Guiding reading struggles is something I hear from teachers often. They often feel like the all of the guided reading strategies are too hard, they take too long to plan, and they aren’t effective. But I am here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way! In this post, I am going to cover some of the myths that I commonly hear about guided reading in the upper elementary classroom.
Guided Reading Isn’t Needed in Upper Grades
I disagree with my whole heart.
“In guided reading, you meet students where they are and lead them forward with intention and precision.” –Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell
When you are meeting in guided reading groups and you are really able to see where a student is, you can help them and move them forward. In the whole group setting, that is much more difficult.
In upper elementary, you can meet with student’s less often, but that small group time is essential for their long term growth.
It Takes a Long Time
That one is up to you. Guided reading does not have to take a long time. You can still implement all of the guided reading strategies in a short period of time. I spend about 20/30 minutes a day on guided reading and am still able to see the benefits.
You Have to Meet with Every Student Daily
This is a guided reading struggle that I hear very often with teachers, but this is up to you. In the upper elementary, you are working on harder tasks that take a little longer in small groups, so it is hard to get through every kid, every day. It is important to meet with your lower level students more than once a week, but your average and high students can still benefit from small group just one time a week. Don’t stress about meeting with kids everyday and instead focus on that one session, making it valuable with great guided reading strategies.
Planning Takes Forever
It can take forever if you want it to. Or it can be quick, precise, and reusable.
I like to grab a leveled reader or a close read, choose a skill to focus on, and a few words.
Add those into this planning document and you are good to go! Then, you can reuse this same lesson plan for years to come or with other groups when they are in need of a higher or lower level!
**Check out this blog post here to read more about how I plan simply and effectively for guided reading.<<
Kids Get Bored
Kids LOVE centers. I think if you keep centers the exact same every single week, kids might lose steam, but if you switch it up they will stay engaged and excited.
Add some partner work and technology and you will keep them excited!
I have 20 word work centers that I rotate through! They only see each center twice a year, so it keeps them on their toes!
For our digital rotation, I switch out the theme of the week (fall, winter, spring topics) to keep them interested and involved!
I also let them work with partners for many of the stations, which always makes it more fun!
Centers Have to Be the Same Each Week
Not true! You can change many times throughout the year. I love the typical daily 5 centers (word work, read to self, listening to reading, writing, and teacher time) but I also love adding a close reading station or a technology station.
Sometimes you can even have a must-do, may-do week! This type of week is where you assign one or two items that they HAVE to get done that week and then give them a bunch of choices of things that they can also do. The kids love this set up because they are making the choice!
Conclusion: Small Group Time is a MUST
Having 20/30 minutes set aside for small group reading is essential. Meeting with those kids and getting to know their reading needs is what pushes them to the next level. It is what really makes them great readers!
Want to learn more?
Head to this blog post series to read all about how I run guided reading groups and implement guided reading strategies!