I just got home from a workshop where I was presenting workstations to use for second graders. In talking with some of the teachers I realized that many reading teachers are not teaching kids how to read.
I was one of them up until this year.
Unfortunately it's an epidemic stemming from the theory of Whole Language.
Don't get me wrong, I went to a predominantly Whole Language elementary school. Hoo boy I loved it. I thrived. But does every child? Absolutely not. Neither can every child thrive on a purely Phonics based program.
What you need is a happy medium.
What you need is this bible:
Small-Group Reading Instruction by Beverly Tyner is the tool you need for your classroom if you understand the comprehension aspect of Guided Reading but are confused or stumped about the phonics aspect of it.
It breaks the Phonics (or Word Study) down for you starting with Letter Sounds, moving onto Initial Sounds, Blends and Digraphs, Short Vowel Sounds and Vowel Patterns.
I. Love. It.
It goes along with the premise that every Guided Reading group is different. It was like somebody hit me with the Duh! stick when I read this. No wonder my Guided Reading instruction wasn't super effective. I was trying to do one size fits all. It definitely didn't fit.
It breaks readers up into 5 stages based on their Guided Reading Level/Lexile Level. Since I teach Second Grade I have really only dealt with the Fledgling Level (GR E-G) to the Independent Reader (J-P).
I have seen a tremendous difference in my readers this year. I'm able to give my students the ability to break down words by identifying vowel patterns. What a difference! I also am seeing a huge improvement in their spelling (No more I lick to play ball! Hallelujah!) The students are not just memorizing words-they are actually learning the how's and why's which helps them read ANY word.
In short. Go buy this book. Now. It will change your (teaching) life.