I get a lot of questions about guided reading in my classroom. I wanted to provide a simple step-by-step outline of what I do and the materials I use in my classroom every day in hopes that this helps to answer some of those questions.
Grouping and TimingI begin small group instruction after my whole group lesson. I usually make 4 reading groups for 20 minutes each, but because I'm teaching as an inclusion team this year we have 5 groups. These groups are homogeneously grouped according to DRA results. I list the groups using chalkboard markers because they are easy to change as the needs of my students change. You may notice small dots next to names. These are pom poms I glue to magnets to represent the weekly team captains. They are responsible for keeping independent groups on-task.
Guided Reading Groups
Leveled readers are essential in guided reading. Make sure to use students' instructional levels. Personally, I have trouble finding guided reading books. I borrow a lot of books from 1st grade teachers and I find others online. I made a few emergent readers that you can find HERE.
I focus on either a reading strategy or a phonics skill for each lesson. When teaching decoding strategies I use Beanie Baby Strategies that can be found HERE.
When teaching fluency I use simple fluency passages. I made some that you can download HERE. They review letters, letter sounds. sight words, and CVC words for easy differentiation. I practice these skills prior to reading a guided reading book. This way we practice the skill then students have the chance to apply this skill to their reading.
This can sometimes be the most difficult in kindergarten mainly because kindergarteners aren't known for being too self-regulated. This is why it is so important to introduce these skills on the very first week of school. Set clear expectations about noise level and always provide a puzzle or other activity if they finish early. Here are a few ideas for activities. If you have an aide, he/she can always take an activity here or rotate between both groups to ensure they are on task. I also have team captains each week who give out stickers if students completed their work well. This allows students to assess their ow work and learn to self regulate.
I use a Common Core Interactive Notebook for independent work every day. Here is a sample of a project from the bundle.
With my aide I also try to make a game or craftivity that reflects our learning from the day or week. Here is an example of a word family project we did in November...
...without it, you cannot effectively teach guided reading so be sure to keep routines similar and let students know what is expected of them. Here is my life saver for managing groups... a timer with a warning signal. This not only gives students in independent work an idea of when to wrap it up, but it manages me as well. Here is the best-ever timer for guided reading. Seriously, buy it today. You'll thank me later...
I hope this post was helpful in providing new ideas and structure to your guided reading groups in your classrooms. Good luck & happy reading!