Thursday, January 6, 2011
My work as a staff developer has given me many occasions to reflect and think about my days as a classroom teacher. Looking back, I have come to recognize that without small group instruction, I was missing an important opportunity to guide my students to greater proficiency. Clearly, there was a gaping hole in my teaching repertoire which has sent me on a quest to right my wrong. It is my goal to learn everything I can about small group instruction, specifically guided reading.
Since embarking on this quest, I have attended workshops and read books on this topic. Recently I finished Guided Reading (amazon affiliate link) by Fountas and Pinnell and over the summer I read Teaching Reading in Small Groups (amazon affiliate link) by Jenn Serravallo and Preventing Misguided Reading (amazon affiliate link) by Jan Miller Burkins and Melody Croft. At this point, I feel like I have a sound theoretical knowledge of what small group instruction entails. What I need now is a better understanding of the practical implications of small group instruction. I am boggled and stymied by questions like how long should it take? If it goes on for thirty minutes, is that too long? When I pull up alongside students in guided reading groups to do a running record, is it okay if I don’t get to each student in the group? Do I need to take a running record of every student every time? If I don’t listen to a child read aloud and simply have a conversation about the text, is that okay? What is the best way to embed word study into a guided reading group? Proportionately speaking, how much time should the introduction to the text take?
The list goes on and on and that is why I have resolved to investigate these questions through my own independent study of this important teaching structure. I invite you to join me on my quest and encourage you to share your questions and answers to mine. I am very eager to hear stories from the trenches so that I can begin to piece together the guided reading puzzle. This blog will be the first in a series of forthcoming blogs that will reveal my learning process and thinking about this important teaching structure. I do hope that you join me and share your thinking. When it comes to guided reading, what would you like to learn more about?