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Guided Reading Organization Made Easy

By Genia Connell on September 25, 2013
  • Grades: 1–2

Guided reading groups are an integral component of my reader’s workshop. With 28 students I often find myself working with five to six different groups a week. Even the most organized teacher (something I admittedly am not!) can find juggling all the lesson plans, resources, and even books an overwhelming task. If you have read a few of my posts, you know I am all about keeping things simple and easy to manage — something that is especially important for me when it comes to guided reading. Over the years, I’ve created a system to help me gather and manage all the materials I'll need for the entire week before my first group arrives at the reading table Monday morning. This week I'm happy to share a few of the things that make my guided reading time a bit easier for me and my students.  

Watch this short video to see all of my tips for stress-free guided reading management and read below for editable resources you may even want to use in your own classroom. Mobile users, please go to: http://bcove.me/0zliyk7p

 

Keep Your Materials Within Reach

Keeping everything at my fingertips is key for my organizational plan. A few of the items that make meeting with groups easier to manage include:

Reading Table

I use the traditional kidney-shaped table but cut roll paper to fit the tabletop every one to two weeks. Students do much of their written work on the paper, including word work. When one group leaves, their sheet is rolled away for the next group. 

Guided reading table with paper cut outs for work

 

Reading Resources

My teaching guides are sorted in a large binder by level and skill. Easy to use tabs help me quickly find exactly what I am looking for.                    

Guided reading binder

Click on the image above to download an editable binder cover.

 

Guided reading books are sorted in crates by level, comprehension skills and theme focus. 

Tall placeholders help me know where each lesson goes when the time comes to put it back. These same place holders are used in my book boxes to help me return books to their proper spot. 

tall place holders

Click on the image above to download your own editable place holders. Print, cut and laminate!

Best. Organizer. Ever.

A dish rack makes the perfect, inexpensive holder to sort all of my lessons for the week and any other materials my reading groups may need.

Dish rack for guided reading organization

 

Leveled Folders

Instead of creating folders for each group, I have made one folder for each level normally found in the third grade. Students move between the folders as they progress through the levels. 

guided reading folder

Text Level Indicator Sheets

Inside each leveled folder I glue sheets that list all the skills that a reader at that level should be working toward.These sheets help me plan lesson objectives and assess my students' reading. 

Text level indicators

Download an entire set of text level exectations for guided reading levels A to Z 

 

Universal Lesson Plan Template

I have created a blank template group lesson plans that I'll be using in my guided reading. I make multiple copies and keep them in my binder for easy access. 

guided reading universal lesson plan template

Click on the image above to download my universal lesson plan. 

 

Once everything is organized, the teaching can begin! What are your best tips for organizing your guided reading materials? Please share in the comment section below. ~Genia

 

 

Comments (49)

This is so helpful! Finally found some practical (and cute) ideas for organization of guided reading! Thanks!!

Thanks so much for sharing your resources and ideas!

Thanks so much for sharing your resources and ideas!

Thanks so much for sharing your resources and ideas!

Wow amazing ideas. I just returned to Year 5 after a gap of 2 years and was struggling to arange my guided reading classes. This is like a blessing in disguise. I really like the idea of the dish rack.Thanks for sharing.

Thank you very much for sharing your wonderful ideas. I love listening to other teachers and making their successes part of my routine.

I LOVE the stationary on the binder and place holders! Where do you get these from? My school is moving toward this next year and I would like to have each segment with different stationary.

Wow! What a lifesaver! Thank you so much! Why didn't the university teach us this part of teaching?! Maybe the rest of my classroom might not look organize but my guided reading table will ;)
Anyway, God Bless You and know the Lord will continue to pour out His blessing upon you!
You have made a lot of teacher successful do to your wisdom.

Marcia

Thanks so much for making these resources available. I cannot seem to get the tall leveled reader placeholders to print any letters but K and L. Are the other letters available?

Hi Katie,
I made the labels customizable in a Word document so you can change the letters and the font to whatever suits your needs. When I printed mine, I printed K and L, then typed in an M and N and printed those and so on. Thanks so much for reading! Genia

Hello,

You are an incredible teacher. I truly appreciate you taking the time to share what you have done with your class. In your video, you mentioned that you have a universal lesson plan for fiction and non fiction books.

The one you posted is it for fiction or non fiction? As I am only able to find 1 universal lesson plan. Could you kindly tell me where I could find the other one. Also, once you fill the universal plan for every group, where do you usually put these paper, in your binder by level?

Nadine

Hi Nadine,

Thanks so much for reading and commenting! If you check out my post from May 2, 2013, "Investigating Nonfiction Part 3: Independent and Guided Reading," you'll find the non-fiction lesson plan there. (You can navigate using the scroll numbers at the bottom of my home page.) Hope that helps! ~Genia

Hi Genia,

Thank you so much for replying so soon, I did find them. I have one more question, once you fill up your universal lesson plan do you put them in your guided reading binder and divide them by groups?

Nadine

Hi Genia,

Thank you so very much!!! I appreciate your quick response Thanks for sharing!

Hi Genia,

As I was navigating the web searching for guided reading, I came across your hard work. I just want to thank you for posting such helpful tools. Thanks for sharing!!!! I was just wondering, I see that you mentioned there is a non-fiction guided plan template. By any chance, is it possible for me to download or if you can forward it to me? Thank you in advance!!

