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How important is guided reading?

(13 Posts)
redskyatnight Fri 28-Sep-12 09:46:49

DD is in Y2 and a reasonably good reader - on lime level.

In her class, the children are divided into 5 ability based groups and have guided reading once a week - one group reading each day, while the other groups cycle through other literacy based activities. DD's group reads on Tuesdays. As you'd expect, she is in the top ability group.

However DD also plays a musical instrument and the time of her music lesson coincides with - yes, you've guessed it, the time her group does guided reading. It's a group music lesson, but no other children from DD's reading group are involved.

As well as guided reading, children also read with the teacher individually every 2-3 weeks.

I'm a parent who believes in not interfering with what the teachers are doing.

However, I'm concerned that DD is missing the bulk of her "reading for meaning" teaching - which is what I understood the main purpose of guided reading to be at her level.

I was wondering whether it was worth mentioning to the teacher to see if they can maybe shuffle the groups' reading time about periodically. DH thinks that DD is already a good reader, she'll get some reading with the teacher at school, reads lots at home, and would have to miss something when she had her music lesson so it may as well be guided reading, and I shouldn't rock the boat.


juniper904 Fri 28-Sep-12 17:40:10

I would prioritise guided reading over a music lesson, but I wouldn't expect the teacher to change their timetable. Can you not change the music lesson? That is the extra activity.

From level 3 upwards, reading is about more than decoding; it's about inference and making connections. For example, understanding a character's motivation, identifying where and when the story is set and using knowledge of similar texts to predict the ending.

coldcupoftea Fri 28-Sep-12 19:26:20

I would speak to the music teacher, aurely they can shift the time?

If not, ask the class teacher, it wouldn't be that much trouble to adjust the schedule slightly so on a tuesday your dd's group is doing one of the other activities.

Ferguson Fri 28-Sep-12 19:31:35

Hi -

As an ex-TA (male) with a particular involvement in children's reading skills, BUT also an ex-semi pro drummer, supporting informal recorder, keyboard and percussion lessons (informal = not involving study for Grades, more playing for fun) in some circumstances I would consider the Music lesson to be important, as it only occurs once a week. 'Reading' is going on all the time in school; maybe not 'guided reading' admittedly, but if DD is a competent reader she might not suffer greatly from missing some GR sessions.

However, I think it also depends how seriously she/you see her musical learning and development, and did she CHOOSE the instrument herself, does she have long-term musical aspirations, or is it just a 'fun' thing to do?

Violinist Nicola Benedetti has been involved in trying to raise the profile of music in schools recently, and even she had to start somewhere! :

If possible chat to the class teacher, and the music teacher, for the best way to resolve your dilemma.


SilverHoney Fri 28-Sep-12 19:43:26

My opinion (as a primary school teacher) is that the music lesson will benefit your DD more. If she were struggling with her reading then it would be a different situation - but she's not!

During one-on-one reads at school the teacher / TA will ask comprehension questions. You already read at home with her and this is great. Ask her to predict the ending / recap the story / explain how a character feels / why they feel like that / whether she liked the story or not.

elkiedee Fri 28-Sep-12 19:53:42

Have you discussed it with her teacher(s)? If they think it's ok, perhaps you can find out more about what they do in the guided reading sessions she's missing and try and make some of that up at home.

Startailoforangeandgold Fri 28-Sep-12 19:55:15

Comprehension, which is what I guess guided reading is about is the easiest and most natural thing to do cuddled up on the sofa.

I never succeeded in getting my dyslexic DD1 to read, but we spent hours talking about the books she was avoiding actually reading.

In the end she taught herself to read age 11 and she, mostly managed that because her comprehension is brilliant and the many odd words she gets wrong she guesses from context.

Yes, I would ask the teacher if she could swap the groups around, but you can probably easily and naturally do much of it yourself.

clam Fri 28-Sep-12 19:56:28

My opinion (as a primary school teacher) is that I would already have organised the group rotation to accommodate any music lessons taing place. And the one year I had where loads of children had lessons, and there was no day where everyone in one specific group was 'free,' I rotated the days. Took bloody ages to organise, but it was do-able.

redskyatnight Fri 28-Sep-12 19:57:04

Thanks for all answers so far.
The school organises the music lessons, so we have no say in when they are scheduled. The teacher comes in only once a week to run the group music lesson, so nowhere else to swap it to.

I don't have any long term musical aspirations for DD. At the moment it is just an activity she enjoys doing (and chose to do) and I'm happy to carry on as long as this is the case.

clam Fri 28-Sep-12 19:58:44

Oh, and every week in our school, choir practice takes place on a Thursday, half an hour before lunchtime. I alternate maths/English on Thursdays so that they're not missing the same lesson every week.

clam Fri 28-Sep-12 20:01:53

Oh, and also, at my dc's secondary school, the timetable shifts by one session each week, on a rotating basis. So, week one, there's a piano lesson at 9.00, the next week it's 9.20, then 9.40 and so on. So they don't always miss the same lesson. As my two dc have lessons next to each other, it's been useful for them to swap occasionally, if one has something particular going on.

letseatgrandma Fri 28-Sep-12 21:39:03

As a primary school teacher, it would be very easy for me to rotate the groups; there is no need for that group to be on a Tuesday. Have a word with her and ask if your daughter will always be missing guided reading? Maybe the teacher has had a blip and hasn't realised she's missing GR every week-I'm sure it can be easily sorted.

juniper904 Fri 28-Sep-12 22:11:37

I tend to organise my guided reading table around one or two groups of children, based on their needs. They tend to be my lower ability kids, and it's based on when I have extra TA support and when the EMAG teacher is covering my PPA.

I wasn't a fan of guided reading previously, but I think it has made a huge difference to the reading levels in my school. We had more than half of the year making more than a level's progress in reading whilst in Year 3- which was excellent. I do think that guided reading had a major role in that and me being an amazing teacher too, of course wink

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