Ok! You have your running records done, you have students grouped. You've practiced with your students what to do while other students are at guided reading, and you have a schedule. Now you're ready to start. Well.....Maybe. When I started doing guided reading, this is exactly the point that the butterflies started! What could I do to make that first guided reading group, and every one thereafter go smoothly? Actually, following a few simple steps to prepare for every guided reading group, will make everything not only run more smoothly, but be much easier to teach!
Before you even begin that first session, you will need to read over the guided reading selection, write down questions from the selection and decide on 3-5 vocabulary words. Sometimes the vocabulary is given to you with a district series. I have included a few generic informational text question card for you to use as well. They can get you started. They are arranged by "before reading", during reading" and "after reading".
One way to organize all of your teaching information, and keep it for future use, is to use a notebook for each reading level. In the notebook include a page for each reading selection. Write the name of the selection, a one sentence over-view, vocabulary words, a list of "find out why, who, and what" questions to ask as you give students a reason to read. Also list questions to ask during reading and once they are finished. If you are using generic question cards from me or ones you made yourself, you might skip this last step. If your school district requires you to include standards covered in each story, write them on the page as well. You might be sweating over the time this will take the first time you do it....but that is only the FIRST time. After that you can use the same stories year after year with no sweat at all. A little time spent, for lots of time saved later on!!
You will need:
1. A notebook or note cards to jot down information on each reader
2. Lesson plan
3. Work sheet or activity for students
4. Basket of books that have already been read with each group. When first starting guided reading, use books a bit easier than what you are working on. Replace them as you complete stories or books. This basket is for books already read in guided reading. Students reread them during the first five minutes or so of guided reading. Rereading is KEY and not to be missed. You will have a basket for each guided reading group.
5. Highlighter tape. I use this for students to highlight words they can't figure out as they read along. The group can then go through (when everyone is finished) and work on any words the group members had difficulty sounding out. The tape is reusable, so I have students put their used tape on a dry erase board for later use.
6. Dry erase boards for each student. These useful teaching tools can be gotten for less than $13 for your whole class at stores like Home Depot. Ask for melamine, also called "Thrifty White Panel Board" at Home Depot. (this is not a Home Depot advertisement, it's just close to me so I'm familiar with it). It is 4 feet by 8 feet and is slick and white. It makes a great dry erase board. When I tell them I am a teacher, and it will be used for my students as white boards, they cut it into one foot by one foot sections for free. If they are hard-nosed for you, it is a $1 per cut. This gives you 36 boards. I keep extra at the guided reading table so kids don't have to bring their own. At the beginning of the year I give each child his or her own board, asking them to write their name in sharpie on the back. They may NOT, NOT, NOT take them home until the last day of school. I use them with about everything, math, science, guided reading...the works! It gives kids the chance to write their own answers, do quick computations and so on. The edges don't have to be taped either. I never had a student have trouble with an edge.
7. A guided reading folder for each child. This is the folder they will keep guided reading worksheets and materials in, as well as small books and anything else you may need students to keep track of. It comes with them to guided reading each day.
These questions cards are generic for any informational text you might use. You can make them up yourself for any genre for quick question use. Make sure they meet the Common Core for your grade level. The cards below meet the Common Core for third grade.
Download in Google.drive on the link below.
For other lessons in this series see:
Lesson one: Searching For Guided Reading Materials
Lesson two:Don't Hide From Running Records
Lesson three:What Are the Other Kids Doing?
Lesson Four: Creating a Guided Reading Schedule that Works!
Lesson six: Take a Closer Look at Guided Reading