Monday, September 16, 2013

A Look Inside: Resource Reading (Part 1-Planning Instruction)

One of my most popular posts is Lesson Planning (Sped Style) & Reading.  I guess there are a lot of special educators out there looking for ways to teach in the resource classroom.  Whether, it is that or just a super interesting post, I felt like it needed to be updated.  Since moving to my new school I have changed up some of the ways that I manage my resource reading group as well as the way I teach.  

I am going to give you a sneak peek into the way I plan and teach my resource reading class. This will be broken down into a series of posts. Today I bring you:

Part 1:  How in the world do I know what to teach?

This takes a lot of planning and organizing for me to decide what to teach and when to teach it.  Common Core Standards, IEPs goals, and staying caught up with what the regular education classes are doing makes teaching resource reading...well, complicated!  I teach special education to three grade levels (3rd, 4th, and 5th) and I have all of these grade levels at one time for resource.  I have always tried to keep up with what the teaches are teaching in the general classroom, but with 3 grade levels that becomes extremely tricky and difficult to manage. This year I am using the plans from our third grade reading teacher and teaching the same big idea (character traits, summarization, prior knowledge, etc) and teaching that concept in my resource class. I know that if I stay with what one grade level teaches that I will hit the content for all of the grade levels for reading. I do this because the students must be exposed to grade level content, yet they are at least 1-2 years below grade level and have to have extra support and research based intervention. I keep my kids for an hour for resource so they will typically miss their general education reading class or most of it, anyway. 

So, with the Common Core component out of the way, I must then look at the individual needs of my students. Each student I have for resource reading has one of three types of reading goals: basic reading, reading fluency, or comprehension, or some combination of the three. I use these goals to plan the groups and interventions I will use (more on that to come).  

Now that I know what aspects of common core I need to teach and what areas of weakness my students have I can take a look at gathering resources to teach the weekly unit. 

Let's take a look at what I use to teach the weekly unit. 

First of all, as mentioned earlier,  I use the general education teacher's lesson plan to decide which strategy for reading I need to teach and check out her resources. Sometimes I will use what she uses to help reinforce what they are doing in class, but other times the resources they use may be too difficult and I will need to modify the lesson delivery and the resources I use. 
Most of the time the general education class is reading a certain story from the basal or they are doing a novel study. I use that story or book during my listen to reading time, so the students are exposed to the story and will be able to take the weekly comprehension check in the classroom.  *side note-if I were only doing one grade level, I would use the same story the regular ed teacher is using, but since I do several grade levels at one time I use a book or story that will meet all of their needs and that we can all read and comprehend together. 

So where do I find my books and resources?  Most weeks, I use Reading A-Z to get my literature for the week. (This is a paid site, but most definitely worth the money)!  On Reading A-Z, you will find books based on guided reading levels, but are also leveled by grade level, Lexile levels, and Fountas & Pinnell.  This site makes my planning so easy by providing guided reading lesson plans, vocabulary, weekly comprehension focus, word work and writing suggestions, and comprehension quizzes. This is perfect for busy teachers. I do not want to recreate the wheel if I don't have to!  

A sample lesson plan for this week looks something like this:
Lesson focus: Character Traits
Book:  Harold the Dummy
Vocabulary: (list of vocabulary words for this book). These are posted at the front of the room, used in activities for word work, and put on the word wall at the end of the week. 
Reading Strategy:  Asking and answering questions 
Writing: During my reading resource I also work on writing. I combined the two times this year for easier schedule flow and ease of teaching the two literacy components at the same time. 

  1. Have students use the last page of the book to write why they would or would not like to have ermaline as a friend.  (This is one of the extension activities listed for the book).   

Technology:  This will be touched upon when I post about literacy groups...hang on for that!
Word Work:  Use recommended suffix lessons for this book

I also use many, many Teacher Pay Teacher products to help supplement curriculum. Thank goodness for TPT and the wonderful teachers and authors that have such incredible ideas that they are willing to share!
This week I am using this awesome pack for teaching Character Traits 

As, you can see a lot of time and planning comes in teaching the main lesson for the week, but special education is so much more than just adapting the regular curriculum.  Tomorrow I will share with you about assessing and choosing and using interventions.

Stay tuned!


  1. after reading some of your reading posts, i have purchased a membership to reading a-z. i really love the site. I'm wondering how you print your books. Do you print them black and white and make copies, or do you print color? It seems like a ton of ink, but the pictures are so much better in color. Also, do you let you kids take the books home to keep, or do you recycle them year to year? I've been letting them take them home.

    1. Yay!! I really think you will enjoy it! I print my books in black and white and we read the story in color that I project onto our screen. The kids do get to see it in color that way and are engaged with their books and the web version. I keep the books to recycle year to year. I will share my organization for that very soon. I also print the single side book option, cut and staple.


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