Guiding Readers Chapter 7

I love this book. I have many guided reading books in my library but no of them lay out what you should do for readers quite like this one. Chapter seven focuses on those struggling reading in the upper grades. We all have at least one each year, a 5th or 6th grade students reading well below grade level.  These guys are part of the RTI system regardless of their special education status. For me they get their guided reading from me--as a have a group that low. 

What stuck out to me, was Rog's comments on boy readers. When I reflect back on the upper elementary groups from the last couple of years, they are made up of mostly boys who state that they hate reading. They were as mostly not staffed and would not qualify for special education. Rog states, "that only 10% of struggling adolescent readers need work on decoding." They can decode but have no comprehension skills.  

In my building, we have pounded decoding in our students K-3 but have not focused on comprehension. We all struggle with the older kids how just have no clue what they are reading. This last year, teachers were giving The Comprehension Toolkit. (If you don't have it, it's so worth the price.) I have used it the last couple of years with my older students and this year with kindergartens. 

She also points out that choosing text is also something that needs to be at the forefront of our planning for struggling readers. That no more than 5% challenging words and concepts should be present. Easier said than done. I have used my computers readability to get an idea of how easy or hard a text is. I have found using the guided reading level doesn't always help--it gives you a range and it could an easy R/40 or a hard R/40. What makes it harder is finding text that boys want to read. Another place, I like using is Intervention Central's, Oral Reading Fluency Passage Generator. I type in the passage I'm using and it spits out readability and I get my running record at the same time. Yeah!!!

This spring I spent close to 6 weeks, reading about Titanic using the Comprehension Toolkit. A boy a requested for it because of the anniversary. By the time we were done, I had taught three strategies and made one girl so sick of reading about the Titanic. Well, I was done with it too. The three boys loved those six weeks.  I think that if I had used a novel, it would not have been as much fun and no one would have been engaged with anything. I like the acrostic that Paul Kropp has for what you need to keep in mind when looking for books for boys. You'll find a poster below. How to you engage boys in wanting to read?

In all my guided reading groups I work in student choice. No always six weeks of it but live is always better when I do. I have found boys prefer nonfiction over narrative.  I never try to water down text or books for my students. I plan my scaffolding around my readers and make sure that they have enough background knowledge to read the text successfully. I'm a firm believer that the book you choose needs to match the readers needs; both decoding and comprehension load. I use my assessments to guide the direction they need to move in.

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  1. Thank you for sharing this resource. Renee

  2. Hey there! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm so excited about my award :) Also, i need your email- As my 4th follower you get my Fantastic Fractions unit for FREE!

    Rock and Teach

  3. Hi Alison! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I think you and I are going to be blog buddies, we seem to think alike!

    For teaching reading comprehension strategies, check out Strategies that Work by Harvey & Goudvis. I use that book and all of the strategies with all my students (K-8). Regarding boys and novels, I have found that they like novels read aloud to them IF they are about things boys find interesting, such as war. The most popular books for independent reading last year for my 6th-8th grade boys were about war, actually. The Ten True Tales series from Scholastic was popular too. They liked these because they are short story compilations. This one was popular too:

  4. I love using Strategies that Work as well with certain groups. It depends on what the mix of kids that I have in the group. Linda Hoyt has a new book out Solutions for Reading Comprehension that I like too.



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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.

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