It is time to teach guided reading and you are ready to get settled at your table, but you can’t find anything because your table is a hot mess? Please tell me I am not the only one this has happened to! LOL
Let’s Talk About Guided Reading Organization
Guided reading takes a lot of different materials. Even if you only focus on what happens at the table (and not what the “other kids are doing), there is so MUCH.STUFF.
I generally had about 4-5 guided reading groups. I found that if I only had 3 groups, my groups were too big. If I had 6 or more groups, then I had a hard time managing my time, materials, and student needs.
Materials for Students
I stored all my student materials for guided reading in this tower from Really Good Stuff. My father gifted it to me because I asked him to make one for me. He is handy, but said he would rather just buy it LOL. Each group had a basket. Inside the basket I stored all the materials for the group. Each child had a folder. The folder held their books and any written responses.
Teacher Materials for Guided Reading Groups
Behind my table I had large, white drawers on wheels. Inside the drawers I stored all the things I accessed on a daily basis. I stored all of my materials for guided reading in one of these white rolling carts. Each drawer contains different materials. The top drawer has office materials like pencils, markers, calculator, hole punch, etc. that I need anytime I am sitting at the guided reading table.
In another drawer I stored all my dry erase markers. I used these all the time in small groups for reading and math so I liked them to be readily available. Since erasers can be so expensive, I cut up a cheap pack of wash clothes from Wal-Mart!
This drawer specifically holds all my guided reading materials. I have the materials organized into small baskets so they do not get jumbled together. Students used the mechanical pencils and LOVED them. You can read more about them here. The popsicle sticks had open ending questions that could apply to any text. We often used these after warming up. You can get a “prettier version” in this pack. I had all kinds of highlighting tape and post it notes so students could use it to mark the text.
What Do Other Teachers Do?
I asked some teacher friends to share how they organized for guided reading. They shared some wonderful ideas and photographs!
Jennifer gives each students a color coded folder to hold all their materials for guided reading. Folds can contain text responses, and even the texts themselves! However, we all know that guided reading is one big merry go around and students should be changing groups according to needs and growth. She was really smart about how she regrouped her student’s folders. She said, “We started out with each group having a colored folder. As groups changed we put a sticker for each group to make it easy to organize.”
Jennifer is using my Mastering Guided Reading program for second grade. Every texts comes with a poster with the teaching point. I love how she posts hers! The clothespins make it so easy to post! She said, “I keep the posters on a board behind them and pull the one(s) for the current book and move them behind my group table. I leave them all up because the students reference them even with our whole group lessons.”
Christine is also using my Mastering Guided Reading program. She says, “The organization of my guided Reading materials has changed several times in the past 2 years. At this moment in time, I am organizing all my guided reading materials using poly envelopes and baskets. In each envelope I have one complete unit or story. I have the lesson plans on top and the leveled books in back and all other materials, for that week, in between. I have the lesson envelopes I have already taught in baskets and a tall file cabinet and the envelopes of upcoming weeks in a cubby by my table.”
” My guided reading area consists of a table and a bookshelf. Each group has its own basket. In each basket is their leveled books, bookmarks and all other materials I need for the week. It also has a binder in which each child has a section for notes and running records. My bookshelf also holds my phonics “Open Court” sound cards and any other strategy posters or reminders. At my table I have a carry all with their pens, highlights, sticky notes, scissors, glue and anything else I may need like pointers, correction tape and notecards. I have also taped to my table reminders of skills already taught such as story elements and temporal words.”
I hope this post gave you a few ideas on how to organize your materials for guided reading. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
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Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website (www.mandygregory.com) and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.