My ELA Block: Reading Whole Group Lessons

Can I be really honest with you? Don't judge me, but I really hated teaching reading, writing and grammar during my first few years of teaching. I dreaded my ELA block every day. I found it boring to teach! I LOVE to read and write, but I felt like my lessons were causing my kids to hate all things ELA related. It was depressing!

Fast forward a few years and I can honestly say that I am totally motivated to teach amazing ELA lessons. I am no expert! I don't have all of the answers. But I am super excited to share what I did to make ELA more fun to teach and more engaging and effective for my third graders.

Let's take a look at my ELA block! 
Today, I am sharing about my reading whole group lessons. I will be adding additional parts throughout the month!
Part Two: Reading Centers
Part Three: Vocabulary
Part Four: Language
Part Five: Writing

My ELA Schedule

Here is a look at my entire ELA schedule. 

I know that I might have more time than some of you. I worked hard to create that time in my schedule! One thing that really helped was not having full math and ELA blocks on Fridays. I use Friday to do assessments and tons of social studies and science. I don't teach these subjects Monday-Thursday and so the long blocks on Friday easily make up for that. Plus, there is tons of ELA mixed into science and social studies.

Whole Group Reading

My whole group reading is not very traditional. I am just NOT the kind of teacher who can stand in front of the class and read a PowerPoint presentation to them. I am also not the kind of teacher who loves the basal textbook. My school required us to use it. And I used it. I used it to collect dust bunnies on my book shelf. 😂 But that is our little secret!

I used my whole group time to read aloud to my third graders. They would eat their snack and take restroom breaks while I read. The fact that they loved the books so much meant that they were nice and quick with their restroom break!

My school had a pacing guide that broke apart the reading standards and I had a skill that I was required to focus on each week. I used my read aloud to start discussions related to the focus skill. Let me give you an example: If my focus was character traits, I would read for a while (because that is the best part) and then stop and ask, "What word would you use to describe the type of person ______ is? I don't want words to describe what he looks like. I want words that describe his personality." I let a few students share answers and I close by saying, "Words that describe someone's personality are called character traits." BOOM!

The next day, before I start reading, I might say, "Whisper to your partner to tell them what a character trait is." Then I will repeat my definition from the day before. I will read and then we can  take a minute to discuss the character traits of another one of the characters in the book.

This type of intro mini lesson can be done for just about every standard that I had to teach. All of the literature standards can be taught with any fiction book and the majority of the informational standards could be taught with a non fiction book (such as Magic Treehouse research guides).

Using a read aloud chapter book for my whole group time really allowed me to introduce new authors, genres and series to my students. It encouraged their love for reading and, for me, that is what it is all about!

If you want to see some of my favorite books, check out THIS blog post.

I know that my students will need more practice with the skills, but I also know that I will be meeting with them in guided groups. During that time we will have more discussions and time to write.

I hope that this gives you a little glimpse into my whole group reading time!

Are you ready to check out the next post in the ELA series? Click HERE to read about my reading centers. 

Have a Not So Wimpy day!