B.Ed Group Guided Reading StrategiesDate Released: Wed, 6 September 2017 08:46 +0200
The BEd Co-ordinator, Ms Jenny Hodgskiss, and the School Support Facilitator (SSF), Mrs Johanna Muroa have been hard at work assisting the teachers in the Northern Cape implement Group Guided Reading (GGR) in the Foundation Phase (FP). This instructional approach to reading is a requirement of the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) for Grades one to three. It is designed to help learners become independent readers so that they can build oral reading fluency and reading comprehension. In GGR learners are placed into small groups according to their level of reading ability. Each group consisting of six to eight learners, reads the same graded reader under the guidance of the teacher. A GGR session should be approximately 15 minutes long and the teacher should listen to two groups reading per day. During this time, the teacher should not be interrupted by other children who are working on independent activities.
Early in the year, evidence from classroom observation reports, photographs and feedback from lecturers revealed that GGR was not taking place in FP classroom. As the Co-ordinator of the programme, I was extremely concerned because I did not want the learners’ education to be comprised by the fact that they were not learning an educational skill, namely reading, that is central to scholastic achievement and later success in life. In addition, it became evident that although there was an abundance of resources in the form of group guided readers in the schools, the teachers did not know how to use them. I realised that I had to put strategies in place rather quickly to alleviate the situation.
Over the past six months, the BEd lecturers, SSF and I have revisited GGR using a scaffolded approach. We taught the teachers practically how to form ability groups using a standardised reading text for the whole class and type a weekly GGR schedule which includes the names of the five groups and the names of the learners in each group. We instructed the teachers to sort and group the graded readers in their classroom into three levels: elementary, average, and advanced and put them in separate boxes e.g. apple boxes or shelves for easy access. With the funding from SIOC, we bought enough good quality plastic sleeves for the learners to take their graded readers home to practise reading every day. The supplementary lectures on GGR were divided into two parts and presented a month apart so that teachers had enough time to implement what they had learned at their own pace. The lectures were titled “How to do Group Guided Reading” and “What the other learners should be doing while the teacher is with the reading group”. The first lecture included a 15-minute demonstration lesson on the methodology which helped demystify GGR for the teachers. Building the teachers’ subject knowledge and pedagogical skills over a period of time increased their confidence to the point where they are now able to present GGR lessons on a daily basis in their classrooms. The SSF is currently in the Northern Cape assessing GGR using a checklist and taking video footage of each teacher implementing GGR with a small group of learners. Comments from the teachers on an online survey confirm that they have benefitted from the remediation process. One teacher commented “I am confident enough when teaching literacy especially Group Guided Reading. Another said “I have learned more about different teaching strategies, how to teach Group Guided Reading and setting up effective reading corners.”
Written by: Jennifer Hodgskiss