Effective Activities for Guided Reading Plus 5 Pre-Reading Ideas to Try

Guided reading is a fantastic time to focus on the individual needs of each student. If you are looking for helpful activities for guided reading, you have come to the right place. I created a list of guided reading ideas and materials that will help your small group time run smoothly and efficiently. Continue reading to grab some ideas to use in your own classroom.

Effective activities for guided reading

Pre-Reading Activities for Guided Reading

Most small group times involve reading a short passage or a mini book, but before you dive into the more intense text, try some pre-reading activities to warm up your students’ brains. Here are some ideas to try.

setting up activities for guided reading

Reread a Previous Guided Reading Book

A great way to warm up their brains is by reading a text they are familiar with. If you conduct small groups daily, this might be a book they saw earlier in the week or something they read the previous week. Let students read the text on their own. This is a wonderful time to take any anecdotal notes so you can help students where they are.

Fluency Strips

Read fluency strips to practice sentences that correspond to each group’s reading level. Have students take turns reading the strips or let them read them independently. You know your students better than anyone, so do what works best for you. Fluency readers are a great way to identify sight words, CVC words, CVCe words, and much more.

Practice Sight Words & Vocabulary

All grade levels practice sight words to improve reading fluency. The beginning of a small group session is a great time to practice these words. You can do this by reading fluency passages or sentence strips. Flash cards also work well for a quick review game before students start reading longer texts. Reviewing sight words and vocabulary that might be in the text they are about to read will help them as they dive in. Try using a personal dictionary where students can record words they are working to understand.

Review Important Concepts

Before letting students read the new passages or text you have prepared for them, invite them to review any new or important concepts they should keep in mind. Younger grades might review alphabet charts or sight words, upper grades might go over grammatical concepts or comprehension tips. Either way, it’s a great time to remind them of important reading tricks before they begin.

Complete Word Work Activities or Games

Use this time to play word work games or complete activities that students may need support with. This time is great for introducing new word work games that they will ultimately play alone or with partners in the coming days. Being able to introduce them to the concepts before they do them alone will build their confidence and help your classroom run smoothly.

Guided Reading Must-Haves

As you are planning your activities for guided reading, you might slowly build a collection of materials you use daily. Here are some teacher favorites to have on hand:

  • Mini White Boards – great to have on hand for your writing or the students
  • Dry Erase Markers – kids can’t write on the whiteboards without them
  • Tri-fold Anchor Chart – display important concepts for students to reference
  • Lined Writing Paper – small groups often include a writing assignment, so have paper on hand
  • Anecdotal Notes Binder – make sure you take daily notes to keep tabs on how students are doing
  • Whisper Phones – this helps keep the noise level down
  • Post it Notes – take notes in books or for later
  • Mini Books – use these for review or new concepts
  • Small Anchor Charts/Posters – display sight words, vocabulary, new concepts, and more
  • Pencils – needed for writing
  • Highlighters – highlight important ideas in a text when students are able
  • Finger Pointers – great for motivating students to follow along

Using these materials with your activities for guided reading will make life easier as you instruct and support students each day. Be sure to have them on hand and ready before the start of each small group.

Hopefully, these ideas for pre-reading and working on guided reading skills will be helpful in the classroom. Implement them in your classroom and see how their confidence grows when it comes to reading and writing.

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Effective activities for guided reading - ideas for pre-reading too
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