Guided reading has several tiny bits and pieces that come together to make your time at the table successful. I feel like the more I taught guided reading, the more aware I became of each puzzle piece. One of the pieces that I don’t think I fully grasped the power of until years later was scheduling and creating my guided reading groups. Sometimes this task became so routine for me that I failed to take full advantage of creating guided reading groups like I should. Other times I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water when it came to sticking to my schedule. Here are a few things I learned along the way.
Guided Reading Groups are Flexible
Yes, they are! Your students aren’t stuck in a group and the groups don’t always have to be based on reading level. Shocker? It’s true! The guided reading gurus, Fontas and Pinnell, say so themselves! You are free to move kids from group to group. Maybe you need to focus on a strategy with your level B group and there is a little reader in your level C group that can benefit. Move them down for the day and coach them through the skill again.
You Know Your Kids Better Than a Schedule
Sometimes the week was packed with ceremonies, assemblies, the math lesson would take a bit longer, or the writing was going SO well I didn’t dare stop the little authors. When this would happen, I found myself struggling to get to three guided reading groups per day. I found myself only getting to two groups and then feeling guilty for not getting to three because of an expectation I had set for myself. On these days, I had to remind myself that I knew my kids better than a schedule and and so at times, I wouldn’t stick to my schedule. Instead of seeing groups 2, 3, and 1 like I had planned, I was going to only see groups 2 and 3 and I KNEW that group 1 was going to be okay and I would just adjust their group time the next day I met with them. I gave myself some grace.
Guided Reading Schedules are Flexible
Yes, it’s true! They sure are. You don’t have to always meet with the same groups on the same days. Here is a snap shot of how I always began scheduling my groups, but they got moved around each and every week!
It depended on our daily schedule and on who I really needed to spend time with that day. That’s OKAY! Don’t be glued to your schedule so much that your kids aren’t benefitting as much as they could.
What is your biggest hurdle when it comes to your guided reading groups? I’d love to brainstorm with you! Leave a comment and let me know!