Professional Development

May 23, 2020

Second Grade Guided Reading: Your Guide to a 3 Day Lesson

Second grade guided reading usually includes levels K, L, and M. Friends, I got so comfortable with the one-day lesson plan for guided reading in kindergarten. In first grade, I started realizing that time seemed a little rushed in the upper levels. Then, when I started planning for the Second Grade Guided Reading Kits, I quickly realized it would be a struggle to fit all of the elements in and read the text in 20 minutes.

I started researching to figure this out. How can we get these long second grade guided reading texts read? How can we include all of the elements? How can we make time for guided reading? How do we keep students engaged with the same text multiple days?

Then, I learned about a three-day second grade guided reading lesson plan. I have to tell you that I absolutely love it!

Why the 3 Day Plan Works for Second Grade Guided Reading

A three-day lesson guided reading lesson plan comes in handy, especially in second grade. Texts in levels K, L, and M start to get longer and more complex. If you implement a 3 day guided reading lesson plan, you’ll have more time to let students read the text. Some other benefits of a three-day lesson plan are:

  • exposure to a text more than once
  • more time to complete each element of guided reading
  • ample time for guided writing at the end of the lesson
  • more opportunities to take running records (cold and warm)

On day one of guided reading, you can take a cold read running record for a student. Then on day two, you can do a warm read running record. Both types are beneficial and give you insight into different aspects of students’ thinking.

What are the big differences between a 1 day and a 3 day guided reading lesson plan?

Ideally, a one-day lesson plan in guided reading goes through all of the elements in twenty minutes. It looks like this:

This guided reading schedule makes it simple for you to know what to do during each guided reading lesson.

The problem with this schedule in second grade guided reading is that the texts are so long, you don’t have time to do all of the components in one sitting. Some teachers will squeeze them in by having the students just read part of the book at the table with them and the rest independently. If you do that, you’ll miss listening to the students read, comprehension skill practice, and guided writing.

The three-day lesson plan for second grade guided reading splits up some of the components to give you time to go deeper with your instruction.

Day One of a Three-Day Lesson Plan

Just like the regular one-day lesson plan, day one would include:

  • fluency and sight word practice
  • book introduction
  • setting a purpose for reading and the strategy to focus on
  • students reading
  • identifying a teaching point

If the book is too long for students to finish reading it all on day one, you can stop them and have them finish on day two. You still want to stick to about 20 minutes each day so you have time to meet with all of your groups throughout the week.

Day Two of a Three-Day Lesson Plan

On day two, you would do a warm-up with fluency or sight word practice. Next, re-introduce the text and remind students what the strategy was. Then, introduce a comprehension focus for the text.

If students didn’t finish reading, they would continue to read the book. If they did finish it on day one, they would reread it. After reading, you can identify a teaching point for your readers. Finally, have them complete word work if it is needed. At this level, it is not necessary for every book or lesson.

These two days of the guided reading lesson plan will be very similar to the one-day lesson plan, just broken up into two days instead of squeezed into one.

Diving Deeper into Day 3

Day three of the three-day guided reading lesson plan looks very different than the other days. Now that the students have read through the text one to two times completely, they are ready for guided writing or a writing connection activity.

You could say, “Today we are going to be working on writing a retell. Each of you will work on writing a different part of the story.” You could break it up several ways:

  • beginning, middle, end
  • characters, problem, solution
  • Five Finger retell
  • telling how a character changed throughout the text

When they are done, have them work together to piece together the story so that they have a detailed retelling of the book. While they won’t have time to write a detailed retelling in one twenty-minute lesson on their own, they will if they work together.

After guided reading, I would have the students take their books to their book tubs so they can keep rereading it during independent reading time or send it home for additional practice.

Want to Learn More?

There is so much to unpack with second grade guided reading: learning more about the three-day lesson plan, identifying a teaching point, reaching those readers who struggle, and more.

Guided Reading Unpacked is an online course that will help you easily implement guided reading and master your instruction. Because I personally help coach teachers through the course and answer questions after, I only offer it a limited number of times per year.

Head to the website and hop on the waitlist to be sure you know when registration opens. I’d love for you to join us next time!

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Happy Teaching,



Want to use the latest research to boost your readers during small groups? Thisย FREEย guide is packed with engaging ideas to help them grow!

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your studentsย loveย and that areย easy to implementย for teachers.ย ย Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, youโ€™ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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