Frequently Asked Questions about Guided Reading Block - Go Back

Do I need leveled books during the Four Blocks Guided Reading Block?

The leveling does not have to be as discrete as A-Z, or Reading Recovery numbers, etc. You need to have a good sense of what is considered grade-level and easier for your students.

What kinds of skills/strategies will I need to teach in my mini-lesson?

You'll need to focus only on comprehension skills and strategies. That's such a luxury, I think! Instead of trying to cram all the reading skills and strategies in during this time, you need to trust that there's another more appropriate place to teach the other skills that impact on students' reading. So, concentrate on comprehension skills like: cause/effect, inferences, drawing conclusions, compare/contrast, characterization, plot, theme, mood, setting, foreshadowing, flashback, irony, etc., etc.

Can I use a basal reading series with 4-Blocks?

Absolutely! Many 4-Blocks schools feel fortunate to have basals because they provide multiple copies of good literature for the students. Also, the publishers have been helpful to outline the different elements that must be plugged into an effective guided reading lesson. What you'll need to remember is that you don't want the basal to guide you. You're in charge. You make the decisions about what gets taught during what time. You'll decide what your students are ready for and what you might want to eliminate.

Is there any use for worksheets and workbooks with 4-Blocks Guided Reading?

There aren't necessary unless you feel they serve a good purpose. There are so many other ways to have students interact with text that engage them far beyond what worksheets are able to do. If you use a worksheet, ask yourself these 3 questions:
  • Is it connected to real reading and writing? ( Or, will your students only see it in isolation?)
  • Can my students successfully complete the worksheet? (Worksheets don't teach! You'll do the teaching. If you've taught is well enough, the worksheet should be completed with 80-85% accuracy.)
  • Do your students need a little more practice? (Worksheets should provide practice and reinforcement, not instruction. If, however, your students don't need the practice, don't waste your time or theirs!)

You'll be the one to decide if worksheets are needed. Consider your many other options-beach ball toss, quick writing in response, spinner plates, acting out portions of the books, etc.

How will I decide how my students will read each day?

You'll determine how your students will read each day by looking at the difficulty level of the text and asking yourself how much help your students will need to be successful with that text. Would it be best to give them the highest level of support-you read it aloud to them? Would it be best to have everyone pitch in and help each other-choral reading, echo reading, playschool groups, Book Club groups? Do you have a student or several students who might need your extra help-small, flexible group with you? Can half of the students help carry the load-partner reading? You'll make the skilled decision of exactly what's right for each student.