Guided Reading Galore!

I've had many questions about guided reading!  Let me start by saying, I'm NO expert. I am still working on it myself! But, I do have some things I've learned that I'd love to share with you...and I'm not taking credit for these ideas. :)  I just blog about em'!

1. Levels/Planning
Once you establish the level of each of your students, you'll want to check out {this} printable. It has helped me SO much!  This printable tells me what I need to work on with each level {I did not create this handout, I just re-typed it!}.

Click {here} for the download

Once you know what your kiddos need, you'll put them in groups. I know you've seen this before on our blog, but this is for our new friends that need ideas. I used velcro so that I can easily move them from level to level and so that I'd have a visual of where my students are.

Here is a guideline from my district on where your students should be throughout the year. Keep in mind that we are in a trimester schedule so it might be different for you.
Click {here} to download

2. Running Records
We are asked to do one running record in each group, each day. It's a little overwhelming and I try my best to get it done, but I'm  I know it's helpful because it let's me know when a students is ready to move a level without doing a formal assessment, but I just like listening to all of my students in the group, not just one.  Uggghhh.... I'm working on it people!

I keep my running records in a guided reading records binder {check that out here}.

Click {here} for the running record form

If you've never done a running record, it's really best to see one in action.  I did find a good site for a general overview of running records {here}.

2. Anecdotal notes
Sometimes you notice things that your students are doing, but you're not doing a running record on them...but you need to remember to address it. I just keep a sheet of address labels on my desk and jot down the problem. Then, I stick it on their tab in the binder on this little printable:
Click {here} to download

3. Planning
In my guided reading packet on TpT, I explain the planning steps of guided reading, but here's a tip that's not in my packet.  When teaching a guided reading group, I always have a word work activity planned.  To organize all of my games and ideas, I've put them all in a binder.  The games are all copied on cardstock and put in a page protector {then they can be stuck in the binder AND they can be used with a dry-erase marker}.  Then, I separate them with tabs so I can easily access them. The tabs are comprehension, word work, vocabulary, fluency, and I think that's it.

4. Mini-lessons
I use my whiteboards or my games from my binder in my lessons just about every day. They are perfect for word work mini-lessons. I just take into account the skill my kiddos need to work and/or what I see in their book for that day.  If the book is called "Star Fish", I might work on the sound of 'ar', or I might work on the digraph 'sh'. OR, I might just see what they need to work on and it might not have anything to do with the book.
Teach Kinder or 1st Grade? 

Teach 3rd Grade?

5. Management
I use the Daily 5. I modify it to make it work for me and my students. It's the best system that is a balance between keeping the kiddos engaged AND having them do meaningful things while I'm working with groups.  Check out their site for more info. Another bonus...after you've set up all of the expectations with your kiddos the first month or so of school...there's really nothing else you have to do with it {I do revisit the expectations every month}.

Schedule Cards:  Stephanie Stewart
Alphabet: Up Front Decor

6. Time
This one I can't really help you on. It's up to you to make time to do guided reading. I know that sometimes it's out of your hands, but it's VERY important you meet with your kiddos everyday {it's required in our district}.  Even when it's during assessment time, I try to at least get in one group that day {my lowest group for sure}.  My district is really big on the "2-a-day" plan. Basically, during assessment time, only test 2 students a day. This is in place of "test all the kids in 3 days and that's it" method I like. I'm not a fan of the "2-a-day", but some of you might be.
I use this printable to help me decide when I'm meeting with each group.  If you have a lot of groups, you won't be able to meet with every group, every day. BUT, it's important that you meet with your below level kiddos EVERY day {even Friday...gaspppp....}.  So, this helps me remember what day I meet with what group {here's an example of what it would look like}:

Click {here} for the download

7. Books
I am so fortunate that I teach in a district that is HUGE on guided reading. We have a giant room full of guided reading books for ALL the levels.  It's basically a library just of guided reading books. It's heavenly. If you are short on books, there are numerous grants out there that can help! Click {here} to find out more. You can also use the books on reading A-Z.

I hope I answered all of your questions. :) For more ideas and to see our previous posts, go {here}.

Any other ideas? Tips?


Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laughinbrunette (Jennifer) said...

This is a great post! I love to see how other teachers coordinate and organize their guided reading!
First Grade Blue SKies

Kim said...

I Really Do Love YOU!!!!! Thanks for all this info that you share. I already have your Guided Reading packet from TPT, so this will just help me plug it all together. Like one of those extension cords with all the plug openings. Ha ha!

A Teacher's Treasure said...

