Recently I have been attempting to combine the power of guided reading with the best ESL practices found in both WIDA and the SIOP lesson plan templates. The merge seems to be going well. My students are engaged more now than they ever have been, even on game days. They enjoy the pace and content at their level, while I enjoy my ability to pick and choose the direction of our work instead of bowing to their classroom curriculum. This isn’t to say that I still don’t support what they are doing in the classroom. Whenever I can find a text set that matches the theme or topic of their grade level lessons, I go for it. Especially if I can pre teach the content ahead of their respective curriculum maps.
I think what has really drawn me into the guided reading as an anchor template has been the flow of the lesson, which seems to take me back to my student teaching days where I was already using a lot of these elements to form my lessons. From starting with high frequency words to building vocabulary with a focus on oral usage, it all seems to circle back to my best practices.
Using the guided reading template and a single text as an anchor has saved me tonnes of time and energy. In EL, we often have to find materials that match our students and what they are learning in many ways. This means that we are often attempting to make the classroom content comprehensible. I say attempting because this is an extremely daunting task. Many times this involves creating content. Choosing a text that is already at their level allows me to develop their language, focus on academic vocabulary, and build their reading level at the same time.
In my next post, I will post some of the actual elements that I use in my lessons that are tied to a guided reading template.