Working with upper grade teachers at Pleasant View, we decided to tackle deeper comprehension with a group of on-grade level 6th graders. The key was, “What text to choose to engage them in deeper thinking?” Text choice is everything in guided reading!
A great resource we used is Janet Allen’s Read Aloud Anthology from Scholastic. It is designed for read aloud, but we used it as short text for guided reading. The story we chose was called “The Escape.” It provided great opportunities for deeper thinking. I posted the question I wanted students to think about while reading on a small dry erase board. They read and took notes while I listened in to each and had a brief conversation with them about what they were thinking.
At the start of the lesson, these students told me they usually read and then stop at the end of a chapter or a story and think about what they read. By the end of the lesson, they told me, “Today I learned that when I think the whole time I’m reading, I understand a lot more.”
Guided reading in 6th grade? You bet!