Mar 28, 2017

Guided Reading Supports and Supplements

This year we made a lot of changes to our RtI process.  I shared many of them at the beginning of this school year.  And watching how they all played out has been amazing.  But that needs a whole other post.  Today, I want to focus on just one of those changes: LLI or Leveled Literacy Intervention by Fountas and Pinnell.

This has been an absolute game changer at my school, when it comes to intervening with students that are reading below grade level.  First of all, we call it "book club" in my building.  So, of course, every single student wants to be in LLI! We have been able to service many kids with the intervention this year and when a student "graduates" out, they are so sad!  Some of them have even decided to start their own book clubs at lunch.  This is a sign of a good program, to me.
Second, the power of having only three students in a reading!! I am able to evaluate, analyze, prompt, and teach much more effectively. 
And third, the books.  My students love LOVE the books from LLI.  There are characters that they literally cheer for when I pull out the book for the day.

But, like anything in education, one size will never (and should never) fit all.  I have some students that continue to struggle with knowing their letters and sounds; therefore, I have to infuse more instruction on letters/sounds into my daily lesson routine with them. And my analysis/reflection of my own teaching needed to be strengthened.

Here are some free resources to help you supplement letter/sound knowledge and guided reading notes.

(Note: this can be the case in any guided reading group, not just LLI, and that is why I titled this post "guided reading supports.")

Letter/Sound Correspondence
After introducing each letter over a period of time with multi-sensory techniques, my students just needed some repetitive practice that I could complete quickly each day.  Once we complete this quick review, we utilize the letter/sound knowledge through reading and writing everyday.

This format is something that I found on a blog years and years ago.  I have no idea from which blog though.  If you know who this came from, I would love for you to share that information!!  The format has worked well for me but I needed it to fit my LLI needs. So I changed the images to match my needs.  Here's how I use it...The students must touch the images and letters as we chorally recite the page together.  This works on one to one correspondence, directionality, and (not to mention) that they need to look at the letters in order to remember them.  For the letter b, this is what we would chorally say together, " bear, bear, /b/, /b/, b."  The last b is highlighted because we say the letter name instead of sound.

What I have found, is that the students utilize this chart information when I ask them to look for words with a certain beginning sound, when we are writing, and when they are trying to sound out a word.  Their letter/sound knowledge has also increased since I began using it each day.

 Reading Analysis/Notes

 It took me a few years (yes, I am sorry to admit it) to feel like I had running records under control in my guided reading groups.  Fitting everything in has always been a tricky thing.  LLI has the reading records embedded into your instructional time.  Whether it is an LLI group or my regular guided reading groups, I love listening to them one on one and learning what they can do independently and what they need to work on.  

LLI has three categories for a teacher's response when listening to a student read or write: teach, prompt, and reinforce.  "Teach" means that I am having to teach or reteach a skill to a student.  For example, they have not learned a particular vowel team; therefore, I am explaining and teaching that new vowel team to them so that they can decode the word that they are stuck on.  "Prompt" means that I am prompting a student to use a strategy that has been previously taught but that the student is not doing independently, yet.  "Reinforce" means I am providing positive feedback to a student that used a strategy correctly.

This is not necessarily new knowledge.  I think as teachers we just do those three things: teach, prompt, and reinforce.  But what I realized as the year has progressed is that I am not looking for patterns in my teaching and prompting of individual students.   If I wrote down my prompts, would I find patterns?  For example, am I prompting the same student over and over again for VCE words?  Do I actually need to be reteaching this skill, instead of prompting for it?

So I decided to write these things down to look for patterns.  As students are reading independently from their LLI book, I am quickly using code to write down what I teach, prompt, or reinforce.  Then I can use the information to look for patterns over a weeks time and guide my instruction for the following week or lesson.

The prompting guide from Fountas and Pinnell breaks the prompts into groups.  I used these groups to create my codes (which are at the bottom of the sheet).  The codes help me to take notes quickly.  Here is an example of a student.  I typed the notes in red for easier reading.

 When analyzing these notes, I can see that I need to continue to work with this student on vowel sounds.  He continues to struggles with this visual information when solving unknown words in his reading and writing.

When it comes to LLI and my guided reading groups, I always have room to grow.  These are two ways that I have supplemented my instruction but I will be continuing my quest for more ways to strengthen what I do.  If you would like to try these out, just click on the images below to grab them.


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