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How to Use Reading Goals in Your Classroom

In my first two years of teaching, I taught small group reading for grades kindergarten through 5. My school followed the IRLA curriculum from American Reading Company. When a representative met with us to discuss implementing the curriculum successfully, she spoke a lot about accountability and suggested each reader having their own "Power Goal" card. Now, if you're reading this, I'm assuming you've come across this page after researching Power Goal cards for this very program, and know what I'm talking about. If you have no idea what I'm saying, stick around because these tips will be helpful for all readers across all curriculums.

Anyhow, back to my story. After she talked to us about readers being accountable and suggesting them having their own Power Goal card, I got right to work. It wasn't long before I realized the amount of work I was putting in to constantly creating cards for each of my students as their Power Goals kept updating. That's when I decided to make a document that had every Power Goal from the IRLA available, and then shortly after, I decided to make that available to other educators on Teachers Pay Teachers so that they didn't have to go through the same hassle. If you're interested in the Power Goal cards themselves check here!!

This post is to help you navigate using these Power Goal cards effectively within your classroom, and to offer you some fun suggestions on how to display them! Enjoy!

Before getting started with assigning your students their very own Power Goals through the IRLA, it's important that you figure out your class routine during your reading period. And even more important, you need to ensure that your students know it, and know it well. Take time looking through your teaching materials, deciding on a before, during, and after routine, and planning out your conference times, independent reading time, and independent work time (of course, all of this may vary depending on your school's reading period.)

Decide how your students will retrieve their reading Power Goal cards, where they will place them while they are reading, and how/where they will put them back when they are done reading. Model this to them and then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. This will all depend on the set up of your classroom.

As an example, my students entered the room, retrieved their laminated Power Goal from our reading wall and then chose a spot on the carpet. After they sat down, they readied their reading area quietly and waited for me to give them their purpose for reading, and after I exclaimed "Ready, Set, Read!" they began. Whoever I was conferencing with that day would already be at our small group table because I had a conference schedule hanging next to our reading wall. This brings us to displaying your Power Goal cards...

As you can see in the above picture, I laminated my student's Power Goal cards and placed a velcro piece to the back side of it. During reading conferencing students would bring their cards with them for review and possible updates. In order to update cards I used Vis a Vis marker.

There are plenty other ways and ideas to display your cards that encourage accountability as well. Check them out!

I really love this idea for so many reasons. They can either be hung like I hung my cards, or you can put them on a notebook, folder, etc. Students can store old and current Power Goals and on top of that they can decorate their envelopes however they want! Talk about growing a love for reading and tons of accountability!!

Another idea that adds excitement and accountability around a student's Power Goal! For this, I would still suggest card stock and/or laminating the card. This is great for upper elementary students! They can keep their goal card with them at school and at home in their pencil pouch filled with close reading essentials (you know, that will help them achieve their Power Goal!)

I would call that card display a throwback, but I heard my older students talking about Pokemon cards all the time. Anyway... How awesome?! You can store current and recent Power Goals in one of these, and then students can put that, along with any Power Goal work, book logs, etc. into their folder.

Instead of laminating, be more environmentally conscious (and save some time) ... just print on card stock or paper and place in an adhesive pocket. Either in an area in your room, on their reading notebook, folder, etc.

My last idea, though time consuming to make, would be to laminate your Power Goal cards, hole punch the corner, place them on a binder ring, and then hang each students' from a designated hook. I like this because students can have current and recent Power Goals on their binder ring.

Now for a general overview for how I met with my students and what worked for my classes...

Whenever students needed a new Power Goal card, I had them stored in a pencil box and rubber banded by reading level. (If I still taught the IRLA I think my organization would have evolved a little. I would have loved to use one of those photo carriers from Michaels.) Then, I would just search for the Power Goal card needed and assign it/explain it to the student. I would write their name on the top, along with any notes, examples, sentence starters, etc. needed to help them to remember their Power Goal. I always supplied students with Power Goal work to go with their Power Goal. For example, If their goal was to learn a certain set of sight words, I would give them those sight word cards to practice, along with some worksheets with those sight words, and they would be asked to try and find those sight words while reading. An example for older grades would be for students to log words that they didn't know while reading, and describe the context clues they used to figure it out. The next time we met I would review their Power Goal work and determine if they were ready to move onto another goal or possibly be tested to move onto the next reading level.

Just a real teacher moment here...This is A LOT to juggle. Just do your best with it and make your students growth your priority. You'll definitely have to figure out a way to navigate all of this and also do your small reading groups. Just prioritize what is needed at that time. You got this.

I hope you all enjoyed this, and found even one thing that might be helpful to you and your students! Please leave comments below on how you plan to implement this in your classroom. Also, I would love for you to tag me in your pictures on social media @Mrssmithenwithteaching.

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