Friday, February 27, 2009

The best guided reading group ever

Friday, last period. Mentally, I'm done for the week. Still, I summon up the last reserves of my energy and call together Stanley, Adam L., Adam P. and Victoria for guided reading.

At level J, they're my highest readers (still below grade level -- at this point in the year they should be reading at L -- but so close and with so much potential!), and today is our last day reading Corduroy. All my J-reading friends get extremely jazzed to read Corduroy, because generally it's a book they're already familiar with, and I've had some great guided reading conversations about seeing things from the character's point of view and using your imagination and what it means to have a home and friendship and be loved.

So we take a little picture walk through the last pages of the books, and my friends are already firing neat little comments to each other ("Is she stealing Corduroy?!" "No, she just doesn't want a box because she wants to hold him and feel him"), and then they go ahead and read to the end of the book. Stanley and Victoria are sitting next to each other, and suddenly shy Stanley's eyes go wide and he leans over and whispers excitedly to Victoria, "She knows that Corduroy can talk!" and they have a little side conversation about whether Corduroy is a real bear who comes alive or whether Lisa is just using her imagination to talk to Corduroy (I think all the non-fiction reading they've been doing is affecting their suspension of disbelief, bigtime). Then Victoria turns to the back of the book, which says, "Poor Corduroy! Will he ever find a home?" and she says to me, "I just realized something. Corduroy is looking for his button, but he's really looking for a home."

Thunk. I don't know whether or not that sounds like a big deal to you, but for me that was one of the most insightful, wonderful comments anyone in my reading groups has ever made. My kids' reading levels are low enough that they don't often get to do much critical thinking about their books -- you should see the contortions I've gone through trying to coax some higher-level thinking out of books like Danny and the Dinosaur -- and so Victoria's comment was such a breath of fresh air.

Then we got into a conversation about how Corduroy is looking for a home and Lisa is looking for a bear and both are really looking for a friend, and quiet Adam P. points out, "Each other." Okay, awwwww.

It may not seem like much, but it seriously made my afternoon. What a great way to kick off the weekend.

4 comments:

teach5 said...

And that is why we put up with all the other crap.

ms.w said...

I love moments like that! I've been having some trouble with a group of boys in my class being clique-y, but today almost all my friends joined in building with blocks during choice time. They were polite, listened to each others ideas and created a great "market" complete with food. It was a great way to end a l-o-n-g week.

Ms. M said...

Yes, it is a big deal! And I actually gasped when I read what the boy said. Good day indeed.

Allison said...

"It may not seem like much..."

It's everything. Awesome.