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Guiding Early Readers

Welcome to Guiding Readers ~~ Chapter 4! 
Guiding Early Readers
 Early readers are those kiddos who have mastered basic concepts of print & connect letters with sounds. Generally, this happens anywhere from the middle of K until well into 1st grade. 
 So-- what does a guided reason look like for these kiddos?

The Guided Lesson Routine

Before Reading 
"We know good readers get their brains ready", is what I tell my kiddos before I invite them to take a self-guided tour of a new book. I prompt them a little bit with some comments/questions to help activate prior knowledge, get them to make predictions, or to give them a vocabulary they may need for the book. 

During Reading  
  • Move from tracking word-by-word with fingers/pointers to using a slide (EZ Reader, index card, or ruler) so that kiddos can begin thinking and reading in phrases instead of just one word at a time. 
  • Set a comprehension focus like making connections or self-monitoring (which is a BIG one for early readers! These kiddos are so intent on decoding words that they forget to make sure what they're reading makes sense!).
After Reading 
  • Retell! This is something that my kiddos struggle with. I like that it's part of the guided reading routine. It gives them lots of practice. A few words about retelling: Make sure kiddos provide all key details, put them in order, & use key vocabulary from the story. 
  •  Talk to Your Brain - Early readers are still working on building stamina for longer texts, which means they need to be able to hold more information in their little heads. Encourage your kiddos to "talk to their brains" (love it!) & monitor their understanding, & ask themselves questions. I whipped up a poster I'm going to use in my classroom. Click to grab a copy!!
  • Focus on higher level thinking. Retelling is only part of comprehension. Help kiddos move to higher level thinking by questioning & prompting.
There are lost of examples of activities you can use during the guided reading session are included and focus on:
  • Comprehension - many of the activities focus on the comprehension strategies making connections, questioning,  inferring, & fix up strategies. In my classroom, I use beanie babies and my comprehension posters to reinforce those strategies. You can check out the posters in my TpT store by clicking on the posters....& they're ON SALE through July 4th!

  • Letter knowledge & word-solving strategies - these kiddos are still working on letter-sound connections, identifying letter combinations and using cueing strategies. Word hunts, word sorts, and word building are great for helping kiddos build word-solving strategies.  Please click on the image of the Build a Word activity to snag your FREEBIE! It's editable, too, so you can program it to fit the word study skill you are working on!
  • High-frequency words - small group is an excellent time to read & review sight words.

  • Fluency - sliders help kiddos build fluency as does practicing 'talking like the talker'.
The Reading-Writing Connection
Of course, we can't ignore the reading-writing connection (though sometimes I try! Darn that old clock!). Small group is an excellent time to let kiddos "share the pen", and is especially important for these early readers who are still working on letter-sound correlation. A few helpful hint:
  •  Divide your paper in half...the top is used for teaching, & the bottom for the writing.
  • Use real writing -- not inventive spelling
  • Compose the piece together, but let individuals take turns writing. 
  • Have 1 student be the "spacer" to make sure there are spaces placed between words.
  • Reread every few words to make sure it's making sense. 
  • Expect the writing to take more than 1 work session.
  • Keep the kiddos who aren't the writer involved! Have them trace the words on the carpet, look around the room for words, or write words on their whiteboards.
The guided reading lesson for early readers looks different than it does for emergent readers. The routine is similar, but the activities are different, of course. Lori has a fabulous plan in the book, I re-worked the guided reading lesson plan to reflect the activities for early readers & make it work for me "in the moment" in my room. Click on the image to grab a FREEBIE! 

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Link up & let us know your thoughts on Chapter 4 &/or share the activities you use when working with early readers in Guided Reading!


  1. Lots of great ideas and things to think about!

    Thank you for sharing!

    I'm your newest follower! I hope you'll check out my new "manly" teaching blog!

    Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten

  2. I always love to see how everyone runs their guided reading groups!! Thanks for sharing!! :)
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  3. WOW!!! Thank you for sharing! Wonderful information, tips, and advice!

  4. Thanks again Brenda for posting about the book. I have learned so much from your posts on the chapters. I like seeing things through someone else's eyes. Plus, I am LOVING Guided Math. It looks like we hit s home run so far with these book studies.
    Thinking of Teaching

  5. Love the plan page! Thanks for sharing :)

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  6. I cannot open the lesson plan template for early readers. I wonder if you could send it to me.