Moving schools/districts/grades over the summer, I still loosely say “I use a basal.” In reality, our administration trusts us [teachers] and our ability to do what is best for students. In 1st grade, we use Reading Street (2013) as our scope and sequence (which has worked out very well). We do use the phonics, must-know words, spelling words, and some of the comprehension from the program but pull from other resources for writing, guided reading, and our Daily 5/small-group times.
We’re also blessed with the Science Leveled Readers which are THE best part of Reading Street. I don’t use them in conjunction with our reading program, but pull from it during Reading RtI. The texts are ridiculously interesting, packed full of nonfiction text features, and WAY more rigorous than their ‘reading’ leveled readers. I LOVE THESE TEXTS. To store these treasures I binder clip each set of 6 together, and tri-fold the coordinating graphic organizer, placing it inside the book. That way when I grab for the book next, I’ll have the organizer ready without having to reprint it. Boom.
So, our schools has these Reading Street resources, and I use parts of them through Daily 5 rounds and guided reading. I do mentor-text mini-lessons whole group for 5-7 minutes in between Daily 5 rounds, so I do not touch the whole-group parts of Reading Street. (insert rant about the ineffectiveness of whole-group instruction) I do the bulk (85%) of my instruction in small groups through Guided Reading. My top 2 tips for making RS easy to work with in small groups – (1) set out the materials before groups begin, so as soon as students arrive they can begin working. (2) If you are going to use the basal (see below) go ahead and open the book to the right page. That way, you can just pass out the books when your ready and there is no need to waste 1.5 minutes of a 15 minute oration (i.e. 10% of your time) finding Pg. 135.
This does mean that
many times sometimes my groups do not read the basal story for the week as it is not appropriate for the group (i.e. it’s a GRL J and they are reading on a G). But when I can, I do try to pull the story for at least one day. To read more about how I structure our guided reading time, click here.
In Word Work, students pull their Word Ring to work on their phonics skills. I created the word rings using words suggested by Reading Street. The green words (approaching grade-level) are the must-know and intervention words for each week, the yellow words (on-grade level) are the phonic-skills words, and the blue words (above grade level) are the enrichment words. You can read about our Word Work routine here and how we differentiate our centers here.
We also use the Reading Street big books provided for each unit. For each unit, there are 2 big books. One of the books is a contrived phonics-based book but the second is a high-quality, real piece of literature….which is AWESOME! I love exploding my friends to REAL authors/illustrators – Peter Reynolds, Mem Fox, etc.
We use these big books in Word Work and Read to Self at the end of each unit. Our team creates a scavenger hunt with each book highlighting grammar and comprehension skills we’ve been working in the unit. It’s perfect practice applying the skills, and they are timeless reads every 1st grader should enjoy.
A final component of Reading Street I regularly use is each unit’s Grammar Jammer movie that’s found on Pearson Success Net. These are fabulous videos and songs that coordinate with our week’s grammar skill. From nouns to verbs to pronouns, we all love a little ditty to help us learn.
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