Just the thought of getting started with guided reading can be overwhelming. I know that was the case for me when I started teaching. Over the years, I came to find the best tools for teaching guided reading. Theses guided reading tools were things I used almost daily from the beginning of the year as I started meeting with my groups.
Sticky Notes-I used this unique sized sticky notes almost every day with my guided reading groups. Not only did I use them to write kids’ names on and organize them into groups in my guided reading binder, but I also would let students use them in books. For example, at the beginning of the group I would set a purpose for reading such as making a connection. As the students read their book and made a connection, they would place their sticky note there. We would then talk about their connections after.
Notecards–I would use notecards to write new sight words on as I introduced a book. So if the book had “can”, and “the” in the book I would write them on the notecards, then we would practice reading them. I would then add them to the stack of sight word cards that we had already learned. At the beginning of each guided reading group time, we would play a quick sight word game with the stack as we all read the words.
Helper Cards for Students-These guided reading helper cards were a MUST! They have all of the decoding strategies that we would learn throughout the year. The helper card would sit at each student’s spot at my table so that they could easily reference them if needed. Grab there HERE free!
Baskets– These baskets were the perfect size for me to prepare each groups materials. They were not big so they fit nicely on two shelves that sat behind my guided reading table. They fit the small books that the students would read, any sight words cards that I had prepped before hand, and baggies of letter tiles or word sorts that we would do.
Teacher Caddy-Now normally, this teacher caddy is not something that I would ever see and think, “I need that!”, but let me tell you–I love it! I received it at a training and have used it every year since! I would store the sight word notecard stack, highlight tape, oops! tape, reading glasses, and magnetic dry erase boards ALL in one place. If I needed to take my group to the floor instead of my table, I just grabbed the caddy and their group basket and was set!
Highlight Tape for Readers– After I would introduce the sight words on the notecards, we would go on sight word hunts in our books. Students would use the highlight tape to find the new sight words. The best part about this tape is that it’s reusable! You can make the pieces into tabs and stick them on a laminated notecard. Each student would have tabs ready to go!
Letter Tiles– Letter tiles are a must! We used them for word work and to build words that followed our phonics focus for the week or the phonics focus that was easily identified in the book we were using.
Guided Reading Resource Cards– These resource cards are the key to success for my groups. They kept me on track and would help me know what skills each group needed to work on for the 3 different areas-word work, comprehension, and fluency. The best part is that I also know what behaviors to support based on each guided reading level. Grab them HERE FREE!
Reading Glasses– Oh a whim I purchased fake glasses from the Target dollar spot a few years ago. I told my students that they were our “reading glasses” and they helped them have “readers’ eyes”. Boy, were they fun! Cheapest little guided reading tool I ever purchased, my friends!
Magnetic Dry Erase Boards-At a wonderful training I received this set of 6 magnetic dry erase boards. I don’t even think I knew there was such a thing because I had never been to Lakeshore and I was just used to seeing normal dry erase boards. Hands down, a must have! Both my students and I used magnetic letters on them often! They also fit so perfectly in my teacher caddy. Word work, sentence writing, illustrating pictures as our writing–a fantastic tool for my groups!
“Oops Tape”– A sweet teacher friend told me about “oops tape”. It’s just white post it tape that is thick, is not see through. It does not ruin book pages and is perfect for when a book has a strange word that I would like to change, for modeling correct sentence writing, and for hiding words to reveal as we are working on decoding strategies in their little books. A roll like this lasts me at least all year, too!
What are your must-have guided reading tools?