Hey y’all! I’m here to do a little breakdown of my ELA block now that I have Rooted in Reading guiding a large portion of my day. First of all, there’s some things you should know about ME!
1. Never, in my entire teaching career, have I taught by a textbook. I have always used author studies, thematic units, novel studies, or something else to guide my week. So, this isn’t taking the place of a textbook for me because I have never used one.
2. I only get 60 minutes a day for my ELA block (GASP!). Now this DOES NOT include guided reading or all of our writing time. I do those during different parts of the day. So, my students are reading lots of different books throughout the day… during guided reading, independent reading, etc. They are reading books that are on their level during those times. So, when you hear me talk about Rooted in Reading– that is 60 minutes of my day each day.
3. I believe whole-heartedly in making learning fun and engaging. I want my students to walk away from our day and think “Man, that was a really good day in the classroom!” BUT, I also have a lot of structure and high expectations in my classroom. I love that Rooted in Reading adds consistency to what we already have goin’ on!
The books that the units are centered around are my MAIN focus for the week. However, that is not the only book that I read during our time together. The focus book is what we read, reread, and revisit throughout the week. We always read it all the way through at least twice. I also choose other books that compliment our focus book to read. So, I’ll choose other read alouds that have the same theme, author, or comprehension skill. When we read Spiders by Gail Gibbons we also read other fiction and nonfiction books about spiders. When we read I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll, I also used other monster books that fit the theme. BUT, I always go back and connect it with our main text since that’s where our vocabulary and deep comprehension practice happens!
These are lessons to accompany a READ ALOUD... which means I read the book out loud to my class. I don’t have a class set or multiple copies of the book. It’s okay that several of the books are higher-level because we are going through it together. Also, I think it’s so important to expose our students to a wide variety of text levels because they are capable of making deep connections (especially with a lot of guidance!). I’m looking to build my students’ vocabulary, enhance their understanding, and give them the tools they need to attack those higher-level books.
Often times I will put the book under my document camera and project it on the board (especially when rereading it to the class). This allows my students to see the text while we are reading and discussing. It also helps them see the details in the illustrations (which is where so much of the story is told!) With the nonfiction reader in November’s Rooted in Reading I was able to make copies so that my class could read it in small groups.
While we are reading the book, we are having a lot of discussions. I keep the questioning cards close by so that I don’t even have to think about the questions I need to ask. I’ve noticed that my students are even starting to ask higher-level questions because they are getting so used to hearing them now. Also, they are thinking about the text so much deeper than before… BUT the only way I know that is because we are constantly stopping to talk about it. It’s NOT just all about me reading the book! I have to model how to stop and check for comprehension. I have to model how to ask/answer questions without just thinking about the surface of the text.
During our discussion I will also focus on the vocabulary from the book. We discuss all of the words, but we don’t focus on every single one of them. I integrate our vocabulary into our discussions, so it’s not a separate component 🙂
What I really love about Rooted in Reading is that grammar is included! We take one grammar skill and focus on it for the week. Since I don’t have just a ton of ELA time, I normally spend the last portion of my time focusing on grammar. So, here’s how I like to break it down:
Read Aloud and Discussion: 15-20 minutes
Vocab Prompt or Comprehension Activity: 20 minutes
Grammar or Writing Activity: 20 minutes
But, somedays I will take longer for our comprehension skill, and sometimes I need a little more time for grammar. So, I’m very flexible. Also, when we do the directed drawing or art component (normally towards the end of the week) I allow between 30-40 minutes for that. I’ll normally pair that with the comprehension check or one of the reading passages since those don’t take quite as much time. Our discussions on Monday and Tuesday are normally much longer, but towards Wednesday and after I can spend more time on the comprehension and grammar activities. So it will look a little more like this towards the end of the week:
Read Aloud/Discussion: 10 minutes
Vocab Writing: 10 minutes
Comprehension: 20 minutes
Grammar: 20 minutes
Obviously with only 60 minutes of Rooted in Reading time each day, I just can’t fit it all in. I just pick and choose the activities that I think will best benefit my students. This time of the day we are really focusing on deepening our comprehension and vocabulary rather than being able to read the text independently. I think it’s important that you are reading the books TO the students because most students aren’t capable of making deep and thoughtful connections without you guiding their conversations. It’s a chance for you to go much deeper than they are used to doing on their own. Then, that will translate into their independent reading time. A few more questions answered:
*I don’t really do a whole lot of literacy stations anymore. I just don’t have the time like I did a few years ago. I’ll use the stations I have for early finisher activities and during guided reading groups.
*Also, I don’t have a time set apart for Daily Five anymore either. Unfortunately, starting last year, I just couldn’t give up anymore of my 60 minute ELA block. However, my students do components of the Daily Five in the morning and when they are finished working.
*My guided reading time is completely set apart from Rooted in Reading. We work on specific skills that those students need during that time. This ensures that my students are reading on THEIR level each week.
*If you have to follow the textbook per district or campus guidelines, I’m not 100% sure how Rooted in Reading would work for you because I don’t know how much/little you have to do with your reading adoption. It also depends on how much ELA time you have each day. I’m sure you have more than 60 minutes unless you are a dual language teacher like me 🙂
*I don’t send any portion of Rooted in Reading for homework.
*I normally take a grade on the comprehension OR vocabulary check, a reading passage, and a grammar activity each week. I don’t grade their vocabulary quick writes or their comprehension flap-ups. I do check those, but do not assign a numerical grade to those!
Do you have any other questions? I’ll continue adding to this post as things come up 🙂