Collecting guided reading data is one of the most important things I do during my reading block throughout the year. However, if I’m being completely transparent, guided reading is also one of those thing I wish I had endless amounts of P.D. in. As educators we hear how valuable data collection is, but we often don’t really know how to collect it without testing students.
When we think of student growth and reading as an entire subject, there are a few skills that typically come to mind: fluency, comprehension, expression, and so on. I needed a place to store all of this information and determine if I was seeing the growth & what I was doing all year to encourage that progress.
That’s why I started using a guided reading binder. My binder makes collecting guided reading data in my upper elementary classroom significantly easier and it keeps me more organized.
My guided reading binder is like the holy grail of my classroom and I use it for literally everything. I don’t ask them to take tests or answer questions based on a rubric… in fact they don’t even know I’m collecting data. I fill my binder with small group reading strategies and guided reading lesson plans for the entire year.
Each week I meet with a group multiple times. All of the members within a guided reading group are using a consistent leveled book. (Based on the data I collect is when I decide to move them up or down a level). While they’re reading, I’m jotting down information based on our conversations, their reading comprehension, fluency, and rate. I also make note of the student’s motivation and behavior if it appears relevant.
I also use this time to quickly model the weekly reading skills and strategies if necessary and evaluate how they apply the skill independently.
When planning my guided reading groups, I often ask myself
“What does this child need to move to the next reading level?”
“What has been preventing them from moving forward?”
Your guided reading lessons should revolve around these two questions. Based on your answer to those two questions, you can begin to set goals and create lesson plans. It’s important to set goals for your students individually and share these goals with them. It allows them to take ownership of their success and give them something to focus on.
For example, many of my students want to race through their reading passage. Therefore, you may set a goal for them to slow their pace down…enough to understand everything that they’re reading within the leveled reader. Switching the focus from rate to comprehension will guide a student to be successful long term. Then you can start measuring their growth based on these goals.
I hope that you’re feeling less stressed about collecting data. Once you develop your own consistent system of collecting and assessing students, you will be smooth sailing for years to come. Below I have listed a few questions I commonly receive, but remember to come back to this blog post if you have any additional questions. I’m here to help!
1.How long is your guided reading block?
We have 40 minutes for whole group instruction & 40 minutes for guided reading.
2. How long do you meet with each group?
Depending on the group – about 15 minutes.
3. What are the other students working on while you’re meeting with a group.
4. What about your above level students?
My “above level” group receive less time. I often feel guilty for not meeting with them more often, but instead I’ve come to realize that they still need me, but in a different way. They need more opportunities to expand their love of reading, experiment with different genres, and the opportunity to really analyze and dig deeper into texts (literature circles are great for this).
5. How do you help students who are far below grade level?
These students I meet with the most. I meet with them almost every day to model and try different strategies for applying the weekly skill. I also meet with them for “interventions.”
6. What leveled readers do you use?
We currently use the reading series McGraw Hill – Wonders. They provide leveled readers and guided reading lesson plans if the teacher chooses to use them.