Guided Reading Lesson Plans and Activities for Your Classroom

Guided Reading Assessment

You know that you have to teach reading. At the beginning of the year though, you might not have any idea where to start.  I hope this article will help you to get your bearings.  

Depending on who your students are, reading class could take on many different looks. One thing that is to be expected is having kids with vastly different skill levels in the same room.  You will be teaching reading strategies to them throughout the year, but you have to take a little bit of time to figure out where to start.

Vocabulary and comprehension skills should be assessed at the beginning of the year and then on an ongoing basis. You know that though. What you need are strategies to reach your struggling students.

Reading Comprehension Games

If you are going to be differentiating instruction for the readers in your room, I would strongly urge you to consider taking the time to introduce some reading comprehension games early in the year.  Even students who are able to read fluently, often struggle when it comes to reading comprehension.  Getting students into the habit of using these games as part of the normal classroom routine can bring about wonderful results over the course of a school year.  If you are stumped for ideas, you might want to check out these resources.

What is Guided Reading?

One strategy that is often used in the differentiated classroom is guided reading. This can work well if you are able to break the class into smaller groups and move around between them. Even better is being able to have another teacher or support person in the room with you. This may or may not be something that you have available to you.

Here are some tips and strategies to help you with your guided reading time:

  • Guided reading is an effective way to provide support for struggling readers.
  • Guided reading is not just for students who are struggling to read.  It can also be used with mid-level and more advanced readers, but it usually does not have to be done as often.
  • The teacher, who knows the students better than anyone, should determine what skills need to be addressed.
  • The main thing to keep in mind is what would make the child a better reader.  Think about what he or she needs right NOW to start improving.
  • There are a lot of students to keep track of in a classroom.  After doing a guided reading activity, make notes about what the students have accomplished and where they still need some work.
  • Keep the guided reading lessons short and sweet.  These should be simple activities that are helping students to improve a basic skill.
  • It is important to remember that reading must be happening outside of these activities as well.  Students should have time in class to read.  They should also be encouraged to read at home.  This requires some support from parents who will have to make the time to work with their children.
  • Use guided reading as an opportunity to actually listen to the children reading.  This is when you take note of what approaches they are using to get through the piece they are reading.
  • Grouping for guided reading is not necessarily determined by the students’ ability to read.  The focus when making these groups can be a particular skill that is getting worked on that day.  Your groups might be constantly changing and that is fine.
  • All of the students in the class should be introduced to a routine for working in centers.  This keeps them working productively while small groups are being worked with in guided reading activities.

This video is a wonderful example of what guided reading is and what it is not. It contains some great tips regarding how it can best be applied in the classroom.

Guided Reading Activities

The book I’ve included below was written to help teachers to understand the best ways to manage their reading groups so that they do not have to spend their time constantly looking around to see that everyone is occupied and on task in the classroom. The chapter on managing the classroom is something every new teacher should probably read because productivity can seriously suffer if students do not know what is expected of them. The “work board” concept is explained in a way that can easily understood. Also included are full explanations of literacy activities, buddy reading, reading around the room, and other helpful strategies for teachers. The information comes from teachers with experience in teaching reading. Students are led from being passive listeners and readers through the stages of participating in reading and then becoming fully engaged active readers who are able to work independently.

New teachers and veterans should be able to find some wonderful uses for this guide. Whether you use it mostly for the resources that can be photocopied or the guidance in putting together to most productive reading groups, it can give new life to your reading lessons.

In order to implement effective reading strategies, the teacher must take many things into account. One of the most important factors is ensuring that they are creating students who are enthused about reading. That certainly is one of the benefits offered here. While seeing students succeed is wonderful, there is a lot of behind the scenes stuff to keep in mind and handle. Some of these important details include managing the classroom, having all of the necessary materials readily available, making sure that each student is placed within the appropriate group for his or her ability level, methods of assessment, and more.

There are many strategies available for differentiating instruction. Guided reading activities are just one. Please take a look around and feel free to leave comments with your own ideas and strategies that have worked.

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2 Responses to Guided Reading Lesson Plans and Activities for Your Classroom

  1. Marlin Tisher says:

    I think there are a lot of good ideas here. I would love to find a way to get some of the parents of my students to get more involved with them though. These students need to practice reading outside of the classroom too.

  2. Carly Hindle says:

    Hi. Thanks for the definition and the ideas. I am in a school where the administration basically just told us that we were to start differentiating, but didn’t really offer any help or guidance. I can see the benefit of working with these smaller groups (and I already was to some extent). I feel a little less intimidated by the ideas and concepts of differentiation after finding this site. Thanks!

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