Guided Reading

Guided Reading
Guided Reading



Guided Reading {an informative post}

Hey, hey, hey!  I really should be chiseling away on my peek at my week post, but I am in complete denial that Christmas break is over!  If you've peeked around on my blog long you would know that I have a true passion for teaching guided reading groups.  I am not exactly pinpoint what it is...I think mostly that I get to meet with a SMALL group and spend valuable time with the kiddos in a "controlled" setting...not having to be-bop around the classroom...instead, I can sit and give each kiddo my full attention.  
Kindergarten is a magical year...some {lots} come in with no reading experience, and already midway in the year we have some that have soared to some other level of awesome-ness as a reader.
This post is a combination of ideas...but if you are needing additional ideas for guided reading please click the image below.  It will take you to my virtual guided reading presentation where you can listen to me ramble about. If you had tried it recently with no luck I have just now updated all of the links...they were all lost from the hosting site! 

So let's go ahead and knock it out of the ballpark with this quote....

I feel so strongly about meeting with all of my students during guided reading each day.  I know due schedules, class sizes, and so on this can be a difficult task.  However, I have made it a priority to make it happen.   Again, I completely understand that it just isn't always possible, but I feel that is time of the day where I can best serve, evaluate, and differentiate for my students. 

I get a lot of teachers that email me asking for assistance in making this happen in  their classroom.  My best strategy is for you to know that meeting with every kid every day doesn't have to be 15 minutes per group.  This is especially true with half-day kindergarten classes.  Meet with 1-2 groups for the 15 minutes and the other two groups 5 minutes, etc.  You say whhaaaaat?  What possibly can you get down in five minutes?  Lots actually....even if they get back there and you do letter flashcards or just introduce the book you are still meeting with the groups and letting the kids know that you care about them as readers and remind them how important it is to read!

Make it work for your kids....don't stress if it doesn't work!  If you would like suggestions you can always send me an email and I'd be happy to help! :)
So above I minuted 15 minutes...below I will explain how my lessons are structured each day.

My guided reading lesson are divided into these four sections:
Phonemic awareness/letter sounds {2-3 minutes}
 Phonics/letter names/sight words {3-4 minutes}
Book Study - -comprehension & fluency {5-6 minutes}
Guided Writing  {5 minutes}
That totals for around a 15 minute guided reading lesson.

As the year progresses my guided reading lessons are divided as follows:

Phonics/Sight Word Work {3-4 minutes}
 Book Study & Discussion {6-7 minutes}
Guided Writing {5 minutes}

I drop off the letter names/sounds once I feel the students have mastered this with SPEED and FLUENCY.  Some groups will have not met this by the end of the year so they will continue to practice.

I recently blogged about how I organize my guided reading materials HERE if you'd like to check that out!  Before you get started in teaching guided reading I would suggest that you have a way to store all of your needed supplies.  This will help when you are using every second of your precious time at the table with the kids.

Below are different snap shots of my guided reading tub and what's inside!

My tub was purchased at Walmart a few years ago.  It is perfect for all of my needed supplies.  The only thing you won't see that I use is my guided writing paper which is stored directly behind my table.

Yes, let's discuss what kind of activities you can do in your guided reading lessons to keep them FUN, EDUCATIONAL, ENGAGING, and FRESH!  I have thousands of pages of guided reading activities so I won't be able to share all of those, but will leave links below for you to check out!

At the beginning of the year this letter names and sounds time is used for basic recognition through flash cards and use of magnetic letters.  Once the year progress we turn the focus to SPEED and FLUENCY.  I set the timer for one minute and go through my alphabet flashcards...the goal being the group can state all 52 letters names in one minute and 52 letter sounds in the next minute.  Most of the groups meet this goal by Christmas!  This takes only 2 minutes...but I find it to be a very beneficial two minutes!

Phoneme segmentation is another very important skill we work on.  All of my guided reading packets are FILLED with fun and exciting phoneme segmentation activities.  I will share just a few right now :)  Anyway, I work a lot on phoneme segmentation because has a huge impact on our young readers and writers. Once my students master breaking down words into their individual sounds they are more confident in writing and reading independently.

