Out of This World Literacy : Blogging from Boston...Day Two
menu   home About Me Freebies Products Workshops  

Blogging from Boston...Day Two

I am back to my hotel after day two of training.  Today we spent a lot of time thinking about genre studies in both reading and writing workshops. 

Here are my TOP 10 things I am thinking about tonight:

1. Questioning authenticity of nonfiction text.  Is the text really factual or is it from the author’s perspective?

2. Grounding teaching decisions in assessments.

3. A hybrid text needs to include a fiction genre and a nonfiction genre.  For example, it could include elements of realistic fiction and biography. 

4. The difference between ‘doing’ guided reading and using guided reading to bring students as far as possible in their reading abilities.

5. Writing territories (topics students often write about)…any topic can be a good one provided that it is important to the writer and written well. 

6. Read-alouds are great because they take away the need for decoding.  Students should experience grade-appropriate text regardless of their reading level.

7. Ask questions during an interactive read aloud that draw out thinking from students, rather than ask for one right answer.

8. When students read, they do not think about just one skill (for example, making predictions).  They are thinking about the entire reading process at once.  It’s a complicated process!

9. Students infer when they are reading all the time.  As teachers, we need to bring this skill that they are already doing to their attention throughout our year together.  We can’t just teach inferencing for one week and never talk about it again because our students our inferring every time they read.

10. Reading orally is all about reading the way the writer meant the text to be read.  We read informational text differenty than we read poetry or a mystery. 

That’s my TOP 10 for today…Tomorrow I might have a TOP 100 since I will be spending the day listening to Irene Fountas share her thinking around guided reading and genre studies!


  1. Hi Jen,
    I am happy for you that you are in Boston learning more and more and are sharing with us! :) I have a few questions that maybe you would ellaborate a little more on. "6. Read-alouds are great because they take away the need for decoding. Students should experience grade-appropriate text regardless of their reading level."
    I agree that students need to be exposed to and read aloud to on grade level regardless of his/her reading level because that is how they learn to expand his/her vocabulary. I do choose to read aloud to them on grade level.

    I have a question though...What if you have a 5th grader reading on a 1.1 reading level? I just received leveled books for guided reading (I teach a 3-5MD class)I have received Below grade level for 3, 4, & 5. My lowest guided reading book is a level J. I believe I should be using their Instructional Reading Level for guided reading. What level do I go to? On my chart it says Level C-I is first grade level...Should I seek out these books?

    Read to Self- they are to read on their independent level and within his/her ZPD.

    The vocabulary readers, I plan to give them on grade level vocabulary since they will be taking the state test and need to expand vocabulary...
    I currently teach writer's workshop and do a reader's workshop with a daily 5 twist. During the Daily 5, I pull my guided reading groups... Thank you in advance for your help! Tara

  2. Hi Tara! You have some really great questions and it sounds like you are doing some really great work with your students! I would say that a beginning first grade reading level is a C or maybe D. You know your student and can probably choose which level works best. I would suggest trying a level C and analyzing how your student reads and responds to comprehension questions and go from there. You definitely need to be instructing your student at his/her instructional reading level during guided reading. If you use a level J it will just be frustrational and you will make minimal progress, if any. Your instincts were right on:) I hope that helps!


  3. Jen,
    Thank you so much for confirming this for me. I did request books for my students that they can read and feel successful. I even asked for the English Language Learners because they seem to be more visual and have less text. I want what is best for them as well as to build their self-esteem. :) Do you have any more suggestions to make to give them the best chance of improving the most? I guess this would be your #4 top 10! Thanks again, Tara