Guided Reading Groups vs Strategy Reading Groups

strategy grouping grouping is heavily focused upon as one of the best practices hi everyone welcome back Tina here today I am tackling the topic of guided reading groupings versus strategy groupings this is the topic that came to my attention when I was at the Michigan ela conference last June or this past June I've been doing strategy groupings in my reading for several years now and sometimes when you do something for several years you kind of forget that maybe not everyone is familiar with this type of teaching strategy but it kind of came about from the daily 5 and now also in the Mesa units with that my school district is adopting the readers workshop strategy grouping groupings is heavily focused upon as one of the best practices but many of the teachers I was with at that conference from other school districts were asking question upon question upon question about what is the strategy group and how do you make those work so at right now I'm going to talk about what is thatd reading what a strategy group and then focus on some of the differences between them and show you how you can make both groups work in your classrooms so for guided reading you would usually have a group of say 5 kids sitting at your little horseshoe or kidney bean table and you would start your guided reading group off by rereading the book from yesterday and if today's Monday you're going to run a running record and one of the children while they're doing the reread then tomorrow Tuesday you would test the next kids with the running record Wednesday you would do the 3rd kids running record and by the end of the week during that rereading time you've tested all five kids in that group you have a running record as all five that's usually how they start then you would introduce the book that you're going to focus on for that day's lesson now why did you pick this book maybe because you're focusing on a phoneme inside the book that you want to cover maybe you have a different reason for focusing on maybe vocabulary words that you're trying to get really into the minds of those kids for whatever reason you have selected the book so that day started reading lesson the first thing you're going to do with the guided reading lesson is you're going to do a book walk or a picture walk say means the same thing and you would go through and you're going to talk about what you see in the picture oh I see a pretty little fox right here I can tell it's a girl Fox because there's a bow in her hair and look she has lots of friends and and what time of the year is it it's fall how do you know well because all the leaves are yellow and orange and red and brown okay and you're going to focus on that words leaves as you go through the book why are you saying the word leaves several times because it's probably a vocabulary word this children will not know in print they know what leaves are but they are not necessarily if they're like kindergartners or first graders they're not going to recognize this word in print so hopefully by the time you finish the book walk when base it downs and then read that book themselves that we're leave is just going to flow right out of their mouth all right after you do the children read the book independently and while they're reading it independently you're kind of listening in on each one going around the table and then once everybody's done you would collect the books back or maybe have a quick little book talk no more than a minute or so and a lot of time in a guided reading lesson at that point you might spend anywhere from about five minutes doing a phonics lesson or maybe you're going to find something in the book you know look boys and girls this words pile p IL e file i says its name what did I teach you just the other day that tell me why this I says it's named well there's a magic either okay so you're going to hit out a skill that you've already covered and then you're done with that group you would call your neck troop and send those children on their way to whatever activities you have planned so that is a very typical guided reading scenario now with strategy grouping or let me read go back real quick so the guided reading usually you can write up your entire week's worth of guided reading lesson plans in advance you know which kids are in which group because you've already leveled them and you know what skill that you're going to hit and focus on so yes you can do lesson planning in advance strategy groups are very different strategy groups the children are not all reading the same book I mean and that right there at the conference I just attended was kind of blowing the mind if a lot of the people in that room with me like how do you teach a group if they're not all reading the same book you know how you teach a group if you have one child with a Dra six and one child who's a DRA twelve one child who's a DRA twenty and pulling those three kids for a strategy room so there was a lot of confusion but I swear I've been doing this for years it's actually very easy I will say with strategy group I do not write my lesson plans in advance for knowing which groups I'm going to be pulling at what day of the week honestly strategy groups come about as I'm doing individual conferences so I might spend that first week of school or first two weeks of school meeting with every kid in the room for just two or three minutes and having a one-on-one reading with them and I'm going to learn something they're good at something they're weak at something that we really need to target and set at their own personal goal all right and then once I realize that well I have these four children who all really need to use the exact same strategy in my binder that is my reading pensive or my anecdotal records if you will I have a under and I also have like a keeping track for just writing down names and right next to those names I'll write down the reason I need to see those four kids so strategy groupings really do kind of happen on the fly as you see in a problem that needs to be addressed you make a note of it and then it the first chance possible you address it some of your lower readers you're going to pull