Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Guys of Primary Talk Guided Reading (Part 4)

Hey everyone! It's Chris from Famous in First and I'm so excited to be joining Chad, Bryce, and Greg in sharing about Guided Reading in my classroom and partnering with Bob Books for an awesome giveaway!
Guided Reading to me needs to be three things. Organized, Flexible, and Meaningful. All three go hand in hand, but are necessary to your success in making gains in your students during this small group time.

1. Organized. 

As a teacher you need to be prepared for your small groups. You need to know where each of your students are academically and what they need to succeed so you can focus in on filling those gaps. Your materials need to be prepared in advance so that no time is wasted in your groups and you get the most instruction out of an already limited block of time.

To organize my students into their Guided Reading groups, I have six different colored pocket charts. Students are usually grouped based on their DRA Reading level, but I will often change the groups around based on data from a specific standard or skill I am working on. By using these colored pocket charts, each student can visually see what color group they are in and I can easily make changes as needed throughout the year. I absoultely LOVE this system and have used it in both First and Fourth Grade.

When students come to their small group they find their group's colored folder from the Seat Sack at my Small Group table. Each Colored pocket chart group has a matching colored pocket folder at my small group table with all the materials for their group already inside and waiting for them. Ex. If they are in the Red group, they take out the red folder. This saves A LOT of time and makes the transition between groups very simple. They put their folder away and the next group will take out theirs. These folders stay in the Seat Sack at my Guided Reading/Small Group table. Ahead of time I will put the text I am using and any materials/resources needed into the folder.

2. Flexible. 

Things won't always go as planned. If during your Guided Reading Groups you notice a need or something your students are missing, you need to be flexible enough to re-direct your small group and "go with flow" to make sure they're getting what they need. This is not the time to "Stick to your plan." Guided reading needs to be flexible so you can meet the needs of your students and make the most of your time together.

For my "on the fly" interventions or activities, I love using my Boogie Boards. These are perfect to reinforce sight words, phonics patterns, vocabulary, writing, etc. and does not require using up paper or printing anything in advance. I HIGHLY suggest having Boogie Boards or white boards ready for each student for Guided Reading. These are used daily in my classroom!

3. Meaningful. 

The activities and resources used in Guided Reading need to advance your students and meet them individually where they are at. You need to meet with these students for a purpose each day and not just "meet to meet." Your groupings also need to be thought out and meaningful based on data. By making sure your activities and groupings are meaningful you are setting yourself and your students up for success.

Making your small groups meaningful will also be dependent on the rest of your students who you're not currently meeting with being on task and working on their own so you can focus on your group. This can often be a challenge, but if you're stopping every minute or so to correct behaviors or help other students, you are wasting valuable Guided Reading time.

To manage classroom behavior during this time I use a Classroom Management resource from my friend Autumn at Primary Techie! Here's how it works: I project a Builder Tooler or secret puzzle onto my white board. Students work to reveal all puzzle pieces, a secret message, or build whatever it may be (A Hamburger, Pizza, Snowman, etc.) I control when they earn their next piece. There are a TON of different themes to choose from and my kids absolutely LOVE this! When they earn a piece there is a chime sound that plays. The best part is I use a presentation clicker to click, so I never have to leave my small group table! It seriously is AMAZING! I can also click back to take away a piece if I notice my students are off task. This tool has allowed me to completely focus on my small group while managing the rest of my class! Here's a sample of the builder tools from Autumn's blog. This one is a snowman for winter and with each click he will get a new accessory until he is complete. There are a TON of different themes for every occasion! Your kids will LOVE to see what they are working to build each week!

Now onto Bob Books and your chance to win an AWESOME Prize Pack....

Using Bob Books during Guided Reading is a great way to stay on top of your resources and keep your groups organized and meaningful. You can work through a set of leveled books and always know what is coming up next. Your texts are preselected and always ready for you! Bob Books are the perfect size and length for small groups. I will often have students take home the text we worked on during our small group to practice. Bob Books easily fit in my student's take home folders. These are not just for beginning readers either! Bob Books has book sets for Emerging and Developing readers as well which are perfect for your higher level readers or First Graders! These include First Grade Sight Words, Rhyming Words, Word Families, Complex Words, Long Vowels, and more!

Bob Books are also available on their App which is a great way to reinforce these early reading skills and keep students engaged on technology! Encourage your parents to purchase the app as well for more practice at home!
Make sure you enter the Rafflecopter below to Enter to Win an AWESOME Prize Pack from Bob Books including: Bob Books Complete Box Set, Bob Books: Reading Sight Words App -Free Download, and Bob Books: Happy Hats- Beginning Reading Game!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What a great classroom management tool. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a great classroom management tool. Thanks for sharing!