A Working Reader's Workshop

Managing Guided Reading Effectively

From the novice to the master, everyone can benefit from management tips in regards to guided reading. The more organized and prepared the educator is, the more time for intentional instruction when meeting with groups. The heart of reading instruction in the primary classroom takes place at the small group table during guided reading.

What is Guided Reading?

"Guided reading is small group reading instruction designed to provide differentiated teaching that supports students in developing reading proficiency."

Source: Clipart.com

Ten Tips for Teachers

Tip #1: Know Your Library

Be sure to have plenty of leveled readers at your disposal that you are familiar with in order to assist you when planning. Knowing the contents makes selecting an appropriate text for your lesson goals less of a task. Research shows there are many factors to selecting texts, and it begins at the root of the class library.

“It is crucial that teachers choose comprehensible exposition that does not needlessly confuse young readers. Three characteristics have been shown consistently to enhance children’s comprehension of exposition: familiarity, structural coherence, and interest value. Teachers should choose information text that links unfamiliar content to the familiar, is well organized, and has an engaging style.”

Tip #2: Offer a Variety of Tools

Young learners love to get their hands on things. Providing them with a googlie eye pointer to read with or mini slinky to stretch out words can assist little ones in remembering key reading strategies they are learning about. Hands on learning makes for more engaging fun in the classroom, which in turn provides deeper understanding for students.

“Young children learn through their five senses; therefore, providing hands-on experiences that allow children to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear is important. When designing learning environments, teachers should focus on what the children will be doing, and on what objects and materials they can provide for the children to handle and observe.”

Tip #3: Be Intentional

Procrastination is not in a teacher’s job description. An educator must plan, prepare, and expect the unexpected. There was never a truer time, than in a classroom, to adhere to the statement, “begin with the end in mind”. The learning goals we have for our students must be customized to their needs, and the means to achieve those goals must be planned out with specific detail.

“Intentional teaching means teachers act with specific outcomes or goals in mind for children’s development and learning. Teachers must know when to use a given strategy to accommodate the different ways that individual children learn and the specific content they are learning”

Tip #4: Manage Your Time Wisely

With so much to do in such small increments of time, there is not a moment to waste. As teachers, we struggle with a time crunch every day. With so many efforts put forth to planning out each learning day, we must hold ourselves accountable to remaining on track and accomplishing what we set out to complete for the day. It takes a certain amount of discipline to keep ones focus and manage your time.

“Although the amount of available time imposes limitations on accomplishment, the key issue is time usage. Effective classroom management conserves instruction time by planning activities and tasks to fit the learning materials; setting and conveying procedural and academic expectations; and appropriately sequencing, pacing, monitoring, and providing feedback for student work.”

Tip #5: Consistent Classroom Management

Have a solid system in place. When structure is not present in the classroom, students have the lead way to veer away from responsible, independent learners. We must maintain an environment conducive to learning, and where students know and understand clear and high expectations.

“A well-organized and efficiently managed classroom is the essential foundation upon which to build a solid instructional program and a climate of mutual respect and caring between students and teachers. In fact, an analysis of research done in the last 50 years clearly shows that the teacher’s classroom management abilities have more of an effect on student learning than any other category analyzed.”

Tip #6: Provide Engaging Stations

Learners need small group or independent time with the teacher. In order for these valuable moments to occur, the rest of the class must be engaged and working. Yes, the sheer management of the classroom is important, but the fact of the matter is, learning should not be interrupted for anyone. Busy, seat work is a thing of the past, and you want to make every second count for all students.

“The benefits of learning stations are many. Learning stations can be used for myriad purposes—to teach concepts, integrate subject matter, build interest, and allow for inquiry—the possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the teacher and the supplies available.”

Tip #7: Constantly Assess Student Needs

There are no cookie cutter students who require a cookie cutter approach to their education. With so many learning styles to fit and needs to be met, assessing students needs to happen at any opportunity. Teacher observation, student conferences, performance, and many other means are vital information givers when choosing lessons for students.

“Everything students do—such as conversing in groups, completing seatwork, answering and asking questions, working on projects, handing in homework assignments, even sitting silently and looking confused—is a potential source of information about how much they understand. The teacher who consciously uses assessment to support learning takes in this information, analyzes it, and makes instructional decisions that address the understandings and misunderstandings that these assessments reveal.”

Tip #8: Keep a Data Tracking Binder

A guided reading must! Compile a binder to keep you organized. It can house groups, schedules for meeting with them, target lessons, a place for note taking, storing data and more. When constantly assessing your students is vital, it benefits your time to have one place to look for planning, prep and analysis.

“We find that observation measures of teaching effectiveness are substantively related to student achievement growth and that some observed teaching practices predict achievement more than other practices.”

Tip #9: Host Student Conferences Daily

There are copious reasons as to why a teacher should conference with their students. Guided reading is about tailoring literacy instruction to the individual's unique needs, and what easier way to discover those needs than through a conversation with the child. Insight is provided to where exactly the students are performing, and the win win is through conversing with you, they are strengthening their communication and critical thinking skills.

“We find that observation measures of teaching effectiveness are substantively related to student achievement growth and that some observed teaching practices predict achievement more than other practices.”

Tip #10: Set Goals With Individual Readers

Children at any age can benefit from the developing of their leadership and citizenship skills. They will profit from those character traits for years to come. The main goal of guided reading is developing readers, so to place emphasis on growth and progress made will only motivate individuals to keep going.

“Students’ beliefs in their efficacy for self-regulated learning affected their perceived self-efficacy for academic achievement, which in turn influenced the academic goals they set for themselves and their final academic achievement.”



Not only is Scholastic a great book resource, but it is very beneficial to educator’s growth and development as well. It provides many solutions to improving student’s reading abilities and classroom guided instruction. The site offers "inspiration, ideas and classroom management tips for educators, school leaders and anyone passionate for guided reading instruction." Videos, lessons, examples, and more are shared by teachers for teachers.


This is one of the most useful websites to educators, and even to parents. It has potential to be the go to resource for parents to be given additional guidance and help with their child’s literacy journey. For teachers, there are helpful strategies, lesson ideas and more to learn about. Weekly newsletters, suggested literacy applications, are just a couple of the resources this site offers which will come in handy during guided reading instruction in your classroom.


Like most sites dedicated to teachers, there are teaching ideas and tips, access to coaching, and a forum to have your own questions answered. The best part about this website are the ample video examples posted for real life modeling of the strategies and techniques educators are wanting to perfect.


Background Knowledge

My name is Tamera Barba, and I am a first grade teacher at Coker Elementary School at North East ISD in San Antonio. This will be my fourth year teaching, and all of my years have been in this grade level. I am currently attaining a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Literacy Studies with a triple literacy emphasis. This program includes English as a Second Language, Reading Specialist, and Master Reading Teacher certifications.

When I first started teaching, which was in first grade, I had no experience with guided reading. My desire to help every student become a “joyful reader” (one who enjoys reading and is good at it) led me down the path of researching the topic on my own time to figure this out. I found myself reading professional development books, watching youtube videos, anything to help further my knowledge. My hope is that this handout supplies educators, not only with the “how to” of ways to organize and build a solid system in your classroom, but with a solid plan for keeping ones students progressing in literacy success.


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