Showing posts with label Balanced Literacy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Balanced Literacy. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Guided Reading Activities

Hey friends!

A few of my friends have asked me about Guided Reading and why I think it is a necessity to any ELEMENTARY Classroom. Yes, I just said Elementary. That means Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. In first grade, students progress through so many levels, it's important to keep track of their development. Throughout the primary grades, foundation of a students literacy development is set. In the upper grades, students are making the switch from learning to read to reading to learn. The students will dive into deeper texts with more complex concepts.Students in the upper grades still need the teachers support to understand and break down these difficult texts. Guided reading gives teachers the chance to do that. Piggy backing off my post from yesterday on  fostering a love of reading, giving students the chance to read REAL books through guided reading will help with that process.

The first step to Guided Reading is Assessment. 

I'm a huge fan of Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment . This kit is very targeted to be able to show you specific patterns the students make while reading.  To begin, you need to determine a starting level.  Use the last known independent reading level and start there. You can also use other forms of a benchmark assessment of course, F&P is just my favorite. The program is through and follows the literacy continuum. 

Running Records Assessment

Once you have determined where to start, begin to take a running record on your students. You can grab a free running record here. To do this, you need a running record calculator. I found an app called "Running Record Calculator". This is very helpful because it automatically calculates the time and errors for you as you enter the information.  

What is the purpose of a running record?

Well, there are several. We are trying to determine the students independent reading level, keep a record of errors over a period of time, and make instructional decisions about each student in order to guide their instruction. Oral Running Records are how teachers can plan their instruction. 
 Running records should be 100 words at least for a true assessment. In the upper grades, I'd recommend using a text with 250 words.  Depending on the students reading level, depends on how often you should assess them. You can read more about that here.

Steps to take a running record

*Record the number of words you are assessing in the running record.
*Remind the student they will not read the entire book orally.
*Make a notation if the student has read the book before.
*As the student reads, place a check mark over the words he/she reads correctly.
*If a word is missed, record the word the student says above the word. Pay attention to the readers behavior when making errors.
*Try to intervene as little as possible, the goal is to see how much the student can do on their own.
*Analyze the running record or the point of it is useless 

What is the difference between an error and a self correction?

An error is a word that is read incorrectly, omitted, or inserted. A self correction is a word that is first read incorrectly, but immediately corrected. Self Corrections do not count as errors.

What does count as an error?
If a student reads the word incorrect, it counts as an error. If the student omits or skips a word, that would could as an error as well. When a student inserts a word that is not in the text, that counts as an error.  If the student repeats the a word, that does not count as an error. You can use the guide below to help keep on track. Click here to download the file. 

Error Rate:
Error Rate is shown as a ratio. Use the formula below to find the error rate.
Total words / Total errors = Error rate 

Accuracy Rate:
Accuracy rate is shown as a percentage. You can calculate the accuracy rate using this formula:
(Total words read
Total errors) / Total words read x 100 = Accuracy rate 

To identify the miscues, we use  Meaning (M), Structure (S), and Visual (V).

Running Record Analysis

One  purpose of the running record is to see a pattern in the students errors. Are they pausing before they get to certain vowel patterns? Do they re-read when they get to words with inflectional endings? Do they understand vocabulary words? One of the most common types of errors in reading comes when students do not self monitor. Students should recognize when something doesn't sound right or that they've made an error. Someone once asked me "Ashley, is this grade level appropriate?". ABSOLUTELY. YES.  Kindergarten and First Grade teachers SHOULD be teaching self monitoring strategies.

I always taught my students to go back and reread a sentence and ask themselves "Does this sound right or make sense?".  This self monitoring strategy will pay off in the long run. I've taught the little kids all the way to the big kids about self monitoring. If students do not understand or recognize that they made an error or mistake, they are not thinking while reading.

I use these posters to help aide in my instruction with self monitoring.
Students who are self monitoring should have a self correction rate of 1:4 or less. That means that the student is correcting one out of every four words they are reading.

Word Work Strategies for Guided Reading

Word work is an important part of guided reading. Students need to practice reading, spelling and the meaning of the words they come across in different text that they will encounter.  Through word sorts, the teacher can show students how to sort the words by the sounds they make. We can also teach students what the words mean and ask students to identify synonyms and antonyms.  Students can also practice spelling these words. That way, we are not teaching phonics, spelling or vocabulary in isolation. Through word work, we are teaching all of these skills in one strike. Research suggest that students need 12 authentic experiences with a word before they truly understand it. Through word work in guided reading, you are providing your students with authentic experiences every single day. I start EACH lesson off with a word work activity.

