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Struggle with guided reading

Discussion in 'Primary' started by TEA2111, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    I hate doing guided reading. I don't feel that there is much teaching and learning happening, and do it because I have to tick the box. My issues are:
    1) my noisy class when I am working with a group (never had this problem with my previous class)
    2) an independent activity that is more than just a filler activity to keep the class busy while I am working with a group, and does not require marking
    3) trying to assess and scribble something on my assessment records while at the same time teaching and listening and managing the behaviour of the other children
    4) finding a scheme that actually works

    Any ideas? Suggestions? Teachers who feel the same? Teachers who love GR?
  2. michaelt1979

    michaelt1979 Occasional commenter

    hp08aca and TEA2111 like this.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I LOVE teaching GR sessions. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

    Noisy class is because what they are being asked to do isn't holding their attention.
    I split my class into 4 or 5 groups, depending on the size of the class, but not usually more than 6 in a group.
    1. Comprehension from http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1783170727?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00
    2. One of the practical/linked activities from said book.
    3. Reading quietly in the reading corner
    4. Reading with me
    5. Re-reading in pairs whatever we read in GR the session before OR finishing off one of the comprehension or linked tasks if needed.

    Have no real help for the filling in assessments...drives me nuts too. And the writing in reading records....Grrrr!
    hp08aca and TEA2111 like this.
  4. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Thanks for your reply. I wish that GR was the only time my class was noisy...they are a very difficult/fussy bunch. Fortunately a SLT have my class often and experience the frustrations I do. I had a system that worked better last year, but it is not possible to do the same with this class. They need constant 'sitting on' and my TA is unfortunately no help with this.
  5. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    For the whole of the time my children have been at primary school, I have not been for the life of me able to understand why the whole class does not just study the same book with the teacher. It's like a world gone mad. Everyone would learn more. This article calls guided reading 'traditional". I must be incredibly old as I consider it newfangled.

    Schools do not have whole class sets of books. It would appear this is the main obstacle?
    TEA2111 likes this.
  6. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Yes they do.

    They often do in my school and in many others I've worked in or visited. A whole class text is frequently used whole class reading lessons. This thread is about guided reading though. The idea with guided reading is that children are in ability groups so that they are reading a book that they can access and offers them a challenge. This can't usually be done with one text for the entire class.
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Yes we do. My school has used whole class sets of books for fifteen years. We use high quality texts not reading scheme books and study the complete book.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  8. yorkshirevic

    yorkshirevic New commenter

    We do guided reading during assembly. A small group of about 6 children will stay out of assembly each day and read with the class teacher. Works well for us as you don't have to manage the rest of the class.
  9. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    That sounds like a really sensible approach, and much more productive. My experiences with GR have varied but generally go along the lines of the OP, noisy and difficult to manage and accurately assess. In my last school we had a big library with a librarian where we used to go for GR, and if you had a TA as well it was brilliant. That was in a middle school though; no such luck in my current primary school where the 'library' is a small room not big enough for even half the class, filled with tattered books, all of which the kids have read 800 times.

    Not rocket science really; if you have a good selection of age and ability appropriate books, GR should not be problematic. Our school, despite being an academy, is chronically underfunded and badly resourced.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  10. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Yes, a great time to do GR, but how to convince SLT?
  11. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Sorry, I was being flippant and I should have said some schools don't have full sets and explained myself a bit more. Yes, it might be possible that a class text would not hit the button for all children in terms of "reading ability" and therefore some other reading activity is necessary to ensure they are reading a book that ensures they are in their "zone of proximal development" but it doesn't have to be small group guided reading that is used to solve this particular need does it?

    And I wonder if guided reading does solve this. There's a bit of a problem with the notion of "reading ability" and finding a book which will improve a child's reading ability I feel. There are two strands to it - comprehension ( which is multi-faceted) and decoding. It is possible in both guided reading and whole class texts to have a book that does not match well with an individual's current skills in either of these elements. So you can have them struggling to decode a book which is well within their grasp if it was read out loud to them or struggling to understand a book which they can read out loud to you pretty well.

    I am not sure what the answer is - I just raise this as I have always been very curious about guided reading and its perceived benefits - and I am not thinking that a class text solves everything either nor that it's the only reading activity that is necessary but it's a good deal less unwieldy to plan and at least means that all children are gaining the benefits of the same book, whatever those may be for which it has been selected.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    If they don't have full class sets they could always buy them ... it might have to be a gradual process depending on budget (but not purchasing scheme books is a saving). Our texts are often linked to other areas of the curriculum so UKS2 are studying the Tudors in history and Y6 are using A Cue for Treason and Y5 The Devil and His Boy so children have background information from their history study which helps with text comprehension.

    Texts are deliberately challenging but every child is eager to read aloud because they feel supported by staff and their peers.
  13. terri1972

    terri1972 New commenter

    We use the Big Reading scheme. It allows us to assess certain skills, and all the children are doing the same task - I just work with a different group on different days. But all children get assessed after every session depending on the quality of the task ('mini mission') they have been given. I find it helps with planning and assessing.
    I also use a text that is related to the topic we are covering at the time.
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    we also use Big Reading but whole class
  15. MannyDog

    MannyDog New commenter

    Guided reading is hard/long work to plan and I don't think there is any way to shortcut it. I make up comprehensions about each groups book, or scan a page to make a character adjective mind map, whatever I can draw from that text.

    I found it harder in Year 1 when I had children who started the year bascially unable to read, but once they can read to some degree it's okay.

    Re noise - you just have to make them be silent!
    TEA2111 likes this.
  16. ld7675

    ld7675 Occasional commenter

    Whole class reading works well if there are enough resources. I work in a school that teaches reading through the Success For All scheme and I think it works really well. I found it really difficult to give each guided reading group the same amount of attention in the school I was at before as guided reading would be on a rota basis over the whole day - really tricky when there are groups of children who can't work independently very well.
    TEA2111 likes this.

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