At my school, Rice Lake Middle School, we have benchmarked all of our students in grades 5-8. I am currently team teaching 6th grade Language Arts along with being the literacy coach for the school. It's an interesting perspective because I can see what it takes to implement guided reading at the individual classroom level in 6th grade, and I also see the big picture of what needed to be done from the literacy coach end in order to get it going for the whole school.
From the literacy coach end, we created a book room for all the Language Arts teachers at the middle school to use. The book room is leveled I-Z using the Fountas and Pinnell leveling system. Since our school has no extra space, we also had to get very creative with where our book room was going to be. We eventually settled for knocking a wall out between two closets to create our current book room and had a local builder come in and build custom shelves to fit the space. A few of my colleagues and I spent countless hours this summer arranging and leveling all of the books. It was quite the undertaking, but the final product was more than worth it, as you can see below. The two pictures below the final product show the sorting and leveling we had to do before getting to the final product.
Once we had the book room in place for our middle school, the next step was to figure out how we would get all of our student through the benchmark assessment. The Language Arts teachers really stepped up to the plate with this, each benchmarking all 50-75 of their students. Once this was completed, the true fun of beginning guided reading began. At the sixth grade level, we figured out how to use our block schedule in order to create homogenous groups so that each of us would meet with our below grade level readers at least 3 times a week, our at grade level readers 2 times a week, and our above grade level readers 1 time per week. We are all excited to begin.