Here is a snap shot of my phoneme segmentation tub!  All of the material was purchased at the dollar tree so it's easy to get your hands on!  Now, the kids don't necessarily need these fun and exciting manipulatives but it is part of keeping guided reading fun and engaging...the keeps eat this stuff up...and learn! #winning

Here are the kiddos using plastic cars to "drive" the sounds.  So as she stretches the word mom she drives the car forward, then drives the car back across quickly as she puts the word back together... /m/ /o/ /m/, mom.

Using slinkys to stretch out words...stretch as she says each sound in the word, then puts the word back together.

 Another one of our favorites are sound boxes!  I love this activity because it is super simple to differentiate for my student's levels.  I will explain each differentiation with pictures.

BL group:  Students see the visual of the word they are stretching and push up 'gems' for each sound they hear.../j/ /e/ /t/, jet {super important to put it back together- -PS that is what the student is doing in the above picture, running her finger below to put it back together}.
I use a variety of cards so that the students are getting a variety of words to stretch.
Below are photos of my ON group.  I have them use the same cards as above.  However, these students are able to write the sounds they hear within the words.

Here is a look at additional phoneme segmentation activities.  I love using flashcards for review in the hallway.  The first set the kids touch each dot for the sound within the word, then pull it back together.  The second set is just for me to show the students the card then the stretch out the word.  Find and cover is a fun way to hear the sounds within words and play the activity like bingo.  

 Magnetic wands are FUN and encourage students to pull the sounds back together that they stretched.  My "Wand"erful packet is a good time waiting to happen...

Stretch It Out fun....

Sight word practice is another biggie that we do everyday during our guided reading group.  I will first go through the sight words that we've covered so far in the year.  For my above and on group I show each student a card as I go around the group.  For my below group the students answer together.   I ask that all students are watching the word, even if it's not their turn.

We then go into our sight word mix & fix work.  I love this activity and it's so beneficial to the students.  Here's how it goes....I have placed the letters needed for the sight word into a little container { I purchased these 6 for $1 at Family Dollar}.  Each student has their own container of letters.  I will ask the students to build the word first using their letters.  If the students are not yet comfortable with the word, for instance Monday-Tuesday as we are just learning the word I will leave my flashcard on the table for them to use as a guide.  We will then mix our word {mix up the letters in a random order} and then I will have the students fix it.  We will do this about 2-3 times.  The last time I will ask them to leave the letters on the top of the board and then practice writing the word. 

After our phonemic & phonological awareness work we move into our books!  I always begin with building background to the book we will be reading.  If we are reading a book about family we will discuss who is in our families.  I always try to get each student to share something that connects them to the story we are about to read.  I have noticed that if they already have an interest with the book they will be more excited about the book and work hard!  After we build background I will then go into introducing the book.

During our book walk I will point out the title, and the front cover illustration.  We will discuss any connections we have to the front cover from the information that was shared during our building background.  We then look at each picture and note the reading pattern and the pictures within the story.  This is a step that I start to back off slightly with my above group as the year progresses.  I transition them into doing a book walk independently.

During our shared read I will have each student read one page.  We rotate the book around the table.  I like doing this because it gives me an opportunity to see each students using 1:1 tracking and I can emphasize that great readers read with a steady pace and never race.

After our shared read each students receives their own book and they read independently two times.  This sounds like mass chaos, but it works and am able to stagger their starting points so that not all students are reading the same page at the same time!

Another one of my favorites during guided reading is taking the time to respond to the book with a guided writing activity!   The below picture shows  students  doing a guided writing activity.  We had read a book about show and tell that dinosaurs had brought to school.  I asked the students to pick their favorite show & tell from the story.  Because at this time students were still working on the sight words I and can I had laid out in order the words that they would start their sentences with.  I tapped the words several times and they read them with me.  I also demonstrated the spaces between my words by leaving a space between the cards!  Grad these freebie sight word cards below!

Click below to download the freebie sight word cards!

