On August 8, 2016, I posted a video on my Facebook page about implementing guided reading in a primary classroom at the beginning of the new school year. You can view this video by clicking HERE or by clicking on the image below, where you be taken to my Facebook page.
This video gives 6 specific and detailed steps to take when implementing guided reading into your primary classroom at the beginning of a new school year. (The video starts off sideways for a few minutes–but then returns to normal.) This is a 40 minute detailed video to watch now or save for later! I also typed up a summary of my video on this blog post, which includes the links for all the resources that I included in my guided reading video.
It is that time of the year. Your students are settled nicely into their routines. They know the expectations. You are meeting with guided reading groups……or are you!?!?!
I recently had a teacher email me, “How do you implement guided reading at the start of a new school year?
Today I will share my top six tips for implementing guided reading in your primary classroom at the start of a new school year.
Step 1: Assess your readers
There are many different reading level kits available. My school district has used the Fountas and Pinnell Leveling Kits for the past few years. We are required to formally assess our entire class in the fall, winter, and spring. In some years, we were lucky enough to have a substitute for a day and we were able to individually test our students. With budget cuts, we no longer have that luxury and we have to find time to assess all of our students in the first few weeks of school. Although this is by no means an easy task, I always look forward to reading and meeting with each individual student.
My students fill out their fall reading level on their reading progress chart. I hold onto this chart until the spring, where they fill in the spring column, documenting their growth as a reader.
You can download the chart in the picture above (for free) by clicking on the button below:
There are many other ways that I formally and informally assess my students. One important tool that I always use are reading surveys. I encourage my students to be honest when filling these out. With that reminder, I find very honest responses. Many of my students write about not reading at home, not liking reading, feeling bored when they read, or having some sort of negative experience with reading in a previous grade.
(The reading surveys are part of my Reading Workshop Unit: Reading is Thinking)
With all of this information gathered…I am ready for step number 2.
Step 2: Group your readers
Now that you know more about your students reading levels, abilities, likes/dislikes, and behaviors, you can begin to create flexible reading groups. Traditional guided reading groups focus on grouping students according to their instructional reading level. I find my students’ instructional reading level by the results of the Fountas and Pinnell test results.
Not only do I create groups based on my students’ reading level, but I also create reading strategy groups. After reading my students reading surveys, I also group my students according to their reading goals. I look for patterns of students who share the same goal- wanting to read more at home, wanting to stay focused, etc.
There are many different ways that I display my groups on a bulletin board, however that is a completely optional part of the process.
One idea is in the picture below.
The bulletin board poster is labeled “guided reading groups.” I then post the pictures of the students who I am reading with on the board. You can also put their names on a sticky note and easily make the reading groups flexible by simply switching their name to a new group.
Step 3: Create a guided reading schedule
This is the step where you create a visual plan for how often you will meet with your groups. I meet with my lowest group of readers every day. There are some days where I might meet with these students in the morning, when my other students are working on their morning writing prompt. I meet with my highest readers to provide enrichment once a week. I provide this group an extension project that they complete with each other throughout the week. I meet with my other groups two times per week.
I am the first person to admit that although this looks great on a piece of paper….things come up and sometimes meeting with the groups I intended to does not happen. What I love most about the school I am at is my principal completely supports the teachers and understands this happens. I have recently done a lot of reading about grouping students and how frequently you “have” to meet with them. It has opened my mind to not being as rigid as “I MUST meet with…” This flexibility has also allowed me to meet more with individual students for reading conferences and reading partnerships.
Step 4: Plan your guided reading lessons
I could write weeks worth of posts on this topic…but for the purpose of this blog post, planning what you will teach in each group is your next step. One book that I highly recommend is Fountas and Pinnell’s The Continuum of Literacy Learning.
I use this book as a reference for all of my guided reading groups. There are ample ideas for word work, reading behaviors and strategies for every reading level A-Z. I also refer to this book during my parent teacher conferences. It helps the parents see a more in-depth description about their child’s reading behaviors at their instructional reading level. The book is broken to sections to demonstrate thinking within, beyond, and about the text.
In the video, I also share my love for The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo.
You can find some freebies by clicking HERE, or on the image above.
Step 5: Teach your readers about guided reading group expectations
Depending on the grade that you teach and previous experience . Even though I teach 3rd grade, I find that I still have to teach my students about the expectations during a guided reading lesson. I always *CRINGE* when I meet with a new group of students and they automatically start to chorally read the text. No! Choral reading, or round robin reading, is NOT guided reading. I also like my students to know that I also have a job during this time. I am constantly writing down anecdotal notes in my guided reading binder. I don’t want my students to be worried about what I am doing. I want them to be assured that I am writing observations about what I notice about them as readers.
