Guided Reading Step by Step!

Hi friends!  Happy Wednesday …we are halfway to to the weekend 🙂  I received such great feedback and comments from my latest guided reading post and I was asked several questions on how to use all of those great materials from my Guided Reading & RTI Deluxe Bundle.  So, I thought I would give you a more detailed run down or step by step on how I run my guided reading groups and integrate all of those fabulous activities!

If you didn’t read my previous guided reading post click below to view that one!

My guided reading lesson are divided into these four sections:
Phonemic awareness/letter sounds {2-3 minutes}
 Phonics/letter names/sight words {3-4 minutes}
Book Study – -comprehension & fluency {5-6 minutes}
Guided Writing  {5 minutes}
That totals for around a 15 minute guided reading lesson.

As the year progresses my guided reading lessons are divided as follows:

Phonics/Sight Word Work {3-4 minutes}
 Book Study & Discussion {6-7 minutes}
Guided Writing {5 minutes}

Above is a snapshot of my desk at the start of guided reading.  I also have my guided reading tub which I will list below.  In the stack above I have my guided readings plans {find the template HERE}, the book, and guided writing template/paper.

Below are different snap shots of my guided reading tub and what’s inside!
Crayons/pencils, Dry erase markers, erasers.
Sight words, punctuation cards, phoneme segmentation cards, phoneme segmentation stretchers, nonsense words, Alphafriend/alphabet racers.

Phonemic awareness is a crucial part to my guided reading groups and this is especially true for the beginning of the school year.  So many of our students come into Kindergarten without having a solid foundation in phonemic awareness.  At the beginning of the year we work on hearing similar beginning sounds and then move on to letter sounds.

Below is an activity that works with single sounds.  I will give the students three sounds, /t/, /m/, /t/. The students can either repeat the sounds back for you or you can discuss which sounds were the same.  I use the snap cubes to give those early learners a visual for the sounds they are hearing.  I eventually take away the snap cubes and they must then rely on hearing the sounds.

We have also been working on hearing the beginning sounds in words.  I will either say a word or again for the early learners display a picture of the word.  For example, I will show a picture of a cat, we will say the beginning sound, and the students will then state that beginning sound.  To differentiate this activity say multiple words like cat, cake….”did those words have the same beginning sound?”  
As the year progresses we will move to working with beginning sounds on a more phonological awareness approach.  We play alphabet racers {see below}. In this activity I set a timer for one minute.  I have students either state the letter sound or the letter name.  I choose to do this as a group and whoever I hear state the answer the fastest gets the card.

Phoneme segmentation is another very important skill we work on.  All of my guided reading packets are FILLED with fun and exciting phoneme segmentation activities.  I will share just a few right now 🙂  Anyway, I work a lot on phoneme segmentation because has a huge impact on our young readers and writers. Once my students master breaking down words into their individual sounds they are more confident in writing and reading independently.

 The below picture is a fun and exciting phoneme segmentation activity called Sound Train.  In this activity students look at the picture card and then push up that many sounds onto the train.  I use this activity in guided reading and then transition it into a literacy center.

Below students are stretching the sounds in their words using slinkys!

Here students are using phoneme segmentation cards stretch words.  Cat, /c/ /a/ /t/, cat.

Phoneme segmentation sound boxes.  Push up the sounds!

PSF box of goodies!  I have gems, trucks, slinkys, and cat balls {yes from the pet section} to hear syllables!

Sight word practice is another biggie that we do everyday during our guided reading group.  I will first go through the sight words that we’ve covered so far in the year.  Right now we have only learned two so we are answering them as a group.  As soon as I have enough I will go through the stack and ask a student at a time.  I ask that all students are watching the word, even if it’s not their turn.  Grab a freebie set of flashcards below!

We then go into our sight word mix & fix work.  I love this activity and it’s so beneficial to the students.  Here’s how it goes….I have placed the letters needed for the sight word into a little container { I purchased these 6 for $1 at Family Dollar}.  Each student has their own container of letters.  I will ask the students to build the word first using their letters.  If the students are not yet comfortable with the word, for instance Monday-Tuesday as we are just learning the word I will leave my flashcard on the table for them to use as a guide.  We will then mix our word {mix up the letters in a random order} and then I will have the students fix it.  We will do this about 2-3 times.  The last time I will ask them to leave the letters on the top of the board and then practice writing the word.

After our phonemic & phonological awareness work we move into our books!  I always begin with building background to the book we will be reading.  If we are reading a book about family we will discuss who is in our families.  I always try to get each student to share something that connects them to the story we are about to read.  I have noticed that if they already have an interest with the book they will be more excited about the book and work hard!  After we build background I will then go into introducing the book.

During our book walk I will point out the title, and the front cover illustration.  We will discuss any connections we have to the front cover from the information that was shared during our building background.  We then look at each picture and note the reading pattern and the pictures within the story.  This is a step that I start to back off slightly with my above group as the year progresses.  I transition them into doing a book walk independently.

During our shared read I will have each student read one page.  We rotate the book around the table.  I like doing this because it gives me an opportunity to see each students using 1:1 tracking and I can emphasize that great readers read with a steady pace and never race their words.

After our shared read each students receives their own book and they read independently two times.  This sounds like mass chaos, but it works and am able to stagger their starting points so that not all students are reading the same page at the same time!

Another one of my favorites during guided reading is taking the time to respond to the book with a guided writing activity!  I have several options for guided writing templates which can be found HERE.   The writing templates seen below are in this same packet!  The below picture shows my students this week doing a guided writing activity.  We had read a book about show and tell that dinosaurs had brought to school.  I asked the students to pick their favorite show & tell from the story.  Because we are still working on our sight words I laid out in order the words that they would start their sentences with.  I tapped the words several times and they read them with me.  I also demonstrated the spaces between my words by leaving a space between the cards!  Grad these freebie sight word cards below!

I also have our alphabet charts availble during guided reading.  We use these during whole-group writing and I love to pull them out during G.R. also.  When students are stretching out their words we can find the matching sound using our alphabet chart.

Click below to download the freebie sight word cards!

All of these activities and SO much more can be found in this bundle below!  You can grab the whole she-bang or just get the individual packets that suit your classroom best!

Have a great end to your week!


  1. Love all your stuff. Heading to TPT and checking on your sale. I so appreciate what you do. You have real good stuff and we have begun the Commom Core and will look at this especially.


  2. Not sure if this is an obvious/silly question–
    I'm first grade but I have some students who still need help with their letters and sounds. Blending is a real struggle for them. Any suggestions on help with blending? For guided writing, how do you help all of the students write their particular response to the sentence starter in only 5 minutes? Also, do you give them time to draw and color while they are at the table with you or at another time? I really want to work on my writing instruction. If my kids are doing any writing independently while I'm with a group they rush through trying to write to get to the coloring and spend wayyy too much time on their pictures : (

    That was a lot of questions, haha. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi there! The mega bundle is packed full of several different activities you can do with your groups along with step by step reading lesson plans for a year! If you want to use your guided reading books you can easily switch them out…that is what I do! I added in the books for those that don't have access to easy readers! 🙂 Hope that helps and feel free to email me at ta******@ho*****.com!

  3. I like the process, It is very helpful to be shared with teachers. The question, can this program work with bilingual KG students who study English as a second language not in the USA but in another country?

    Best regards,

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