My step by step guided reading packets were teacher inspired! I had received a lot emails from stressed teachers asking for specific lesson plans and books to follow for guided reading time. I wanted the plans to be versatile enough to accommodate the different needs of districts, but specific enough that if you had nothing else to use you would have what you needed in the packets!

Below is a look at how I organize my step by step packets within a binder.  I use a sheet protector for each week which holds the lesson plans, books, and writing templates.

I would LOVE for those that have not seen my step by step packets to have an opportunity to do so.  So, for a limited time I will be linking below a sample of my step by step packets for you to view! My step by step packets are a big part of my guided reading mega bundle.  So, I always to teachers to be comfortable with those packets since they are a large investment!
If you have stumbled upon my guided reading mega bundle it has every single page of guided reading that I have in my store.  The bundle has 2,000+ pages of guided reading material.  The bundle is also ENDLESS which means anytime I make a new packet for guided reading, it's added to the bundle and you get it for free!  A lot of teachers say that it's the bundle that keeps Christmas ;)

Here are a few more reviews from teachers...
This is INCREDIBLE! I mean I loved the Guided Reading and RTI Deluxe Bundle, but the Mega Bundle is just incredible. You've saved me SO much time. The lessons are great and it tells me exactly what I need to be working on with my students and if I need to make changes I can, easily. I'm so glad I purchased this!
I to have taught for 30 years and it is so great to find something that is new and refreshing. Thank you, Tara for your wonderful products.
This is amazing! I was at a loss for my small reading groups and this is going to make things so much better!! Thank you for making an awesome product and than sharing it!!

Click below to view the sample week of step by step guided reading!

Here is a look at the packets that are currently in the bundle!

I got a lot of questions on where to get started once getting the bundle so I put together this image.

My entire store in on sale for 20& through Satuday, Jan. 3rd.  However, I will keep the Mega Bundle on sale for 20% through Monday, Jan. 5th!

And....I'll end with this on this note.....


  1. I love this post thank you! I was wondering if you got the magnetic wands at the dollar store too?
    Thank you again!
    Andrea :)

    1. Hey there Andrea! I haven't seen them there before, but it is always a possibility...maybe party stores?

    2. Thank you! I didn't see them there but maybe you remember where you got them? :)

    3. I got mine on Amazon :)

    4. I will look there. thank you!

  2. Just bought the MEGA packet last week, and have spent this last week printing, laminating and organizing it. I just wanted to let others who may be considering purchasing it that IT IS COMPLETELY WORTH IT! I am a former Reading Recovery teacher and literacy specialist and have a lot of experience and training in the field and can confidently say that these resources are right on target. The lesson plans are perfect for someone just beginning their guided reading journey...or for others who are wanting to improve their teaching or move away from a "basal", but just don't have the time or resources to do it on their own. (It even includes printable leveled guided reading books for your instruction.) I also have to say that the MEGA pack is also perfect for those who already have a strong guided reading program, but want resources (in an ultra organized fashion) that you can grab and insert as quick checks and skill practices in the essential skill areas (phonemic awareness, segmentation, blending, fluency, etc.). I felt like this MEGA pack was a great deal when it wasn't on sale....and now that it IS on SALE... you have to grab it!!! Thanks Tara! :)

    1. Holly,

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! It still floors me to hear others talk so highly of my know how we never think good of ourselves, but when others say it, it must be true!! :) Thanks for making my day and have a great start to the week!

  3. Thank you so very much for this post and for breaking down the ideas to step by step directions. I love it!

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet feedback!! :)

  4. As usual, what a fabulous post! I too meet with every group, every day! Most days I run over but I don't mind. I need to do my guided reading groups every day because they need it and deserve it!

    1. Yes I run over a lot ...who is counting? hahah!!! :) Have a great New Year!


  5. I love the quote that "reading is dreaming with open eyes." That is so true and really captures what makes reading magical.
    Grade School Giggles

  6. Thank you so much for posting this! As a first year teacher, I can't tell you how helpful all of this is! Is the sale still going on today, or did I miss it? Thank you so much for your help!

  7. What an amazing post for student teachers, beginning teachers, and seasoned veterans needing a refresher! Such great information and well laid out! Thank you for sharing!! :)