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The Next Step in Guided Reading: Chapter 1

June/July Book 2016 Book Study:
The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson
guided reading, teaching. book study

I am excited about this 7 part book study is featuring the work of Jan Richardson and her text, 
The Next Step in Guided Reading!

I have worked for an after-school guided reading program for the past three years and this is the first year that we have the opportunity to make major changes in the way that we deliver the program to students. This book, along with some others, will be critical to the future changes in our program and in our future training of staff. Today, I am discussing all things Chapter 1 and preparing for guided reading. 


Chapter 1 focuses on the preparation for guided reading and ensuring that you have the right structures in place to make guided reading successful in your classroom. Jan Richardson provides a summary of the structures needed for guided reading and a sample plan for implementing the literacy centers that make guided reading possible. She also provides a list of the different activities that could compose these literary centers, from writing to poetry to word wall activities. Finally, she walks through the reading notebooks, text specific questions for students, and a list of answers to common teacher questions about setting up guided reading. As she states in the book, you should start here and then work through the different levels of reading, which are covered in the rest of the book. 


As a result of this text, I plan on making a number of changes to guided reading instruction:

Guided Reading Structure

The first major change is the structure of the guided reading block. In the past, we focused heavily on the small group guided reading portion of the lesson. I am truly excited about incorporating the read aloud and shared reading components into the daily structure. Below is a sample schedule for next years guided reading structure.

 I plan on using similarly themed short reading passages and texts related to the guided reading text for the day. Because there is not a library selection for each student, I will also be incorporating a vocabulary/word work component at the beginning of the session to help students learn their Dolch words and appropriate grade level vocabulary.

Reading Logs

Below are reading logs I created for students to keep track of their read and comprehension. I always felt that I needed to include more questions to help differentiate each sheet for the particular genre of text. 


I plan to use the list of questions on pages 25-26 as a way to improve these reading logs and as a general guide for others new to questioning students.


For reading notebooks, we are planning on using binders to help organize student learning and response. In the past, we have used regular notebooks, but have found that they have not always been used consistently, and it is harder for student organization. I'll hopefully paste a new picture here after we set them up in the next few weeks.


My favorite part of the chapter was Questions Teachers Ask section at the very end. As an educator, and someone who trains teachers, reflection has been essential to my growth and the growth of teachers I work with. These reflective questions help us to determine if we are staying on track to goal and what tweaks we could make to improve our instruction and the learning of our students.
Below is my favorite question from this chapter:


I wish that had this text and had read this specific chapter my first year in the classroom. I would have been able to tailor more of the centers for the needs of my particular students that year. We were a direct instruction school with a scripted curriculum. While successful for some, the routine of it sucked the fun out of reading and made my students very dependent upon a script for comprehension. I would have like the independence of centers and more autonomy to really dig into student learning. 

This chapter left me with all kinds of ideas about literacy centers and activities for students to engage with. I can't wait to keep reading and learn more about assessment in Chapter 2. I hope you get a chance to read and enjoy!

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