Saturday, November 10, 2012

Guided Reading Groups *Reading Response Prompts For Two Lucky Followers*

I thought I'd talk a little about guided reading groups.  I use Daily 5 to manage what the other kiddos are doing when I'm meeting with guided reading groups.  I think working in those small groups where I can really see what's going on with each student and providing valuable teaching points is my most favorite time of the school day.

I try to have four reading groups...years that I have five are so tricky to manage.  I am lucky to have a literacy paraprofessional that comes in during Daily 5 for about 30 minutes and an ELL para that comes in to help as well. 

I use the Fountas & Pinnell Continuum to help plan for each group...

It provides comprehension strategies, word study and other skills that are based on each guided reading level - and what can be expected developmentally for kids working at each particular level.  Another book I was just introduced to that I can't wait to get is Guided Reading - Next Steps...

I think this one might be another "go to" resource for planning guided reading group instruction. It has really great lesson plan templates/ideas that help break down how a lesson should flow for each leveled reading group. 

One question I get asked often by both parents and other teachers is whether or not I introduce a new book each and every day.  I don't - I believe so strongly in the power of familiar re-reads that I introduce a new book every other day within the guided reading group setting.  My kids are encountering new texts other places {their independent reading books, the classroom library, public library, Raz-Kids, etc.} that they have plenty of opportunities to practice those decoding skills often.  What is often lacking is experiences with familiar re-reads where they can practice fluency, expression as well as comprehension {digging deeper}.

I don't know about you - but there's such a sense of urgency on my part to move, move, move - get things done - do this, do that....sometimes I forget to breathe.  This bums me right out because sometimes I forget to enjoy the pleasure of teaching and kids learning.  I can't imagine trying to introduce a new book, work on decoding strategies, respond to the literature in a deep and meaningful way each and every day, for sometimes FIVE guided reading groups.  I've already got "the twitch" goin' on...I don't need to add to it by feeling pressure to get a new book into my students' hands each and every guided reading group and it's just not necessary to do so.

I sort of look at my guided reading groups as having this framework:

Day 1: New Book
*Introduce new book: picture walk, vocab development, predictions {all that great pre-reading "stuff"} I spend a lot of time pre-reading.
*New read: At the table I have one child sit facing "out" the next child facing "in", "out" all the way around the table.  I do this so they can all read at their own pace and I'm able to confer with those who are facing "in".  We alternate each day with who faces in/out.  I'm really able to see what strategies are being used - I can also do a quick running record on portions of text to get a vibe for how the kids are doing.
*Quick discussion of book/retell/noticings/etc.
*Take this book home to re-read

Day 2: Familiar Re-Read
*Students get started with their re-reads just as soon as they sit down {alternating seating: in/out/in...except if you sat out yesterday, today you sit in} If students are in lengthier books - they may only read a portion of the book.
*I also set several "old" books on the table for them to re-read from the past week/weeks.  We spend about five minutes on this {of course we go through fewer books as the levels increase}.
*I spend the rest of the group {about 15 minutes} either on word study, comprehension strategies, decoding strategies, response to literature, whatever is needed and often a combination of ...
*Take same book home to re-read {sometimes I assign additional homework to go along with the book the second time they bring it home}

Day 3: New Book {if we aren't in a chapter book}

This works so well for me - and I really do notice a difference in my students fluency/comprehension and I feel less frantic!

As the year goes on; this tends to evolve.  My higher readers spend less time with me and more time partner reading, independently responding to literature, book clubs, etc.

I created some response to reading prompts that I like to use once the texts become a little meatier.  Here's a preview and you can head over to my store to purchase them if you'd like!!!!!  If you leave a little lovin' I'll randomly choose 2 followers from the comments to send the pack to for free!  {Be sure to leave your email!} I'll choose a winner tonight - say, 8:00 EST!

Thanks for all the lovin' and the great comments!  The winners are....{I didn't count my responses in the number or additional comments for forgotten emails}

Congrats ~ Miss Foote!!

Congrats ~ Liz!!

29 fiction prompts & 20 nonfiction prompts 

Happy Reading!!!!!


  1. Oh my gosh! This what I have been trying to figure out in my classroom. I finally got my guided reading groups going. (Its my 2nd year teaching, so I figuring out how to better teach reading now :) ) This helps me figure out how to make it more meaningful. Thanks for you plan!

    Buzz Around in Second Grade

  2. Wow! Thank you so much for giving your insight! I've been pulling small groups, but we're just doing phonics and phonemic awareness to boost up the lower students before we have to assess them for extra interventions in the classroom so I haven't actually done any guided reading yet :(
    Your pack would be awesome to have!!!
    Teaching in the Valley

  3. What a great resource!

  4. I would love to have it.


  5. I love how you broke it down! Do you meet with all 4 groups daily? If not then how many times a week do you meet with each group? Your packet looks wonderful!

  6. Wow, great explanations with lots of resources here!! Nice!!
    Amy Howbert

    Little Miss Organized

  7. You will like the Jan. Richardson book...I used it last year for GR. But this year I found this: GUIDED READING PLANNING RESOURCE TOOLKIT by Special Needs Nook at TPT. It is amazing!! Well worth the $20. It contains lessons for before, during and after reading, and includes every graphic organizer known to man, and the pull down menus are so awesome for planning a group lesson.

