Make your guided reading warm-up engaging and fun
You need a guided reading warm-up. Adding a warm-up to my guided reading groups has really transformed the way my groups run. It was my game changer.
I used to sit down at guided reading and not know what to do. This feeling still hits me sometimes. I really hated the feeling of not knowing how to get going.
That activity is what helped me build my confidence in guided reading again.
Honestly, as long as the guided reading warm-up activity was really good and all my kids are engaged and we have to stop the group right there because xyz then I feel okay about it.
Use a warm-up activity
When my kids sit down for a group, I automatically take out a guided reading game called Pop The Balloon! and a pile of Target mini erasers. Pop The Balloon! is centered around phonics skills and I always pick the skill that that particular group is working on. You may remember me talking about this activity before in a post, The Best Way To Start Guided Reading. It’s a great warm-up activity and because we warm-up with it every day, the kids automatically know what to do. Because of this consistency and repetition, this gives me time to unwind from the last group and take a scan of the room to make sure everyone is fine with their centers.
How to play
Your students grab a handful of mini erasers and a card. They start at the bottom of the card and work their way to the top to essentially “pop” the balloon. No, there’s not an actual balloon (and yes I have to say this because people have asked this…). Doing this warm-up activity has built the confidence my first graders need when learning their phonics skills. You don’t have to use mini-erasers. Students can point instead.
Each student has a different card at a different time. When they finish “popping” the balloon, they put their card in the middle of the table and grab a new one. I spend a minute or two listening to a couple students working their way up on their card as they say their sounds and then we move on.
This gives me time to assess whether they are strong in this phonics skill or need some additional time working with it. This also sets us up for word work, since it is usually the same skill.
There are other ways to warm-up your students before you begin teaching your small group. These names are nothing fancy, so I apologize!
- Sight Word Review: Turn sight word cards face-down. Have students take turn grabbing a card and reading it aloud.
- Word Hunt: Have students look through their book for specific words (can be sight words or a certain phonics skill you are teaching).
- Sight Word Reading: Have students read through personalized sight word lists.
- Highlighting: Write a sentence on a dry erase board. Have students highlight/underline different phonics skills that you say (i.e. find the word that says ‘a’).
- Fill In The Blank: Write a sentence on the board, but leave one or two words blank. Write those words at the top of the board. Have students fill the blanks in with the words.
- Dry Erase Writing: Have students write a word that you say. Students write consonants in blue dry erase marker and vowels in red dry erase marker.