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TARGETED Guided Reading

Our job as teachers is by no means easy. People outside the education field often comment that teaching first graders must be fun.  Well, yes.  At times we have great fun, and I enjoy and love my students dearly. I wouldn’t do this job if I didn’t absolutely love it because in order to be effective, teaching is time-consuming and very hard work. Plain and simple.

Take guided reading for example. Planning for 4 different groups is where I spend a great amount of my planning time. I spend so much time here because…

Just like most teachers, I have a wide range of readers in my 1st-grade classroom. I have students in my class who struggle with sight words and are still not automatic with their blending. But I also have students who are reading 140 words per minute and can retell what they have read in order and with great detail.

YIKES! How do we effectively meet the needs of all those readers with such varying needs?

Students reading 50 words per minute or higher probably don’t need sight word review or sound by sound blending practice. Students reading below 25 words per minute may still lack phonemic awareness or need drilling of vowel discrimination. All need comprehension instruction, but what should the main focus be for each group?

Prescriptive, targeted instruction is what each student in each group needs in order for students to progress with their reading.

One size does NOT fit all when it comes to guided reading!

Our school relies heavily on DIBELS progress monitoring assessments once or twice per month to determine reading progress and needs of individual students. We also assess sight word fluency regularly as well as the notes we take during guided reading time.

Other teachers rely on running records, reading inventories, or other regular reading assessments to determine what our readers need most to become proficient readers. We love to use this PowerPoint to test our students on their Fry sight words throughout the year.

After using a long list of sight words to read on test day, many of my students were intimidated by that long list of words, and anxiety quickly sets in! Now my students can control the PowerPoint by pressing the forward button on the computer and read the words at their own pace…so much easier!

Running records, Fry sight word testing forms, fluency records, and forms for recording first sound, phoneme segmentation, and nonsense words are included in the Targeted Guided Reading K-2 Pack.

So after progress monitoring or regular reading assessments, the first step is to record the reading assessment data. I like to use a spreadsheet with student names to record testing data.

Next, I dig into the data, looking for red flags and areas of need. I then group students with similar reading needs. I try to focus on no more than two or three targets or needs for each group.

After many revisions over several years, I have simplified my

Now in a fillable PDF form! Just click on the field and enter your information. Easy Peasy!

Once I have determined the target for the group, I fill out the student names for the group and their current scores that reflect the target.  The scores should match their target.

Then…

I select just the activities and materials that will help my students meet the target using the NEW Activities Resources Flip Books show below.

This helps me to stay focused on their greatest need(s). I also record how much time I should spend on each activity.  Time management is very important so all activities are completed in the time allowed for the group.

Bonus!

Here’s a valuable resource for selecting targeted activities for each group and I’ve made this SUPER SIMPLE for you!

With the help and guidance of over a dozen experienced colleagues and administrators, I’ve created Targeted Guided Reading Activities Resource Flip Books that are organized by skill level. All you need to do is identify the group skill level, flip up the page and select activities for your group!

Targeted Guided Reading Plan and Activities Resources K-2
Targeted Guided Reading Plan and Activities Resource 3-5

Record your targeted activities for each group on your Targeted Guided Reading Plan and you’re ready to go!

Over a 2 week period, I have my plan out in front of me as I teach each group. And,

Trust your judgment. If an activity you listed is not working, change it, or make a note at the bottom that for the next cycle, that activity should be modified. Modify as needed to better help your students meet their target.

Each day I make notes on the plan and record how the students do with the activities.  Y=Yes, the student did well with the activities N=No, the student did not do well or it was too hard A=Absent B=Behavior or focus. Or, use check marks, + or – markings, or whatever works for you.

These notes are helpful for reflection on why the students met or did not meet the target for the 2 week period. When creating a new plan for the next 2 weeks, modifications can be made based on the notes taken.

The example below shows a completed K-2 Targeted Guided Reading Plan and Activities Resources or Grades3-5 Targeted Guided Reading Plan and Activities Resource that has been filled out and used for a 2 week period.

You may notice that the 1st activity in the plan is using focus boards (drills) to practice vowel discrimination. I use focus boards daily, depending on the skill(s) the group is working on. 2-3 minutes daily is what it takes to get students fluent with these sounds or words.

Here are some of the drills/focus boards I use:

This next plan shows a group with different needs. Their target is a fluency target because they are beginning to blend more automatically and they are ready for fluency skills. Notice they still need some sight word review because their sight word testing shows they are not completely fluent with their sight words (not noted on this plan, but spotted when doing data analysis). The daily sight word review will help with their overall fluency.

Notice the minutes listed after each activity. Because I only have 15-20 minutes per group, I need to help myself stay on track and manage my time. Again, I must trust the plans I have written and follow them to fidelity.

Below are some additional instructional resources to use. Comprehension question cards are organized by comprehension skills and are on handy cards. A leveled book guide is included so you know what to watch for and encourage at each level. Take notes on each student for 2 weeks on this Anecdotal Notes form.

Send home resources for parents on reading with their child. Also, as students move up to higher leveled readers, send home resources that help them know the skills to work on at each level!

Another strategy I use to stay on track and manage time is to have all materials ready. All I have to do is grab the bin and go. Time is precious, so every delay in gathering materials takes away from instruction.

Organization and preparation are key for successful guided reading groups. Yes, it takes tons of planning time, but your efforts are well worth it because your students will show more growth!

Get your  K-2 Targeted Guided Reading Plan and Activities Resources with instructions and suggestions HERE.

Get your Grades 3-5 Targeted Guided Reading Plan and Activities Resource with instructions and suggestions HERE.

Need more information on planning guided reading? Click here for more!

I would love to hear from you! Leave comments or questions below.

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1st Grade Pandamania

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3 Comments

  • Unknown January 10, 2022 at 5:57 pm

    I’m going to try this next week! And I am so excited! Your blog contains the most support and encouragement for guided reading! I’ll let you know how everything turns out! Thanks for your world of knowledge!

  • Unknown January 10, 2022 at 5:57 pm

    My small groups have been excelling so well!! I can’t say thank you enough for making my small group time a dream come true!

  • Tiffany Grande January 10, 2022 at 5:57 pm

    Hi there! I see in the photo you have the same leveled readers that we use from journeys. Each week when we do guided reading we usually have students complete graphic organizer that accompanies the skill for that leveled reader/that week. Do you use the graphic organizers as well or choose your own teaching point for the leveled reader and your own writing/comprehension activity after they read?

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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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