Wednesday, October 15, 2014

instructional level or grade level...that is the question

A few weeks ago at the Illinois Reading Council (IRC) conference, I ended up in two sessions where the speakers (One of them: Tim Shanahan) were talking about teaching guided reading with grade level text. Their point was that if we only teach on instructional level, when will the kids be exposed to grade level reading? Their other point: In a guided reading group, there are only 4-6 kids, so you can provide enough scaffolding to help them read that grade level text.

So, I've tried this out with my guided reading group (only once so far). They are reading at a level G-H, and grade level for this time of the year is J. Now, this isn't a huge jump, but I can totally tell when they're reading the grade level text - and so can they. The amount of words on the page is way more, the text is smaller, there are less pictures...etc.

This week, we've been reading Nonfiction. We did the instructional level text "Life Cycles" yesterday and today. Tomorrow and Friday we're going to be reading a level J book, "The Life Cycle of the Owl" which is more of the same, but goes into much more detail about the owl's life cycle.

I'll report back later this week with the results, but in the meantime, what are your thoughts about this? One book a week on instructional level, and the other on grade level?

Don't be shy....leave a comment!



  1. Can't wait to hear/read what others say!!! I am supposed to teach grade level text to my whole class (for 30 minutes), then have small groups (for 30 minutes) with instructional level text. I just don't feel like there is enough time for small groups! Hoping for ideas...


  2. I like to do a mixture of grade level and instructional level. We give tests with passages ON grade level because that's what they'll be expected to do at the end of the year. It also gives a more accurate reflection of where the child is reading in terms of grades. For this reason, I use test practice passages on level. Any books I read with the students and skill practice work, I try to stay as close to instructional level as possible.

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

  3. Can't wait to hear about the progress! You are my inspiration! Thank you for always keeping me motivated! Love!


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