: What can you tell me about guided reading?
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A: Guided reading is the heart and soul of the reading program. It is a time to teach students the strategies used by accomplished readers and to involve students in the dynamics of quality literature. It is an opportunity for students to create a positive relationship with texts by combining what they know with what they can know. Fountas and Pinnell have defined guided reading as "a context in which a teacher supports each reader's development of effective strategies for processing novel texts at increasingly challenging levels of difficulty." I believe the implication of this definition is that teachers guide students (via appropriate reading strategies) through increasingly more difficult reading materials in order to achieve higher levels of comprehension and greater independence in reading. One of the major differences between guided reading and more traditional forms of reading instruction is that guided reading is conducted within small, flexible, and ever-changing groups.
Know how reading is taught. No excuses!
: How would you handle varied reading abilities in your classroom?
A: RTI combines universal screening and high-quality instruction for all students with interventions targeted at struggling students. First, it is important to screen all students for potential reading problems at the beginning of the year and again in the middle of the year. Teachers need to monitor the progress of students who are at risk for developing reading disabilities. Next, differentiated instruction should be provided for all students based on assessments of their current reading levels (Tier 1). Next, teachers should provide intensive, systematic instruction on up to three foundational reading skills in small groups to students who score below the benchmark on universal screening. Typically, these groups will meet between three and five times a week for 20 to 40 minutes (Tier 2). Third, the progress of Tier 2 students should be monitored at least once a month. This data can be used to determine whether students still need intervention Finally, intensive instruction should be provided daily in order to promote the development of various components of reading proficiency to students who show minimal progress after Tier 2 small-group instruction (Tier 3).
Repeat after me: "Do your homework on reading instruction!"
Avoid using tentative terms such as "I think," "I feel," or "I guess." Over-use of these terms tends to leave a less-than-positive impression with the interviewer— that you are unsure or indecisive. Interestingly, psychological research has demonstrated that women tend to use these terms more than men.
: How will you integrate technology into your classroom?
A: The number-one use of technology comes in the form of research. The
Internet, for example, provides students with a wealth of current information on any topic or any subject. I want my students to experience the incredible array of data available in any subject area. A second project that can help integrate technology, while truly getting the students excited about school, is Web site creation. I plan to publish a Web site with my class about information students have researched or personally created. This might include literary efforts, results of scientific investigations, critiques of books read, or problem-solving projects. I also want to explore the possibility of online assessment for my students. If students have the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned through the use of technology, then I have more time available to teach. It's an exciting new concept I'm eager to explore. Still, I have to remember what one of my professors said: "The program should not be built around technology; rather, technology should be built into the program."
Most of the administrators I talked with want to know how versed teacher candidates are in technological issues. Your response to this question should demonstrate your awareness of and comfortableness with technology as a powerful teaching tool.