Reading Groups: How to Plan Teacher Tips

Have you ever felt like planning guided reading groups each week is time-consuming, complicated, and you just don’t even know where to start? You’re not alone! Here’s a peek at how I plan my activities for guided reading groups each week!

How I Plan Guided Reading

My Guided Reading Groups Binder

First, if you feel like you have guided reading materials, lesson plans, and paperwork everywhere, do yourself a favor and make a nice big binder for guided reading groups. Mine is pretty thick, but I love having everything organized with colorful tabs and dividers. You will love having it all in one place!

Once you’re ready to plan for the week, take a look at all of your guided reading groups and their reading levels. Do a quick review of any anecdotal notes and running records you have from the week before. This will help you decide your next steps.

Gather Books and Resources

At my school, we have a lovely bookroom filled with Ziploc bags of books, many of which are already leveled. We also have sets of books from our reading curriculum that you can use.

For some of my guided reading groups, I choose to use passages from ReadWorks or NewsELA. I also like to print books from Reading A-Z. The Reading A-Z books are great because students can take them home at the end of the week or add them to their book bins.

Quick Lesson Plan Templates for Guided Reading Groups

I know I’m not alone when I say I don’t fill out detailed lesson plans for guided reading each week. I typically have anywhere between 4 and 6 guided reading groups, and there’s no way I have time to write out detailed plans for each one!

That’s why I suggest you keep it short and sweet. Just write down the most important teaching points, vocabulary, etc., and then move on. Plus, once you’ve been running guided reading groups for a while, you pretty much get the hang of it!

Image shows an example of a guided reading groups lesson plan template.

Guided Reading Organization

Like I mentioned earlier, I always have my guided reading binder out and easily accessible. In my binder, you should keep student reading levels and data, lesson plans, running records, and student reading conference notes.

My Go-To Guided Reading Resource

If there’s one resource that’s been a total game-changer for helping me plan my guided reading and lessons, it’s Jan Richardson’s book The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading (affiliate link). It helped me plan exactly what I need to be teaching at each reading level.

Image links to the book "The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading" by Jan Richardson.

Plus, there are tons of templates and resources that have been a huge help!

Want to Know More?

While this post quickly goes through how I plan and run my guided reading, you might still want to know more. That’s why I’ve created this FREE Small Group Workbook that goes into even more detail about reading and math small groups! You can download a copy for yourself right here!

Image links to a free teacher's guide all about small groups.

Read more about organizing math and reading rotations here!

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