Sunday, November 8, 2015

Guided Reading: Part 2

This is the 2nd part to my guided reading segment. If you missed the first part - Click here!
Okay, on with the show!

After you have decided what type of grouping you are going to use (skill, level, concept, etc.) it's time to get started. My typical schedules looked like this:

This is for 17 minute sessions with 5 groups, which is what I HAD to do to really meet with each of the students. I DID NOT want to miss out with my higher kids just because my lower kids needed me more intensely.

This is my schedule with 17 minute sessions but only 4 groups. It worked most days.

This  was a trial-by-fire style of small groups. It was also 17 minute sessions, but trying to REALLY teach 5 groups with only 3 rotations did not work for me. But it was a GREAT way to START.

Depending on the number of groups and rotations, I would use this template to BEGIN and keep me on task.
You can get yours here!

Here's how to do a simple guided reading lesson:

Step 1 - Introduce the book with 1 sentence.

Step 2 - Give a purpose for the reading. ex: "Today we will be reading _____ to find out what happens when ______ does ______."

Step 3 - Introduce/Remind students about strategies for decoding (for the lower readers) and comprehension (higher readers). If you'd like these posters you can get them with the guided reading set HERE!

***Optional: add an incentive. I would place post-it notes in front of each student. As I would listen to each student, I would put a tally mark for the words that I saw them struggle on, try a strategy with, and ultimately read correctly! At the end, we would add the tallies to a graph. Once we reached our goal - AS A TEAM - they would get a reward. I wanted them to encourage each other to read instead of comparing their reading.

Step 4 - Explain the expectations. My expectation went like this: "As you read, pay attention to the setting, the characters, and what is happening. If you get to a tricky word, try using your strategies. Remember, when I hear you trying to read the difficult words, it is added to our graph. Also, when you finish reading the text, what do you do? READ IT AGAIN. Correct. The more times you read these words, the easier these words will become! Don't forget to whisper read so I can listen to each of you. When it is your turn to read to me, you'll need to read in your regular voice. Any questions? Ok. On your mark, get set, READ!

Step 5 - Listen to each student. This is a special time for them. Kids LOVE to have someone listen to their reading. This time should last about 7-10 minutes IN ALL (not per student). Make notes about the student to discuss with them later. I like to do these on post-it notes so I can stack them like a pad of paper in my notebook for easy reference on each child's reading/growth. I use the "Star" and "Wish" note taking. Basically, I find something that the student did well while reading(star), and one thing that they need to work on for the next time (wish)!

Step 6 - Revisit the purpose of this lesson. Can the students answer the question asked in Step 2? Can they identify the text evidence that shows the answer? This is also the time to check for comprehension.

Step 7 - This does not happen everyday. It happens usually the 2nd and/or 3rd day into a text. I have students complete a graphic organizer in their reading response journals. These range from elements/structure of the story to cause/effect and character analysis! Now, before you think you don't have time ... you do. This is something that I create as a "MUST DO" before they go onto their next workstation. It can also be done like a book club DURING stations. Get creative. This piece is important.

Step 8 -  Word Work - Yes, I DO try to get this into my time with the kids, however, let's be real. It doesn't always happen. I have tried to tie this into the reading response as well, but it's just hard. BUT, if you do have time for this, I would HIGHLY recommend it. I use this document to help! You can get it as part of the Guided Reading Checklist at my TpT store. I have 2 schedules. The one to the left and one that is a staggered version! I personally like the staggered version because it is soooooo difficult to assess each group on Friday. But this is the one that most people would use.
Word Work - I have pre-printed sorting maps (2-3 columns) that I have placed in page protectors. I give each kid a dry erase marker and have them write a guide word at the top of each column. Then I read/show words to them. The kids write the words into the correct column. This is great if you have the kids search for similar words in the text as well :)

Step 9 - Finally, remember that Star and Wish from earlier? This is the time that I focus on the kids. I give each of them a star (verbal) that they did well on. Then I add a wish to help improve their reading for next time. We typically would keep the post-its in my journal so I can remind the kids the next time we meet what my wish was. It is a brilliant way for the kids to take ownership!

Step 10 - After school, when you get a moment, write the next plan based on your students' needs. You can go back to your note taking from each group. Some good questions to answer when writing your next plan:
1. What do I want the kids to achieve in the next week (because it takes time to reach goals)?
2. What level do I need? Was the last one too easy? Too hard? Interesting enough?
3. What skill can I add into the lesson from writing, language, science, or social studies?
4. What strategy do I want to focus on?
5. Do I need to regroup the kids?
6. What words from the text need to be vocabulary or word work?
7. How am I going to check their growth?

There you have it! This is guided reading. It's a great time, but you need to be intentional and focused since it is a short amount of time. Follow these steps and I promise you will get more bang from your buck.

I'd love to know what you think about this post and others. Also, what are some tricks that you have learned from your guided reading time? I'd love to have more opinions and options for those days that this just doesn't meet each kid! Drop me a comment below or a line at

Happy Teaching!

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