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Guided reading is a must in my classroom. It’s the best and most effective way to help students achieve their reading goals. It’s my favorite part of the day, and I’m so excited to share with you how I organize my groups and what documents I use during each meeting!


Dollar Tree is my best friend when it comes to bins. You need bins to organize your leveled books as well as your documentation! In my Guided Reading Starting Pack, use the provided labels to label each bin so changing books in and out is a breeze. I use colors to name each group, this way students don’t know anything about the group and their levels. I highly encourage not to use names that tell levels for each group. Make it descrete!


I use file folders to create a make-shift binder. Personally, I don’t like having a bulky binder while working with my students. This flex folder that I create gives me enough space for each group to write notes. I use sticky notes to jot quick notes and then transfer those notes in a more detailed version after school.

To avoid reprinting the color labels, laminate them so you can easily wipe off names when your groups change!


Sorry, but you won’t have an effective lesson if you don’t have a goal and a lesson planned ahead of time. Guided Reading lessons have to be intentional. Having the right planning tools will make planning each group a breeze!

My guided reading plans consist of a warm up that lasts about 3 to 4 minutes for each group each day. Warm ups can be anything we’ve done in the past. I also use warm up time for my students to work on fluency. There’s no wrong way to plan for warm ups. Just make sure the warm up has a purpose!

The main part of my lesson is the focus lesson. Each group is different based on their needs. My groups do not stay the same throughout the year. I use assessments to help guide my groups. The focus lesson needs to be over a skill that those particular students struggle with and need more help.


I like to include my students in their goal setting. It’s a team effort to get students to their goal, which means students should play a part too! I like to set aside some time every few weeks to meet with students individually to discuss their goals. They fill out this form and bring it every meeting with me as a reminder.

Maybe you’re just starting off with a guided reading program. Let me pass along my Running Records form to help get you started! These running records are a perfect tool to use to help you group your students and get you started to small group teaching.

Grab My Guided Reading Resource Pack!

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progress monitoring in the early elementary classroom for math, literacy and reading

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