I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about guided reading by now, but what about book clubs? Do they have a place in a balanced literacy approach in the classroom? Friends, I think they do!
Both of these options provide many benefits to our learners. An opportunity for students to practice reading in a group setting, discuss what they have read, and apply reading strategies they have learned are just a few. Guided reading and book clubs (also called literature circles) also motivate students by giving a purpose to their reading. The groups in both cases are fluid and flexible, meaning they may change frequently. Keeping our learners engaged while reading is key! Let’s go over the basics of each.
Guided reading holds such an important place in the classroom that follows the gradual release model. During guided reading, students are practicing reading at an instructional level with the teacher there to give guiding instruction. Students are in groups of two to six based upon reading level and/or reading strategies that need to be mastered. The teacher chooses the books on the group’s instructional level, provides an introduction and explicit instruction, and then listens to the students read quietly to themselves. After reading the book 2-3 times, there might be a discussion, word work, a writing extension, or comprehension activity based on the group’s needs. Guided reading ultimately serves as a time of coaching, or guiding support, so students can read at their instructional level and advance beyond that eventually.
HERE is a round-up of my favorite posts about guided reading. Check them out for even more details and how to get it started in your classroom.
Books clubs are more of a student-led approach to independent reading. These groups consist of four to six students based on a shared interest in a book or reading topic. Students read an assigned amount of text independently. Then, they have some kind of response to bring back to the group meeting to discuss. As students get the hang of book clubs, they become more and more able to make decisions like book choice, amount to read, what type of response they might want to do, and questions/topics to discuss in the meeting. The teacher’s role is to coach groups, scaffold learning as needed, and confer with groups to help push the conversations deeper. There are so many different ways to work the details out for a book club, but the main key is that students are taking ownership of what they read and what they discuss to further their reading abilities.
Here is a little visual break down for you!
While guided reading is truly the heart of my reading instruction in my classroom, book clubs provide excellent support for reading comprehension, speaking skills, implementing reading strategies, and discussing texts. I highly recommend trying to implement both!
Comment below and let me know where you’re at with guided reading and book clubs! I’d love to hear what they each look like in your classroom.