Guided Reading In First

     Guided reading is huge in the younger grades. I remember being terrified of it when I first started teaching.   I didn't want to make a mistake. Over the years I have definitely modified what I do in my groups and how I go about it. In this post I will explain what I do in my guided reading groups.
     To begin, I, like so many other teachers, use the Daily 5 in my classroom. It's absolutely the best thing I have ever tried in terms of literacy. For anyone who is not familiar with the D5, I highly suggest you look into it. As a brief on the D5, it essentially includes read to self, read to a partner, word work, work on writing, and listening to reading (a listening center). The D5 does not dictate what you teach, but sets up important routines to help you teach during literacy time. You teach a mini-lesson, then go into a D5 rotation. Many teachers have to modify based on available time in their class, and whether or not they have a listening center. I actually call it Daily 3 in my class. I don't have a listening center, and we do writing together, therefore I do three mini-lessons and three daily 5 rotations. Other teachers have modified in different ways to fit their needs.
     While my kids are working on a Daily 5 activity, I have a handful of students in the back working with me (no more than 6 students). We begin by "warming up our brains" with a book they read the day before. I have them whisper read it. Then we go on to some sort of practice on words. This could be sound isolation, reconstructing a sentence, writing sentences, or working on letters and sounds. This would depend on which group I am with and what their need is. After working on words or letters and sounds, we go into our new read for the day. This ensures that each day they are reading something new. We do a walk-through of the book where we make predictions, and I point out any unfamiliar words. We will normally echo read or choral read our new book, then discuss it. This is where we might underline word families we are working on. Afterwards I have them whisper read the book. To conclude, we go back and focus on the unfamiliar words in the story. I have them take a crayon and underline the word then color the corresponding word in the picture. This helps them to focus on the meaning and help them to remember it better. All of this takes about 25-30 minutes.
     I hope some of you might find this useful. I am also curious to find out what the rest of you do in your own small groups. If you don't mind, please share your own small group strategies and ideas.


  1. Here for guided reading we have books banded by difficulty so we start with the easiest ones. THe idea is getting them used to the idea of reading as lots of children will never have read before or been read to, and to follow the text from L-R in English and to look at some HF words.

    Usually I work with 2 children and give each a copy of the book. I read to them and they follow along in their own book. Before we start I identify the common HF word that happens throughout the text and we find it on some of the pages. They tend to start joining in as it is often a repetitive text. Then they go through the book reading a page each, with me giving support as needed.

    Finally we talk about the story and I ask them to find the HF word we looked at and a particular word that they can find by identifying the initial sound and ask them how they did it so they are beginning to understand their own strategies in decoding texts. Obviously as they become more confident and develop their reading skills I step back a bit and expect them to do more, and give more support to those children who need it. As the books are banded by ability children read different books each week and are moved on when they are ready and particularly able children will move through the bands quite quickly, whereas children working at a lower level will progress more slowly. It really seems to support our kids as they develop as readers. This is also partnered with daily phonics teaching, phonics reading books sent home, story books sent home, work on HF words and access to books, magazines and other literature all day.


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