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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)

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!


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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