Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Independent Readers Workshop or Guided Reading?

The biggest question I have heard primary teachers ask is about Independent Reading Workshops and Guided Reading.  They want to know which is better.  I guess it depends on your results.  I have had experience with both and I currently use both.  I think what gets forgotten is that Literacy is a huge component that needs balance…thus the Balanced Literacy approach.
I began my teaching experience in 2nd grade and I did teach Independent Readers Workshop but with a balanced approach.  My 2 favorite books that became my inspiration when teaching reading to my students are Growing Readers by Kathy Collins and Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller. 

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you all to read these over the summer if you are looking for a little change in your teaching style next year.
My day with first graders starts with Mini Lessons to teach reading strategies.  Then they break off into centers (Daily 5) and I work one-on-one with students.  I sit with them on the floor with a spiral notebook in hand.  I have them choose a book from their book box that we have been reading or one they shopped for in our library.  I take notes as they read so I can track progress or look for areas to improve in.  As struggling readers are getting ready to move on to a new or more difficult book I usually will meet as a small group (Guided Reading) to go over word work and reading strategies to use.
I highly encourage Writers Workshop and Math Workshops in this same manner.  About 7 years ago, a parent bought me the Lucy Calkins Writers Workshop book set for primary readers.  I LOVE IT!!  It helps in all areas of writing and gives you a few ideas for mini lessons too!  I still refer back to it occasionally as it NEVER gets old!  Okay I know I am rambling.  What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Stacey, I love your blog! I teach my balance literacy very much like you do it seems like. I teach a mini-lesson...then some kids go to daily 5...I may have a guided reading group or work with students independently. I've looked at these books before, but I think I'll refresh my memory over the summer.
    Hilary :)