Saturday, September 27, 2014

Guided Reading Routines

Hi, Friends! How are ya? Ready for the weekend? Me? Oh, yeaauuuuh! It’s been a doozy of a week! The highlight? I finally got to do my favorite thing on the planet! ….work with my kids on reading! TO TEACH! The beginning of the year comes with so many “must do’s” it’s almost as if the actual teaching gets put on the back burner. Welllll, being the type of gal that prefers teaching over assessing any day…..actually getting seated at the guided reading table with a group of kids was an absolute blast!

After introducing our last area for Daily 5, it was time to dig in to the meat of why we spent the 1st 20 days building stamina to work independently.


Last week, I promised to share a little more about our guided reading routines.  As we’re starting to build them….here’s a little peek into our 1st week!


Our guided reading block is a solid 2 hours. Every precious minute of it is jammed packed with mini-lessons and small group activities. The wonderful thing about our schedule is having extended instructional blocks. Our daily literacy block basically flows like this……Guided Reading, then Mini-Lesson, Guided Reading, then Mini-Lesson and Guided Reading, then mini-lesson followed by independent work (if time allows). In the past I had begun with a mini-lesson…..

I chose to start with small group instead of a mini-lesson because our literacy block falls just after intervention. By doing this, I make sure not to do any new teaching of concepts before my littles who may have been pulled out return to the classroom.


Each round begins with students “checking in”. This year, I added “teacher table” clipart to the check-in for the group that is rotating to the table to check in first.


The first thing we do is review sight words.


Students practice writing on a laminated sheet of paper. A whiteboard could be easily used instead. I chose to go this route because taking whiteboards in and out was a little too big and bulky for me. Last year, I used contact paper to adhere them to the table. This year, students and I are sharing the space at the table, so I’ve left them free standing. You can click HERE to grab them, if you think you’d like to use them.

After reviewing 3 sight words, students are introduced to their book for the week or begin rereading their book with prompting. The goal of this time is active processing. I want to see my students encounter challenges and observe them as they problem solve to decode words. It’s during this time that I take individual running records and make notes of student reading behaviors. It generally takes about 8 minutes or so.

After reading, we go over a quick discussion prompt that explores a comprehension strategy.

Then, one new sight word is taught. We go through the 4 activities below in order to learn this sight word. Each student has a little bin in front of them that houses magnetic letters to build the new sight word, pencils, a highlighter, expo marker and an eraser.


Finally, we complete one of two activities. Early in the week, guided reading lessons conclude with word study. At our school, we use Wilson Fundations. It’s at this time, that we work to learn phonics patterns. During visits to the guided reading table later in the week, we complete guided writing or reading responses to deepen comprehension.


My file cabinet sits just behind the table. On word study days, we use these cards for word building. On guided writing days, I provide an example of the graphic organizer students will complete on a small whiteboard. Because it is not used daily, I’ve attached it to file cabinet with velcro. Sticks when we need it….pulls free when we don’t! =)


Guided writing notebooks are kept on a shelf close to the guided reading table. The label on the front of each bin indicates the name of the group…blue, purple, green or red. The symbols also correlate to the leveled readers from our series that we use for guided reading. We’ll use these journals throughout the year to complete guided writing, reading responses, and graphic organizers. They do not leave the classroom.


Here’s an example of the graphic organizer we completed this week over sequence of events. The picture shows 3 out of my 4 reading groups. Same concept…differentiated. The first group responded by recording complete sentences from the story in the order of how they happened in the story. The second group, copied the time order words and illustrated what happened first, next and last. The final group, framed the verbs from their story’s pages and labeled each sticky note with an action from the story. That’s it! The End…ish.=)

Each rotation to the table lasts about 18 minutes…..jam packed from start to finish!


This is the little bin I keep close at hand during guided reading. For now, it houses little pointers, magnifying glasses, pencils, bloom’s questions, LOTS of sticky notes, stickers, coding dots, pictures for vowel sorts and letter formation cards. Other things may be added as the year progresses.

What are my OTHER kids doing while I’m at the table with a small group?


They’re checked into Daily 5. They’re moving through routines for read to self, read to someone, listen to reading, work on writing, or word work to grow as readers and writers.


Of the 5 areas that students work on, I only have to prep materials for two of them. The first one of them is work on writing. There is one sterilite drawer at the writing table. In each of the 3 drawers is an activity to write on a given topic, focus on words, or build sentences. Each activity is complete with an I CAN statement to foster reading independence and a quick confidence boost!


The 2nd of these areas is word work.


Like writing, each bin houses an I CAN statement. All of the materials that students need to complete an activity are inside the bin. These activities will follow a pattern throughout the year to build students’ independence and familiarity.


How do I motivate students to complete quality work? The simplest, easiest thing that I’ve found to motivate my students is hanging their work up for ALLLLLL to see!


A clip up comes with having your work framed as an example for your friends to follow too!


And how do my students feel about this time of day? Oh, just like I DO! They love it……


Thanks for being patient as it took me a little longer than expected to get this post up! Getting ready for the week ahead? Click the pic below to grab the activities that my firsties will be working on! You can click HERE to check out my lesson plan format.

Happy guided reading, friends!

fun at school

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