Guided Reading is a common daily routine in many primary classrooms in the UK and Australasia, but the challenge of ensuring these important sessions make an impact on all pupils can be time consuming in the planning stages. In her article, Rachel Preece-Dawson looks at how a slight change in her guided reading session had profound effects on her pupils and the time she spent planning. You can read the full version of this article freely in the September 2014 edition of UKEdMagazine – Click here to view.
Hands up: who plans lessons where, for approximately two hours per week, at least 75% of the pupils in your class are engaged in self-managed, seldom-marked, time-filling activities?
Guided reading has always been a bit of a bugbear of mine: it takes so long to plan for such short sessions with so few meaningfully-engaged children. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing nicer than reading an engrossing text with a small group of enthusiastic children who enjoy talking about their reading, but how often does that happen in guided reading sessions, however well trained the rest of the class are in silently reading or copying out spellings?
So, I was intrigued to join in a Twitter conversation at the end of last year about whole class guided reading. After some thought, and some discussion with my pupils (who, on the whole told me that they disliked the carousel-style guided reading I had been taught to deliver about as much as I did, if not more), I decided to give it a try.
My first problem was choosing the text. Early this spring term when I decided to try whole class guided reading, I had a spread of reading levels from about 1a/2c to 4c, across my mixed-age Y2/3 class. I also had, as most classes do, those children who love to lose themselves in a story and those for whom, quite frankly, reading is not enjoyable. Again, I asked advice of Twitter (my initial idea of Roald Dahl’s The Witches was shot down in flames) and finally stumbled upon The Last Polar Bears by Harry Horse. I wanted to pitch my choice of book towards the middle/upper end of the ability range in my class. It turned out to be an excellent choice.
Article continues on next page…