Our school has been receiving professional development for guided reading over this term. Earlier on in the term Kathryn did an observation of one of my guided reading lessons and followed it up with lots of really helpful advice to improve my lessons, which I blogged as "Attacking words and guiding reading". This week she modelled a guided reading lesson for my syndicate in my classroom.
I was fortunate that it was my class as I got to spend time with her choosing a journal reading for the lesson. She showed me how to use the asTTle What Next site to find appropriate journals by asTTle stage. Her lesson focus was using the Chunk, Check and Cheer method to work out unknown words in order to gain meaning.
I found myself please by the lesson because I felt my own lessons lately have been almost like hers. I felt I must have really learnt from her. Naturally I am not nearly as experienced and have much to learn and I did realise some important things that will change my future lessons.
It's all very well to be teaching the main strategies that good readers use (preview, predict, clarify, visualise, question, infer, make connections, summerise, and evaluate), but comprehension has a smaller beginning. When you have readers like most of mine who can decode words just fine and read a sentence perfectly but without understanding a word, or two, then it is vital to go back to Chunk, Check and Cheer.
I will be focusing on word decoding, re-reading for understanding while still have other broader learning intentions such as prediction. I realise they must work together, I cannot teach strategies in isolation of each other.
For some awesome free comprehension strategy posters and powerpoints, go visit Mathew Needleman's Creating Lifelong Learners blog.