National expert assisting HISD educators on harnessing the power of Guided Reading

Some 475 HISD literary specialists, principals, and teachers packed the conference room at the Kingdom Builders Center on Nov. 13 to hear from literacy specialist Jan Richardson on “How to Harness the Power of Guided Reading.”

For two hours, Richardson shared practical suggestions and lesson plans on how to increase the impact of Guided Reading in support of Literacy By 3, HISD’s movement to have every child reading and writing with fluency by the end of grade 3. The plan calls for more than classroom work — it includes volunteers who read to students on a regular basis as part of Read Houston Read.

“I am passionate about teaching our children to read,” said Dr. Richardson, “and every child deserves Guided Reading on their own level.”

Since Dr. Richardson’s methods target all students — not just English as a Second Language students and developing readers — district educators found them particularly useful.

“We are doing Guided Reading and using Running Records (an assessment tool) to track student levels and set goals,” explained Whittier ES Principal Lorie Lueptow.

“The teachers have embraced it,” added Whittier ES Instructional Specialist Patricia Ortiz. “We are targeting our professional development to what they need to succeed.”

The books are part of the Scholastic “leveled bookroom,” $8.5 million worth of reading materials that were delivered to every HISD elementary school last summer.

“The students love the new books, because they are more engaging,” said Anderson ES fourth-grade teacher Linda Burks. “They take them home, so we share strategies with parents on how to read with their children.”

Two copies of Dr. Richardson’s recent book, “The Next Step in Guided Reading,” were given to every HISD elementary school. For more information on her methods, please visit her website.