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How to Use EVERY Minute During Guided Reading Time!

I’ve had teachers ask me, “How do you get all that instruction into 15 minutes?” And I tell them, it’s because…

Every minute in guided reading counts.

Not only is it amazing what you can teach in one minute, but I’m going to show you how to do this.

In one minute with your guided reading group you can accomplish one or more of these:

  • have a group seated at the table ready to learn
  • lead a quick phonemic awareness activity using boxes taped to the table
  • practice a speed drill
  • review sight word flashcards
  • time/test a student on fluency
  • listen to 6 students whisper read a page
  • have students build 2 words with a targeted skill with magnetic letters
  • have students write 3 sight words on the table
  • chorally read targeted sounds on a chart

Since there’s no time to waste, I’m not rushing through lesson like a mad woman...I promise it’s the truth!

My lesson easily flows and it’s because my students enjoy coming to the table to learn. I’ve also taken the time to organize, so there is no time to search for materials or to have students take their time getting to the table, and….

You might not like this next one, but here goes…

I rarely play games at the guided reading table.

I only have 15 minutes with each group, so I use those minutes as effectively as I can with instruction. And,

(Interested in Must do May Do? Read more about it here!)

Now students enjoy guided reading time because they are learning and they are proud! These are some strategies I do to use time effectively:

  • I target my planning with each group using Targeted Guided Reading Read more HERE.
  • I have everything ready to just grab and go in bins.
Bins to keep organized and easy access
  • I reward students with points for getting to the table within a minute, staying on task during the lessons, and working hard. If they have 5 or more points by the end of our time, they move their clips up! Note: points are only for positive behavior and time management, not for reading progress or ability.
Rewarding positive behaviors
  • I get their buy-in by regularly sharing with them how important our time together is.
  • I keep things routine so we transition from one activity to the next smoothly. Example: I always have a speed drill ready to go for each student even before they arrive at the table. They start without prompting from me because this is a routine and they love drills!
Speed drills are a must!
  • I keep teacher talk to a minimum.
  • I use a Must Do May Do system for centers and find I have fewer interruptions at the table. Learn to use this method instead of rotating reading centers.
  • And once again…And this is just my choice…I rarely if ever play games at the guided reading table. I reserve the table for instruction. Games are played during May Do centers. This doesn’t mean that other teachers are doing it wrong. I just have found that my time is better spent on targeted instruction.

These are some great ways to keep students on track with their goals and a great way to work on getting in every minute during guided reading!

Thanks for stopping by!

Check out more blog posts to give you some ideas on using time wisely: 

1st Grade Pandamania

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I am a newly retired first-grade teacher in the beautiful state of Colorado. I taught for 32 years (17 of those in 1st grade.) Watching my students learn and grow was such a blessing for me, and I'm excited to share what I've learned over the years with you. Read More

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