Thursday, 30 October 2014

How Do Whole-Class Reading Lessons Work?

Background
Last year, Year Four in my school moved to teaching reading in whole-class lessons rather than the traditional carousel of Guided Reading activities.  We found it had a very positive impact on children's written responses to texts while being quicker and easier to plan and resource.  You can read all about our move to whole-class reading here.  Many people, after reading those posts and downloading the logos, inquired as to how the lessons worked so this should answer some questions and provide you with the plans and resources for an example lesson.

How does it work?
The simple answer is that it works the same as any other lesson; There is one learning objective for the whole class based around the same text.  The activities are adapted for different abilities so that all children can access the learning objective and be challenged.  Sometimes texts are part of a class book we're reading and other times they are a poem or non fiction article.  Please find below an example lesson plan using Harry Potter's journey to Hogwarts in the first book to interpret changes in feelings.  After the lesson plan, I have put some notes about certain sections of it to give more information.


Lesson Plan Notes
Top boxes - these are the overarching objectives which I've pulled from the new curriculum.
Read with RIC - the stimulus is always something different; it can be a song, poem, video, photo, advert.  Sometimes they require children to read, sometimes they don't.  They always contain a Retrieve, Interpret and (author/artist/director) Choice question.  All children are to try the R and I questions, most try the C question too.  We go through the answers to these and children steal other answers in gel pen to improve theirs. See more examples of our RIC starter activities here
Challenge - This is where we put the options for children to show their learning against the objective.  Generally children can choose which they complete out of Good/Amazing/Awesome.  There is some specific support using extra information and the TA.  The SEN activity allows children working significantly below the rest of the class to still access the objective at a level appropriate to them.

Having taught the lesson to my Year Four class, I would say it would be slightly more appropriate for Year Five.  

Click to view and download more plans and resources (including SMART Notebook files) for:

Across the School
Having piloted whole-class reading lessons in Year Four, our headteacher was keen to roll it out across the school.  Currently, all of our Key Stage Two are now teaching reading like this with two or three lessons each week, each lasting an hour.  Our other English skills are taught through Theme-based lessons, with 5-8 sessions in a week covering geography or history and English.  Key Stage One are continuing their phonics teaching in groups while using a RIC starter daily with their whole class to practise those important reading comprehension skills.

I hope this can answer some questions about whole-class reading lessons.  If you have further questions or comments, please feel free to put them in the comments below or on Twitter or check out the Whole-Class Reading FAQs.

To see all other blog posts about whole-class reading lessons, click here.

47 comments:

  1. Hi - we tried this earlier this week with War Game (Year 5). The first session went really well and I'll be continuing this with the rest of the War Game planning so thanks for your help with that.
    Are there any other books that you could recommend for use with Year 4/5 for Whole Class reading?
    Many thanks
    Louise

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    Replies
    1. Hi Louise,
      We have found Matilda and Charlotte's Web successful. Also the Roman News and Egyptian News have good articles for whole-class reading.
      Jo

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  2. Hi - sorry - can I just check for War Game second session where you refer to LJ's Uncle Arthur's image - what is this? I can't find anything in the resources? Please can you advise?
    Many thanks.

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  3. Hi, do your KS1 children just do reading through their phonics sessions or do they have carousel guided reading sessions too?
    Thanks in advance
    Nicola

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  4. Hi, can you tell me if your KS1 children only do reading through their phonics sessions or do they have carousel type guided reading too?

    Thanks in advance
    Nicola

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  5. KS1 children do phonics every morning (RWI) and then do a RIC activity (which KS2 use as a starter) every afternoon before they go home.
    Hope this helps!
    Jo

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  6. What sort of impact do you think this has had on your results? Has it been significant? I am a definite supporter of whole-class teaching as opposed to a carousel, however I have some work to do to convince others.

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  7. Re: LJ's Uncle Arthur's cartoon. That is a friend's great-uncle's cartoon he drew when he was in the trenches. I got permission from her family to use it in the classroom however she didn't want it put online or published in anyway. Sorry. You could find a trench image/cartoon or similar to display and come up with your own RIC questions?

