Creating Effective Guided Reading Groups

Home » Teacher Tips » Creating Effective Guided Reading Groups

What is a guided reading group?

Let’s start by discussing what is a guided reading group. The guided reading group is a method by which small groups of students with similar reading abilities are grouped together. We’re talking about a group of 4 – 6 students [ideally no more than 6.]

The goal here is for the teacher to work with students directly as opposed to teaching a whole class where the range of student abilities differ drastically.

Guided reading works off a leveling system that labels books A – Z, with A being the easiest and Z the hardest. Students are supported in the small group approach and challenged to be problem solvers.

Forming groups for guided reading

Forming groups for guided reading like I stated at the beginning of this podcast children are group together based upon similar learning needs and process text at about the same level. Also, you want to make sure to keep students within 1-2 levels of each other. Now, I’m not saying that, that’s the only way to create guided reading groups., There may be times that you group kids based upon mixed abilities based upon a common learning need – for example, how to read tables and charts. One thing to take into consideration is that guided reading groups are not set in stone – by that, I mean groups should remain fluid – whereby students can move in and out of groups as appropriate.

When it comes to forming your guided reading groups setting up and grouping your kids are critical elements of a successful guided reading experience.

How to set up your guided reading groups

When you’re in the process of grouping your students, it’s always best to use more than one type of assessment to really get a good accurate picture of the student. It would be prudent to use several sources of assessment information – for instance, running records, Debels, fluency testing just to name a few.

Once you’ve completed your assessments and determined which students will go into what group, you’ll want to set up some type of organizational system to track progress.

What I used in my classroom were tubs that I purchased from the dollar store and placed the children’s names on cardstock which is laminated and hot glued on the front of the tub. In this way students knew what guided reading group they were assigned.

Let’s turn our attention to planning a guided reading group

What I would typically do first with my group is take a few minutes to talk about the pictures, bold-faced words, the text and make predictions. I’d also remind students to use the strategies that were previously discussed during our mini lesson. Then, I would have students independently read the text. At which time I would select a student at random so that they could whisper read a portion of text to me. Lastly, I would check for comprehension and what strategy or strategies that they used during their reading.

Selecting texts for guided reading

First, you want to select a book that is appropriate for that specific guided reading group, but enjoyable as well. The reading should be purposeful – now what do I mean by that – well, this simply means that there is a specific reason why you are reading that book.

Secondly, remember that the purpose for reading a book is not to learn more about reading – Again, the purpose must be authentic. Perhaps you’re studying a certain genre, like biography; or you’re reading an informational text.

Finally, the text must be engaging for the students – if not, then it’s really in my view a waste of time.

When you get a moment for more information regarding guided reading groups check out Fountas & Pinnell’s book: Guiding Reader’s and Writers. It’s a plethora of information that you will find extremely valuable.

Steve Hiles

I am a retired military and elementary school teacher living in Tennessee. I am an avid reader and love to write. I am very passionate about helping teachers. I hope you find my educational tips and strategies useful,and enjoy hearing about my personal journey.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Steve Hiles

I am a retired military and elementary school teacher living in Tennessee. I am an avid reader and love to write. I am very passionate about helping teachers. I hope you find my educational tips and strategies useful and enjoy hearing about my personal journey. Thanks for visiting!

Follow Me

Listen To My Podcast

This Month's Freebie

Latest Posts

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Get a FREE GIFT ($15 value)

Related Posts