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Helpful Tips for Teaching a Guided Reading Lesson in 5th Grade

As you get you into the groove with your small groups, I wanted to provide you with helpful tips for teaching a Guided Reading lesson in 5th Grade. As classroom teachers, you have a lot on your plate but not all that much time to actually plan for things like a small group of students that you’re supposed to meet with regularly. During your reading block you most likely have time built in for a reading centers that your 5th graders can participate in while you are meeting with small guided reading groups. However, planning for those small guided reading groups can be a lot. If you’re overwhelmed with planning and prepping for each guided reading group, I’m here to help. Check out my helpful tips for teaching a Guided Reading lesson in 5th Grade!

How to Teach a Guided Reading Lesson in 5th Grade

By this point of elementary school, students are most likely able to decode many phonics patterns in multiple syllable words. Similar to 3rd Grade and 4th Grade, you can have your fifth graders focus on improving their ability of reading grade level appropriate texts, with an additional major focus on comprehension. In upper elementary your literacy instruction has typically have moved from learning to read, to reading to learn. Your reading lessons may have a heavier focus on responding to reading vs actually figuring out how to read. In most all subject areas you’re teaching, you’re likely focusing on comprehension questions, on repeat. So, it’s beneficial to spend a good deal of time each day focusing on comprehension. This includes time spent in small guided reading groups. 

It’s important to recognize the teacher’s role in the guided reading process. You are truly there to guide students through any difficulties as they’re trying to read and respond to their guided reading text. The goal is to move students all to grade level appropriate texts, but of course, this takes time and is not quick for many students. When you focus on the needs of your students in your guided reading lesson, you’ll start to see students applying different techniques as they make their way through each text. The teacher supports and encourages her readers during each guided reading lesson. As students make gains and progress in the guided reading group, you can move them on to a new group or switch the focus of a group. If you’re unsure where to start with your small guided reading group, I have laid everything out for you in my Guided Reading Passages packs

Each of my Guided Reading Passages comes with its own specific Guided Reading Lesson for you to follow. Each guided reading lesson plan includes a before reading, during reading, and after reading section. So, let’s take a closer look at a Guided Reading lesson in 5th Grade that is provided in my Guided Reading Passages resources.

Guided Reading Lesson in 5th Grade

  1. You will use the lesson plan to guide your instruction. 
  2. Before Reading Section- Students will complete word work activities first. This prepares them for words that will be seen within their text.
  3. During Reading Section- Students will then read the text. You will guide students with strategy suggestions, when needed.
  4. After Reading Section- Students will complete the written comprehension questions. You will discuss the leveled reading passage, as a group.You can also include other comprehension activivites such as verbal discussions, using sticky notes, anchor chart paper, graphic organizers, etc. Keeping different options in the rotation makes students more invested in the process of reading to learn.
  5. As a follow up, students will sit with you one-on-one for a running record. You will keep students on a rotation, so that you have a running record score for all of them every few weeks. This is your informal formative assessment that allows you to determine if students are in the right reading group, or ready to move on. This can also be done during the first minute or two of a guided reading lesson in 5th Grade- if you have warm up reading time!

Once you get the general breakdown of your guided reading group set, you’ll feel more confident in each group as the year continues. You’ll be able to make the most of every minute with your guided reading lesson!

Using Guided Reading Passages in 5th Grade

Guided Reading passages are a great way to have something always ready to use with your students. Some teachers like to alternate between short passages and longer chapter books. It gives students a break and keeps them more engaged. Often you’ll have days where you don’t have time for an extensive Guided Reading group. That’s where using guided reading passages can be extra helpful, especially since you don’t need to prep a whole lot. You simply need copies of the passages for each group! 

My Guided Reading Passages Bundle for 5th Grade is a complete guided reading program for you to use with your students! Everything you need is provided, so you can simply focus on helping each reader make progress! You may also consider my even larger bundle which includes Guided Reading Passages for Levels N-Z. This bundle has you covered for students below level and above level. 

These Guided Reading Passages packs allow students to practice reading passages at their instructional level and complete comprehension questions to show their understanding of the texts. The lesson plans, leveled reading passages, and comprehension questions are perfect for 15-20 minute small guided reading group lessons. You’ll always feel prepped and ready to go for each small guided reading group. You’ll also be able to cover a lot of standards for both literature and informational texts, since both types of passages are included. 

Using different texts (like fiction and nonfiction) is so beneficial to fifth grade students as they continue to expand their vocabulary and knowledge in different content areas. It’s so important for fifth grade students to not only to be able to read a variety of text genres and respond to their reading, but it’s also important that they respond in different ways. As mentioned above, you may be using sticky notes, or anchor chart paper, in addition to notebooks, graphic organizers, and simple written comprehension questions to get students to show what they have learned. You have the opportunity to be creative in how you have students respond to the comprehension questions!

Guided Reading Lesson in 5th Grade Freebie

To get an idea of how these passages would work in your classroom, I’m happy to share some free samples with you. This way you can test these out, or at least check them out to see if they’re what you need for your fifth graders. Grab my free Guided Reading Level N-Z passages and more! 

3 Ways to Use Guided Reading Passages in 5th Grade:

  1. Small reading groups 

  2. Literacy centers (independent reading)

  3. Send home for extra practice

You may be looking for more opportunities to get students to practice reading and responding on their own. My Guided Reading Passages can be used in more than just small reading groups. But let’s look at each setting, separately!

  • Small reading groups are the most ideal time to focus on individual readers and to help guide students to be better word readers, as well as better at responding to comprehension questions. In each guided reading lesson in 5th Grade, students should be reading at their instructional level. This gives them an opportunity to improve their reading and responding without being overly challenging. Since it is a very short time frame, it’s important to be focused every single minute students are in the small reading groups with you. Having a planned and prepped guided reading lesson right in front of you is so helpful to make the most of this time! 
  • 5th Grade literacy centers are a great place for students to take what they’ve learned in a guided reading group and apply it to their own work. This might look like novel studies, independent reading and responding to text, or group activities focused on work work development, for example. Having reading passages to use at their independent reading level helps students focus on reading to learn because their brain won’t be so focused on trying to figure out individual words. Since you aren’t able to walk around during reading centers because you’re with a guided reading group, you want to feel confident in what students are working on. These Guided Reading passages can give you that confidence!
  • Parents are often looking for something to use with their own children at home for additional reading practice. Sending these guided reading passages home is a great way to have material at a student’s independent reading level. Students already feel comfortable with the format of each passage and follow up comprehension questions. Parents can easily assist if needed, but also can feel good knowing their child is practicing reading independently. 

More helpful tips for teaching reading in 5th Grade

reading fluency passages for 5th grade

As you’re thinking more about your Guided Reading lessons in 5th Grade, I have a few more blog posts to share with you. These also provide more helpful tips for teaching reading in 5th Grade!

Guided Reading at the Higher Levels 

Fluency in 5th Grade 

Phonics in Upper Elementary 

Upper Elementary Literacy Activities

Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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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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