New Guided Reading Groups

27 October 2011
The buckets are packed with goodies, and the kids were soooooo excited to start our new guided reading groups this week.  I have 5 different groups with 4 students in each group.  Each group will be reading a different Jerry Spinelli novel:  Wringer, Report to the Principal's Office, Maniac Magee, Loser, and Fourth Grade Rats.  We do guided reading each day, and all groups work at the same time.  My resource teacher works with me during this time, and she meets with (runs) the same group each day - she works with my below grade level group.  I meet with two different groups each day (I read with one group, then I work on the task with a second group).  This way, I meet with each of my four groups every second day, and my group that needs help the most has teacher support every day.

Our overall focus for the next four weeks is Literal Comprehension (this is our division focus for my school).  Each group also has a subfocus they are working on in their groups (vocabulary, phrasing, expression, accuracy, and conventions).  I know conventions isn't a typical guided reading group focus, but for this particular group, it is a necessity!  On Tuesday we built our Literal Comprehension Anchor chart - establishing our learning goal and building our success criteria.  Each student copied this chart into their reading journals.

 This is one of my student's journals.  I was WOWED by it - such attention to detail!  (Now, if I can just get her to stop spelling summary with an 'e' I will be one happy teacher!).

Each day after reading the students have two tasks.  First, they need to answer literal comprehension questions from their reading.  They can discuss their answers as a group, but each student is responsible for writing their own answers in their journals.  The next task is something new I started this year.  I created a Summary of Learning sheet for each group which I posted on my bulletin board.  Each sheet has the novel name and the groups' subfocus written on it.  After each day of reading, students are required to write one thing they learned from their reading each day on a special coloured sticky note.  This should relate to their group's subfocus.  They then post their notes on their sheets on the bulletin board.

I created a special "Summary of Learning" section in my guided reading binder to keep track of all these sticky notes.  Each day as I take down the old sticky notes so the students can post their new ones, I will add it to their page (a piece of blank paper inside a page protector).  It will be so neat to see the growth in their reflections.

Happy Thursday!!!


  1. I just wish I could come and spend a day or two shadowing you. I am so glad I found your blog. I am also an ON teacher (in Fort Frances) and your stuff is just what I need. Even though I have been teaching for over 20 years I am not too old (and set in my ways) to learn from an awesome teacher! Way to go!!!

  2. That's it, Jen!
    I am buying you a ticket!
    Or I am coming to Canada so I can write colour and behaviour in a new, cool way--and learn from you!
    This is FABULOUS!
    And LOVELY!
    And I want that to be my room!
    I could barely get past the "basket picture." It was so perfectly organized... and then there was more wonderfullness to see.
    You're amazing.

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  3. Thank-you sooooo much! Your comment was definitely what I needed to hear today ... so glad tomorrow's Friday (even if I do have to spend the weekend writing report cards).

  4. Kim - I'm sure the baskets won't look like this for long ... ;)
    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!!

  5. We need a like button for the comments! :D I agree with both and would love to be in your room for even a minute!

  6. I think this amazing! I am a Grade 6 teacher in Northern Ontario and love your blog.
    I definitely want to steal your summary of learning idea. It will be a great addition to my guided reading bulletin board.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Jen that looks awesome!
    You're so organized!
    I'm starting my Guided Reading Groups on Monday now that I have enough data collected. (I thought I was starting so late)
    I focus more on Non-Fiction reading during guided reading because it seems to be the genre they struggle with the most. Not to mention the genre the focus on, on the state exams.

    I'll be posting about my guided reading next week.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ❤ Mor ❤
    A Teacher's Treasure

  8. This is so super helpful. I am starting guided reading groups in two weeks. I would love to know more about what you put in buckets and why. I LOVE your blog!!

  9. Thanks, everyone! I'm quite happy with the progress so far ...

    Whole words - my buckets contain: their reading journals, the novels, regular sticky notes for making notes while reading, special coloured sticky notes for their summary of learning, scissors and glue for pasting their reading task in their journals, extra pencils and erasers to eliminate the need for someone leaving the group to find their pencil or pen, and markers for those days when I ask the group to create their answers on large chart paper to share with the whole class. I've also added a dictionary to the bucket for the group that is studying vocabulary.

    1. I'm making these baskets right now! Thank you!

  10. I am loving this! I have been seriously stressing over how to transition from reading out of anthology to a more workshop-like reading class and this makes more sense to me! I am bookmarking this post!

  11. I am eating up any guided reading group blogs! This is my focus area I am working on improving this year ... thanks for sharing! I left you an award over on my blog!

  12. I thought you might be interested at looking at this site - as it hosts lots of great books for all ages.

  13. Thank you for sharing! I love the anchor chart. I think the idea of keeping the old post-its to track student learning is awesome and so simple to do. It could even be the students' responsibility. By the way, somehow I am just discovering your blog now. I LOVE it. I'm your newest follower. :)

    Sweet Seconds

  14. WOW, Your Blog is amazingly motivational. I don't start school until after Labor Day, but I will use your things. Just in time, I almost threw out all my bins....whew. Seriously, thank You!
    Lydia Evans.

  15. Always amazed by your ideas! Thanks!

  16. I would love to see your guided reading lesson plans. I am having a hard time visualizing how you get it all done, when you do each item for the week. Do your guided reading group's focus match what you are doing in CRAFT?

  17. I love your blog. You are very creative! I haven't started guided reading groups but you have inspired me to get going.

  18. What does a typical guided reading lesson look like in your room?

  19. This is a fabulous idea!
    While you read with the first group, what does the second group do that you will be reading with that day? And then the following day when you're reading with groups #3 and #4, what do groups 1 and 2 do?
    Thank you!

  20. I've been doing some SERIOUS thinking the last 2 days about small group instruction in reading and math!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've GOT to do something. Out of 16 6th graders ALL are below grade level in math and 13 are below grade level in reading. YIKES!!

    So if it seems like I'm stalking you..... :)


  21. I'm shocked that people have such small classes! I have 32 sixth graders, and I have found it so difficult to do small group instruction. I love these ideas but I can't figure out how to make it work with my kids. But I do love your blog. I have gotten many great ideas. Thanks!

  22. Hi there....Found this to get my thoughts going on my own GR groups. Do you have other things that you have taught before you started on Literal comprehension? Would love to see the entire plan. Thanks.

  23. Do you have an update on your groups, since this is an older blog entry? I would LOVE to see how you run your groups in more detail! Guided readind and Guided math are what I struggle with the most as a second-year teacher, and your blog is getting my mind running with ideas!

  24. You truly are an outstanding educator! I would love to shadow you!!! Thank you for sharing all you amazing ideas!!!

  25. Your approach to reading groups is very similar to mine, but much more focused. I am going to start following your page to help me make my groups gel better. Thank you so much!