How to have a successful guided reading block every day
Guided reading is one of my favorite parts of the school day. There’s something really special about sitting down with a small group of students and having the opportunity of listening to them read and talk about books. I am so excited to start this blog series on how to make your guided reading time purposeful and how to implement strategies that work.
When Guided Reading Doesn’t Work
Last year, I couldn’t get my guided reading groups to work. Groups didn’t work together. My centers were a mess. So, I’ve put a lot of time and energy into reflecting on last year and what works and what doesn’t. Guided reading doesn’t work when:
- You haven’t practiced every center: I have found the most success when I sit down with my class on Monday and introduce one center. Each student will practice that one center. For example, if I am teaching them how to write a list from my writing center, I would break it down. First, I would model how to get a list from the drawer. Then, I would model how to write a list. Next, each student would practice opening the drawer, taking out a list, closing the drawer, and then sitting down and writing the list. Read more about my writing centers here.
- You haven’t practiced centers without guided reading: Once you have explicitly taught, modeled, and practiced your centers, put them into action. Have your groups go to their designated center. Don’t pull a guided reading group. Instead, walk around the room and give feedback to the groups on how they are doing. Tell them what you like that they are doing. Give them goals of where to go.
- You don’t have a plan: Sit down with your calendar. Look at the first month or two of school. Make a plan of what center(s) you are going to teach each week and mark the day you are going to start guided reading. Let yourself be flexible because things happen, but also know that this is your own expectation and don’t budge too much from it.
- You don’t have a schedule: Write down the days and times you plan to meet with each group. Again, remember things happen and to be flexible.
- Things are out of your control: There are some things you can’t control. The reading teacher decides he needs to change a reading group and that changes a time and then it throws your schedule off. It happens and it can be frustrating when things don’t go as planned. Try to work around what you can with a positive attitude.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do meet with groups every day.
- Don’t meet with every group every day (if you can, that’s great… But it’s not always realistic).
- Do plan ahead.
- Don’t expect it to go the way you planned every time.
- Do a warm-up in the first five minutes to get them ready for the group. and to practice skills they’ve been learning (you can see my favorite warm-up here).
- Don’t let them sit for five minutes while you figure out what you’re doing.
- Do pick books at their instructional level.
- Don’t round robin read.
- Do have a teaching point.
- Don’t forget to have fun!
Make Guided Reading With Purpose
Want more guided reading strategies to engage your readers? I am going to talk about different ways to make guided reading purposeful and engaging in this blog series. Get a head start and download the free workbook, “Your Plan To Guided Reading Success” below!