If you are a primary teacher, you will have to know how to teach Guided Reading. If you are a first grade teacher, then you know that this grade level is one of the pivotal years in learning to read. It is highly important that your students develop a firm basis for reading this year. Here's how to teach Guided Reading and make it fun.

Plan It Out

Assess your students. Every elementary school will have its own ways of assessing student reading ability. Use these assessments and then analyze your data. Divide your students into small groups of about 5 or 6 according to reading level.

Gather materials. Your media center or reading specialist should have developmentally appropriate books for you to use for your Guided Reading groups. Be sure you have one copy for each child, and one for yourself. Find several stories for each of your Guided Reading groups. Organize them according to reading level.

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Have a plan. While you are working with your Guided Reading groups, the other students in your classroom can be working in literacy centers, or buddy reading, or doing silent, independent reading. It is important for you to have uninterrupted time with your Guided Reading groups, so be sure your other students can be self-sufficient during this block of time.

Guided Reading groups for this grade level should be approximately 15 minutes long. Begin by discussing the term Guided Reading. Make it seem special, like this is their little "book club." Children like special clubs. Explain that you will be meeting with them every day to discuss one book each week.

Down to The Details

Begin by modeling. Simply look at the front cover of your book. Oooh, and ahh over the pictures. Ask yourself a question out loud so the children hear you. Perhaps you'll say, "Hmmm, I wonder what this dog is going to do in the story? I think this story is about a dog."

Make predictions. Ask your students to look at the front covers of their books. Ask them to make a prediction about the story. What do they think the story will be about?

Go through the book without reading. Invite your students to simply look at the pictures. Explain that, often, the pictures alone can tell a story. This will be important later on if they are stuck on a word, then they will know to use the picture cues to help them figure the word out.

Begin by reading the book together. You read it aloud and have the students follow along. Use your finger to point to each word as you read it. Ask them to do the same.

One child at a time can take turns reading. Ask the other students to remain quiet and respectful when others are reading. Always remain positive and praise them. Do not jump in right away and correct a misread word. Ask them to go back and see if the misread word makes sense.

As you get further along in your Guided Reading groups, you can isolate skills such as phonetic skills. After reading, you can add simple manipulative games to your Guided Reading practice.

Always make sure to discuss what you enjoyed about the story when you are finished. And remember, this one story (even if you finish it on Day 1), can be read and reread all week long. Repetition is important in teaching reading.


  • When you see a student ready to move up or down in his Guided Reading group, simply move him over to another group.


  • Never suggest that one group is "higher" or "further" along in reading than another. Tell your students that they will each get to be in a group with almost every other student at some point, because you will be moving people and changing the groups around all year.

Things Needed

  • Multiple copies of easy-to-read books

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