    1. Hey Miss Kathy,

      Are you the Kathy I think you are??! ;) So, what do you think? Should I get the Jan Richardson book or the Guided Reading Resource Toolkit? I checked both out and they both seem great. I know me, and if I have too many resources at my fingertips I tend to get overwhelmed and don't really use any of them to their fullest potential...I need your advice!!!!!

  8. Holly, this is AWESOME. I love seeing how you do it all.
    And I'm right there with you on slowing down and actually remembering to enjoy what I'm doing. :)
    Your pack looks AWESOME.

  9. This looks FANTASTIC!!!! I love hearing how other teachers teach guided reading. I feel like I am still trying to figure it all out. I do have a few questions... Do you meet with all your groups each day? How long do you meet with each group?

    The First Grade Dream

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      My paraprop meets with two groups M-TR, my ELL para pulls small groups and confers with others more informally to meet my ELL's needs {and any others who might need a nudge} and I pull 2 groups {usually my lowest} each day M-TR. As the year progresses, I my higher kids spend less time in a guided reading group and more time reading individually, partner reading, in a book club, etc. which frees up time for my strugglers/ELL's to get a double dipping by my parapro.

      I typically see my groups for 15 to 20 minutes.

  10. Thanks for the giveaway! Such a thorough packet with great resources!

    What i have learned

  11. Wow- your packet looks great :) I have not seen the Scholastic Guided Reading Book yet, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing :)


  12. This was a meaningful post! Thanks for sharing your schedule. How long does each of your GR groups go for? I am using Strategy Groupings this year (CAFE framework) and I really like it. I may have children of different reading levels but the commonality is focusing on a particular reading strategy during the meeting.
    I would be so excited to use your UNIT and incorporate it into the structure of my conferring lessons. Thank you for the opportunity!
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

    1. Hi Julie,
      I do strategy groups as well - or, at least I TRY to. I'm not good about managing them and would love to get better. First grade is such a different bird compared to the older kiddos. It's so hard to manage this three ring circus sometimes!

      My guided reading groups last between 15 and 20 minutes each.

  13. Cool! My kids have reading response notebooks and I find that most of them do well open-ended but some of them just plain need more structure. I would love to use your prompts to help provide that, especially for my reading groups!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  14. LOVE THIS! I have been doing Daily 5 all year but incorporating our basal reader as well as other literature. Our basal reader is SO hard to differentiate instruction for my differently leveled students, so I've decided to make one station during Daily 5 (buddy reading) a chapter book study with my groups. My students are now grouped according to level and I am going to go through a chapter book with those students at their level. This way vocabulary is at their level, and they can practice strategies at their level too! I LOVE your pack and would use it for my groups! I feel so overwhelmed right now trying to get 5 different groups with 5 different chapter books up and running!


  15. What a helpful post!! Thanks a million! We use and love the Jan Richardson book as well. It's a go-to in our world. I have 5 groups and no help and YES, it's CRAY CRAY. With you on the move, move, move. Need to remember to breathe. Would LOVE the pack! Crossing, crossing, crossing, girl!
    Growing Firsties is having a Pete the Cat Giveaway that also donates to Hurricane Sandy Relief!

  16. This post was SO helpful as a first year teacher!! I feel like I am struggling with my reading groups, but this post helped give me some great ideas! Your reading response packet looks awesome!!

  17. Thanks for sharing about your guided reading groups! I have the Daily 5 book and I must check out the other two!

    The Teacher Diaries

  18. I absolutely love your idea of having the students sit "in and out" at your guided reading table. What an incredible idea and will save me from a little headache!


  19. I've really been trying to perfect my guided reading groups - thanks for sharing your ideas! :)
    Julene Hoffman

  20. What a helpful post. Thank you! Your new product looks amazing!

    Chickadee Jubilee

  21. Thanks so much for this sgreat post-I've been trying to egt better handle on guided reading groups. Love your blog! It's my must read!!!
    Mary M.

  22. Love the face in/out method! I am so going to use this with my reading groups starting next week! Thanks for sharing!

  23. Thanks for the great tips! I love using guided reading as well and I'm always looking for ways to make it better.

  24. What a great post Holly! Your packet looks amazing. =)

    I am glad I am not the only one that starts to "twitch"!

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. =)

    Heather's Heart

  25. Thanks for the opportunity.
    I would love a copy of your pack.

  26. My favorite time of the day too, but I feel I can always improve!

  27. Love this. Would love to use in in my room.

  28. I'm new to first grade this year(was in 2nd for 5 years) and started using Jan Richardson's book this year. I would love to be picked!

  29. I love teaching guided reading and this would be a perfect addition to my groups!

  30. I would love to try this with my groups!


  31. I am a second year teacher and I am using Daily five and cafe for the first time. I would love this!

    Samantha Spagnola

  32. Wow thanks for the information. You are so lucky to have 2 people to help you. Best of luck this year and I would love your packet.

  33. You've got some great ideas...definitely bookmarked for future reference!

    tokyoshoes (at) hotmail (dot) com

  34. Sorry I haven't been a very good bloggy friend lately! Love your new pack!!! Thanks for the Guided Reading tips! I can't wait to use these tips this week! :)
    I just updated my blog right around Halloween! I am so glad you visited and like it! :)
    Happy Week to you!!! {Hard to believe it is almost Thanksgiving!} :)
    Crayons and Curls

  35. Your guided reading packet looks great. It looks like we run our guided groups similar. Thanks for all the tips!

    First Grade and Fabulous

  36. Looks great! I am having my very first linky party I would love it if you got the chance to check it out and link up!!

    The Resource(ful) Room


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