Guided Reading Bookmarks (Executive Functioning)

Sunday, June 21, 2015
Let's face it, most students need to be taught how to plan, prioritize, and promptly complete assignments.

I started out the year testing students on their Fountas and Pinnell Reading Levels (A-Z). Since I work primarily with the 6th and 7th grade students, it took my co-teacher and I close to 3 weeks to finish testing all the students. Which seems like a lot, but it was perfect timing since we spent a week on procedural learning (Kagan Cooperative Learning and behavioral systems) / executive functioning (setting up our binders and notebook systems) and another week introducing students to our whole class reading novel (Reader's Journey workbooks and Things Not Seen).

What we learned within those three weeks were: 
  • Planners/ agendas did not arrive and we were going to have to wait 3 more weeks.
  • Whole Group Reading assignments were not completed because students were not writing down their assignments/ there was a lot of confusion on what pages to read - "I asked my friend in RM 123 what pages to read and they said we were on this page." I mean... come on!
  • Reading a chapter over 1 -2 nights was too much for the students (our book had extremely long chapters)
  • Our students with disabilities were emerging executive function learners (this is my polite way of describing how much of a hot mess they were when it came to planning, prioritizing, and promptly completing assignments).
So how did we solve it?
I recommended bookmarks. Not just your usually fold the sides of the pages, using a post-it, or scraps of paper, but bookmarks with due dates and page numbers. Let's just look at the benefits, shall we?

  • No Planner? Solved. 
    • Students wrote down the due dates and pages on the bookmark itself. We eventually laminated them to conserve paper. Expo Markers weren't the greatest, they rubbed off. Crayola washable markers stayed on much longer than Expo.
  • Confusion over pages? Solved. 
    • Students had a laminated bookmark that identified where they left off. No more lost scraps of paper or unfolded corners!
  • Long chapters? Solved.
    • Students wrote down the exact pages they had to read every night and knew where they left off.
  • Students with Disabilities being a hot mess with writing down assignments? Solved.
    • We modeled the correct procedure for them and watched as they learned where to write down their guided reading assignment, when it was due, and checking off the assignments that were completed. Later on in the year, the bookmark became very convenient for students who didn't want to bring a million things home/ to class, and instead just took home the book with the bookmark inside. We found that this kept them accountable - even if you forgot your planner, your bookmark is inside your book. No excuses!
Here's a quick look at what it looks like. You can buy the bookmarks in my TPT store! I've made one in cute font and included a simple one for those of you "that aren't about that life." 

Bookmark size comparison

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