It's been a while and I don't normally rant...

So, I know I haven't been great about posting lately, but I have been soooo overwhelmed and busy with school that I just haven't found the time. After sitting down with administration last week and expressing my concern and frustration with my high number of struggling readers, I have realized that I am not alone in getting these kids where they need to be. We, as a school, are all responsible for each and every child in our building. It was a relief to the say the least to feel the pressure lift a little. I plan on meeting with them next week to continue brainstorming what we can do to help them.

Of course, I still feel a tremendous amount of responsibility for them, but a colleague and I have come up with a plan. We don't know how this plan will turn out, but we have got to give it a try. I have a class of 15 3rd graders with 5 reading on a Kindergarten level, 4 reading on a 1st or 2nd grade level, 4 reading on grade level, and 2 reading above grade level. My colleague has a high class with the exception of a few. She suggested that we switch my 4 highest with her 4 lowest to make it easier to do groups during Guided Reading. That way, my high kids are getting challenged like they need to be able to grow and my low kids are getting the help they need to grow as readers.

I couldn't even believe she would offer to do such a thing for me. It is going to be very different in my room starting tomorrow. I will teaching basic decoding strategies and skills with texts on their lexile level. I purchased a 1 year membership to to help level texts to their level. I will be benchmarking all of the students tomorrow and Tuesday to see what level they should start out on in their groups.

I am very excited, yet nervous as to how the rest of the year will pan out and if this plan will work at all. If you have any ideas or suggestions for teaching these babies how to read, I'm all ears!!

P.S. I am digging, like for reals! If you haven't been there, CHECK IT OUT! It levels texts all the way the 5th grade and it has wonderful fiction and non-fiction texts for printing. It also comes with worksheets and activities for each and every book!

Also, a first grade teacher at my school suggested I read, "First Grade Readers," by Stephanie Parsons and it offered tremendous help in providing strategies for decoding and tackling tricky words. If you teach lower grades or have a class with low level readers, I recommend this book.


  1. Check out
    One of our first grade teachers uses it and I am very interested in buying it for my 3rd graders too.

  2. Reading A-Z is one of my favorite places. I still have a subsription from my old school (oops forgot to tell them to cancel mine...must've slipped my mind *wink*) and I love the fluency passages too.

    I hear you on the number of low readers...but have to admit I would be in HEAVEN with only 15 kids! I'm cheering over the fact that I'll ONLY have 23 this week (only 23...ha!) for two days of reading. It'll be like a picnic after 30.

  3. I totally love Reading A-Z -- it's a real life saver! I'm glad your colleague was willing to trade kids... sounds like it will let each of you provide more effective instruction :)

  4. We did this in fourth grade at our school. We looked at our reading and ELA groupings. One teacher volunteered to take the low readers (she had a smaller class then the rest of us but that enabled her to work with the students better). Another teacher took the middle/high readers and I had the mid-high/high readers (I liked to teach writing and the trade off for having all the high kids in writing was the amount of students I would have and the amount of grading compaired to the others). Most of them were in GT for my reading group was small...15 but I got a lot of them back for ELA/ of 28 children for that class!). At Christmas I was comparing notes with the middle/high teacher and she said her GT students that came back for ELA were not being challenged and I said I had students who were struggling with my fast paced ELA class. We switched some students around after the break. I took her 5 GT students and she took 5 of my struggling students. That worked like a charm! I still had 28 kids but they were now functioning much better.

    I like when teachers work together to play on their teaching strengths and are willing to revisit a situation to do what is best for the students.

    Hope to hear more about how it goes for you the rest of the year.

  5. I saw this book recommended on another blog
    The Three Habits of Highly Successful Reading Teachers


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