What a great post!!! Thanks for all the great info!

❤ Mor Zrihen from...
A Teacher's Treasure
Teaching Treasures Shop

Kim said...

This is a FABULOUS post! It had some many great ideas all tied together... I just loved reading it.
Your suggestions have really got me thinking...
Now if I could just have a few days off to pull it all together...

Finding JOY in 6th Grade

Holly said...

Love it!!! Thanks for sharing - I would love to download your anecdotal notes page but it's not linked.

Thanks again for SHARING!!!!!!

Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

Lyndsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyndsey said...


Wow! I LOVE these ideas. You are always! I could totally use those anecdotal notes with my students. You're so right about sometimes just needing to write an observation down. Your post has totally inspired me to GET ORGANIZED.

Thanks so much, sunshine!


Sandy said...

What great ideas for organizing GR.

Jennifer said...

Fantastic ideas! I already have your Guided Reading unit from Tpt and I am going to add this to it! I love getting more ideas to organize my guided reading. Thanks for sharing these FABULOUS resources!!!

The First Grade Dream

Primary Junction said...

Thank you for this fantastic post! I love to see what other teachers are doing in their reading block, especially during Guided Reading. I can't thank you enough for the Instructional Level sheet. What a helpful guide!

Primary Junction

Laura said...

You are a girl after my own heart! I LOVE some guided reading! Our school district just changed our promotion level to "i" for first grade. How long are your grading periods? Thanks! Great post!

Peace, Love and First Grade

Kim said...

This is an excellent post. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it all out.

First Grade Facts

Mrs. Ann Greene said...

Thanks for the downloads. I loved many of them and know that I will use them to help me be a better planner/teacher during guided reading.

:) Ann

Ashley said...

Thanks for the downloads and information on how you organize guided reading. I absolutely love finding out how other teachers organize this time of day. As a teacher, this is one of the areas I need to work on! I am off to check out your packet on Guided Reading at Teachers Pay Teachers! Thanks again!


Holly said...

I just couldn't stand it - I just purchased your guided reading stuff from if I needed it, but I couldn't resist!!!!!

Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

Lisa at Stories From Second said...

Thanks so much for sharing! Guided Reading is certainly an area in which I feel I really need to grow in!
Stories From Second

Stacy said...

Once I started blogging I found so many great guided reading games and helpers but I couldn't figure out how to organize it...your binder plan makes perfect sense!!

I always enjoy your blog but I LOVE this post!
2nd Grade Paradise

Kristin said...

This makes me want to cry.
I haven't been "allowed" to do guided reading this year. No Daily 5.
All DIRECT INSTRUCTION. NO GROUPS. If the Curriculum Cops come and see you with a small group, you're hauled off to the Curriculum Institution.
They even took off the Running Record portion of our District Assessments.
Can you say CRAZY?
I am so sad.
A Teeny Tiny Teacher

Amanda said...

This was a great post! I am definitely not the most adept at Guided Reading, but I keep trying to make it work for me with our new program! You'll have to be my mentor!

By the way, thanks for expressing your concern about my goose egg. I am such a klutz. Seriously, it's bad. I got lucky though. It was a minor concussion. If I would have hit myself an inch to the right, on my temple, I could have done serious damage, and luckily I missed the eye! Totally lucky! Anyway, my principal and school nurse sent me packing, and my hubs took me to the ER. They said to watch for complications, but so far, I've had no issues. :) Thank goodness! Have a good night!

Runde's Room said...

So many fantastic ideas and resources! I'm loving that the chart is from K-6 - the parent in me checked where my own little girls fit in ... and it's all good. ;)

Runde's Room

Tricia said...

Wow, what a great post. You are awesome.

Queen with Class

Mrs. Cupcake said...

Great ideas!! I recently attended a workshop on guided reading, and what the presenter told us pretty much matches what you wrote about!!

A Cupcake for the Teacher

Amber Unger said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome! Thank you again for your help! :)

Run Teacher, Run! said...

Great explanations! Thank you! I love guided reading, but am always looking for ways to change it up! Thanks for the inspiration.

Mary Beth
Run Teacher, Run

Jodi said...

What a great resource. I posted earlier in the year about how I organize my small group instruction if you would ever want to check it out. Here is the post:

Fun In First

Miss Trish said...

Love this! As a third year teacher I am always trying to find ways to organize activities for guided reading. I will be downloading your packets in the morning!

Jess said...

Wonderful post! Thank you for helping me refresh my guided reading for our 3rd marking period!
Rambling About Reading

Natalie Kay said...

