Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
October 2, 2018

Guided Reading 101: 9 Hot Tips, 4 Great Guides, and 1 Awesome Book List

By Scholastic Editors
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Teachers know first-hand the benefits of guided reading. Students learn at different paces and absorb information in different manners. Organizing similar learners together in small groups allows teachers to use specific just-right strategies helping each student advance at optimum levels. The trouble is carving out the time and here is where those teacher tricks need to come out of the bag!

    Read on for some of our favorite time-saving tips to guide you through your best year for guided reading groups.

    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

    "Guided Reading Organization Made Easy"

    My Favorite Leveled Books

    I love Guided Science Readers! They are a big collection of high interest leveled readers that fit perfectly into my guided reading and leveled library. They are nonfiction which aligns perfectly with the Common Core State Standards and kids love reading about animals. There is an instant text-to-world connection and they are highly sought after as a result. 

    "Guided Reading: Part 2, Benefits of Small Group Instruction"

    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

    "Guided Reading Organization Made Easy"

    Materials

    Have these tools handy during guiding reading instruction:

    • Highlighters — Students use highlighters to highlight sight words and other key vocabulary words.
    • Pointers — Pointers help students track print throughout the text.
    • Dry Erase Boards and Markers — Students draw and write responses to various questions during guided reading lessons.
    • Whisper Phones — I have my students practice reading the text to themselves using whisper phones as I work with other students in the group. They love it!
    • Magnetic Letters and Board — Students use magnetic boards to spell sight words and do phonemic awareness activities. 

    "Guided Reading Tips and Strategies"

    Student Placement Placemat

    Once I have about two-thirds of my students assessed, I begin placing them on the placemat below. This allows me to get an idea of how my groups are shaping up and at what levels my 4–5 groups will be taught. I try to get my lowest leveled groups started first while I finish assessing the remainder of my students. 

    All-in-One Guided Reading Toolkit

    "All-in-One Guided Reading Tool Kit"

    For the Littlest Learners...

    During guided reading, Miss Bindergarten becomes the "guide dog" who sits with the groups and lets students read and think with her. This puts students more at ease. During the first lesson, I say, "Miss Bindergarten and I are going to help you learn to read. We are going to have so much fun learning letters, sounds, and words!"

    GuideDog01

    "Guidelines and a Guide Dog for Guided Reading"

     

    Before Getting Started: Level Your Classroom Library

    For years, I have used Scholastic Book Wizard to level my books, but when Scholastic came out with the free Book Wizard mobile app, it was a total game changer for me! Instead of having to sit at my desk entering in titles, now I can walk around my classroom and scan each barcode with my phone.

    "Guided Reading: Part 1, Getting Set Up"

    Starting Your Groups

    • MOST IMPORTANT TIP! Do not wait to start your guided reading groups until everyone is tested.

    • When you have finished assessing the lowest 30 percent of your students, begin meeting with them in guided reading groups. Remember, your lowest students need you the most and they need you as early as possible.

    • Assess your remaining students over the next few weeks and start meeting with additional groups.

    Guided reading group

    "Tips for Getting Your Guided Reading Groups Started Quickly"

     

    5 Principals to Follow

    Using these guiding principals from literacy consultant Jan Richardson's video series, Next Step Guided Reading in Action: Grades 3 & Up, I've learned how to streamline my guided reading lessons so I'm able to meet with more groups more often.

    I stopped overplanning.

    It just wasn't possible for me to meet with each group three to four times a week and still conference with individual students. Now I meet with each group twice a week and check in with my two lowest groups a third time.

    I set a time limit.

    The length of my lessons was my biggest downfall. Now I break each guided reading lesson into two parts that last no more than 15–20 minutes. Less time with me means more time for them to practice their actual reading!

    I focus on only 1–2 teaching points per lesson.

    In the past I would let those teachable moments I hadn't planned for to take over. By staying focused on one to two points, my student leave the table with a much better idea of what they should be focusing on while they read.

    I double-dip.

    While students silently read the book, I listen in on one student at a time. I compliment him on something he did well and model a reading behavior that I then ask the student to repeat. This a double-dip because the other students reading at the table are also hearing and assimilating what I am saying.

    I use close reading strategies.

    I used to discuss the stories in-depth with students and then have them write out and share answers to comprehension question. Now, I use close reading strategies to focus and gather evidence of understanding from one small part of the text.  

    "Make Guided Reading Manageable"

     

    Your Guides to Guided Reading

    The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading

    Guided Reading in Action

    Guided Reading: Making it Work

    Guided Reading in Grades 3–6

        

    Books to Stock in Your Guided Reading Bins

    Check out these super comprehensive guided reading book lists that give you a wide variety of titles from reading levels A to Z!

    Teachers know first-hand the benefits of guided reading. Students learn at different paces and absorb information in different manners. Organizing similar learners together in small groups allows teachers to use specific just-right strategies helping each student advance at optimum levels. The trouble is carving out the time and here is where those teacher tricks need to come out of the bag!