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  8. Re: Impact. We saw a huge amount of our lower ability children making big steps in their learning. Research suggests this is due to them being exposed to the higher-level questions and answers. High ability still made good progress as well.

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  9. This looks great and I want to try it. Just wondering, how do you stretch the more able children? Are the texts that you use a bit easy for them?

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  10. Hi Looks like a really fun and effective way to teach reading to class. Have you come up with any format to record/assess children's reading in relation to this method? Thanks

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  11. Hi, Summative assessment in Reading without levels is something we're working on. I'll blog when we've sorted something effective! Sorry to not be more helpful at this time.
    Jo

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  12. Hi, this looks great and thinking about trying it with my year 3 class. The only thing I'm confused about is when do the children do the actual reading of the text? And how do you manage lower attaining readers reading at same as higher? I worry that my LA children's decoding skills would mean that they take a lot longer than some others. Thanks.

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  13. Hi, Thanks for commenting. I'll try and answer your questions below.
    Reading of the text - it differs in each lesson. If the lesson is based on our class reader (Matilda, Narnia, Harry Potter are some) then I read the book to the class out of Reading session. They get extracts to focus on as part of the lesson (we have 16 copies so they share 1 between 2 and often children bring in their own copy if they have one). These they will read as they complete the activities. Sometimes we focus on a poem or song lyrics. I use lollysticks, hands up or choose specific children to read aloud depending on different texts.
    LA children - I have 2 groups of these in my current class. Some children who are slightly below the vast majority of my class and a few who are significantly below them. I alter the size or complexity of the extracts they use but still based on the same text. For the lowest ability (working around Y1 level in my Y4 class) they focus on word meaning, again from the same text.
    Hope this helps.
    Jo

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  14. I am really interested to know about how this approach is developing in KS1...we really like the model you have set out. Just wondering what it might look like in a Y1/2 class?

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  15. Just read back through previous comments and I can see your comments about the RIC activity at the end of the day for KS1. Do they still do guided read sessions?

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  16. Hi Beth,
    Our y1 children have a differentiated phonics sessions each day, 1xweek of that is comprehension based. They do whole-class phonics once a week and a RIC everyday (ish). Hope that helps?
    Jo

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    Replies
    1. Hi, sorry I'm a bit confused. Did you mean a phonics based reading session every day or once a week?

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    2. Hi Sharon,

      Phonics is everyday in Y1.

      Jo

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  17. Hi Jo,
    In ks2 do you teach the 2 whole class reading sessions as extras to english sessions or do they make up 2 of the sessions?
    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi,
      They are extra to our Writing-based English lessons (spag etc). I will add this question to the FAQs I'm writing.
      Jo

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  18. Hi, I love his idea and I'm hoping to trial it in my school is coming term. Can I just ask about the objectives - am I right in thinking that you have taken the NC statutory requirements and grouped them to fit into the Retrieve, Interpret etc? Do Y3/Y4 have the same objectives but Y5/Y6 different? Could you provide a copy of the Y5/Y6 objectives if possible please? Also (sorry about all the questions!!), we had question stems for AF's which teachers found very useful when planning sessions, do you have anything similar please?
    Thanks x

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    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Yes - I have taking the NC objectives and arranged them under the RIC headings. I have done this for 3/4 and 5/6 objectives which you can find in the RIC Resources download (on the right hand side of the blog there is a link to download). I have also written a post about them called Assessing Reading in the New Curriculum.
      There are some display resources which have a few question stems (I believe - it's been a while since I made them). They may be useful. They are also in the resource folder.
      Thanks,
      Jo

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  19. Hi Jo, Love your blog and thought this idea was really interesting as I've found similar issues with the group reading model. However, I'm interested to know if all your children are able to cope with the same text? I'm teaching Year 3 in a single form entry school with a huge gap between lower and higher ability. I understand what you say about differntiating the activities based around the text but am wondering how I can present the children with a text which will be suitable for them all... Any advice would be much appreciated. Gill

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  20. Hi Jo,

    I am trialling this in my class next week and have arranged for the head and deputy to come in next week. Do you have any year 6 RIC activities or lesson plans that I could look at?

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  21. Seems like a very sound approach.
    I think the Read & Respond series fits well with it - and the titles are excellent, plus activities suggested.

