Thursday, April 10, 2014

One Size Does NOT Fit ALL ~ in Guided Reading! FREEBIE Forms!

How to Determine the Level of Text Used for Guided Reading

Guided Reading Text Level

10 characteristics you can use to find the level of a text 
~ any text

What exactly is a guided reading level?
Contrary to popular belief, a guided reading level is NOT a score or a number.  The level actually represents a set of student behaviors that are observable to the teacher.  This is so important!   

Each reading level has it's very own set of understandings and behaviors. Teachers must differentiate their instruction and the texts they use with their students.  Please keep reading for the freebie!  :)

Students need to read every day

How often should my students read independently?
This is my very favorite question for teachers to ask!  EVERY DAY, BABY! Your students need to be reading every single day, without a doubt! To become real readers, students have to read texts on their independent level on a daily basis.

Why should students read books on their independent reading level?

Think Goldilocks! ~  

Students read books on their independent level

For students to be able to successfully process the text they are reading, it must be on their independent level.  Hot porridge! ~ If the text is too difficult, then the student will not be able to process it correctly.  Many students will just give up if the text is too hard.  

Cold porridge! ~ If the text is too easy, they will not be able to grow as a reader. When students practice reading on their independent level, they are able to build up their reading skills such as:  fluency, stamina, vocabulary, comprehension, and build interest in topics.

Reading harder guided reading texts

Should I EVER give my students a book above their reading level?
Yes!  This is my second favorite question!  In order to become better readers, students need to read books slightly above their level; known as the instructional level.  

Through a guided reading lesson, you will work with students on a more challenging level of text. You will be right there with your students, guiding them and helping them to process the text.

Work with your students at the guided reading table

How can I tell if a book is on the correct guided reading level?
Everything I have learned about guided reading has been from two of my favorite teacher authors:  Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. They are amazing!  Since authoring their first book, I have tried to read everything I can get my hands on about guided reading.  

In their The Reading Teacher article, Guided Reading:  The Romance and the Reality, they discuss 10 characteristics that they use to determine the level of a piece of text.

Ten Characteristics Used to Determine Text Level:

  1. Genres / forms
  2. Text structure
  3. Content
  4. Themes and ideas
  5. Language and literary features
  6. Sentence complexity
  7. Vocabulary
  8. Words
  9. Illustrations
  10. Book and print features

Text level is more than just words

So, finding text level involves more than just the words?
Determining the appropriate level of a piece of text is so much more than just the word count and difficulty.  We have to move beyond "just the words" and consider what reading behaviors and understandings the text is requiring of the reader.  

When planning a guided reading lesson or determining the text level, ask yourself:  What does the reader have to be able to do to comprehend the text?  

Comprehension is truly what reading is all about!

For more information, please check out my 
FREE printable charts and resources for GUIDED READING text:
  • 10 Characteristics Used to Determine Text Level
  • Checklist: Determine Text Level
  • Guided Reading Correlation Chart (correlate to other forms of tools and assessments)
What are your biggest questions about guided reading or finding the appropriate text level?  
I would LOVE to hear from you.

Encouraging a LOVE of learning and thinking.