    Read on for some of our favorite time-saving tips to guide you through your best year for guided reading groups.

    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

    "Guided Reading Organization Made Easy"

    My Favorite Leveled Books

    I love Guided Science Readers! They are a big collection of high interest leveled readers that fit perfectly into my guided reading and leveled library. They are nonfiction which aligns perfectly with the Common Core State Standards and kids love reading about animals. There is an instant text-to-world connection and they are highly sought after as a result. 

    "Guided Reading: Part 2, Benefits of Small Group Instruction"

    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

    "Guided Reading Organization Made Easy"

    Materials

    Have these tools handy during guiding reading instruction:

    • Highlighters — Students use highlighters to highlight sight words and other key vocabulary words.
    • Pointers — Pointers help students track print throughout the text.
    • Dry Erase Boards and Markers — Students draw and write responses to various questions during guided reading lessons.
    • Whisper Phones — I have my students practice reading the text to themselves using whisper phones as I work with other students in the group. They love it!
    • Magnetic Letters and Board — Students use magnetic boards to spell sight words and do phonemic awareness activities. 

    "Guided Reading Tips and Strategies"

    Student Placement Placemat

    Once I have about two-thirds of my students assessed, I begin placing them on the placemat below. This allows me to get an idea of how my groups are shaping up and at what levels my 4–5 groups will be taught. I try to get my lowest leveled groups started first while I finish assessing the remainder of my students. 

    All-in-One Guided Reading Toolkit

    "All-in-One Guided Reading Tool Kit"

    For the Littlest Learners...

    During guided reading, Miss Bindergarten becomes the "guide dog" who sits with the groups and lets students read and think with her. This puts students more at ease. During the first lesson, I say, "Miss Bindergarten and I are going to help you learn to read. We are going to have so much fun learning letters, sounds, and words!"

    GuideDog01

    "Guidelines and a Guide Dog for Guided Reading"

     

    Before Getting Started: Level Your Classroom Library

    For years, I have used Scholastic Book Wizard to level my books, but when Scholastic came out with the free Book Wizard mobile app, it was a total game changer for me! Instead of having to sit at my desk entering in titles, now I can walk around my classroom and scan each barcode with my phone.

    "Guided Reading: Part 1, Getting Set Up"

    Starting Your Groups

    • MOST IMPORTANT TIP! Do not wait to start your guided reading groups until everyone is tested.

    • When you have finished assessing the lowest 30 percent of your students, begin meeting with them in guided reading groups. Remember, your lowest students need you the most and they need you as early as possible.

    • Assess your remaining students over the next few weeks and start meeting with additional groups.

    Guided reading group

    "Tips for Getting Your Guided Reading Groups Started Quickly"

     

    5 Principals to Follow

    Using these guiding principals from literacy consultant Jan Richardson's video series, Next Step Guided Reading in Action: Grades 3 & Up, I've learned how to streamline my guided reading lessons so I'm able to meet with more groups more often.

    I stopped overplanning.

    It just wasn't possible for me to meet with each group three to four times a week and still conference with individual students. Now I meet with each group twice a week and check in with my two lowest groups a third time.

    I set a time limit.

    The length of my lessons was my biggest downfall. Now I break each guided reading lesson into two parts that last no more than 15–20 minutes. Less time with me means more time for them to practice their actual reading!

    I focus on only 1–2 teaching points per lesson.

    In the past I would let those teachable moments I hadn't planned for to take over. By staying focused on one to two points, my student leave the table with a much better idea of what they should be focusing on while they read.

    I double-dip.

    While students silently read the book, I listen in on one student at a time. I compliment him on something he did well and model a reading behavior that I then ask the student to repeat. This a double-dip because the other students reading at the table are also hearing and assimilating what I am saying.

    I use close reading strategies.

    I used to discuss the stories in-depth with students and then have them write out and share answers to comprehension question. Now, I use close reading strategies to focus and gather evidence of understanding from one small part of the text.  

    "Make Guided Reading Manageable"

     

    Your Guides to Guided Reading

    The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading

    Guided Reading in Action

    Guided Reading: Making it Work

    Guided Reading in Grades 3–6

        

    Books to Stock in Your Guided Reading Bins

    Check out these super comprehensive guided reading book lists that give you a wide variety of titles from reading levels A to Z!

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Scholastic's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
Best of Blogs: Great Book Lists

Pick a grade, pick a topic, and indulge in this hand-picked collection of favorite books lists.

By Scholastic Editors
December 24, 2015
Blog Post
Best of Blogs: Classroom Management
Check out these sixteen takes on managing your classroom from time-saving transitions to capturing your students' hearts.
By Scholastic Editors
July 7, 2015
Blog Post
Best of Blogs: Teaching With Technology
Check out our collection of blog posts on using technology in the classroom. These include integrating eReaders and iPads, great Internet resources, tips on accessing videos, and more!
By Scholastic Editors
June 12, 2015

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us