One size does NOT fit all in Guided Reading!
Have you ever picked up a book you wanted to use with your guided reading group, only to discover that the levels or numbers don’t match the system that your school uses?
I can’t wait to share this FREE Guided Reading Correlation Chart with you because you CAN level just about any guided reader. I’m also going to share some tips with you on how to level any text even if it doesn’t include a level at all. Let me begin by answering a few questions that you may have about Guided Reading levels.
What exactly is a guided reading level?
Contrary to popular belief, a guided reading level is NOT a score. The level represents a set of student behaviors that are observable to the teacher. Each reading level has it’s own set of understandings and behaviors. Teachers must differentiate their instruction and the texts they use with their students.
How often should my students read independently?
This is my favorite question for teachers to ask! EVERY DAY! Your students need to be reading every single day, without a doubt! To be real readers, students have to read texts on their independent level on a daily basis.
Why should students read books on their independent reading level?
For students to be able to successfully process the text they are reading, it must be on their independent level. If the text is too difficult, then the student will not be able to process it correctly. If the text is too easy, the student will not be able to grow as a reader. When students practice reading on their independent level, they are able to build up their reading skills such as: fluency, stamina, vocabulary, comprehension, and build interest in topics.
Should I ever give my students a book above their reading level?
Yes! This is my second favorite question about guided reading. In order to become better readers, students need to read books slightly above their level; known as the instructional level. Through a guided reading lesson, you will work with students on a slightly more challenging level of text. You will be right there with your students, guiding them and helping them to process the text.
How can I tell if a book is on the correct guided reading level?
Most of what I have learned about guided reading has been from two of my favorite teacher authors: Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Since publishing their first book, I have tried to read everything I can get my hands on about guided reading. In their The Reading Teacher article, Guided Reading: The Romance and the Reality, they discuss 10 characteristics that they use to determine the level of a piece of text.
Ten Characteristics Used to Determine Text Level:
- Genres / Forms
- Text Structure
- Themes and Ideas
- Language and Literary Features
- Sentence Complexity
- Book and Print Features
So, finding text level involves more than just the words?
Determining the appropriate level of a piece of text is so much more than just the word count and difficulty. We have to move beyond just the words and consider what reading behaviors and understandings the text is requiring of the reader. When planning a guided reading lesson or determining the text level, ask yourself: What does the reader have to be able to do to comprehend the text? Comprehension is truly what reading is all about!
Don’t forget to grab your FREE Guided Reading Correlation Chart.
Have any burning questions about Guided Reading? Feel free to leave your questions in the comment section below.