After posing questions about outcomes and analyzing where students are and what the next steps for learning should be, I decided that my focusing inquiry will be on how to create and maintain a time during our literacy block for students to work on 'Word Work'.
This meant that while I am working with students in a guided reading lesson, others would focus on spelling and vocabulary activities.
By doing this, I have moved away from the 'traditional' everyday follow-up activity that some schools might see as the 'beginning and end' to all guided reading sessions. As I see all of my reading groups every day, I continued to put the emphasis into each guided reading session, where I provided strategic instruction in "decoding, making meaning and thinking critically". By doing this, I included the related follow-up activities - if appropriate, which reinforced learning around specifically taught skills into the session.
Students however still had the opportunity to complete independent 'Further Tasks' that spread from our 'study' of their reading book, once a week.
Yes, I've copped criticism for not having follow-up tasks every day and almost lost confidence in my ability to do what's best for my students' learning.
Luckily, I am able to refer to and quote from the last paragraph on TKI's Literacy Online (Guided Reading) - "However, often the reading is sufficient in itself, and the best follow-up activity is simply lots more reading."
The question however was, did this work for my students?
Taking OTJ's in consideration and completing a summative assessment recently which clearly shown the shift in students' ability to spell words, I definitely think so.