Carmela

Hi Carmela,

If you check out my post from May 2, 2013, "Investigating Nonfiction Part 3: Independent and Guided Reading," you'll find the non-fiction lesson plan there. (You can navigate using the scroll numbers at the bottom of my home page.) Hope that helps! ~Genia

Hi,

This is such a great video. Thank you for the helpful resources! Are you willing to share a copy of the Non-Fiction lesson plan template? Also, I just started using Journeys this year. I noticed that this was the same program you are using. I teach 4th grade. The materials are great, but I have students that are below a level O and I find most of the levels are on or well above the 4th grade benchmark. Do you follow the books that go with each lesson or do you use the level to guide your instruction? I would love to chat with you about Journeys. I have had no training, so I am figuring it out as I go! Thanks so much for your sharing and support!

:-)

Hi,
This is such a great video. Thank you for the helpful resources! Are you willing to share a copy of the Non-Fiction lesson plan template? Also, I just started using Journeys this year. I noticed that this was the same program you are using. I teach 4th grade. The materials are great, but I have students that are below a level O and I find most of the levels are on or well above the 4th grade benchmark. Do you follow the books that go with each lesson or do you use the level to guide your instruction? I would love to chat with you about Journeys. I have had no training, so I am figuring it out as I go! Thanks so much for your sharing and support!
:-)

Hi Tara,

If you check out my post from May 2, 2013, "Investigating Nonfiction Part 3: Independent and Guided Reading," you'll find the non-fiction lesson plan there. (You can navigate using the scroll numbers at the bottom of my home page.) Hope that helps! ~Genia

Genia,
Thank you for sharing such wonderful ideas!! I am a fourth grade teacher and work in guided reading groups daily. I am eager to use the Guided Reading Lesson Plan. Quick question, with the shift to Common Core, do you use the same template for both fiction and non-fiction focus?

Hi Amy,

Thanks for reading and commenting! I have another lesson plan template that I use with non-fiction. It is very similar but relies more on text features and strategies more commonly used with informational reading. Take care,~G.

Thank you!!!

Hi! I see that the text level indicator sheets were adapted from Fountus and Pinnell... is that a book that you pulled them from? My school uses F & P and I'd love to have those guides as a resource!!

Thanks!

Hi Brittany,

The indicator sheets are bullet points from information found in the book Continuum of Literacy Learning that came in our assessment kits. It's kind of like our "bible" of reading instruction. Thanks for reading! Genia

Fabulous! Love the dish rack idea! Never too old to pick up new ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Christine,

I'm always on the prowl for new ideas too. That's what keeps us from becoming "old" teachers! Thanks for reading! G

Thanks so much for sharing!!!

This is great! As a beginning teacher I am always looking for ideas to make life easier! Awesome- It's sites and teachers like you whose ideas and sharing of these ideas inspire us newbies :)
Thanks!! Toni

Hi Toni,

Thanks so much for your kind words. Happy these tips could help make your life easier. I am always on the lookout for ways to simplify my life. New teachers like yourself are an inspiration to us too! Take care, Genia

I can't wait to get started using this simple, yet efficient, organizing tool. I don't use Guided Reading, but have differentiated groups that I meet with at the kidney table. Thanks for sharing!

Hi Jill,

So glad you'll be able to use some of these ideas with your groups. Thanks for reading and commenting! Genia

I love all of the ideas. Thank you for sharing:)

How many groups do you have and how many times do you meet with them per week? I usually have 5-6 groups but can't seem to meet with them more than once a week, having reading groups 4 times a week. Any suggestions?

Thanks Genia,

I am a new teacher and have not started teaching, but I will definitely use these excellent ideas in my classroom. Thanks so much for the free downloads they are awesome!!!

You are so wonderful to share all of this information. Seriously, thank you so very much!

All terrific ideas! The folders can keep everything within arms reach and shows your notes at a glance. Do you have the template for the Nonfiction guided reading lesson plan available?

Thank you so much Genia for sharing your wonderful ideas and guided reading lesson template! I am just starting the Daily 5 program in my classroom (for the first time). This helps me out so much for organization when I meet the small groups!

Hi Sarah,

Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I'm so happy to hear that you'll be trying some of these ideas. I actually created my first guided reading lesson plan template to help me out while using the Daily Five. Take care, Genia

Genius ideas!!! Thanks for the easy way for me to use your suggestions in my classroom today!!!

Thanks so much for reading and your comment, Sharon! I have to agree that my favorite ideas are always the ones I can do TODAY! Take care, Genia

Thanks so much for your helpful hints. The free downloadables are so fun and inviting! Just what I need to help me get a system down...:)

This is exactly what I need to get myself organized! Thank you for all the free downloads as well. I love how the folders are organized, and the students can move from folder to folder! Perfect for our evaluation system!!!

Thanks so much for your comments! I'm so happy the ideas and downloads can help you out. Once I started moving the students through the folders a couple years ago, I couldn't figure out how I didn't think of it earlier! Take care, Genia

Thank you so much for sharing. I especially like your file with the text level indicators.

Hi Donna,

Thanks for commenting. I'm so happy to share what I have if it helps other teachers save time. The text level indicators in my folders really help me focus as I meet with my groups. Take care, Genia

The folder idea--how clever is that! Instead of trying to do each child in a folder the students progress through folders! I am going to share this post with all of my colleagues.
Thanks Genia.

Thanks for reading and commenting! The folders really do help with my groups--so easy to manage and know exactly what each group needs to focus on. Take care, Genia

I LOVE the dishrack! what a smart idea!

Thanks, Dean! My sister saw my post last week and called me to tell me she agreed with Dean! She went out and bought a dish rack for her desk at work--and she's not a teacher! Take care and thanks for commenting, Genia

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