Does your school have a book room or leveled book library for guided reading? Recently, I worked at Lovett Elementary in HISD (Houston) where they have a wonderful book room with guided reading books for teachers to check out. We held planning meetings in this room on my visit. So handy for being able to quickly refer to texts as we learned together about improving small group instruction.
Several years ago I worked with Spring Branch ISD in Houston and visited every elementary to help set up a leveled book library tailored to the needs of that school. It was such an interesting project! There were so many ways in which to organize the space and the books.
Here are a few photos of leveled book libraries used by entire schools.
Lovett Elementary's leveled book library
Close up of guided reading library shelves at McWhirter Elementary in Clear Creek ISD (Houston area)
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Teachers work together to examine leveled books for emergent readers and discuss what students should learn to do at these levels.
Last week while in Denver, CO, we looked deeply at emergent reading levels. Teachers previewed texts in both English and Spanish and put them in order from easiest to hardest at Levels A-C (DRA 1-4). We examined where most students should be reading at the end of kindergarten. Their data showed that children reading on a Level C/ DRA 4 by the end of kindergarten did very well on their state reading test in 3rd grade as compared to students reading on Level C/ DRA 3 at the end of kindergarten.
We looked at the differences between Level C/ DRA 3 and DRA 4. What do students need to learn to do as readers by the end of kindergarten? These might be interesting conversations to have on your campus. I’d look at daily shared reading, high frequency word work, letter-sound knowledge and applying this in reading and writing (once phonemic awareness is in place), and read aloud for comprehension and vocabulary to start. For more information, you might consult my book, Making the Most of Small Groups. Start by looking at the chart on page 171.
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