Guided reading used to be a struggle for me. I understood the concepts, read the books on the subject, and implemented guided reading in my classroom, but I just felt like something was missing.
It kind of looked like this:
“I’m done with the book, Mrs. Brosig!”
“OK…um…just read it again! for the 99th time…”
“Let’s talk about this eight-sentence book for ‘comprehension’ purposes for a while…like a LONG while!”
“Hey! I found these worksheets on Reading A-Z so they must be great!” (not knocking Reading A-Z…I totally love that resource).
You see, what was missing from my guided reading lessons before was consistency… We might do a sort or some word work one day, others we’d just fill in a graphic organizer related to the story (at level A, not the best use of our time!), but the kids never really knew what to expect. Honestly, I disliked guided reading very much.
Enter Jan Richardson. The book that finally made it all click. I’ve been using The Next Steps in Guided Reading for three years now and I haven’t strayed, because I find that it works for me better than any other system. I can honestly say that guided reading now runs like a well-oiled machine, and it is one of my favorite components of the day! So I thought I would post what guided reading lessons look like in my classroom, based on her plan. Today, I will be sharing a Pre-A lesson. Pre-A students are those who know fewer than 40 letters (counting both capital and lowercase). They need experience with print concepts suck as tracking print and identifying a letter vs. a word.
Full disclosure: The students who modeled this lesson for me are above a pre-a level. They were kind enough to roll with me before reading their own books for the day.
Part One: Working with Letters and Names (3-4 minutes)
- When pre-a students come to my table, the very first thing they do is get their ABC charts and a baggie that holds all of the letter they know. They match the letters to the chart until time runs out (it goes quick!)
- They may also sort the letters by color, match capital and lowercase letters, name a word that begins with letters in their baggies, or find a target letter on their chart (i.e. “find the letter that you hear at the beginning of car.” At the very beginning of the year, we also do name puzzles until the students can write and identify the letters in their names.
We also spend a minute working on letter formation. The sheet protectors are great for that. They just write their letters down in the empty space on the chart.
At the pre-A level, we work on the phonological awareness skills of syllables, rhymes, and beginning sounds. We usually do a quick picture sort as a group.
The focus is here is oral language, print concepts, and book handling skills. We CHORAL read a simple level A book together. As we read, the students are encouraged to describe what is happening in the pictures. After reading, I ask the students to look for one word, the first word in a sentence, the last word in a sentence, the first letter of a word, a space, etc.
We share the pen, writing a sentence that follows the pattern of the story. I have the students write the dominant consonant sounds that they can hear. We then cut up the sentence and put it back together. One student gets to take the cut-up sentence home.