Here we are! This is the last blog post in my Guided Reading series (for now!). In this part, I am going to focus on how you can run an effective guided reading session using specific activities before, during, and after reading.
If you are not familiar with my French Guided Reading Package, I organize all of my guided reading activities into three sections: BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER reading. Each set of activities has a different focus.
- ACTIVATING PRIOR KNOWLEDGE
- READING COMPREHENSION
At the beginning of the year, I go through my resource and put together a guided reading student folder for each student in my class. I choose between 30-40 activities from my resource that I want to include in the folder. I then make photocopies for each student folder before we start our guided reading sessions. This may take a little time to photocopy and you might go through a pack of paper or two BUT this is EVERYTHING you will need for THE WHOLE YEAR! On top of that, you will always be reassured that everything your students need for guided reading is in one place and ready to go for your next session without having to scramble looking for an enriching and meaningful task.
In each student folder, I also include a reading strategies poster and a punctuation poster. I glue one poster on the inner cover and the other on the back. In the duo-tang, I include all of the activities I photocopied. This is what a student folder looks like. When I call a group over for guided reading, students bring the folder to our reading table and I choose one activity to focus on for that session (I use the seat crates around my guided reading table to store each group’s folders and books that we are reading that week). The activity I choose depends on the group, the reading strategy we are working on, and the text I have chosen.
Before reading, it is important for students to activate any prior knowledge or form opinions about the text they are about to read. This will help set students up for success during the reading process. For example, introducing vocabulary through word work activities will allow students to recognize those words when reading. Having a discussion about what the students already know about a specific topic will also better prepare them for reading. Chances are that they will already have talked about several ideas that are going to be covered in the book. Lastly, focusing on book conventions such as the book title, cover page or illustrations allows students to make predictions about the text they are going to read. All of these strategies set students up to read for meaning and therefore are able to demonstrate greater reading comprehension.
The activities that you will do during reading happen throughout the story or text and focus on reading comprehension. I typically interrupt the story to check for understanding using activities such as predictions, retelling, and visualizing. If you are reading a fiction text, this is a great opportunity to discuss various story elements such as the setting and characters. If you are reading a non-fiction text, this is a great time to highlight various text features and characteristics. This is where I tend to focus on specific parts of the story or text. For example, you might ask students to explain what the problem is and draw a picture. Or, you might ask them to list a few things they have in common with the main character. Remember, this is a short reading session. You don’t want to try to cram too much into it. It is always best to choose one focus for the day and give the students enough time to complete the task so that they can take something away from it.
Lastly, the activities that we do after reading focus on reflection. For example, students will learn how to critique and review a short story or text. In doing so, they are forming opinions about what they read. These tasks are more open-ended and usually promote creative thinking and writing. For example, students might be asked to rewrite the end of the story or design a new cover page for the book. You could even ask students to write a letter or a postcard to the main character or simply ask students to evaluate their reading.
When I do these activities during guided reading, students always start the activity with me and in our small group. I help them by guiding their writing or their answers. Sometimes, students will not finish the task or question in 20 minutes. However, they will have started it in our group and be on the right path to completion. When I notice that they are on the right path, I send students back to their desk to complete the activity independently. They are then expected to show me their work when it is complete and I will correct it and provide them with timely feedback.
I also want to clarify that I do not complete a before, during AND after activity during each reading session. I only choose one activity from any of the three categories. If I complete a “DURING” activity one session, I will choose an activity from a different section next time.
All of the activities in the pictures above are included in my French Guided Reading package. They are not all pictured but those are some of my go-to activities.
Click on the button below to download one activity from each section to use during a guided reading session or even a literacy lesson.