Tools to Get Started with Guided Reading - Mrs. Richardson's Class


Professional Development

May 28, 2016

Tools to Get Started with Guided Reading

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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.

These 11 things are a must-have for guided reading tools! They are everything you need to get started and keep groups running smoothly! I love the explanations that she shares for each of them, too!
Amazon affiliate links are used in below. Don’t worry, they don’t cost you penny!

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.


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!


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?

These 11 tools are a must-have for guided reading! These supplies are everything you need to get started and keep groups running smoothly! I love the explanations that she shares for each of them, too! #guidedreading #mrsrichardsonsclass #kindergarten #firstgrade #secondgrade #toolkit

Happy Teaching,


Free Guided Reading Resource Cards

Want to know exactly what to teach at each guided reading level? Grab your FREE Guided Reading Resource Cards.

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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22 Responses

  1. I want to say thank you for sharing your resources for my guiding reading group. I look forward in sharing my progress of my reading groups.

  2. Hi
    I am a new to this site. I was just surfing the web and stumble upon greatness. I am a kindergartner teacher and had problems with the structure of guiding reading, what to do when to do and how to do to benefit my student. I am a visual learner as to most of my student so I need something like this last year. My class will benefit from these strategy you have so graciously supplied us. Is there a cost for using this information if so how much? I look forward to reading your new ideas.

    1. Hi Elaine! I’m so glad you found my blog! I am very passionate about guided reading and love sharing tips and things I have learned along the way with other teachers! The guided reading resource cards are free for you! If you are looking for resources to purchase, you can find those here in my TpT store. Let me know if you have any other questions at all! I am always happy to help! 🙂

  3. Hi,
    I really like your ideas and look forward to implementing them in to my guided reading time. I like the idea of the teacher caddy. I am usually scrambling around for extra 3×5 cards for sight words or highlighters to mark words. During my guided reading I, too, use “reading glasses” and I also use “magic fingers” which are the funny witch fingers that I found at the dollar store around Halloween. We use them when we are reading to track our words. I also use a timer to keep me on schedule. Thanks again for sharing – best wishes for a successful school year!

    1. Yes! I always did guided reading every day for a 60 minute block. There were times that We would have an assembly or an early release and I would have to do a 45 minute block, though.

  4. Thank you for all of the tools but I have a question did you use a guided reading planning sheet or how did you plan what you were going to do my lesson plans for my school district doesn’t have one I work with special ed students grades 4 through 6 all reading below a second grade level

  5. Hi Amanda,
    I am trying to get the REading Resource cards but the link to get them isn’t working! Can you send the to me via email?
    Thank you for all your help! The ideas are fantastic!

      1. Thank you I cant wait to have my own class and start teaching. I am a substitute right now but will still use these when I can. I have teacher friends, and websights I am visiting to get tricks and helpful hints. All that you can pass my way would be appreciated.

  6. Two questions:

    1) my biggest issue is what to do with the rest of my class while my reading groups are in progress. What do you do? It seems like having them working on other things either produces sub-par work (compared to what I know they can do) or is work that doesn’t produce tangible results such as games. I want to make sure that the 45 minutes-1 hour that they aren’t being closely monitored by me because I’m with reading groups isn’t wasted.

    2) The “teacher caddy” link you included won’t work. Could you tell us the brand of the caddy so that we could look somewhere other than amazon?

    Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi Erin! 1. I LOVED literacy stations and specifically, literacy stations that I didn’t have to switch out each week and re-teach. I went for purposeful practice! 2. Sorry about that caddy link! It’s from Lakeshore Learning! 🙂

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