I recently had a teacher ask me the question below, about finding multiple copies of leveled texts for guided reading groups.
In response to your guided reading groups: My district does not provide multiple copies of books to use in guided reading groups, nor are multiple copies available at the library. I was considering using close reading texts that I have purchased on TPT, both literature and nonfiction texts (I have also bought the differentiated packs that provide 1st-4th grade reading levels, perfect for my range of 3rd graders). They may be lacking in illustrations though compared to an actual book. Will this suffice? My only other options is using the black and white decodable books (which will be great for my lower readers but maybe too simple for my more advanced readers?) or making copies of old SRA books. I am a first year teacher and would really like to implement guided reading in an effective way.
First, I applaud this teacher’s effort to effectively implement guided reading—in her first year of teaching. Second, this is a great question! It is a question that another teacher asked in my Staff Development for Educator’s Reading Workshop conference as well.
I must admit, I am lucky enough to have an abundance of books in my classroom. Here are some of my tips to help you gather multiple copies of texts.
1.Work with your school and public library to gather multiple copies.
I live in a different city than I teach, and I take advantage of both libraries. The public library of the school that I teach offers opportunities for teachers to work with the librarians to find multiple copies of books. You can also work with your school librarian, who can help you find copies of books from other school libraries in your district.
If you type in the phrases “Guided reading sets” or “Level D readers,” you will see a plethora of choices come up. Below is a screenshot that I took from searching Guided Reading Leveled Texts in Ebay.
I use Amazon for everything. Class sets of books are no exception! When searching for multiple copies of Charlotte’s Web, Amazon is selling 24 used copies from $1.61. That is a pretty good price!
4.Garage Sales/Library Used Book Sales
There have been times when I felt like I won the lottery by finding multiple copies of favorite books at neighborhood garage sales. When I first started teaching, I would go to garage sales in route to my tutoring sessions and although they can be hit or miss, I definitely would recommend this a way to gather quality texts.
5.Volunteer to Pilot any Reading Series
I had the opportunity to pilot many reading series (Benchmark Literacy, Treasures, Lucy Calkins…the list goes on!) simply by volunteering my time to be on my district’s reading committee. By piloting the Treasures series (many years ago!), I not only got my own set of guided reading leveled texts as part of the pilot, but then I also got another set of books when my district adopted the program.
Below is a picture that I posted on Instagram. I (happily!!) volunteered to pilot Lucy Calkins reading series!!!
Work with other teachers at your grade level to gather multiple copies of books that you read with your students. My third grade team has class sets of many books that correlate to our social studies and science units, such as Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters. We rotate the books to each classroom so we all have the opportunity to benefit from the class set/multiple copies.
I adore NEWSELA. Have you heard this awesome, FREE resource? Oh my! There are high quality passages that are leveled according to their Lexile Level. (You can determine the guided reading level by using a book leveling correlation chart.) I also love how NEWSELA takes one news article and then adapts the text to three different Lexile levels. You can use this for close reading, read aloud, or of course, guided reading. All the students will have the exposure to the same content and ideas, but the language and vocabulary is differentiated.
9. Scholastic Bonus Points
At my Curriculum Night at the beginning of the year, I make sure to TALK UP my classroom library. I make it very clear to the families that when the place an order through Scholastic Book Clubs, I am able to earn bonus points. I then SHOW the families the actual books that I have ordered, using bonus points, through Scholastic. I make it very clear that I do not use my bonus points for a microwave or other teacher related goodies offered in the bonus points catalog. I have gathered SO MANY leveled texts simply by using my bonus points!!!
10. Super Teacher Worksheets
Although you have to pay an annual fee, I highly recommend Super Teacher Worksheets. I love how there are so many science and social studies themed reading passages, that come with comprehension questions. I use my membership to download passages about the planets and the solar system and use them for a close read and also reading groups.
What else am I missing???? Please comment below!