Guided reading has always been my least favorite subject to plan for and teach. I feel like in college there is no focus on guided reading yet it is a HUGE component of an elementary classroom. Why is that? I have no idea. But it is a common sentiment me and many of my peers agree with.
I think part of the reason I have always hated guided reading so much is because I didn’t know how to plan for it. I am an organizer and a planner so having a plan makes me feel successful. Without a plan I didn’t feel successful.
You may feel the same way.
I am 5 years in to teaching and still am NO expert on guided reading but I have learned a few things over the years and have perfected my planning routine to what it is now. This helps me at least feel prepared for my lessons when I pull my small groups- even if they don’t totally go how I planned them.
I have also come to realize that just meeting with kids and listening to them read is SO much better than not doing anything at all.
Guided Reading Binder
All of my guided reading materials are housed in my guided reading binder. This binder has all of my lesson plans (past and current) as well as anecdotal notes, guided reading groups, and any other important documents I need for guided reading and RTI paperwork.
Inside my binder are folders for guided reading groups. I use the guided reading guidelines from “Making the Most of Small Groups” by Debbie Diller. Each reading level is broken down into the characteristics of that level. I cut them out, laminated them, and then attached a piece of velcro to the back. This way I can move them around and change them out when a group advances to a new level.
I also have sticky notes for each student with their DRA level listed on it. Then I place the sticky notes in the appropriate group. Now I can easily see who is where and what I need to be working on with each group of students.
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Guided Reading Lesson Plans
Also in my binder are my lesson planning worksheets. Each group is listed on here along with who is in each group and what text level I will be working with for each group.
On Thursday (when I am working on lesson plans) I pull out my binder and look at the previous weeks notes. I see what I need to reteach in small group with certain groups and which groups are ready to advance to something new.
Then I am able to choose the level I will be working on them with. Next I choose what I want to target with each group. Usually, I do not pick the book first then try to decide the objective. There are some instances where I really want to use a certain book so I will find an objective that matches that book, but usually I try to pick the objective first.
Now it’s time for me to take a trip to the literacy library. I grab all the books I need and bring them back. I read through each of the books and write down any words that I want to discuss with the kids. This is also where I will write any questions that I want to ask as well as higher level thinking questions. If I need to include phonics work with a particular group, I will include that in these lesson plans.
When I am meeting with groups I have an area where I can jot down notes for particular students or sometimes for the group as a whole.
Rinse. Recycle. Repeat. Now I have my notes to make plans for the upcoming week.
I also send the leveled books back with the kids to keep in their book bags so that they have books on their level within easy access for them.
**While I am pulling guided reading my students are doing literacy stations around the room.**
How do you feel about guided reading? Do you love it? Hate it? I want to hear….And I promise not to judge!
In the mean time, if you would like some classroom organization help I am available to you! Contact me to set something up, even if it is just a phone conference?
Until next time,