Monday, November 10, 2008

During Reading is the Most Important Part

Remember, whoever is doing the most work is doing the most learning. The best way to become a better reader is to read, read, read, read, read.

When teaching reading, how much time do your students actually spend reading? The answer should be about 20-25 minutes of a 45 minute lesson.

Structure of a Four-Blocks Guided Reading lesson:
  • Before: Teach mini-lesson and set purpose for reading (about 10-15 minutes)

  • During: Students read and teacher monitors (about 20-25 minutes)

  • After: Wrap-up mini-lesson/Closure (about 10-15 minutes)

During reading is the key; what do students DO when they're finished with the selection? They simply read it again; rereading builds fluency.

If students read and summarized the first time, have them practice a different good reader strategy (connecting, questioning, inferring) the second time.

Partner reading is one of the BEST methods for the during component of a Guided Reading lesson when used effectively. Make sure the listener has a job (summarizer, questioner, connector). If you don't, it's simply ping-pong reading ... round robin reading times two.

If you partner a high reader with a medium reader and a medium reader with an emergent reader, it's very effective and differentiated. Never pair an advanced readiness reader with an emergent readiness reader, it's frustrating for both.

How much do students read before taking turns? A page is too much ... about three inches of text seems to work best. After the reader reads, the listener DOES something with the text (summarizes OR questions OR ...) before switching roles.

After 20 or so minutes of reading, instruct students to thank their partners for reading before having students return to their seats (or the carpet) for the after activity.

What do you do with students who don't finish the selection? They still had time to practice reading for at least twenty minutes, right? They'll catch up on the content of reading in the after discussion. Unless they're filling out a comprehension question paper, they may not need to finish the reading. Is the day's objective to FINISH the selection or to use the selection to learn a skill?

It's very important to have Self-Selected Reading EVERY day too. In Guided Reading, you TEACH skills. In Self-Selected Reading, students PRACTICE reading text on their independent reading level while the teacher confers individually with students. It's a win-win situation, and time will simply fly during your reading lessons.

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