How to Use EVERY Minute During Guided Reading!

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How to Use EVERY Minute During Guided Reading! 1

I’ve had teachers ask me, “How do you get all of that reading 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 groups, you can accomplish one or more of these:

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  • have a group seated at the table ready to learn
  • lead a quick phonemic awareness activity that uses boxes taped to the table (see how here)
  • practice a speed drill
  • review sight word flashcards
  • time/test a student on fluency
  • list 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 FINALLY not rushing through reading lessons like a mad woman..I promise it’s the truth!

My reading 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 wasted time to search for materials or to have students take their time getting to the table.

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You might not like this next guided reading tip, but here goes…

I rarely play games at the guided reading table.

Since I only have 15 minutes with each group, I use those precious minutes as effectively as I can with my instruction. So,

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(Not sure about Must Do May Do? Read all the ins and outs about it here!)

Now my students are enjoying their guided reading time because they are learning and they are proud! Find some of my favorite strategies to use my time effectively:

  • I ALWAYS have everything ready to just grab and go in bins.
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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!
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Note: points are only for positive behavior and time management, not for reading progress or ability.
  • 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.
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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
  • 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 reading 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 my student on track with their goals and a great way to work on getting every minute in during guided reading!

These are the guided reading strategies I’ve lived by for many years, I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below, I love to hear what you have to say!

Looking for more guided reading strategies that are useful all year long? Check out these posts:

Thanks for stopping by!


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