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    Misinterpreting 4 Blocks
    By brad

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    Yes, the Guided Reading block begins whole class and then splits into either groups, partnerships, or NO SPLIT AT ALL simply for the purpose of reading. The grouping is merely for support of reading; and certainly not for ability grouping. The group then reconvenes for following up the comprehension lesson taught before the reading of the selection.

    In the "during reading" portion of the lesson ALL students are to be reading the SAME selection (unless you are doing Book clubs) at the SAME time. Therefore, this leaves no time for other students to go to a literacy center while you meet with a small group. I recommend you go to teachers.net and look at the Four Blocks Column by Cheryl Sigmon. In Article 66, she cautions highly about turning the 4 blocks into centers.

    Also in Guided Reading the Four Blocks Way, the authors state, "Because it is believed (and research supports the idea) that children learn to read in different ways, each block gets 30-40 minutes of instruction each and every day." I'm questioning how you are teaching a comprehension lesson, rotating several guided reading groups, and then meeting again for sharing at the end, all in less than 45 minutes?!

    Also, the authors of 4Blocks have stated they dislike the fact that they ever named this block, "Guided Reading," because too many people get hung up on that term. They wish they had named it the "Comprehension Block," because the focus is on comprehension, not necessarily guiding students through "just right" leveled text.

    I believe the authors of the framework are gracious enough to allow many interpretations of the four blocks, but not interpretations which may be violated a central tenet of the model, which is No Fixed Ability Grouping.

    Of course, I am not familiar with the particulars of your situation, and I could be misinterpreting your post. Your interpretation may be alright if the authors or I viewed your classroom in action. If I am wrong, I apologize.



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