The basic idea of this toolkit is to give teachers a readily available set of books and questions to guide your conferences with readers based on their reading levels.
I used a thick, 3-ring binder with plastic pockets. You could choose to color-code your plastic pockets with green for at-level, yellow for strategic, and red for intensive based on your grade level text. I did not color-code mine because I wanted it to be flexible just in case I ever have to change grade levels.
There is one pocket for each letter of the alphabet which corresponds to the Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading Levels. Inside each pocket there is a set of prompts to use when conferencing with your readers, one or two books at the particular level, and questions stems to guide your discussions.
I use books from the website Reading A to Z. I chose these books for a few reasons. They are readily available and you can print as many copies as you need. These books are leveled to the Fountas and Pinnell scale. The books are also part of RAZ Kids, so the students can independently read the books you use during the conference. There are a variety of genres and interesting topics. These paper books are not as bulky as real books.
**Please take note of the inside cover of the book--the correlation is sometimes a letter off. Make sure you have the books leveled correctly. A Reading A to Z book may be a letter L, but its F&P level may actually be a K.**
I cover the stapled spine of the book with duct tape so it will last through many reads.
I also place jottings inside the book to help guide my discussions with readers. I will be honest and say I do not have all of my books coded with sticky notes yet because it is very time consuming. This binder is an ongoing piece of work. I am sure I will add, delete, and change several things as the year progresses. That IS what good teachers do--we change instruction to meet our learners' needs.
The books I put in my toolkit are not random. For the lower levels, A-F, I used mostly realistic fiction. With levels G-U I chose to use as many fables, mysteries, and biographies as I could find because these are the genre that my students struggle with the most. I added in some nonfiction books and chose topics my students are interested in such as dangerous animals and the Titanic.
The prompts and question stems come from a couple of different places. One set of prompts is from our TCRWP coach. I'm sorry I do not have these to share with you. They were part of our district's training and I only have hard copies. If you are part of Balanced Literacy with Teachers' College, I would ask your coach for a set of them.You also could use any questioning stems or prompts you are comfortable with such as Marzano's or Bloom's.
The other prompts I use are based on Reading 3D and mClass (you know, the DIBELS people). They are taken from the TRC section. The website http://www.mybookezzz.net/mclass-comprehension-stems/ has PDF files of the questions broken down into F&P levels. If you look at the screen shot below, the first PDF file will give you a bulleted list of questions and the second one will give you a matrix version of question stems.
This toolkit was time consuming. I had to use a lot of ink, a lot of paper, and spend a bit of money to purchase the materials. I think it is definitely worth it though! After you create your toolkit, you will have instant lessons tailored to your students' reading levels. You will have talking points all ready for when you conference with your readers.
Thank you again, Vicki, for the great idea.