Some have criticized the “Next Step” guided reading plans as being rigid and inflexible, but that's just not true. I provide a framework to support teachers in planning their lessons, but I encourage teachers to make decisions that come from on-going assessments and anecdotal notes. Here are the decisions you must make as you plan your lessons:
- Focus: What strategic actions are you going to target? What does this group need to learn next?
- Sight Word Review: Which sight words have you taught this group that need further review?
- Introduction: How much support will you provide in your book introduction? Your support will vary based on genre, text complexity, strategy focus, text structure and the language strengths of the students. You also need to decide which words you will introduce because your students would not be able to problem-solve them independently.
- Prompt during reading: As students read, you must make on-the-spot decisions about the teaching moves, prompts, and scaffolds that help students improve their processing.
- Discussion: The discussion prompt often relates to the comprehension focus for the text. Still, you need to decide how to facilitate a discussion of the book that lifts the students’ understanding and increases their capacity to discuss the next book.
- Teaching Points: You select the specific strategy or skill to model based on individual conferences with your students.
- New Sight Word: Select a new word students need to learn.
- Word Study: Student errors and spelling assessments will highlight the skills this group needs to learn next. Decide your skill focus and then choose the word study activity that best teaches that skill. It might be picture sorting, making words, sound boxes, analogy charts, or make a big word.
- Guided Writing: On Day 2 (or Day 3), after students have read and discussed the book, select a writing prompt that extends comprehension and provides an opportunity for you to teach writing skills
Use the lesson plan as a scaffold to help you make decisions that move your students forward in their literacy journey. You decide!
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