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Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Next Step in Guided Reading; Chapter Three; Pre-A and Emergent Guided Reading

I am linking up with Marsha at A Differentiated Kindergarten for the Chapter Three discussion of our book study. She posted some awesome resources, so check them out. This chapter was a little more difficult for me to get serious about and it had nothing to do with the chapter. It has to do with interviewing for jobs for different grade levels and feeling like I ma holding my breath waiting to hear back. What if I am not teaching Kinder next year? And then... what if I DON'T get a job and have to wait some more? Yikes! I know it's true, God will take care of me, and I know it is true that He will put me where I am needed most. But the waiting is the hardest part (if you don't believe me, ask Tom Petty).

The Next Step is Guided Reading: Chapter Three; Pre-A and Emergent Guided Reading

I love, love, love everything resource posted on A Differentiated Kindergarten, and she made a FREE chart with matching posters for your word wall so everything matches. It is wonderful. (Thanks, thanks, thanks!). 

Pre-A lessons are for students who know fewer than 40 upper and lower-case letters. This students need to learn to recognize letters and know the sounds. Richardson breaks it down into four components: working with letters and names, working with sounds, working with books, and interactive writing. 

Here is where my colleagues would insert the fab resources they use in their classrooms, but I don't have any self-made resources (I am a TpT consumer, big time), and i don't have a lot of classroom time/experience. What I did last year was utilize to make just about anything I needed. I made student names and alphabet practice sheets. Upper-case and lower-case letters. I made worksheets for differentiated instruction and I laminated names and alphabet sheets for center activities. The other thing we did was practice with playdough. We practiced using letter stamps, and making our names, we practiced forming the letters of our names on a laminated copy of their name or independently. 

Richardson specifically addresses having students trace an alphabet book (including the WAY it should be traced). This seems both overly simple and genius to me. This is what I love about this book. The instruction is both easy to understand, and she explains WHY she does it and that it WORKS, and it is easy to implement.  This is also why I am excited that I am part of such a great community of bloggers because I have already come across great ideas and resources to use to implement the suggestions in the book.

Richardson stresses not putting more than four in a group of the students in the lowest level groups. The emergent readers can be in groups of six. This makes SO MUCH sense to me. 

I like that the author includes a lot of resources in the book. She talks about using a letter/sound checklist and then includes the download of a chart. For me, this makes what I am learning so much more doable. 

One question that came to me as I was reading was this: The book refers to letters that students know by name but not by sound. How many times do teachers come across this? My experience, both in preschool and in Kinder, says that students generally learn the sound first even if they cannot identify the letter they usually know the sound, or more often know the sound. Is this true for other teachers? Or do you generally have students that recognize the letter by name but not by sound? 

I found the chapter to offer practical strategies for teaching right down to how long each activity should take. If I knew that I were teaching Kindergarten next year, I would be creating and organizing resources right now for the sound sorts, the sentence cut-ups, and so on! But alas, I am in limbo and trying to stay enthusiastic and still wait for a job to come to me. 

I found it interesting that the author gave instructional levels as being at a 90-94% accuracy. I love and agree with this. At my daughter's school, they consider instructional level to be 85% and let me tell you, for my daughter, that is called FRUSTRATION LEVEL. Ugh, I HATED making her read at a level that put her tears so much of the time. 

I have so much highlighted in this chapter, and I am excited that it gives me step-by-step instruction on implementing the ideas in the classroom. But the truth is, I am most excited to see what resources my friends and colleagues are sharing.  And I read the chapter, but I am not certain if I am an early primary teacher right now, so it is a lot of mental work just to read it. It will have more meaning when I have a classroom again! 

Even if you are not learning about guided reading this summer or participating in this book study, you will learn so much by reading the posts in the linky! So head on over and find out about this guided reading study and read up! 


  1. Most of the students I have taught have learned the letter-name before the letter sound. When my Kindergartners come in, we assess their letter name and sound knowledge. Some of the students will generally know neither, but most of the students will at least know some of the letter names. Few of the students will know any letter sounds. When I teach, I teach the letter and sound together.

    My Kinder-Garden

  2. Thanks for linking up. Great post. There was definitely alot of 'meat' to it.
    A Differentiated Kindergarten