I’ve written a lot about how I structured my 70-minute math block by getting rid of whole group instruction in favor of four 15-minute rotations. Once I got comfortable with this type of instruction, I decided to do the same thing for reading.
In Las Vegas, teachers are required to teach reading for 110 minutes. So I bumped up the rotations to 20-minute stations and added some whole group components to the block that all students could participate in, regardless of their reading level. This included things like vocabulary instruction (where students came up with actions for the words), foundational skills (multisyllabic blending, affixes, etc.), and discourse around complex texts.
Now that you’ve seen how I broke the block up, here are the stations explained in more detail:
Teacher — Before the rotations begin, all students are assigned a few pages to read from a grade level text. We have used the novels Search For Delicious and Phantom Tollbooth for literature and the social studies book and FOSS science kit texts for informational text. The first group at the table is the below level group as they are not always able to read the text independently. The teacher reads the text for them and they respond orally more than other groups. (I’ve also had these students listen to the text read to them on the iPad the day before so time at the table is spent only on dissecting the text). All other groups are expected to read the text on their own before their turn at the table. The objectives are derived from grade level standards and taught through the common text using gradual release (I do, we do). However, the advanced group may be asked to read another article or be assigned an additional task to do on the computer related to the objective.
Buddy Reading/Writing — After the teacher table, students move to buddy reading/writing. On most days, this is where they practice today’s objective (or one they need to practice) in a text at their own level. On some days, students work on visualization. While one student is reading from their book, the other student is visualizing the story by drawing on a whiteboard. If students are buddy writing, they create poems, raps, songs, and plays they eventually perform for the class. If you have a lot of technology, you can also make the Buddy Read station a Google Classroom station where students complete their skill practice online.
Computers — Students work on an adaptive reading program like Lexia, iReady, or MobyMax. These programs know the students’ levels in reading and start their practice at that level. This helps students fill gaps in their previous learning. Once students pass levels, they put up a sticker on our Lexia board and receive a printed certificate.
Read to Self — Students first complete the assigned reading for the day that will be discussed at the teacher station. After they finish, they enjoy reading for pleasure a book at their own level.