Responsive Guided Reading: A Sustainable Model for Small-Group Reading Instruction in Your Classroom


Speakers: Dr. Jennifer I. Berne, Dr. Sophie Degener


SKU: 043014

Webinar Description

There’s no way around it.  In today’s classroom, many of your students simply won’t meet the demands of new  standards for reading unless you provide them with differentiated instruction. To build their reading skills, your students need the kind of individual attention you can provide in guided reading groups.

But you’ve got to be practical.  Your teaching schedule is already stretched to the limit. You simply do not have the time and boundless energy it takes to collect many different resources and develop many different lessons for all the varying ability levels in your classroom.  You need a more sensible and sustainable strategy.

Join Jennifer Berne and Sophie Degener for a 2-hour webinar on Responsive Guided Reading. Jennifer and Sophie developed this approach when they realized how few teachers could sustain an ongoing program of small-group instruction (guided reading). The two reading instruction experts modified the guided-reading model so teachers could significantly reduce all extraneous activities and focus on the real work of instruction in reading.  To target interventions, teachers simply listen to students reading out loud–the simplest way to determine which reading strategies the students are ready to learn.

Learn how you can make small-group reading instruction work in your classroom!  Jennifer and Sophie will show you how to structure your literacy block in language arts so that you are able to work individually with learners on their specific needs while other students work independently. This webinar is for both experienced teachers and for those who are new to the subject and want to make differentiation work in their classrooms.

 Webinar Topics:

  • Educational advantages of Responsive Guided Reading (RGR) and how this model aligns with the Common Core and other learning standards
  • The role of small-group reading instruction in building reading skills in grades 4-8
  • Managing the rest of the class during Responsive Guided Reading and organizing students’ time
  • How to respond to students’ read-alouds
  • How to structure Responsive Guided Reading
  • Locating materials that optimize instruction in RGR
  • Assessing students during RGR
  • Embedding RGR in your current schedule



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About the Speakers

Dr. Jennifer I. Berne

Dr. Jennifer I. Berne is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Literacy and Elementary Education at Northern Illinois University.  She holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan, an MA in English Language and Literature from Northeastern University in Boston, and a PhD in Teacher Education from Michigan State University.

Her path to NIU included a nine-year stint as faculty and chair of English at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, MI as well as faculty positions at several universities where she served in various administrative capacities including director of pre-service education and Department Chair.

Her research interests are the teaching of writing, comprehension strategy instruction, and teacher education. Her school-based work includes staff development for teachers, reading specialists, and principals on understanding and implementing contemporary models of reading and writing instruction.

Jennifer has written books focused upon college literacy, high school writing, middle grades and elementary reading. Dr. Berne has co-authored two recent books with Dr. Sophie Degener, Strategic Reading Instruction: Guiding Middle Grade Readers, Corwin Press (2012), and Responsive Guided Reading, Guilford Press (2010). Dr. Berne has also authored The Writing-centered Classroom: Writing Workshop in the High School, Guilford Press (2008) and Process of Discovery: A Writer’s Workshop (McGraw Hill College Division (1996).


Dr. Sophie Degener

Dr. Sophie Degener is an associate professor in reading and language at National Louis University in Chicago.  She teaches classes in beginning reading, reading research, and literacy methods to undergraduates, masters students and doctoral students. She is also the Director of the Reading Program. Her research interests include family literacy, differentiating literacy instruction, and teacher education.

She completed her undergraduate work in English at University of Vermont, received an MAT in Elementary Education from National Louis University, and has a doctorate in Language and Literacy from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Prior to her work as a professor, she taught in Evanston, IL. Her work with readers of all abilities and their families has motivated her interest in helping educators understand the unique needs and circumstances of every student in order to design instruction, using high quality materials, that best meets those needs. She does professional development work with local schools to help teachers and administrators understand and implement balanced literacy instruction that reflects current understandings of best practice, especially in differentiated instruction, guided reading, and writing.

Dr. Degener is Associate Editor for the Illinois Reading Council Journal, co-editing and writing the quarterly Professional Development column. She has recently co-authored two books on differentiated reading instruction with Jennifer Berne:  Responsive Guided Reading in Grades K-5: Simplifying Small Group Instruction, published in 2010 by Guilford Press; and Strategic Reading Groups: Guiding Readers in the Middle Grades, published in 2012 by Corwin Press. The two authors are currently working on a new book about teacher-student interactions during reading and writing conferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a webinar work?

It’s simple. On the day of the event, you click on the link we provide. Enter your name and email address and you’re in! If your computer has good audio, the audio will be streamed to your computer along with the PowerPoint presentation. If your computer does not have audio, a phone number is provided so that you can access the audio by speaker phone.

How many can access the event per registration?

Registration is by site, not by individual, so there is no limit to the number of people who can participate at your site. We do request no more than one phone connection per site.

My school district only pays by purchase order. Do you accept POs?

Yes. You may fax the PO to 815-461-5647 or call us at 207-632-1954. Please include the full name and email address of the registrant.

What is the difference between the recording link and the CD-ROM?

Both include the synchronized audio and PowerPoint, but the link may only be accessed for 30 days. The CD-ROM provides a permanent record of the webinar. Writing instruction is a hot topic!