Professional Development

May 30, 2020

Why You Need Guided Reading in Your Classroom

Reading small groups are hands-down my favorite way to teach reading. Not only do I see results in my students’ reading skills, but they love it. When I called a group to my small group table, they were all always excited. There are so many benefits of reading small groups.

Trust me when I say you need reading small groups in your classroom. Even if it is a virtual classroom through distance learning, you need reading small groups.

If you’re not convinced you need reading small groups for your students, let’s check out the top benefits of small groups.

Reading small groups allow for differentiated instruction.

Do you remember “popcorn reading” and round-robin reading in elementary school? I sure do! Well, reading small groups are not this at all. You group children by phonics skills that need to be reinforced and practiced.

Then, you choose leveled books that target each group of readers. You meet each child where they are so you can move them forward in reading. One of the top benefits of reading small groups is the ability to differentiate instruction for your entire class.

You can address weaknesses in reading.

Each reading small group usually has two to six students. When you are carefully listening to children read and taking running records, you can easily figure out areas of weakness in reading. Then, you can make a plan for how to strengthen those areas for each student.

Reading small groups allow for targeted word work and sight word practice.

In a twenty-minute guided reading schedule, there is a time for sight word and word work practice. Another one of my favorite benefits of reading small groups are targeted, specific practice in these areas. It can be tied into the book or not.

If there is a skill most of the group struggling with, you can address it quickly. This is a great opportunity to move struggling readers along and push advanced readers forward.

You can help build reading comprehension and fluency.

We all know that reading comprehension and fluency are critical components of reading. Through reading small groups, you can assess both fluency and comprehension. Then, you can easily develop a plan to help readers in the specific areas they struggle with. Because you listen closely when kids read, you can easily analyze these two things each time you meet with them.

You can intentionally teach concepts about print.

Non-readers and emergent readers can experience the benefits of reading small groups, too. Reading small groups give you time to teach concepts about print so you can target areas where these readers need help. You can be intentional when teaching things like punctuation, identifying words and letters, and more!

Making books with your non-readers is a great activity! Read more about guided reading with kindergarten and non-readers!

Reading small groups help teach readers how to talk about a text.

Part of reading small groups include comprehension practice and sometimes guided writing. When you meet with students, you will teach them how to think about a text they read. They’ll learn how to analyze it on their level. Then, students will learn how to talk about a text. This will lead to an expanded vocabulary, too.

A Free Tool to Help You Maximize the Benefits of Reading Small Groups

One of my favorite resources for guided reading is the Guided Reading Resource cards. These cards guide you through what to teach at each level for kindergarten, first, and second grade guided reading.

They cover:

  • behaviors to support
  • word work activities
  • comprehension and fluency

Get your FREE set today.

Print them out to be set for the fall. Yes, it’s time to start thinking ahead. If you haven’t tried reading small groups, this is a great year to start! If you haven’t been consistently implementing it, let’s figure out how to help you stick with it.

Even if we do reading small groups via distance learning, students will still receive the many benefits of reading small groups.

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Are you looking to learn more about bringing the science of reading research to your reading small groups? Join me in this FREE workshop!

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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2 Responses

  1. Hi,

    I just wanted to know where to find the cards you displayed under the heading-

    They look fantastic.


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