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Strategy Lessons in Reading Workshop

By Beth Newingham on April 12, 2013
  • Grades: 3–5

During IDR (individual daily reading) time, I usually meet with students in guided reading groups or strategy lessons. A strategy lesson can be made up of readers from many different levels who are all struggling with the same skill or strategy. I usually have the students use books from their book box to practice the skill or strategy I am modeling for them. Strategy lessons take the form of a short mini-lesson but only with a few readers.

You may be asking, how do you come up with ideas for strategy lessons?  I use this Strategy Lesson Planning Sheet.

Whenever I confer with a reader, administer a formal assessment (DRA, Fountas and Pinnell, etc.), or meet with students in a guided reading group, I keep track of skills with which certain students are struggling. When more than two students are struggling with the same skill, that becomes a future strategy group lesson with those students. 

Some strategy lessons I have taught include "reading through periods/not paying attention to punctuation," "rereading when meaning breaks down," "using appropriate decoding strategies," "recording books properly in reader's notebook," "talking back to books effectively," etc.

Comments (3)

Whenever I confer with a reader, administer a formal assessment (DRA, Fountas and Pinnell, etc.), or meet with students in a guided reading group, I keep track of skills with which certain students are struggling. When more than two students are struggling with the same skill, that becomes a future strategy group lesson with those students.
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This is great. I am a Literacy Coach. I have some teachers moving to strategy groups. The biggest question I get is...how often? Do you do both strategy and guided daily. Would you suggest doing a day a week with strategy groups to get started? Or...what if they targeted a specific groups of kids to get started? Everything I read says to start slow and with individuals or groups of 3 or less.
Thanks for your help!
Nicole

Tyler,

Thanks for reading my post and adding your comment. I hope you are enjoying your pre-service teaching! I am not exactly sure if I understand what you are asking since we may have a different understanding of the word "tracking." When I say that I "keep track" of my students' skills, this is done so that I can better understand them as readers. Most of my record keeping is done in the form of notes that include my personal observations of what I notice about my students as readers. As students are meeting in groups, the discreet notes that I take do not interfere with the discussion. Oftentimes students are unaware that I am even writing, and there are also times when I makes notes after the group is finished meeting. I am not sure if there would be any difference in their performance if I did not keep anecdotal records, but I do know that I would be less capable of providing them with appropriate reading instruction in future lessons if I did not keep track of the things I notice as they are reading. I love this strategy group organizer because it allows me to reread my notes and better organize my students by needs rather than just by their reading "level."

I hope I've answered your question! Good luck with the rest of your pre-service teaching!

-Beth Newingham

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