Approaches to Literacy Instruction (Guided Reading Groups (Teacher Guided…
Approaches to Literacy Instruction
Teacher Guided Group
Teacher role: Meet with small group of students to guide their writing. Encourage students to employ current focus strategy along with any previous strategies learned. Anchor charts should be available for student use.
Student role: Write using a provided topic/style/prompt. Stay engaged on writing and utilize resources in the room (word wall, anchor charts, etc) to create a writing product.
The purpose of guided writing is to meet with small groups of students to focus on specific writing strategies that the students in the group need.
The purpose of independent writing is to allow students authentic writing opportunities to employ the strategies taught during the minilesson and guided writing.
Teacher role: Meet with a group of students to conduct a guided writing lesson.
Student role: Work independently to create a writing product. Students can and should use the varying resources in the room.
Teacher role: Encourage students and listen actively. Facilitate student questions and discussions.
Student role: Read with fluency and appropriate volume. Listen actively while classmates are sharing their writing.
"Group sharing builds a sense of community" (Gunning, 2016).
Students are almost always excited to share their writing with their peers. They are proud of the work they have completed. This time allows the students to ask questions, learn about their peers' interests and gather ideas for future writing topics and structure.
"The purpose of a minilesson is to present a needed writing skill" (Gunning, p. 487, 2016). I have about 10 minutes allotted for a writing mini-lesson each day. In Kindergarten this often has to do with sentence structure, word choice, sight word resources, etc.
Teacher role: Instruct and model a needed writing strategy.
Student role: Engage in lesson by actively listening and participating in developing questions and the discussion.
The purpose of shared reading is to engage all students in a text that is above their reading level. According to Burkins & Yaris, "When children, particularly those who are not reading at grade level, receive little to no shared reading practice, moving up to the next reading level is often too big a leap for them to make because they have no exposure to the texts they are growing into next" (p. 57, 2016).
All students have access to the text usually through the use of a big book or projection on the document camera. My district does require that we use the "Fab 4" strategies from
so we incorporate those roles while we stop at strategic points to solve reading challenges.
Teacher role: The teacher will read aloud a text at a steady pace and stops at pre-determined points. These stopping points may be noted by sticky notes as a way to practice decoding strategies or they can also be open-ended questions that facilitate student talk. The teacher should model and focus on thinking aloud during shared reading.
Student role: Read along with the text aloud. Share with peers in think-pair-share groups about open-ended questions that are posed and the opinion of the text. Students will also actively help solve any challenges that come up during the text.
Teacher role: The teacher selects an engaging text to read-aloud to students. This text should be high quality, be relevant to students' interests, and contain vocabulary that is not too difficult to understand. The teacher should prompt the students to make text-to-self connections to help engage them in the reading progress.
"Learning from excellent texts is highly engaging in any instructional context, but read-aloud is an equal-opportunity instructional strategy because the barrier of the text is eliminated" (Burkins & Yaris, p. 34, 2016). Read-alouds are important at every elementary grade level. The purpose is to allow students to have an opportunity to hear a text for pure enjoyment. Read-alouds can be used to connect to standards however, I choose to use read-alouds as a purely recreational activity for my students. Natural connections to our learning come up as the students are engaged in the story.
Student role: Students should be seated comfortably at the carpet in the classroom. Students will listen to the story and will usually be very attentive when an excellent text is chosen. Students can and should ask questions, discuss, and make connections to the text.
This mini-lesson can focus on a variety of different topics and varies each year as these are based on student need. Sometimes the mini-lesson may include a reading strategy such as "Lips the Fish" or "Stretchy Snake". The lesson may also cover independent reading strategies such as ways to pick a book. I also include phonics activities during this time. This time is valuable and is always fluid as a way to meet our needs!
Teacher role: Model various literacy topics and create anchor charts as student resources.
Student role: Engage through participation. Help with creation of anchor charts.
Spiral Review Centers
My district requires spiral review in every grade level. This is a time for my students to review past reading and writing concepts and allows time for social interaction
Teacher role: Provide intervention if needed OR conduct student conferences.
Student role: Work collaboratively with a small group of varied ability leveled peers to review past reading and writing concepts. Students also have an opportunity to free-write during this time and often choose to create stories with a partner where they share the workload of writing and illustrating with a partner. These stories often become very in-depth and students are eager to share.
Guided Reading Groups
According to Gunning, "One of the best ways to develop phonological awareness is to have fun with words" (2016). Students will develop their early literacy skills and have fun doing so through the freedom of choice at a variety of word work activities. These activities change throughout the year depending upon student growth, need, and curriculum.
Student role: Develop phonological awareness skills through a variety of independent and hands-on learning opportunities. Students can build words using pocket charts, stamps, letter tiles etc. Students may also practice rhyming through a variety of individual and partner games. Students can also word with sight words through the use of manipulatives or a variety of writing utensils and paper types.
"To build students' ability to recognize words automatically and to improve their phrasing, have them read along as a selection is read" (Gunning, p. 228, 2016).
Student role: Listen to a recorded story and follow along in the provided text. Use finger tracking to follow along as the story is read and turn the page on the sound cues. Students will then have a response portion after listening to the story. This varies and progresses throughout the year from drawing a favorite scene, sequencing the story, and then on to writing about their favorite part, etc.
"Given its place at the end of the gradual release of responsibility, independent reading is the point in the continuum of practice at which students integrate all that they've learned about reading and apply it on their own" (Burkins & Yaris, p. 108, 2016)
Student role; Students will independently read a self-selected text. Students are able to find a comfortable spot in the room (many alternative seating options are provided) and can choose several different levels, types, and genres of books to have in their "book box". This book box stores their books and comes with them to the spot they choose. They have 5 minutes at the end of the guided reading block to share about what they read with a self-selected partner.
The purpose of this center is for students to work on a reading program, such as Reading Eggs or NWEA's Exact Path, to practice literacy skills. Both programs are leveled to meet each child's needs and are provided through my district funding.
Student role: Work independently on an iPad or Chromebook (both are available depending upon student preference) to complete leveled literacy activities geared toward their skill set as determined by NWEA data and initial screening tests.
Teacher Guided Group
The purpose of guided reading groups is to allow students an opportunity to read an appropriately leveled text to employ the skills and strategies learned under the watchful eye of the teacher. "Guided reading meets students where they are as readers" (Burkins & Yaris, p. 82, 2016).
Teacher role: The teacher should facilitate the lesson by observing students while they read. The teacher should take notes about strategies that the students employ as well as any challenges that arise. The teacher can encourage the students by using prompts such as "What will you try?" when students come to a challenge.
Student role: Primary students will often solely read the text aloud at a quiet voice level while older students may only read aloud when prompted by the teacher. Students should engage with the text and decide the strategies to employ when meeting challenges. Students should talk with the teacher and peers and reference anchor charts to work through these challenges. Students should also reflect on what strategies worked for them.
My Classroom Schedule
This is my
schedule for the school year. Fitting in all aspects of this balanced approach have been a challenge as my schedule is different everyday. This has proven to provide challenges for some of my students because of the lack of a consistent schedule. For next year, my school is going to attempt a block related arts schedule and I hope that will provide more stability to my approach.