Guided reading is an essential practice for all elementary reading teachers. There is an abundance of information out there about best practices in guided reading, and yet it still feels so overwhelming sometimes! Today, I have narrowed down the most helpful tools to have on hand for your guided reading instruction this year!
Student Guided Reading Toolkits
I love having student toolkits on-hand for guided reading groups. You can fill these toolkits with all of the things that students need to successfully read texts. Kits may include highlighters, crayons, fun pointers, erasers, etc. Any tool that your students find engaging, and help them stay focused on the text is a winner! Plus, creating these toolkits makes it easy to keep everything in one place, so you aren’t scrambling for materials for each group. You can grab these labels for free HERE.
Tools for Group Management
Create group norms and expectations early in the year, and refer to them often. Within those group norms, it is helpful to give younger students a physical symbol of when it’s time to focus on reading and shut out distraction. I like to use fun glasses for this! When the reading glasses are on, it’s time to read. When other students in the room see the glasses come out, they should not interrupt the group unless it’s an emergency. It sounds silly, but the physical act of putting glasses on can be very helpful for more distractible students!
Word Work + Phonics work Materials
Part of a well-rounded guided reading lesson is focusing in on the letters, words, or patterns that you want them to notice in the text. Having a set of alphabet cards, high frequency words, etc. makes it easy to grab and drill before digging into a text.
Guided Reading Teaching materials
For each group you plan to teach, the plans will shift based on their needs. I recommend having your plans done for each group prior to teaching. Then, gather the materials you need for each lesson and keep them grouped together. Student journals, observational notes, etc. can all be kept in one box per group so you can simply grab the box and start teaching!
Additionally, jot down any notes from your main lesson plan that you want to point out in the text and stick it on the front cover of your own copy of the book. This will help prompt you as you’re teaching to point out complex vocabulary or specific patterns as you read with the students.
Using these teaching tools, your guided reading time will be more organized, and a little less overwhelming! Happy teaching, everyone!