruction throughout their first grade learning year.
Does it take me some extra time? Yes. But we have ONE year to make as much reading progress as we can with our students. It’s important to me that I make every small group experience count.
So there it is – a look into my guided reading binder! I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps it even gave you a few ideas to take back to your small group binder! 🙂
Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the teaching world!