Today’s (24/11/17) reading inset has left me feeling overly positive and inspired; so much so, I have decided to extend my working day a little longer to make note on my thoughts.

For a short while now, I have begun to feel that guided reading sessions have lost their direction and that my lack of enthusiasm for them has been reflected negatively on the children. Today, we were introduced to some innovative and engaging activities that I feel could really bring our guided reading sessions back to life! One particular strategy that was covered was ‘Thinking aloud’, where the children are encouraged to explore parts of a text and learn primarily through discussion and sharing of ideas. Currently, guided reading sessions are quite structural and encourage teachers to focus on questioning one particular group about a book that the teacher has limited knowledge on, and insufficient time to get to know inside out before each session. Mark Hartly was a great advocate for mixed attainment pairs and ‘talk for learning’ which I feel could be incorporated much more into guided reading sessions if we were given more freedom to explore one text as a whole class and focus on different reading skills and strategies throughout the week. Of course, it goes without saying that these sessions would need careful thought and planning for, but a shared reading experience combined with exploring a high quality text could really reignite the passion and love for reading in the classroom.

Over the last few weeks, I have begun to share read the core texts for my year group with my class and have encouraged them to read these texts at home. Consequently, children have enjoyed these share read sessions and parents have approached me, asking for the titles of these texts to buy at home and any other recommended reading that i could suggest. I feel that guided reading should enable teachers to openly share texts with their class and ‘pull these apart’, ensuring that children are covering key reading skills in a much deeper and more meaningful way.

Going forward, I would ask that we could share a class text and develop some high quality sessions using some of the strategies that were introduced in the session today, to really promote the love of reading and ensure that children are gaining the highest quality teaching and making the most of every minute in each guided reading session. The inset today has inspired me to truly create more meaningful guided reading sessions that enable children to share their ideas and learn through exploratory talk.

Signing off now for the long weekend. Feeling inspired and ready for Tuesday! Happy weekend!

‘I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense.’

–Harold Kushner