Word Sorts for Upper Grades are pictured below

Word Sorts for Primary Grades

Guided Reading Structure

Each lesson starts off with a hands on approach to word work. Word sorts, word hunts, stretching words (decoding practice) and building words are all examples of how I start off my lessons. I want the phonics skill to be evident to anyone who walks into my room. Next, I have a fluency component. This is usually just a quick poem that I can embed elements of poetry in slowly throughout the year. Next, we start with our leveled reader. I want to pull out any phonics skill or vocabulary words BEFORE reading. I introduce the book by providing my students background knowledge about the story and preparing them to make connections. We do this EVERY SINGLE TIME we are introduced a new book. Next, we take a book walk to observe the pictures. I ask questions like "What do you notice in this photograph?". I want my students to hear me using that strong academic vocabulary. I want to make sure EACH guided reading lesson hits all five components of reading.  After we take a book walk, I want to be sure to set a purpose for reading. This is one of the most missed steps in guided reading. Sometimes, we just say "start reading until you get to page 6". I encourage you to think about that for a second. By setting a purpose for reading, you are preparing the students to think while they read. They should generate questions as they read.  

Stay tuned for the next part of our series on Guided Reading. I will focus on grouping, text selection, more comprehension and scheduling on the next post!

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Monday, June 19, 2017

How to Make Your Students Fall In Love With Reading

Hey Friends! Sometimes in the crazy chaos life world of the classroom we forget the purpose of why we are there. Is it to make our students have the most AR points in the school? Is it to get the best prize in the school? No. The reason the students are there is to develop a love of learning and master the standards set by the state that you live in.  So how do you do both? How do you make sure that students make the progress on the districts program that they've purchased, master the standards AND love to read?

Create A Warm and Desirable Space

Creating a classroom library can be challenging. Research suggests that we should focus on creating a space that is inviting to the students and comfortable. For my library, I used a teal shag rug. It's lasted for nearly four years! The space was open so that I could always see the students and monitor what they were doing. The library was colorful so the students were engaged with the browsing process. You can read more about how I manage my classroom library here.

 Let Children Decide What To Read

I have my books organized by theme. I do this for a very specific reason. Fountas and Pinnell ( as well as many other reading researchers) suggest that in order to create a classroom library that fosters a love of reading, we should sort our books by theme rather than level. This allows students to "explore" books by their interest.  Children can then explore books that are appealing to them. Books that they desire to read and not books that they have to read or feel like they have to read because of a certain level.

Teachers should teach students how to pick a "just right book". First, students should look for a book that looks appealing to them or sparks their interest. Students should look for a book that they WANT to read. Next students should read the first page of the book and determine if the book is too difficult or too easy for them. If the student has a hard time reading more than five words, the student should pick a different book. In the primary grades, I would let me students browse through harder books. I would tell them "Browse for a bit, then find a keeper". This way, they are still exploring the books they WANT and then moving onto a just right book at the end.

  Independent reading shouldn't be something students have to do, it should be something they want to do. We do this by fostering a love of reading and peaking a students interests. If a student is very interested in sharks, find books about sharks. No matter the age .  For example, this book is for older readers.

I have an extensive classroom library and while it drives my husband crazy every time we (he) packs it up,  the students love it. The purpose for this is that we never know what books our students will like. When parents tell me "Johnny doesn't like to read", I try to respond with, "He hasn't found the right book yet".  When kids find the "right" book, it makes all the difference! For example, as a mom, I didn't particularly want my kids reading books like "Captain Underpants" and stuff like that, however, a child that "doesn't like to read", was READING. So I had to learn, to let go, and let it be. 

By building relationships with your students and discovering their interests,  you will  be able to determine what kind of books are right for that particular student. Creating a large classroom library is an important key to making this all work because you just never know what interest your  students will have. 
 I know this can be expensive. We are thrift store junkies! My family loves to hunt for books for the classroom with me. We hit up garage sales, thrift stores, Goodwill, and teachers who are leaving the profession for books. I have a list of common high interest books here

These library labels are easy to manage and ink friendly.

I do keep a separate guided reading section of my library. This is mostly for me and instructional purposes.  This allows students to read on their instructional level during guided reading time.

