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.