Even after really getting a better understanding of how guided reading should look in my classroom, I was struggling with having a wide spread of levels in my room. My kids often range from a DRA 3 all the way up to a DRA 38! I was finding it impossible to meet the needs of each student when the group was focusing on 4 different levels! So the third year, my teammate and I started combining our classes for reading groups. I would have 4 groups of kids and she would have 4 groups of kids and they would be mixed from my class and hers. It worked so much better! We had a great thing going and our kids were making wonderful progress!
Unfortunately, she left me and moved to New Jersey. I couldn't even fathom going back to teaching guided reading just within my classroom again. Lucky for me, a new teacher moved in and one of my other teammates changed classrooms so the 3 of us were able to pool all of our students! This is our third year doing it this way and it's been wonderful. We each take 3 different levels and are better able to target the skills those students need. It takes a lot of trust and communication with your co-workers to do it this way. We take detailed notes, 2 running records a week, 2 comprehension grades a week, and consistently run reading groups 4 days each week. We have to collaborate with our ESOL teachers and Title I teacher to make sure that we are able to see every student each day. Our students make wonderful progress with this format. Right now we have students who have gone from a DRA 8 to a DRA 18 already! I love watching them develop as readers as the year goes on!
So how does guided reading look in your classrooms? Do you solely guided reading or do you incorporate a basal as well? Next time I'll be sharing how I organize my guided reading binder with my notes, scores, and running records and will have a freebie for you! :)