John Dewey once said, “Start where the learner is.” It’s that simple (and hard, at the same time)!
How do we know where the learner is? By assessing and reflecting. THEN, plan and teach. Many Kindergarten teachers ask me how they really know if a child is ready for guided reading. Great question! We learned Running Records from Marie Clay and New Zealand teachers. So….ask that little one to draw or paint a picture. Then have him/her dictate a statement or two about what they drew. You write what the child said below the painting. Then have the child ‘piggyback’ his/her pointer finger on your pointer finger and together, read what you wrote. The next day, invite the child to come over and “read back what we wrote.” Do the Running Record on whatever the child reads back. This will be an eye-opener! If the child points and reads most of it correctly, he/she is ready for Guided Reading! Get going! If not, you will want to help the child understand that print carries meaning, that there is voice/print match, and that there are words that we recognize instantly, by sight. Get going!
Start where the learner is…….but start!