• Lauren Mary Medlin

Guided Reading 101: Planning and Formatting

Updated: Jul 28, 2018

Let me start this post by saying that I am a hardcore planner lover. I had used the Erin Condren teacher planner for two years and this year have decided to use the Berteau and Co. planner binder. What I loved about this planner binder was that it has all the quality and function of a planner but I can clip in extra folders, data printouts, and best of all I can clip in my guided reading planning pages.

Now, when I say guided reading, I mean small group reading instruction with specific goals and focuses . With these plans I need to be able to quickly look at a page to remember which student is in each group, the text they are reading that day, vocabulary to focus on, and the instructional points I need to make. It is a clear yet simple plan page that ensured my guided reading instructional time was as intentional and effective as possible.

What My Guided Reading Lesson Series Looks Like

I take at least 3 three days with a book, not because they are always so long that the students could not read it in one day, but because I want to make the most of the resources and push to deeper comprehension. To better explain how I plan my guided reading lessons, I need to first explain the format. The only thing that could change the format is whether or not the students in the group need to build oral reading fluency.

Lesson Format When Students Need to Build Oral Reading Fluency

Lesson format includes repeated oral readings

Lesson Format When Students Don't Need to Build Oral Reading Fluency


Selecting Skill Focus

I look at the group of students (I will do a more in-depth post on how I group my students for guided reading when I have my new data this school year) and what skill they need to work on. If I am pulling groups during the regular reading block, I likely will be reteaching/enriching the same skill that is being taught during whole group but with books on students' instructional reading levels. If I am pulling groups during intervention block, I am identifying specific skills to work on with each group using benchmark data, IRI data, classroom formative assessments; I even consult professional resources like Fountas and Pinnell books for their instructional recommendations based on instructional reading level.


Once I have determined the focus of each group, I choose a leveled text and identify the tier two and three vocabulary words that I am going to teach.

Tier three words are content-specific words, for example, if I am reading a book about the ocean with my students, some tier three words in the text I would likely pre-teach are marine, aquatic, reef, etc. I have the students go to the page where the word first appears in the text, I read the sentence as a group, I will model using any illustrations or pictures and context clues to determine the meaning of the word.

For tier two words, I do not point out the words to the students before they read. Instead, I have students jot down any words that are new to them, or words they don't know the meaning of on a sticky note while reading. Students share these words and we construct the meaning as a group. If I think there are certain tier two words in the text that require review, but none of the students wrote them down, I then will be sure to point these words out to the students and ensure they have an accurate understanding.


I go through the text and make notes about what questions I will ask and on what page will I ask it. The questions should be a gradual release of responsibility starting with them answering direct lower level thinking questions and build up to independently constructing a written response to the text.

Looking Forward

Again, once the school year starts, I will post more specific examples of creating groups and my specific guided reading lessons. But, for now I hope you found my general approach and how I organize my plans to be helpful! I loved having my guided reading binder, but I am so excited to have it all in one planner this year! Would love to read comments of how you organize your small group plans, or if you want my guided reading binder, it is available in my TPT store!


Lauren Mary Medlin

To make sure we are all on the same page, tier two words are high-frequency words that occur across a variety of genres. I will go in further depth on how I teach vocabulary in a later post.


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