Out of This World Literacy : Getting Started with Guided Reading
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Getting Started with Guided Reading

Hello Again Friends!!

I wanted to talk with you all today about getting started with guided reading.  It is that time in the school year when we all are finished assessing students and are ready to pull small groups for guided reading instruction. 

If you are like me, you may struggle with exactly what is the best way to use this important time with students.  Over the years, I have tried so many different approaches, using a variety of note taking forms and lesson plan formats. 

I have found that the following lesson format is the best way to cover the most important reading instruction, regardless of the students’ instructional levels:

  The Steps in a Guided Reading Lesson:

1.Introduction (2-3 minutes)

i.Decode and define tricky words by bringing students to those words they may struggle with.

ii.Give students background knowledge to better understand the text.

2.Reading the text (10 minutes)

i.Students read the text silently, while the teacher listens in to each student whisper read for a few minutes.

ii.The teacher takes notes on the types of strategies students use to solve unknown words.  The teacher may quickly teach a word solving or fluency skill to an individual student.

3.Talking about the text (5 minutes)

i.   The teacher has a conversation with students about their thinking and what they might still be wondering about what they just read.

4. Teaching objective  (5 minutes)

i.The teacher explicitly teaches one of the learning objectives recommended for students at their instructional level. 
ii. The teacher can ask open-ended questions specific to the reading strategy being taught.

5.Word work (3-4 minutes)

i.Some days the teacher may plan to work on a spelling pattern that follows weekly spelling words.  Other days the teacher may want to write down a few words that students were struggling with during the guided reading lesson. 

6.   Assessment Assignment (optional: completed independently)

i.Students complete a graphic organizer relevant to the teaching objective covered during the lesson.

I hope this lesson outline helps you as you are planning your guided reading lessons.
For specific teaching objectives for fiction, nonfiction, and word work on guided reading levels, you can click here
For guided reading teacher forms click here.

Best of luck to you all who are just getting your guided reading groups going.  They are such a great way to differentiate instruction and reach students where they are so that we can move them forward in their learning!!
Jen Bengel


  1. I love how you broke it all down. This is so helpful. Thanks!

    Quinnessential Lessons

  2. I'm going to show this post to my new partner teacher who's a newbie. Love how it is all laid out!

  3. What recommendations do you have for older students who may be reading long chapter books? I like the idea of 10 minutes of reading during the meeting, but I often have to assign multiple chapters in a week so students can read the book in an appropriate time frame. I have found that if I take too long on a chapter book the students lose focus on the book. My students often have to read chapters outside of school to be ready for the next guided reading session. Any suggestions? Thanks!