Tuesday, December 20, 2011

guided reading

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When a teacher works with a small group, during guided reading time, other students need independent activities that help them learn and practice reading and writing. The power of the instruction that takes place away from the teacher must rival the power of the instruction that takes place with the teacher. Ford and Optiz wrote this article to offer suggestions that can be used in the classroom to maximize the literacy learning that can and needs to occur during independent learning time. After presenting three possible classroom organizational structures collaborating with others, use of established programs, and learning centers, the authors elaborate on the one that teachers are using to contribute to this goal learning centers.


Learning centers are small areas within the classroom where students work alone or together to examine literacy achievements while the teacher provides small group guided reading instruction. Ford and Optiz provides an example of nine centers that meet the criteria of learning centers in a classroom routine to encourage independent use by the students and efficient use of teacher preparation time. The criteria these centers need to contain are the knowledge of children � their reading and writing abilities and their degree of independence, while remaining sensitive to external demands of standards, curricula, and assessments. An example of a learning center is the Listening Post, which provides students with additional practice with print. Students listen to a recording while following along with the text, this gives the learner the opportunity to review after, prepare before or extend beyond a guided reading session.


The information in the article is further supported by the video “Mrs. Wishy Washy” viewed in lecture. A teacher uses learning centers (i.e. Listening Post) to further encourage independent learning time while engaging in small guided group activities. Students become independent readers as well as given ways to reinforce information they have learned when participating in guided reading with their teacher.


I found the information in Ford and Optiz’s article to be quite useful in a classroom environment as well as support my own beliefs of the importance of learning centers. Being a strong advocate of Gardner’s multiple intelligences, the concept that people have the capacity to learn thing in different ways (spatial, kinesthetic, logical, etc.), using learning centers to optimize learning experiences away form the teacher during guided reading time, would be beneficial to me when I start teaching. Not only establishing centers for reading but I would incorporate the learning center techniques with other areas such as social studies by incorporating the SOL’s criteria in this area. For instance, possible center ideas I will use in the classroom when teaching Jamestown will include an audio/video center where students will listen and watch how and why the settlers came to Virginia as well as how they survived the first winter in Virginia. In a second center, students will learn about the plants the settlers grew. The students will plant their own corn (maize) seed, measure its growth progress weekly and compare their findings with other student’s plants. A final possible center, students will read about the importance of Jamestown as well as write about how they (students) would survive if they lived during the Jamestown era. These are only a few ideas I will use to incorporate the learning center technique into my classroom while implementing guided reading time.


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