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Readers are Leaders…in Guided Reading Groups

I started something new this year to take a step back during my guided reading groups. I wanted my readers to take charge of the group, instead of me always leading them along. And let me tell you…it has been wonderful!

I began a “Reading Leader of the Week” format. Each week one little reader is our leader. I wanted my readers to realize the importance of reading (readers are leaders!) and to take more ownership of their guided reading time. I realized I was always doing the talking when doing a picture walk, strategy suggestions, comprehension questions, etc and decided to change that. 
The reader leader is in charge of running our group- he/she gets materials for the group, leads the picture walk (while sitting in my chair which is just so special to a little kid in it of itself!), provides a strategy suggestion to use when reading difficult words and asks comprehension questions.
I use this little bucket full of random things that were in my classroom for Our Reading Strategies. I believe most of the items are from Oriental Trading Company. After leading the picture walk, the reading leader chooses one thing from the bucket and shares how to use that strategy. This is probably the most exciting part of being the reading leader because really those little toys are just fun! 

Here’s a closer look at our reading strategies we’ve been focusing on in the groups. I will change this doc throughout the year as we progress to using other strategies. The reading leader and the other kids in the group absolutely LOVE getting to share a different suggested strategy each day!


On the whiteboard behind our guided reading table, I have two charts hanging up. One explains what a reading leader does. At the beginning of each week we review as a group what the reading leader will be doing. The second chart has each of my students’ names from each group so the students all know the rotation and know when it is their week. Oh boy do ALL my little readers get SO excited when they know their week is coming up. It is so cute!


I also have my reading leader asking questions about the text. Some of my reading leaders do not need my help at all. Others I guide them to meaningful questions through question stems, student made word question cards or simply reading questions to ask. I also include answer stems so that the readers answering the question are using good vocabulary and common language. By including the question stems, I ensure that my reading leader is asking higher order thinking questions. I highly recommend letting your readers take over- you’d be surprised just how good your friends are at asking questions- no matter their ability level!

If the Reading Strategies poster, What do Reading Leaders Do? poster and the group chart are something you can use, please download this freebie (or click the image below)! All you need to do is write in the names of the students in your group (it is not editable). Enjoy!
You can also take a closer look at my explanation of how I do this all in this short video!
Have a great day!


Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

4 Responses

  1. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing. On the question cards that are on the ring, are those questions stemmed from standards, or are they ones that you have created? Also do you have those questions available somewhere to purchase?. I would love to see them all. I love this idea, and would like to incorporate it into my classroom, but being new to it, might need a little more guidance with the question/answer stems. Thanks.

  2. Hi Annalouise,
    I'm so glad you want to try this out too- trust me it will be worth it for you and your little readers! The question cards are from my Guided Reading Response Pack. The pack includes 28 question cards for fiction & non fiction at 3 different levels- within the text, beyond the text and about the text. The questions have really helped me make sure I (or my reading leader) are asking all sorts of different levels of questions to really get everyone thinking. There is one page that I use as a reference page including all the questions and then each question on a card for the rings. The pack also includes 21 graphic organizers to take those questions further in a written/drawing response. A reference page of reading strategies to apply to difficult words are also included in the pack. Hope that helps! (you can copy and paste the link below)


    Let me know if you have any other questions!
    Aylin 🙂

  3. Hi Teshay,
    Are you talking about the reading strategies poster for 4th graders? I usually start out the year introducing/reviewing all these strategies with any grade level group I see. Once they no longer need these specific reminders, I have the reading leader come up with a strategy to share with the group without referring to the bucket/poster. My 3rd and 4th graders generally don't need the strategy bucket after a few weeks into the school year!
    Aylin 🙂

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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