Professional Development

February 11, 2019

3 Things to Avoid During Guided Reading

When it comes to guided reading, there are many ways to approach it. Some people pull one group a day, some people, see all of their groups each day, some people rarely take informal running records, and others take a running record each time they sit down at their table. Basically, everyone has their own way of doing things, which I totally understand, but there are three things that we should all avoid during a guided reading lesson.

There are three things that you should avoid when doing a guided reading lesson. Do you know what they are? Are you doing these things? Read this blog post about a guided reading lesson to make sure you are doing things that are a best practice!

1.Read Round Robin

Round robin reading is when everyone has the same book and they all take turns reading a page. For example, Brenda reads page 1, Tamika reads page 2, Jose reads page 3, Thomas reads page 4, and Malik reads page 5. This is not a best teaching practice when it comes to guided reading because no child is actually reading all of the text. The point of guided reading is for each child to read a book, to coach them through it, and to help them build the necessary skills to become great readers. To do this, they have to read the text.

2. Skip Word Work

We have all been there! I know that I have. I am pressed for time, I only have thirteen minutes with my group instead of my normal twenty minutes, and I cannot get through the full lesson like I would prefer. Something has to be skipped.

It cannot be word work. Giving students time to explicitly practice working with letters, sounds, and words is an important pillar when it comes to literacy instruction. Doing word work during your guided reading time allows you to coach students through their work and monitor how they are growing in this skill.

3. Create Word-Callers

With all of the components of a guided reading lesson, it’s easy to finish reading the book and think, “Well, we made it! Next group…” This simply is not true. Without checking for comprehension, are we truly able to know if our students are reading? No! Reading is successful when we are able to create meaning out of it. When we are able to comprehend, understand deeply, and tell about what we read, we are readers! Otherwise, we are simply word-callers. After the text has been read, we MUST check for comprehension by simply asking questions to our readers.

There are three things that you should avoid when doing a guided reading lesson. Do you know what they are? Are you doing these things? Read this blog post about a guided reading lesson to make sure you are doing things that are a best practice!

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We all start somewhere, learn as we go, and continue to grow in our teaching practice! Learning more and more about best literacy practices helps us create a rich literacy environment for our little learners. What do you think you should change about your guided reading practice? Is there anything you should add or get rid of from your guided reading lesson?

Happy Teaching,



Want to use the latest research to boost your readers during small groups? This FREE 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 students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  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, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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10 Responses

  1. This is my first year teaching first grade. If you don’t take turns reading then how do you do it? Have them all read out loud together? All read silently together? Thanks for any advice on this.

    1. Hi Meghan! Great question! I have my kids whisper read all at the same time. It takes time and practice, but they get the hang of it really quickly. I start the child who I am going to take a running record on, then I tap my hand on the table and the others can begin. That helps ensure that the child I am assessing is usually reading ahead of the others. I also liked to have the others use whisper phones, too! This helped with them reading and listening to only their own reading.

  2. This is great the “3 things to avoid”. Is there an article to follow this up with….how to manage an effective reading group? 🙂

  3. Maybe not every time, but I think it is important to take some time to write about what they’ve read too.

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