Guided Reading Mistakes NOT to make here! When I first started teaching, I didn’t really like guided reading. Actually, it took me a really long time to like it even remotely a little, and to be honest, I always had a love/hate relationship with it. However, whether we like it or not, guided reading is really important. It’s one point in the day where we get to sit down with a handful of students and really focus on them, while hopefully our other students are behaving nicely and doing their centers (we can dream, yes?)
I’m going to break down 6 guided reading mistakes that I definitely have made and maybe you have too.
Guided Reading Mistake #1: You talk too much
Oof, this is a hard one. I think we all (or a lot of us) just keep talking and talking to really drive home our lesson, even if we know it isn’t totally effective (or effective at all). I know that sometimes I think that if I just keep explaining it, again and again, they’ll catch on. That’s not the case though.
If you know you’re a talker, put a post-it in front of you that has a STOP sign. Seeing this will remind you to stop talking so much and let your students learn.
#2: Students are round robin reading
Round robin reading just doesn’t work. I remember when I was in third grade, we did round-robin reading as a whole class. I would count how many kids were in front of me and then find where I would have to read and read the text ahead of time to make sure I knew all the words. However, then I had no idea what was happening in the actual story.
Pick a focus student that you’ll listen to read a majority of the time. I make sure that the student is sitting in the chair next to me and I’ll listen to that student quietly read and take running record notes. Other students will be quietly reading in their whisper phones. I also try to listen around the table to hear all the students reading.
#3: Your group is spending the entire time reading
It’s called guided reading, so aren’t we supposed to read the entire time? Actually, no! You have a lot of things to teach during guided reading besides just reading!
Other things you might do are warm-up, word work, writing about your reading, previewing the book, and answering comprehension questions.
#4: Focusing too much on students not in your group
It’s hard because you are responsible for all those other students too! This is why it’s so important to take the time to teach your students to be independent during your guided reading groups. They must know what to do so they don’t bother you.
#5: You didn’t preview your books
There’s a lot of things to plan, so this honestly can be tricky! If you have five different groups to plan, then that’s five different books to preview. However, this is an important step. If you’re grabbing books based on levels, that doesn’t always work. I learned this the hard way.
Different companies level books differently, so a level D might mean level E somewhere else. It’s important to look through the book to make sure your students could read it with minimal help. If you’re constantly needing to help them in the story, then their confidence will fade, especially if they know that book was supposed to be their reading level.
Guided Reading Mistake #6: You let students interrupt your groups
I know what you’re thinking ( because I would think it too): “But I’m not letting them!” It’s so frustrating when kids interrupt you during your small groups. It makes it difficult to get yourself and your group of students back on track.
Find a system that works for you and your class. This may change throughout the year. Here are some different things I’ve tried in the past. They all worked with different classes but just had to find what worked for each one. They are:
- Use a touch light to let your students know you’re off limits. When the light is on, that means you’re busy. When it’s off, they can come ask you a question.
- Use a bottle of hand sanitizer as a sign-out method. If a student needs the restroom, they put the bottle of hand sanitizer on their desk. This gives you the visual clue of who is not in the classroom and students will know if they sanitizer isn’t available, they can’t go.
- Have a sign for bathroom and water fountain. I have had students show me 1 finger to go to the restroom and 2 fingers when they need a drink. They just come stand behind my group and silently give the sign and then I nod if they can go. If I want them to wait, I put my hand up.
These different styles worked for me in the past, but as I said… Every teacher and class needs different things. I recommend searching Pinterest for some different sign-out methods!
Don’t let these mistakes happen to you! If they do though, there’s always time to make improvements.
Do you need a refresher on guided reading? Download our free guided reading workbook to get you started! It’s full of ideas on how to plan and implement guided reading into your daily routine.
Related Post: Guided Reading Strategies For Success