One of the best ways that I have found to teach the expectations is to use hoola hoops to create a “teacher,” “student,” and “both” Venn diagram.
After we do this interactive lesson, I like to take a picture of the Venn Diagram and then post it as an anchor chart for a nice visual reminder. If you are interested in purchasing the guided reading Venn diagram, you can click HERE. (You can purchase it separately or as part of the GR binder.)
Step 6: Teach your readers about what they do when they are not reading with the teacher
I use a reading workshop approach for my reading instruction. This means that I teach a mini-lesson to the whole group, the students begin their independent reading, and then we have closing as a whole group. When my students are reading independently, I then meet with groups and hold individual reading conferences. It takes a solid six weeks (more or less depending on the students) to implement reading workshop at the beginning of a new school year. However, this time is well spent and sets the tone for the rest of the year.
If you want to read more about how I implement reading workshop, click HERE.
In addition to these steps, there are other important things that I do for guided reading implementation at the beginning of every school year. I always make sure to communicate data with parents and also start to track my data and anecdotal notes.
I would love to hear from you! What steps do you take when implementing guided reading with your new group of students at the beginning of the year?
If you are looking for additional information about how to implement guided reading in your classroom, you may want to check out my guided reading resource, listed below. It includes the information listed in this blog post, and so much more!!
Guided Reading Binder – The Ultimate Resource for Any Teacher
1. Guided Reading Binder Assembly Directions- 8 pages
In this section, I give detailed directions for how to set up your reading binder.
2. Guided Reading Guru!- 126 pages
This 120+ page resource is filled with everything that you need to become the guided reading guru at your school! This resource is ideal for first through fifth grade teachers.
-Information about grouping students and examples of how to group students for guided reading
-Information and using assessments and examples of how to conduct reading conferences, anecdotal records, and running records
-Explanations of exactly what guided reading is and how to implement it effectively and successfully in your classroom
-Examples and pictures of how to group your students for guided reading and how to create and display this information
(This resource includes creative and colorful posters to display and organize the instruction reading groups)
-Suggestions for how to set up your guided reading schedule
-Pictures of how to implement some of the ideas presented in this resource
3. (Editable!) Reading Binder Cover Pages- 26 pages
This is a POWERPOINT file, which means that you will be able to insert a text box and type in your own cover binder titles. Some titles I like to create for my binder include: a personalized cover page with my name, guided reading schedule, guided reading groups, anecdotal records, reading conferences, guided reading lessons, ect.
4. Comprehension Posters- 10 pages
These clean, simple, and colorful posters are great for a bulletin board display. This file includes 10 different reading strategies that you can refer to in your guided reading lessons.
5. Guided Reading Teacher/Student Venn Diagram- 19 pages
This is a great lesson to teach when you are implementing guided reading groups at the beginning of a new school year. This interactive lesson gives the opportunity to teach the expectations of the teacher and the students in a guided reading group. I like to use two hoola hoops to create our Venn diagram, just like shown in the picture of the resource. There are 22 different expectations for your students to place in the correct spot of the Venn diagram. “Teacher, Student, Both” titles are also included for you to place in each component of your Venn diagram.
6. Intermediate/Primary Guided Reading Extension Activities- 28 pages
This resource includes different graphic organizers and reading response templates for students to complete as an extension to a guided reading lesson. There are 6 different graphic organizers as an option for upper elementary students (3-5th grade) and 6 different graphic organizers as an option for primary elementary students (1st and 2nd grade). Both include a “Guided Reading Booklet/Reading Response Journal” cover page.
7. Reading Prescription- 28 pages
Guided reading just got a bit more interesting! Dress up in your favorite doctor gear for this fun activity! Your students will love meeting with the doctor during their “routine” reading check up. Turn your typical reading conference or guided reading group into an “office visit” where you diagnose a “cure” for each student’s reading aliments. This would be fun to do during a goal setting session, during a review of data, or a typical guided reading lesson or reading conference. This resource includes detailed directions for implementation, colorful posters to print for display, reading prescription templates for the “doctor” to fill out for his/her patients. Also includes a doctor reading prescription art project. Students use the body templates and clip art to make the doctor and write a reading prescription listing the doctor’s orders for the reading ailments.
—If you want to learn more about guided reading and implementing this approach to teaching reading into your primary classroom, this is the file for you! This file does NOT have specific lessons (for comprehension/fluency/decoding) for the different reading levels.
Click HERE to purchase this resource on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Save 10% by purchasing directly from my site!