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  22. hi Jo do you have exempolars for yr 6 plans in reading please - and resource wise what are your thoughts?

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  23. Your resources look really great.
    I've tried downloading the blank lesson plan but it is on a web-page which won't open after I've downloaded it. Also I would like to type into it - it only gives me an option to print. Does it come in Word?

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  24. Hi Jo,
    I am really excited about finding this tonight! Sad I know as it is new years eve after all! However I have been disillusioned with the carousel approach of guided reading for some time and now have year 6 and am worrying about the children and their inference and deduction skills! These MUST be taught and not through the osmosis of independent holding tasks! We do not have enough copies of any book for 1 between 2 let alone 1 each. I would be interested in developing a year 6 set of resources to share. Could you please let me know how you started with the plans as it feels a little daunting as I don't want to waste time procrastinating. Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sharon,
      Don't fret about not having enough books. A lot of our lessons are using short sections of books (photocopied), e-books (if you have devices for each child) and internet print outs of articles. We started planning by looking at the objectives we need to cover most urgently. Interpretation skills are always high on the reading agenda in schools. We looked for texts which lend themselves to this - we found poems and song lyrics work well and are easy and cheap to resource.
      Hope this helps a bit,
      Jo

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  25. Hi - I'm really intested in your approach to reading. I'm just wondering what this looks like in your reading poilcy? Is there any chance you could share.
    Mandy

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  26. Hello
    This planning is fantastic! Have looked at week 4 and 6 of Harry Potter planning- do you have the other weeks planning?
    Thank you
    Helena

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  27. What a fantastic blog! DO you have the objectives for Y1/2 too?

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  28. Any book recommendations for Year 3 please? :) Thanks

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  29. Hello, any recommendations for Year 3 texts?

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  30. Would you say that this woudl sill work over a mixed age ( year 3/4) class? or would the gap be to broad?
    thanks

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  31. I'm so excited by this! In the sample plan above, looking at the text under the headings retrieve, interpret, choice etc, is that specific to Year Four or generic?

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  32. This is amazing and so generous of you to share your resources. I just wondered what your weekly overview looked like, or have you done away with that, in light of dropping the weekly cycle?

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  33. Hi Jo,

    My school is ditching the guided reading carousel in favour of a whole class reading lesson. The lesson is going to be one of our five English lessons and I'm worried about how we can fit in the time for reading the novel. I noticed you'd just looked at three pages in your reading lesson but I saw mention that you have 2 hours on top of the 5 hours of English provision. Any creative thoughts about how to fit this in? I'm worried the teaching part will suffer with the pressure to finish the book. In any event, thank you for your helpful post.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, I would recommend blocking non-core subjects. We do Spanish/Computing for 3 half terms each and cover all the objectives necessary. Same with RE/PSHE. Think about Guided REading...that is normally half an hour a day - 2.5 hours per week. Whole-class then is less than that with some independent reading added on.
      Hope this helps,
      Jo

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  34. Hi Jo,
    Do you have an example of a plan where you have taught 'viewpoint'? Would be really helpful to see.
    Thanks loads!

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  35. Hi Jo
    I am really keen to change my approach to guided reading, currently the children have ability grouped phonics x4 days, grammar x1. Will you attach some KS1 examples that your school uses for the pm sessions that you refer to.
    Hope you can help.
    Elaine.

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  36. Hello Jo
    I am in Y1 and really keen to start this, do you have an example plan I could look at? I am not quite sure where to start! Hope you can help.
    J x

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  37. Hello Jo,
    I'm a RQT and am desperate to start doing whole class guided reading. Do you by any chance have any Matilda planning that I could have a look at to get me started? I am going to try some of the Harry Potter lessons but am keen to focus and read one whole book over the course of a few weeks.

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  38. Hi Jo,
    Is there any chance the Harry Potter Great Hall description could be in another format? The windows surface I've got doesn't like the notebook format and I can't find another app to download so I can open it!
    Thanks,
    Karen

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  39. Thank you so much for sharing these. I will have a (small) y5/y6 class next year and will be trialling this approach!

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  40. I love the idea not sure about the planning. Any possibility of plans related to the text Street Child by Berlie Doherty

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