I have been using guided reading for the past 7 years, and I really can’t imagine teaching reading without using this model. I plan to write a few blog posts about how I implement guided reading in my classroom. To start, I want to share with you the guided reading materials that I use.
This post includes affiliate links if you wish to purchase the guided reading materials and supplies mentioned in this post.
Organizing Guided Reading Materials
I have used quite a few organizers and caddies over the years, but I think I finally found a keeper in this white craft container I picked up from Amazon last year. It is extremely sturdy and I think it will last several more years. I love the fact that it has a handle so that I can easily carry the materials to a student’s desk or work area for independent reading conferences (read more about independent reading conferences and how I conduct them here).
Now let’s take a closer look at the materials that I use regularly for guided reading.
I love using post-it notes for my students to jot down their thoughts while they are reading. This can be thoughts they have that they want to share, answers to specific questions I provide, or interesting or unknown vocabulary words. I love using post-it notes because students love writing on them and they are very non-threatening with their small size. I also sometimes place blank post-it notes on specific parts of the books where I want the students to summarize, make a prediction, or write down their thoughts.
Sticky flags or post-it flags are a great way for students to flag their reading quickly and then move on without stopping to write. You will sometimes find that stopping to write while they are reading may be detrimental to the fluency and comprehension of some students. If this is the case, I will give them a few sticky flags and ask them to mark the page or section where they found the answer to a question, where they had a specific reaction, or where they had difficulties as a reader.
Sentence Stems on Rings
Guided reading is my chance to “meet my students where they are” as readers, but I still need to use this time to review or re-teach my state standards (we use common core standards). To help me do this, I use sentence stems that I have written for each reading standard (the ones printed on white card stock shown above).
When we are focusing on a specific standard, I pull out the ring of stems (I try to have three available and students share with one another). The stems are great for when the students are answering a specific standards based question from me or when they are just jotting down their thoughts while applying the standard/reading skill to their writing.
These sentence stem posters are actually full-size posters that I print four to a page. You can find them in my TpT store by clicking HERE. I have them for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade.
I use the sentences stems printed on blue card stock to teach key reading comprehension strategies the first month of school. These are also full size posters printed four to a page. You can grab those posters for FREE by clicking HERE.
Dry Erase Markers and Page Protectors
In addition to reading books and magazines, we also read passages (more about that later on). I like to make enough copies for one group and then place the passages in page protectors. The students use dry erase markers to mark the text and write responses. This saves my copies and allows me to have all of my passages in page protectors and in a binder ready to-go.
“Special” or “Not So Special” Pencils
Oh, pencils at the guided reading table. This can get tricky. Fortunately, you have two options as a teacher to handle this dilemma:
- One option is not to make it necessary that the students bring a pencil to your table. Instead, you can have “special” guided reading pencils for them to use. I say special because if you go this route, the pencils need to be distinctive or unusual so they are only used for this purpose and don’t “walk away.” You could have a special color or style of pencil, mechanical pencils, or labeled pencils.
- Another option (the one I use) is to require that the students bring their own pencils to guided reading groups. If this is the case, it is inevitable that students will not have their pencils from time to time. You definitely need a procedure for that. I like to have golf pencils on hand for this purpose. If a student does not have a pencil, they grab a golf pencil to use. Because these pencils are small and have no erasers, they tend to not walk off.
Highlighter tape is a great way to have students highlight parts of the text as they are reading in books that cannot be written in. Give the students one strip and have them use it throughout the week as needed. I use the highlighter tape that is removable (even though it is more pricey) so it can be re-used. My students love using this and I love that they are “manipulating” the text, in a sense.
When we use passages where students have their own individual copies, I like for them to use highlighters (I prefer the smaller, chiseled highlighters) to highlight their evidence or other parts of the text while they are reading.
Index cards are also a great alternative to using post-notes for written responses. I like to use these for lengthier responses that need more room or responses that we are working on all week and I want to ensure that the students don’t lose their work.
I have found that index cards are often better for this than post-it notes that may lose their stickiness if manipulated too much by the students.
Prove It Readers
I found Prove It Readers this past summer from Really Good Stuff, and I am excited to try these out. I am hoping these will be a another alternative to using highlighters or highlighter tape. The students can use the top portion of the reader to “highlight” the section of the text that supports their answer, opinion, or thinking. You can check out these readers here.
Standards or Skill Based Passages
In addition to the supplies that I keep in my guided reading organizer, my other go-to materials for guided reading are standard-based passages. I am fortunate to work in a school that has a book room with guided reading sets available and we do use those often. However, I also like to use shorter, targeted passages to teach specific skills.
When we use passages, I often place 6-7 passages in page protectors instead of making copies for each student. Then, we use dry erase markers and highlighter tape (mentioned above) when we are working the text. We also use post-it notes to record responses to specific questions or prompts.
I store my passages within their page protectors in a binder so they are ready to go when I need them. Click HERE to grab the binder cover and spine that you see in the above picture.
Need some passages to use? Click HERE to see my reading units that have several passages in them that are specific to the skill of the unit. If you would like one passage per standard that you teach, click HERE to see the 4th/5th grade set and HERE to see the 3rd grade set.
These standards-based passages are perfect for guided reading and ensuring you teach all of the standards. Since I have two sets of grade levels, I am able to use both of them to meet the needs of all of my readers.
This is an example from my 3rd grade set. The standard is labeled and each story comes with at least one written response question. This question can be used to help you guide your lesson.
Guided Reading Binder
Another staple in my guided reading materials is my guided reading binder, which is another post in itself. Look for a post all about my guided reading binder resources later in September or October of this year.
For more information about how I teach reading, click HERE to read a detailed breakdown. If you are interested in the research and philosophies behind my reading instruction, click HERE to see must-have reading professional development books.
What are your must-have guided reading materials and supplies? Let me know in the comments!