Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Guided Reading Guru: Debbie Diller

Lately, I have been doing a lot of work with kinder teachers on guided reading, so I decided to make a post and put together some of the resources I have used and some of the tips I have found.

I will start with the two resources which have been the most helpful to me. They are Debbie Diller's DVD Think Small! Engaging Our Youngest Readers in Small Groups and Debbie Diller's book Making the Most of Small Groups: Differentiation for All. 

Guided Reading Tips and Suggestions
1) Ask a HOTS (higher order thinking skills) question after reading the book. For example, after reading the book Woof!, I had students look at the picture on the last page and tell me what they thought the animals in the picture were thinking about the dog. After they answered, I asked them to explain their thinking and tell me why they thought that. I wanted students to tell me the animals were surprised and that they could tell because of how their mouths were open and their eyes were very large. I also wanted students to take notice of the dog's head being tilted back and his mouth being opened wide, showing us that he was barking very loudly. I asked a basic recall question first (name an animal in the book and the sound it made) and then asked the HOTS question. 

2) When making words with magnetic letters, have the kids "shampoo" the letters in between making new words. For some reason mixing up magnetic letters sounds more fun when you get to shampoo them! 

2) Group students using Debbie Diller's flexible groups folder. Both of Debbie's resources I mentioned above have the printables needed to make the flexible small groups folder. You can also purchase the folder from Really Good Stuff. 

The strips in the folder group skills by reading level and specifically state what skills students at that level should be able to do. It makes grouping students so easy. The folder is also designed so that you can easily move student's names when moving them to another group. If you use the printables from the DVD or book, you can use mini post-it notes for your student's names. 

3) Organize your small group area. Consider where your word wall is. If possible, near your small group area, create a large-print word wall that is low and interactive. 

If your room is not arranged so that your small group meets near the word wall, you may want to have a portable word wall to use during your guided reading groups. 
3) Organize and label a separate basket or bin for each small group you have. You can place the readers and  materials you need for your lesson in the basket so that everything is right at your fingertips when you are ready to start. 

4) Label containers of baskets with concepts such as oral language, rhyming, phonemic awareness, letter ID, writing, and phonics. Fill these containers with the materials you have which you could use when teaching each of these concepts. When things are easy to find and get to, you tend to use them more often. This will help as you need to switch out materials. For example, your letter id basket might hold letter sound BINGO, letter tiles, magnetic letters, sound sorts, letter matching cards.

5) Whisper phones help students hear themselves better while blocking out the voices of those sitting around them. This whisper phone works great with students and it came from Mardel Christian Book Store and Teacher Supply Store. 

This type of whisper phone works great as well. 

6) Front load the book. Set your students up to be successful as they read the book. You can front load the book by reviewing and making sight words in the book, pulling out new words that may be hard to sound out,   or taking a picture walk to make sure students know the vocabulary being used in the book. 

When front loading this book and getting students ready to read, this is what I did....
We used magnetic letters to make the word wall words "said" and "dog." I used a dry erase board to quickly talk about "can" and "can't" and the word "but." We did a picture walk to make sure students knew the names of each animal and the sound it makes. 

I deliberately chose this book for one of the higher groups because it changed the text pattern on the last page. I intentionally did not address the word "bark" in the pre-reading portion of the lesson because I wanted to see how the kids did with it on their own. 

I purchased a new book today that I am very excited about! I plan to get started on it over spring break, so be looking for more reading tips and ways to support struggling readers in the near future. 


Oceans of First Grade Fun said...

You will love Catching Readers! I use it as a reference with my small groups all the time. Thanks for this informative post.
Ms. A

pennies for luck said...

I love all of these great ideas! I am in L-O-V-E with that amazing looking word wall as well!!!

Erica said...

Oh my goodness! This post is so awesome. I have been searching for more guided reading advice since I am new to K this year. :)


Sprinkles to Kindergarten

Sara S. said...

I really struggle with my guided reading groups sometimes. This post has so much information! Thank you. I may have to check out some of those books too.

Sara :)
Smiling In Second Grade

applesandabcs said...

Wow, thank you for all of this info and great ideas! I like the interactive word wall. Mine isn't, it is stapled and they don't touch it besides when they are reading the words. I think in a perfect world, I would have a portable, interactive word wall!

Apples and ABC's

S. Parker said...

I love all the information you packed into this post. Great reminders of things to do especially the HOTS questions.

Vickie said...

Love this post...need to read the guided reading book you mentioned. We use Beverly Tyner's small group model and I LOVE it!! It has made the biggest difference in how my kids are reading...I have K students reading Level 11 {I think that corresponds to a G?} Her book is wonderful!
Mrs. Plant's Press

Becky said...

This post was so informative! Thanks for sharing. I am super pumped-- Debbie Diller is coming to Rutherford Co.'s DI Conf this summer!! I will definitly be signing up for some of her classes!

Jenn Bates said...

Great post! Your teachers are lucky to have you! Catching Readers is on my list to read! Have you read The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson?
Finally in First

Mrs. Larremore said...

Jenn- I have not seen that book, but I am looking into it now. Vickie- the book you suggested looks good too!! So many great resources out there!! Thanks for sharing them!

annspencer said...

I have both books - Jan Richardson and Beverly Tyner. Anyone know how Debbie Diller's book compares? I love her other books. Thanks for this great post!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I love your Word Wall and I was wondering
1. Where did you get the letters?
2. Are those green lines some kind of tape I assume?

Thanks for the idea!! I'll be changing mine to look more like yours next year :)

Meenal said...

Katie Keier's book is fabulous! We heard her speak and did a book study on her book. It was so practical and helpful. Enjoy and be sure to post what you thought about it after spring break!
Meenal Parikh

Mrs. Larremore said...

Here is the link to my original post about my word wall. It will help answer any questions you have.

The letters came from Mardel. They have a variety of kinds. Here is a link to show you some examples

I used colored masking tape which you can purchase at most teacher supply stores.

Anonymous said...

Where did you find the portable word wall pictured? Thanks! Love the interactive Word Wall at student level & all of your great tips! Thanks!

Mrs. Larremore said...

I wish I could tell you where I found the portable word wall picture. I googled "portable word wall" and looked at the images. Try that and you should be able to find the picture and where it came from.

Shelby Lyon said...

Hi! I've been reading and reading various posts on your blog. I'm starting Daily 5 and CAFE in my Kindergarten classroom and your blog has helped so much! My question is how you personally do one on one and small groups in your rounds of Daily 5, since you allow students to pick their choices? Thanks so much!

Mrs. Larremore said...


I just call my groups when I am ready to meet with them and my students end up missing whatever that round was for them. I have seen teachers put themselves into a rotation chart or tell the students up front who are meeting with them for that round.

Jimmy Slater said...

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