Professional Development

March 10, 2018

5 Ways to Use iPads During Guided Reading

As technology in education advances, more teachers have access to iPads in the classroom. How neat is it that we have more ways to reach our learners! Using iPads during guided reading might seem difficult, but it’s just the opposite! Even if you only have one iPad for you and 22 friends to share, there are plenty of ways you can use them during guided reading time. Technology and reading can go hand-in-hand.

Using iPads during Guided reading can be intimidating, but there are several ways that we can implement them into group time easily! Read this guided reading blog post to learn 5 simple ways to use ipads during guided reading for kindergarten and first grade students!

You can use iPads during guided reading:

-to help introduce books.

To build background knowledge or introduce unfamiliar vocabulary, you can use the internet to pull up pictures of things to help your readers. You can also use short videos from sites like Brain Pop Jr. or YouTube to help explain new concepts. This would be super helpful for your ELL students. One time when we were reviewing the “am” word family, I realized none of the students at my table knew what a clam was. Pulling up a quick picture of it gave them some context.

-as whiteboards.

There are many great apps that let you draw freely and save your work. One of my favorites is the ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard app. It lets you import images, make audio and video recordings, or just use it for writing and drawing. Some other similar free apps to try are Jot, Educreations Interactive Whiteboard, Drawing Pad, and GroupBoard (you can collaborate with five iPads in real time for free). You can use the iPad drawing space to collectively retell the story, practice word work, have students interact with words, and demonstrate comprehension by drawing or writing. So many possibilities!

-to do running records.

Even if you like paper and pencil records, you might be surprised at how handy digital running records can be! There are also several calculators you can use to automatically calculate accuracy and self-correction ratios like Running Record Assistant. If you’re looking for a full template, check out Record of Reading.

After entering the student information, you can hit record to make an audio recording of the student reading while you start marking the running record. Then, it helps you easily do the calculations, gives you space to analyze miscues and self-corrections, and provides room to jot down notes. You can save it as either a pdf or image directly to your device or email it. You could even download this app as a backup in case you run out of paper copies!

-for word work.

It seems like there’s an endless amount of apps you can use to have the students practice word work during guided reading. You can either have them share or each use an iPad. With apps like ABC Magnetic Alphabet (digital magnetic letters) and Sand draw (think of a beach-themed whiteboard), teachers can lead students through word work while students respond in the app.  Starfall, ABC Alphabet Phonics, and Making Words each have many games you could pick from to meet a specific skill each child needs to practice. If your word work is needing a refresh, try to find a game or app to switch things  up.

-for sight word practice.

Just like word work options, there are so many choices for games on the iPad to practice sight word recognition and fluency. Sight Words by Photo Touch and Sight Words Learning Games are two that have lots of great reviews. These would fun for a quick review of sight words at the end of guided reading time for each group.

Hands-on, tactile work with letters, words, and books is still so important. Sometimes switching things up ignites a new excitement for learning.  I’d encourage you to spend some time in the App Store searching for apps with great reviews, lots of downloads, and that are age-appropriate. It seems like every week there are new apps added.

Make sure to preview everything you want to try with your guided reading groups ahead of time.

You never know when you’ll get something that won’t meet the needs of your students that you thought would work. You don’t want to waste any time at the table!

Do you use iPads with your guided reading groups? What does that look like in your classroom? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Using iPads during Guided reading can be intimidating, but there are several ways that we can implement them into group time easily! Read this guided reading blog post to learn 5 simple ways to use ipads during guided reading for kindergarten and first grade students!

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If you want to check out more information on guided reading, click HERE to find a round-up of my favorite posts.

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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