I LOVE RACHELLE SMITH! Most talented teacher I know!

Lisa said...

This was an amazing post! Thank you so much for all of the ideas and printables :)


Ginger Snaps said...

You have time to meet with 4 groups a day!? My goodness you must be a busy lady!! =)

Christie said...

I LOVE your Being a Guided Reading Wizard packet!!! Thank you so much!
Christie :)
First Grade Fever

Kelly said...

Wow! Thanks so much for these great ideas and resources. I really like your instructional focus/reading level list. Thanks again!


"Kindergarten Kel

Anonymous said...

Wow...great printables! Thank you for sharing!!!

Ms. Thomas said...

Thanks for this! I heart guided reading and all of this is so helpful!

-Ms. Thomas

The First Grade Jungle

Edana said...

This is exactly what I needed!! Your just UH- MAZING!!! Thank- you so much!!

Color Me Kinder

Deana said...

Love the guided reading chart!

Primary Punch

tenth avenue south said...

I love the guided reading chart!!! It is a great reminder/refresher. Our system (in Alabama) is huge on guided reading small groups. We also teach using Daily 5 (LOVE). Thanks for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

A great book: Next Step to Guided Reading. The book has really simplified descriptions of what to teach at each level. It also has lesson plan forms that really have made planning for multiple groups more manageable. I really feel like I am being more systematic with this material to guide me.

MommyFirst said...

I love the levels chart! So quick and easy. Do you know if there is a more specific one for N+? Thanks for your great ideas!

Anne Tussing said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I love your GR chart skills and your idea for showing which kids are in which groups!!

Allison said...

Wow - you're so organized! I'm moving from the classroom to the media center next year as media specialist. We have TONS of guided reading materials (as you mentioned your library does, too)...the way we have them set up right now is NOT working for teachers. How does your media center have them arranged? Ours are in baggies and then several baggies in magazine holders by Fountas and Pinnell levels (we literally have about 18 bookcases -not shelves - that are only guided reading materials). I'd LOVE, love any suggestions you might have - or ideas of what works for your school.

Anonymous said...

Hi, what is a syntactic pattern book? I love that document, just don't understand what that means and couldn't find it on Google :)

Miss Cosby said...

Thank you oh so much. I loved the chart of what to teach for each reading level. I'm starting Daily 5 this year and grouping and timing are some of the things I'm struggling with. Thanks again.

You Might Be a First Grader...

Giggles and Squeals said...

I always feel like I am good with guided reading but it is all in my heart... I know where they are, I do DRA's but I don't keep good notes to show where I am going. So I love this! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

How do you find out what reading level the students are at? I'm a fairly new teacher and my school doesn't incorporate it. Is there a specific test or something?

Kinder Teacher said...

I just received the complete set of Heidi's Songs dvds. Thank you so much for sharing your likes. I love them!

Anonymous said...

This might be an obvious question, but I was wondering what you used as your reading assessment to give you these levels. Guided reading groups is definitely my weakness and I love your ideas. I think I could figure some of it out this way. :)

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natalee said...

LOVE THIS!!!! I am a guided reading crazy lady...!!! Love your blog!!!!Im a new follower..

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Anonymous said...

Do check out the guided reading program from Snap! Learning

Crystal Hagerty said...

Do you have page two of the instructional strategies page that you posted that goes from level a to n

Julia said...

I love the velcro idea! Nice visual!

Anonymous said...

Hi Teacher Rachelle,

Every thing seems organized and presented in a very attractable manner. Thanks for your suggestions and I really think kids would love to learn with this kind of environment. My kids are currently into this reading program from
and everything works perfectly fine. But having this kind of environment like yours would make kids have fun. Please keep on posting. Thanks!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jill McRae said...

Can someone send me the district guided reading level link on this page...? I couldn't open it

Lindsay Opthof said...

What specific grants are out there for schools to apply? Our guided reading was just started this year and we have very little resources, which makes things pretty difficult!

Susan Henderson said...

Hi! Thanks for posting this! How do you determine the kids reading levels? :)

Jamie said...

Thank you for your guided reading resources. I am a first year Kindergarten teacher and I really think these will help me keep track of student progress! :)

Erin C said...

I use a FREE guided reading lesson plan template on TPT. There are versions for K-5. It’s very customizable- you can add reading groups & student names. There are also drop-down lists of Common Core State Standards. Saves a LOT of time!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your guided reading resources. Your blog is amazing. I downloaded the sheet, but page 2 was missing. Do you happen to have it, could you update it on your website. Thanks

James24 said...

Thanks for sharing this information.

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