Display Books Around The Classroom

Displaying books around the classroom will peak students interest in what the books are about. I change these books out often and specifically use books at at different in culture and theme. This way, students are naturally curious about the topic before they ever start to read it! It's a win- win!

Read Aloud to Students

As a first grade and second grade teacher, I read to my students all the time!  When I moved to fourth grade, I wasn't sure if they would "like" to be read to, but, I wanted to make them like it. HA! It worked! The older kids STILL want to be read to. They loved it just as much as the younger kids. I was able to pick more complex text and with advance story lines. Through read aloud, you have the opportunity to model for students how to read while thinking AND get students excited about the text.  Select texts on purpose that purposely relate to the skill or standard you are teaching. Read them with enthusiasm, you are on a stage! Be careful not just to read a book to read a book, remember to always set a purpose for the reading.  One skill that is typically apparent in every book we read is making connections. The students like hearing about our real life experiences and getting to know us outside of the classroom. Through connections in read alouds, students are able to see a different side of their teacher. This is a very powerful teachable moment.
The important idea is that elementary students K-5 still need to be read to. The idea that this strategy for just K-2 is just not supported by research. Reading aloud allows you to teach a standard, while helping students develop a love of reading.

By peaking students interest, finding the right books, modeling how fun reading can be and creating an inviting space for students to read in, you will have readers who WANT to read in no time!

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

All About Maps

Hey friends. We are gearing up for Thanksgiving around our house tonight, but I thought I'd take a second to share with you some of the fun we've had in my first grade class!

Teaching maps in the primary setting can be challenging. In my experience, it's a harder concept for the little gals and guys to grasp due to the lovely invention of the GPS. Kids just don't see real maps in use anymore. This year I tried a few new things to really give my lesson that balanced literacy tie.

We have been learning about Maps for three.whole. weeks. There is only so much I feel like we can teach little firsties about maps haha! We started our unit with a Poem and interactive read aloud.  Both of these have the vocabulary that our standards require firsties to know. 

I created this little packet that includes a poem, interactive read aloud, a booklet for shared reading, vocabulary cards, ABC order center, vocabulary printables,  and interactive notebook pages. My kiddos really enjoyed the foldable booklet during shared reading. The booklet is written on a level that they could read. We read this book several times in several different ways. First, we used it for shared reading. Then, the students read it with a partner.  

Here's a peek at a few of the  interactive vocabulary pages

Map Interactive Notebook Pages

I bundled my newest maps packet with my older one. You can check out the bundle!

Here's some other great read aloud for maps!
(affiliate links)
In math, we are practicing addition and subtraction centers. As a school, we are all working on our math fluency. My kids were not really into the whole flash card routine, so I had to think outside of the box to practice fluency.

I created these little slider cards. The kids LOVED them. I have student a pull the "ladder" up and call out the facts to student b. You could do SO many things with this. I also laminated them and the kiddos used a wipe off marker to record their own answers. 

I also made a little "Lightning Math Center". The kiddos have to try and answer as many questions as FAST as they can using the sand timer. It's amazing what a sand timer does for group of first graders!

The thing I love about this packet is it's super low prep! I printed everything on bright card stock, sent it for lamination and boom! It's done!

I'm typically not a big fan of "task cards" in first grade. But this year I have a group  that can handle them and needs something a little more challenging than what my curriculum currently calls for. I created a few little sets of task cards just for them! They are working well and are easy for them to follow but still give them that challenge that they need.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope everyone has a family filled Thanksgiving! 

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Election Day

Last weekend I spent some time in NYC with some of my blogging buddies and my sister! We had such a blast! I can't wait to go back!
It was so great to meet these people "in person". 

This week we dove into elections. This skill can be kind of boring for firsties so I tried to make it as fun as I could! We started off with using a few election poems.  I used the poems for part of my shared reading in my balanced literacy routine. The kids loved them poems and they are full of sight words so it was a win win!!! 

My handwriting is horrible so I whipped up these little anchor charts to give the students that visual aide that they need so much. 

We used my pocket chart vocabulary cards to present the material in another aspect. I love watching the kids refer to these materials when we are discussing the skill. It shows me that they really do need the extra reinforcement. 

We also used my ABC Order center during guided reading groups. I love this because it only has  a few words so they can really understand how the concept of ABC order works. This is a skill we will work on ALL year long. I can't wait to see the progress they make with this. Research shows how learning ABC order tremendously helps the literacy development. I couldn't agree more. The students really focus on the letters and the sounds they make in order to put the words in ABC order. 

