Ok, don't nail me to the cross yet, just listen.
Lately I've been thinking and I've come to the conclusion that Guided Reading has become institutionalized. I've been trying to explain the Workshop Model to many colleagues and their #1 question, hands down, is " What about Guided reading, How do I fit in all my groups?" I feel that it's become less and less about the READER and more and more about "well we have to fit in guided reading". What does that mean??? Are we teaching "guided reading" or are we teaching READERS?
I guide my students through text everyday in conferences. When I look at their Conference notebooks at the end of the week I plan a few guided groups based on need (NOT ABILITY). I consider this guided reading, but some do not. Just because I'm not with 4-5 kids at a horseshoe table reading the same leveled text, im not "doing" guided reading? Who made it like this? Did we do this to ourselves? Did the Sunshine Guided Reading Kits make us feel this way? It's just madness.
Reggie Routman says it best, "guided reading is anytime a teacher guides a student through a text" It is not about 5 books all the same, going through the motions of the pre-printed lesson (that was made by people that don't know your kids), IT'S ABOUT THE KIDS!
Guided Reading is not meeting with your "low" group 4 times a week, your "middle of the road" kids 3 times a week, and your "high" kids once or twice. Guiding Readers is about knowing their strengths, building on them and guiding them to be life long readers, in ANY WAY THAT BENEFITS THEIR GROWTH!