more frequently for strategy groups to try to bump them up those kids in your room who are just amazing readers like just blow your mind good reading you may not meet with them in a group nearly as much as you do with your lower groups all right so let's say the strategy I really want to focus on is expressing emotions really showing those emotions when you're reading like read it the way someone would actually say it if it was happening in real life so I have this little book wake up rooster I'm going to pull my kids to me and now this will be a strategy I previously talked as a whole class focused lesson and a focus lesson is like 10 minutes where you teach the strategy to the whole class you model it to them ask one kid to model it back to you and then you send them on their way to start into their authentic reads self but so now I have my four little darlings too and I want to focus on reading with expression say it the way the person would say it in real life so I come through here and I have this picture and I'm going to ask the children real quick look at this picture alright I know it says wake up horse the horse does not wake up and listen to the kids what are these and what do they do and they may not know that they're called symbols but they're going to know that you bang them together like pots and pans and loud noise right and I'ma say do you think this person do you think the farmer would say this way cos horse and a kid no no no how do you think he's going to say it and then those kids would wake up hard Hill which is what you kind of want them to do you want them to say those words with the expression the character in the book would say them with that's what I'm going to put this book down and I'm going to say okay I want to listen to you guys read me a page or two from your book and when it's your turn I want you to read out loud to me and I want you to use that kind of expression we're going to look at the picture we're going to see what kind of emotion your character is showing and then you're going to say those words with the right voice right and I would listen the table child number one go through the motions and a lot of times if you've done writer's workshop meetings you know usually child number two is eavesdropping on child number one that's a good thing but what are the other three doing while I work with child number one they're independently reading right there at the table but they're just waiting for your turn and while they're waiting they are reading they're not sitting there twiddling your thumbs and usually child the child Decimus eavesdropping I'll reteach the lesson with child number one that might take a minute two minutes then I move on to child number two they read me a passage from their book I repeat the process again child 1 and child three are now eavesdropping on childhoods independent time with me move on to child three move on to child for once I got through all four children I remind them what the strategy is one last time and then I send them off to do their reading activities whether they are reading to their self or reading to a partner or listening reading and that is a strategy group a strategy group can be done with two kids a strategy group can be done with five kids it's whenever you see more than one child needing to have the same strategy taught so that's the big difference between the two kinds of groups the pros of a guided reading group probably are that you can plan for it you can pick out what books you want to read each day of the week with those groups and you can figure out whatever lessons you're going to teach from those little books that day one of the pros of a guided reading group it's about that the book the kids are all reading the same book to you and so I know for some teachers that might bring a certain comfort level there's familiarity with it what are the pros for strategy route the pros for strategy group are I can pull a group at a moment's notice I really can and then let's say I don't have a group to let's say if it's Wednesday and I realized there are no children written in my calendar to have an appointment that day for a group okay not a problem I'm now going to start having one-on-one individual conferences I'd like to have about five to six individual conferences a day I like to by the end of the week have seen the entire class at least one time one-on-one with my students you cannot do that if you're doing all guided reading groups because guided reading groups are pretty rigid and just by design they require a set number of minutes and usually by the time you finish it at a reading group you don't have time then for individual conferences where as you know a battery group might take 20 minutes I've been to a strategy group in ten depending on the number of kids in that group I also find for myself I prefer strategy groups because the whole premise of guided reading was that the grouping of students was supposed to be fluid and children would move up and down between the groups as they progress these readers I don't find that happening I find with guided reading the kids tend to stay in that group all year long yes two or three might bust out a group and suddenly progress real fast and jump a group but traditionally in my experience they kind of get locked into that group so the whole group moves up together or stays back together with strategy groups the levels don't matter anymore I mean if it's a non-issue and I find it kind of frees the kid to tackle harder books and not be held back by the others so that is the big difference between strategy groups and guided reading groups if you have more questions please ask them in the comment box below if there was something here that I failed to cover or you still are like okay I think I get it but I'm not sure I get it again ask the questions and if I need to make another video on this topic I will happily do so with that though I am going to wrap up this video leave me a thumbs up if you thought was helpful when you put a thumbs up on the video it shares with a broader audience and it may be more new teachers can see this one and if you want to see more Confucius cry button I'll talk to you guys later