You can get all of the activities that I talked about plus much more in my Election Unit!

Here's a few other little previews for you :) 

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Using Literacy in ALL Content Areas

So my husband has this hobby--it's called HUNTING! He spend countless hours in the woods...tracking, preparing and hunting animals! His hobby costs a few bucks here and there!! Many ask me "Why do you let him do that"...well, friends, this is a marriage, I'm not keeping him hostage! But don't think I don't get something out of it return haha!! My "hobby" is my classroom! Specifically, my classroom library. This year, I'm determined to add more content area books to my classroom library. I've found a few good deals on e-bay and amazon! I've searched garage sales, but my BEST deals were found at...the Goodwill!! They ALWAYS have children's books 2 for $1.00!! I've also been saving up my Scholastic Bonus Points. Somehow, I still do not have enough books! How is that possible?!?!? haha! 

I've started making a few of my own so that my students could have literacy in ALL content areas. I may not always be able to get the books here in time, or find them *after* the fact of teaching that subject.  The good thing about these as I can print as many as I need! I like to put them in math centers and have the students create questions after reading. It's a good way to kill two birds with one stone! I don't know about y'all but I'm constantly struggling to get in the amount of read alouds I need too. This is a perfect way to help with that! A math read aloud is something you can do almost DAILY!!!

Interactive read alouds are a great way to introduce a new math skill. Not only are they getting the math skill, but this is huge for literacy development. It's like killing two (or maybe five) birds with one stone! Since I've started doing interactive read alouds in all content areas, my little friends comprehension is improving so much! It's such a great time to model fluency as well. 

So far I've created a book on fractions and money

These little books are on sale, hurry over and check them out! 

Happy Sunday Friends! 

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Balanced Literacy 101: Interactive Read Alouds

So this year I've jumped in to this thing called "Balanced Literacy". At first, I was a little nervous, unsure of the routines and the layout of the entire program. I always had a reading framework, and never thought I REALLY relied on it as much...until now :) So getting through that initial place where I was a little bit intimidated and all was difficult. But now I have to say, I'm IN LOVE with Balanced Literacy! I love the FREEDOM that I have to decide what MY students need, each and every one of them! I'm going to do a series of posts, but this one will be all about read alouds!!

The important part about read alouds is that they are planned. They are not something we grab off the shelf on the way in the classroom. Read Alouds offer a way to tie in your other subjects. I TRY to do 3-4 read alouds a day.

1 to kick off my reading block
1 math book to kick of my guided math routine
1 chapter book after lunch (just a few pages a day)
1 theme/holiday book

A great interactive read aloud is typically ABOVE your students reading level. This way they are exposed to higher vocabulary and text features. You can use fiction or non fiction books! I like to use a mixture of both!!

I try to use as many cross circular read alouds as I can. I often do not have enough time to spend on social studies or science. So that is the perfect time for me to use a read aloud that hits the skill or topic I'm trying to address. For example, we are learning about Presidents and Famous Americans in social studies. I ALWAYS begin my reading block with a read aloud. Right now I'm using books about Presidents and Famous Americans :)

Abraham Lincoln Read Alouds

Looking at Lincoln is a great book because it allows children to get to know Lincoln as a person, not just a President. The author provides several unheard of facts and the book is very engaging! It is a MUST have I promise! My kids LOVED this book! We made a nice little anchor chart using the top of Lincoln's hat {sorry, I accidentally deleted my picture}Y'all know it wasn't cute anyways bc my hand drawn charts are just awful!!!

We also read "My First Biography: Abraham Lincoln"
Another great book! We compared the two stories and how we learned different facts from each book. The kids loved this!


George Washington Read Alouds

Another component ( that I'll blog about soon) is integrating writing into your literacy block. I was able to do that SO easily this week with my sweet friend Kelly's from Teacher Idea Factory  Presidential Packet! My kids LOVED The Lincoln Writing activity! They can't wait to finish out our Presidents unit using this packet!

Read Alouds are a great component to ANY literacy program. If you are not currently using read alouds, I encourage you to think about it. They can be very interactive and a great tool. I am able to hit on so many different areas. Modeling my critical thinking is so easy during a read aloud. Students do not even really look at it as learning, more of a discussion. That's what is so neat about it. Especially when you use titles and stories that THEY like. 

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