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Planning With Intention to Build Strong Readers

When you think about what your readers need and what your readers have already accomplished, you can begin to build a path that will lead them through increasingly more complex texts.

  • Readers enter classrooms with unique and specific needs.

  • Readers must be met where they are not where a grade level standard says they should be.

  • Readers need tools and strategies to help them move forward on their path towards reading proficiency.

  • Readers need guidance to help them progress naturally based on where they are as a reader at that particular time.

Comprehension strategies and skills are the same throughout a child's school career. However, each year brings new challenges.

✅Each school year adds a layer of complexity to each reading skill and reading strategy.

✅Each school year braids those comprehension strategies and reading skills a little more tightly together.

✅Each school year has the same mantra -- Teach the readER not the readING

Planning lessons for readers should be intentional and not just to 'cover' a standard or skill.

✔ Planning with intention is all about teaching the reader not the reading.

When focus is kept on the reader and where that reader IS on the road to reading proficiency, the reader stands a better chance at progressing.

When the focus is kept on the standard that 'needs to be taught', the reader's needs are abandoned for the good of the school test scores or ticking off a standard box--just my opinion!

When planning with intention, the teacher focus is on discovering the readers' specific needs and letting that drive the instruction his or her readers need right there at that time!

✔ Planning with intention is all about teaching readers not standards.

Proficient readers do not isolate one skill or strategy from any other.

Proficient readers braid their comprehension strategy and skill knowledge together to create meaning as they devour text.

Readers need to see how comprehension strategies work together and depend on each other to create meaning.

Strategy and skill work are not taught in isolation. Minilessons are created around text where a specific skill or strategy is highlighted and spotlighted for readers to see how it fits into the big picture.

As readers progress on their path to reading proficiency (such as, through the grade levels), readers revisit comprehension strategies and skills and learn to use them with more complexity in increasingly more complex texts.

✔ Planning with intention is all about meeting the specific needs of a unique group of readers.

Getting to know readers' specific needs is a process that grows and evolves over the time a teacher spends with a reader.

Completing a reading survey at the beginning of the year does not paint a picture of that reader for an entire school year. The reader is always changing and evolving.

It's so important for readers to discover the kinds of readers they are and the kinds of readers they want to become.

Teachers need to be able to quickly and easily conduct informal assessments to determine how a reader is progressing and evolving.

This involves having a plethora of tools to use--not just standardized test scores.

Readers are not defined by test scores.

Just as readers are not defined by test scores, writers are not defined by test scores either. The same mantra exists...Teach the writER not the writING!

Planning writing with intention is to focus on teaching the writer and not just the isolated writing standards. Student writers need to see how the writing skills and strategies within the required standards fit together to build and create strong cohesive writing pieces. It's all about knowing your writers and where they need to go.

Planning with intention is all about providing authentic purposes for doing the work.

So just how do I look ahead to plan with more intention?
  1. Decide what a proficient reader or writer needs

  2. Assess and evaluate where typical readers or writers at your grade level are in their reading or writing development

  3. Review the standards required for your grade level

  4. Brainstorm a list of reading or writing ideas that need to be taught to learners at your grade level

  5. Lump those ideas into different groups or categories

  6. Develop a good progression of strategies and skills for each group or category

  7. Lay out those groups on a timeline throughout the school year

  8. Build strings of possible minilessons to create units.

  9. Revise as needed based on student needs throughout the school year.

Read more about long term planning and using the

9 steps above to lay out your BIG PICTURE here,

Until next time,



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