Well long story short, AJ finally figured it out. He just needed to be equipped with the right strategies, had to keep on practicing and also learn how to cope with failed attempts while turning those attempts into reasons for trying. Persistence is the key!
So for me and my kiddos, we're always attempting to climb up the "literacy wall" by looking for certain "steps" to help us climb as high as we can as quickly as we can. Sure we may fall a few times along the way, but the real learning comes from when we pick ourselves up and try, try again as my son would put it. We also know that with practice and the right skills, we'll reach the top in no time.
Guided Reading in my room is a combination of what great researchers and teachers have shared in the past. It includes touching on the 5 pillars of reading, holding meaningful discussions, having accountable talks, ensuring opportunities to integrate writing, tying in skills and strategies, but most of all learning how to read in a MEANINGFUL, ENGAGING & FUN way!
You're probably thinking that Guided Reading should be focused on strictly providing intervention right? Who has time for "fun?" Well sure intervention is at the core of your Guided Reading-but that should not be the only focus in Guided Reading. In order for Guided Reading to be successful, you have to, as an educator, build literacy relationships between yourself and your students as well as teaching students how to build a relationship with literature itself.
Relationship building isn't a piece of cake either. I work with struggling readers who most often come to me already discouraged and aware that they lag behind others. Reading isn't something that they love. And with my position being known as the "Reading Specialist"...well let's just say I have my work cut out since I am after all affiliated with reading.
My goal for my kiddos is simple- it's that they LOVE reading before the end of the year. Whether it be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, comics-whatever it is, students NEED to leave our classrooms feeling that they are equipped enough to be able to pick up a book and experience the wonders of reading.
In order to get to this point, I make sure that my Guided Reading is tailored, customized and built on what EVERY child in my class (all 65 of them) NEED. I challenge each child to "level up" and have them establish goals on a monthly basis. I allow them to express their feeling in their literacy journals (we LOVE Richard Allington's Giggles, Goosebumps & Tears concept). I teach them how to use multiple strategies and then I coach them in reading, carefully critiquing them along the way (I use sticky note flags and ALWAYS keep the critiques positive) so that they know what to do when they try, try again.
I give them opportunities to showcase themselves by "auditioning" and landing a "recording deal" by in which they are able to record audio files on the iPad reading aloud and having the option to send their recordings to their very own fans....administrators, teachers and even their parents.
Last I give them time to learn and apply multiple skills that will be assessed in their own classroom instruction so that they are ready to "face the music".
Guided Reading should be hands-on, innovative, constantly changing based on the kiddos and the input they offer (e.g. what worked/didn't work for them, what they liked/didn't like).
Do they read everyday? You betcha! EVERY DAY indeed.
Do they love reading when they leave me at the end of the year? Let's just say I have to "push" them out of my room at the end of the year :) And that's gotta be a good thing when they keep on coming back just to share the love of reading with you!
Remember, Guided Reading is simply coaching a child along the way in becoming a better reader. You have the privilege to witness their climb and be able to guide them through their steps while celebrating the heights they reach in literacy each day! There are several resources, boxed curriculums, sites and so forth out there for you to explore. But the best resource is always going to be those kiddos sitting right in front of you telling you exactly what they need. And frankly, in my own humble opinion, there is no resource or boxed kit out there that can capture what every child you work with needs-YOU are your students' BEST resource! :)
Your #1 fan,