With guided reading, it always seems like there are so many tools. I think this is right. There just are so many! I have written HERE about my favorites, HERE about some more things I used all the time, but it just never fails. Every time I walk into the Dollar Tree I can’t help but think, “This would be a wonderful guided reading tool and it’s only $1!?!?” If you are just getting started with guided reading and are having to purchase your own tools because your school doesn’t have any, here are some GREAT guided reading tools that you can snag at Dollar Tree.
1. Dry Erase Board
I feel like this one is a no brainer. What classroom DOESN’T use dry erase boards? I know that I didn’t use them often my first year of teaching because I just wasn’t sure how to use them. Here are a few ideas for them in guided reading:
- Word work
- Practicing writing and read sight words
- Guided writing after the lesson
- Writing summaries of the books read
2. Dry Erase Dice
These are so versatile! You can turn them into retelling dice, word family dice, story element dice, questioning dice, and the list goes on! You, the teacher, can write whatever you desire on them and then use them as a fun way to grab students’ attention when doing an ordinary task like retelling the story.
You may be thinking, “Tweezers? What in the world?” Here is my idea—what if we used them to squeeze in some fine motor work, especially for our little kindergarten readers, when using elkonin boxes? They could use them to pick up pom-pom balls and move them into the boxes as they segment the words! Two birds with one stone—why not?
4. Tin Cake Pan
Are you ever running short on magnetic letter boards? Here is your simple solution! Another plus is that it has a lip and the learner can scoot the letters down or up and not worry about them falling off of the board.
5. Magnetic Letters
And you can’t forget the magnetic letters to go with the tin cake pan! The one downside to them is that they are all upper case, BUT they still get the job done and you can always discuss how “silly the words look in all capital letters! That’s definitely not how we write our words!” I might have done that a time or two! 😉 When you are in a pinch, need more letters but don’t want to fork over more money for this set that I love (but is more expensive!), then you can just work with the upper case letters! By the way, the magnetic letters are in the kitchen section!
6. Die Cut Shapes
Two words—fancy flashcards! Yes, making a simple change to your sight word flash cards or fluency phrases that you are using to help build fluency excites our students and engages them. It’s the little things, isn’t it? You could also use them to play a quick sight word game like “Slap It!” or “I Have, Who Has”.
7. Reading Glasses
This was the best tool I ever used as a “signal” for my students to not interrupt me. When I had my reading glasses on, they knew our rule of the 3 Bs applied! You can read more about that rule HERE in this blog post.
Basically, these are fancy manipulatives for stretching out words, counting words in sentences for writing, and using in elkonin boxes! Target also always seems to have seasonal ones you could snag for this same purpose!
9. Drink Stirrers
These are the perfect little pointers for our little readers who still need to be tracking the text!
10. Transparent Sticky Flags
We always go on a word hunt to find the sight words or word patterns in our text before reading. You can read more about that HERE. We like to highlight them with highlight tape, but I found this transparent sticky flags that will work just as easily!
What are your favorite tools? Have you grabbed any lately from Dollar Tree? I’d love to hear what treasures you found for your guided reading tools!