• What is...

    Guided Reading
    Guided reading is done in a small group setting. The teacher selects the text based on the groups common needs. Children read the whole text to themselves. There is some teacher support. The teacher introduces strategies and teaches the children how to successfully use these strategies to become independent readers. In guided reading, children are working at their instructional level. The teacher monitors and evaluates the childrens progress during the reading. The materials used during guided reading are at a groups instructional level. All children in this group will be using their own book to read. Teachers incorporate literacy centers for the other groups that are not working in the guided reading group.
    Guided writing is often done as a whole class activity. However, children are working at their own pace composing and editing stories. Teachers provide guidance and instruction to children through conferencing. Teachers interact with children on a one to one basis. Guided Writing provides children with the opportunity to be creative and learn to be the author of a story. Children gain more knowledge as individual needs are addressed. The teacher helps the children expand their knowledge of writing. Guided Writing is also commonly referred to as Writing Workshop. During this time, it is very important and beneficial to both the teacher and the children to have other adults and/or teachers in the classroom providing support and guidance for the children.
    Independent Reading
    Independent reading is done independently. There is very minimal support from the teacher. Children learn to read by reading. Therefore, time is set-aside for children to read appropriate materials and children have the choice to pick these materials by themselves. The materials used during independent reading are materials that the children are able to read with confidence. During independent reading, children will reread the leveled texts that they have already successfully read in guided reading. Children may also read big books that have been used during read alouds or shared reading time. Children may also use a pointer to read the room during independent reading time. The main value in independent reading is time for children to practice their reading and increase their fluency. Independent reading also builds confidence in reading.
    Independent Writing
    Independent writing can be done as a whole class activity or in small groups but it is done independently. Prior to independent writing, the teacher models appropriate writing behaviors. Then, during independent writing, there is minimal teacher support. Children write down different ideas about a number of things. For instance, journals, math journals or a science journal may be used for independent writing time. Children are given time to express their own thoughts during this time. Children may also help one another during independent writing time.
    Interactive Writing
    Interactive writing is a whole group activity that involves both the teacher and the children composing messages and stories that are written. Both the teacher and the children share the responsibility of writing by participating in the writing of the text. Interactive writing enables the children to connect with the writing and provides the opportunity for children to participate in the writing process. Children learn by doing and fixing their mistakes. Spelling corrections are easily fixed. Letter formation is not a major concern during interactive writing. Once the interactive writing piece is completed, it becomes a resource for the classroom to use as shared reading.
    Literacy Center
    As the teacher is diligently working on Guided Reading, the other students in the classroom are interacting with meaningful literacy centers. These literacy centers are placed on the color wheel and the students are thoroughly explained the routine and procedure for using each literacy center. It is extremely beneficial that the students know how to use the literacy centers before the students are left to work on their own.
    While the students are working at literacy centers, he/she follows the activities listed on the color wheel. Once the teacher finishes her guided reading lesson with one group, the color wheel rotates and the students move on to the next literacy center. The students work that is assigned during the literacy centers may be turned in to a pre-determined specified spot in the classroom or the teacher may have the students bring their work to the guided reading group. The teacher should be sure that he/she has made the students aware of what the students are to do with their completed tasks. In doing this, it should eliminate the need for students to interrupt the teacher while he/she is working with a guided reading lesson. If students do not get to complete all literacy activities on the color wheel, it is usually okay as long as the students have been working diligently during the specified time period.
    The color wheel allows the teacher to manage the classroom in a very organized way. At the beginning of every year, it is extremely important for the teacher to establish an organized environment with the children. It is equally important for the teacher to teach the children how to effectively use the materials in a classroom.
    Reading Aloud
    Reading aloud is often done as a whole group activity. The teacher reads aloud a chosen book to the class. During the read aloud, the teacher demonstrates to the children that reading is enjoyable and important. Reading to children helps familiarize children with the language of books and the patterns found in books. The teacher also helps the children develop the following skills: listening, vocabulary building, sense of story structure and a sense of written language syntax. Reading aloud also allows children to hear language that may be above their present independent reading level but suitable and enjoyable for their listening level. The teacher is also given the opportunity to model good reading strategies and thinking aloud as he/she is reading aloud to the class. For read alouds, the teacher will select the best materials available. This is a wonderful opportunity to integrate the award winning literature such as Caldecott and Newbury books into the classroom
    Shared Reading
    Shared reading is often done as a whole group activity but can also be done in small groups or with partners. There is a tremendous amount of teacher support in that the teacher involves the children in an enjoyable and purposeful way. Shared reading is an interactive reading experience. The teacher will read a big book and involve the children in joining in, as he/she is pointing to the words and reading. Shared reading is one of the best ways to develop fluency in reading. It promotes frequent rereading of familiar big books, poems, and/or songs. Shared reading is a wonderful way to support struggling readers. It gives practice for reading with expression, developing and expanding sight word vocabulary. Shared reading is also a great way to teach phonic skills. Shared reading gives children the opportunity to actively participate as a reader. Children enjoy the familiar materials that are used during shared reading time. These materials may be big books, poems, poetry notebooks or songs. Shared reading materials give the children an opportunity to use the materials again for independent reading.
    Shared Writing
    Shared writing can be done in a large group setting or a small group setting. It is typically not done one on one. During shared writing, the teacher and children compose a piece of written work together. The teacher does the writing and elicits the responses from the children. Shared writing allows the teacher to demonstrate all conventional writing skills. The teacher can draw attention to letters, words, sounds, punctuation or grammar that he/she may be focusing on for that day. An example of a shared writing activity is the morning letter. The teacher uses it to announce special events or review something important. During the reading of the letter, we practice skills such as learning about sentence structure and punctuation. Activities such as leaving blank spots helps children practice good reading strategies. The teacher uses the word wall words in the text and encourages the children to enhance their reading skills by reading the letter together. The morning letter allows students the opportunity to interact with the teacher to become successful writers and readers.
    Word Wall Work
    Word Wall Work is one of the best opportunities that teachers have available to them to have children notice and use letters and words. Word work can be done in a large group setting, small group setting or even one to one. Word walls allow children to become familiar with letters, help children link sounds with letters and letter clusters and help children use what they know about words to solve new words. Word walls can be constructed and then reconstructed as needed. The best tool for teaching high frequency words is by using a word wall for at least fifteen minutes a day for whole group word work. Word work offers support for beginning readers and writers. During writing activities, children can use these word works as a reference.