30 thoughts on “Guided Reading Groups vs Strategy Reading Groups

  1. So, do you only do strategy groups and no guided reading? I'm just wondering because it would be very difficult to fit in both types in an ELA block.

  2. I'll be moving down to first this year and I'm really excited about small groups for reading. Thanks for the tips! Do you have a specific reading curriculum for your first graders? I use Journeys and have found that I don't really like the books and activities for small groups.

  3. Hi sweetness I'm a grandmother of a 1st grader and a 4th grader can you please explain the teacher supply list my grandchildren get before school starts and at the beginning of the second quarter what is best to get and why these supplies are needed when i was little my parents just paid registration which my son does also thanks

  4. This video has me thinking Tina…which is a great thing! I have never heard strategy groups over guided reading groups. I just call them guided reading groups and I have them all grouped by DRA level. For example my DRA level 2 in first grade, we would just work on a strategy like blending 3 days a week for 15 minutes, my DRA 12's are reading with me and doing comprehension. I do guided reading/small groups every day for 30 minutes. So, I see two groups a day for 15 minutes and we are either working on strategy or guided reading depending on their level? Can I have your thoughts on that please?

  5. Thank you for posting this video. It is very helpful for teachers like me. I feel like there is never enough time in a day for guided reading and strategy groups. In our district we are expected to do both but no one ever explained how…

  6. I'm switching from Middle School Math to fifth grade! I will have a 90 minute ELA block and a 30 minute intervention for ELA! Thank you for this video. I'm feeling overwhelmed for sure but I'm excited to be able to teach reading and writing.
    Can you make a video on literacy centers and tips for holding kids accountable in their centers?

  7. This was so helpful! I've been too scared to try strategy groups, but now I have better sense of what they are and how they are different from guided reading. Thanks for a great video! Would love to see more videos on guided reading vs. strategy groups.

  8. I like strategy groups because you're able to target student needs and give them a real tool or strategy to use.

  9. Loved this video! I am going into my first year this September and only have experience with guided reading from student teaching. I was so happy when I heard you were going to first because I will be as well. How do you plan to teach strategy groups for decoding? Thanks!!

  10. I found this video very helpful. I"m a third grade teacher but we are departmentalized so I teach ELA for all 4 third grade classes. It's hard to do guided reading and individual with so many students. Any suggestions? I haven't been keeping a calendar so I will use that this year.

  11. Love your videos. This one in particular. I teach first grade and my school has adopted Lucy Caulkin's Reader's Workshop. I am trying to figure out how to incorporate that into my Daily 5. Any suggestions? Thanks a million. Would love your thoughts.

  12. I'd love to see how you structure your reading groups right from the beginning of the year. My class just seems to be a hot mess when it comes to reading groups.

  13. What I love about strategy groups is that kids don't get pigeon-holed into being in the bluebird or the robins. Even if teachers no longer call their groups by those names they know that the red group is the "low" group and the green group is the "high" group. They get so caught up in those labels and I do everything within my power to prevent it

  14. I agree with you about Guided Reading groups. The kids almost never move around the groups. They usually stay in that same group all year. I wish my district would allow us to try something different, but they are obsessed with Guided Reading 😂

  15. Love this! I will be teaching 3rd grade ELA for the first time and am very exited about it. I would love to see how your plan and organize your groups on paper.

  16. Thank you soooo much for this video! I was a first year teacher this year who took over a kinder classroom right before christmas break (yes it was as terrifying as that sounds) and I will have first graders this year. While my school provides a ton of great curricular materials, I struggled last year to implement all of it effectively. I would always have a few kids who were bored because they wanted to move through the given book quickly, and others who were lost because the book was above what they needed, but we all needed to work on the same strategy. I can't wait to implement this style of grouping this year.

  17. Informative video, yay! I group and/or individualize during guided reading depending on the class. The makeup of your class plays a role in how often you do groups or 1:1. With my strugglers I try as often as I can to do 1:1.

  18. So are you saying that your district wants you to use strategy groups exclusively? Or will there be time for guided reading groups or will you do guided reading with the whole class? Or is guided reading going to be totally eliminated?

  19. Thanks for posting this. My school is wanting to implement a guided reading program, but, honestly, I've never been trained in anything but whole group instruction. I appreciate the tips you gave in this video.

  20. This was a great topic and video! We do Reader's workshop following a dual language model at my school and do strategy grouping. I agree that with guided reading the groups tend to stay the same and unfortunately the students know when they are in the "low" group.. With strategy grouping I could have a small group all working on cause and effect or main idea but on many different reading levels. The groups are always changing so the students never feel like they are being ranked. I also love that this model gives me the time I need to conference individually with my students, they LOVE that 1 on 1 time and it's crucial.

  21. What book or books would you recommend on teaching reading? I teach 4th grade and my district has us focus on Chapter Books, but I need something in the beginning of the year to teacher basic foundation/strategies. So, I would really appreciate and suggestions. You're an amazing teacher and I hope to be like you! Love your videos and watch all of them and learned so much. THANK YOU!!

  22. I do have a question. My district is pretty strict about lesson plans (detailed weekly plans are due each Friday.) How do you handle the fluidity of strategy grouping when writing out your lesson plans?

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