Sunday, September 16, 2012

Guided Reading

Today I'm working on my Guided Reading lesson planning template. I have linked up with The Teacher's Cauldron's linky party where you can check out other people's planning pages. Click the red button below to go there and link up.

So, here's a picture of the basic template that I use when planning my guided reading groups. I list the student's names in the left column with the time that I see their group. In the daily boxes I'll include specifics such as what leveled reader book we're working on or sight words to re-teach. Usually in the first weeks of school my groups are all warming up with abc flashcards and elkonian boxes. You'll notice that I don't pull groups on Wednesdays - it's a late start day and I do a whole group reading lesson, and then pull kids to test them for the easy CBM, or they see a Title One teacher for a focus group on phoneme segmentation or something that is needs based. I love using a built in day to assess - because I get so much information that helps guide my teaching. 

My Planning Template: 

If you want to grab this planning page CLICK HERE- it is editable in PowerPoint. The font for the title is Pea Katrina, and the other font used for the rest of it is Pea Hollee from Kevin and Amanda.

Daily Warm-Up: Phonemic Awareness Practice

I like to use Elkonian boxes (or sound boxes) to help kids learn to segment words as a daily warm-up during guided reading. Students start with a 3 box template and place 3 BINGO chips (one over each square) on top. Then I say a CVC word like cat, hot, man, etc. and for each sound in the word, they pull a BINGO chip down into a separate square to represent the sound. When students are proficient at segmenting 3-sound words, I'll up it to 4 phonemes (flip, slide, crane, etc.).

Lines of Print: Phonics Practice

Another quick warm-up I do is having students quickly read letters (or you can change this to sight word strips) in a mixed up order. They each get a different strip of lines of print (the image above would be for 3 students). You cue them to start reading and they read the letters/words rapidly -  you listen in and correct as needed - then they pass the strip round-robin style to the next student and read the next one. The strips are all different so each kid is practicing on his or her own. My students love this "game" that we play - it goes super fast and ends up being kind of hot-potato style - kids want to read their words super fast and get rid of their strip. 

I don't ONLY do letter/word work in isolation, but I do find that it is necessary for my students. I make sure that this kind of practice accompanies other reading work that is comprehension driven and less "skill in isolation." I think the key is to balance your literacy program to give doses of the Big 5. 

Leveled Readers: Comprehension Practice

I use my Houghton Mifflin adopted guided reading books. They consist of Leveled Readers and Phonics Library books. The LRs have rich vocabulary and great pictures. The PL books have controlled text that focuses on the phonics skill of the week. I alternate between them depending on what my students need. If they are weak in Phonics, I'll use the PL books more. If they need more comprehension I'll use the LRs.

Read Alouds: Fluency and Vocabulary

When I read aloud to my students I often begin by showing picture cards to highlight vocabulary that is new, tricky, or interesting. I try to pre-teach vocabulary as often as possible. I also highlight vocabulary words when I'm reading by discussing them as I read out loud. I model using good fluency when I read aloud to my students. I point out text features using big-books and model how to change my voice depending on punctuation marks. I link my fluency model to my students reading when they are in small guided groups.

Flexible Grouping: Assess and Adjust

I test my students often to see how they are doing with their reading skills. Based on how they improve or stall, I form my guided reading groups. Students might float from a lower group to a higher group or vice-versa depending on the rate of their learning. Sometimes based on other skills, like their ability to retell with details, they will be moved from group to group. I encourage all of my students to do their personal best. I like to have movement so that kids don't really know which group is which (high/low) and I'll often use the same book for different groups - but just work on different skills depending on the groups' needs. I try hard not to trap my kids in a particular group because I frequently test and adjust.


  1. I just found your blog through Jen's linky party on Guided Reading! I love your "warm up" ideas! Thanks so much for sharing! I'm your newest follower! :o)

    A is for Apple B is for Blog

  2. Oooh, I forgo about lines of print! Thanks for the great reminder!
    Teaching With Style

  3. Thanks for sharing "Lines of Print"! Will be using that idea for sure-
    I'm following you Ms. Laura!!!

  4. Thanks for your warm comments. :-)

  5. Hello fellow Oregonian! Thanks for the informational post. I sometimes forget all the different ways to model reading.

    Chickadee Jubilee


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