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Reader’s Workshop MiniSeries: Episode Seven: Guided Reading* Freebie!

This is the last installment of my Reader’s Workshop miniseries. Make sure you click over to my Reader’s Workshop giveaway before you go – there are still a few days to enter! 

Guided Reading is frequently not part of an upper elementary reading program. I know many people do (and I would enjoy doing as well) literature circles or other small group reading activities. And with my highest group, above grade level, I do often use a literature circle or study format. However, many kids (I feel) need more explicit instruction in how to use the decoding and comprehension skills that have thus far eluded them. Guided Reading is an opportunity for this to happen.
Here are some tools & tips that might help you get your space started this year!
Space for Guided Reading
This is my guided reading area. I know I could do guided reading at the students’ desks, in a group, or even on the carpet. But I find that, by having a dedicated space, I am more consistent with guided reading. If I’m making a space as I go, it’ll happen when it happens. In addition to this, if it’s important to you, make a space for it! That’s the first step toward making it happen.
It also helps me be prepared: I have a special space and a special time for this crucial piece of reading instruction with all my tools here.

Keep their tools handy

I believe in keeping tools handy for kids. We’re putting them in text that is a little more difficult than what they could do on their own. To help them learn to struggle and help themselves, I encourage them to use their tools. These are the tools I keep on the wall behind the table:
A blends chart, 
a vowel teams chart,
a vowel-syllable types chart,
and decoding strategies in a pocket chart

It’s not pretty, but it serves its purpose! 
You can get the blends chart from Carl’s Corner.
Also kept handy on the wall is the word wall of high-frequency words.
On the table, I keep Guided Reading Tools Folders. These are laminated folders with smaller versions of the above tools, accessible to kids in an easy way. Each student uses these to review the word patterns before guided reading by pointing to each one and verbalizing the letters and sounds.
Keep your tools handy

Behind my table, I have a bookshelf and a rolling cart full of tools for guided reading. It’s the only way I’m prepared for teaching my lessons consistently!

On the bookshelf, I keep a storage drawer thing with stickers, white-out, erasers, etc. Each drawer is labeled so I know what’s going on inside. In the basket to the right of the drawers are the student tool folders and dry-erase boards. In the vertical magazine holders, I keep the materials necessary for each group. This includes the upcoming lesson plan, running record form, and the books for the lesson.

The middle shelf has a hanging file divider that I use to keep track of documentation. Also on the middle shelf are basic tools like stapler, hole puncher, and tape dispenser. Reward pencils and erasers are there too.

The bottom shelf has two baskets. Each basket has materials for word work. In the left are word patterns such as blends and vowel team centers and in the right are sight word building activities.
On top of the rolling cart (which has many other shelves full of index cards, sentence strips, and magnetic letters & cookie sheets) is my carry-all for guided reading. It’s easy to organize with smaller cups. I keep dry-erase markers, post-its, regular markers, highlighters, and my special guided reading pencils. 

Special guided reading pencils? YES! I figured this one out a few years ago. I purchase a ton of colorful pencils. These happen to have bees on them (of course). I buy a bunch of the same kind so I can replenish as we wear them down. 

This is why: I don’t want to waste time with kids bringing their own pencil to the table, forgetting it, it’s unsharpened, it breaks, it turns out it’s not their pencil at all, etc.

I got sick of it and realized every minute counts. So, in order to help things roll seamlessly, I kept the guided reading pencils at the table. Kids come to the table, borrow a pencil for the time they spend at the table, and then leave it there when they go back to their seats. The best part is that, since my G.R. pencils are special and all the same, I can tell if one of the naughties stole one! And I can make them put it back.

Document and organize

I keep my documents organized in my Guided Reading binder.

To find out how I organize my binder and plan lessons, visit this post!

To help you get your Guided Reading ready & rolling, here’s a freebie pack full of materials for Guided Reading! Grab it at TPT!

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