Chapter 1: How to Prepare for Guided Reading

I'm linking up with some fabulous bloggers for a book study of The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson. Chapter 1 is hosted by our leader Jennifer from Teaching with Grace.

If you're a new teacher or you're moving down to a lower grade this is an excellent resource! Everything is spelled out for you and many ideas for each grade level are offered.

1. What part of the reading caught your attention? 

This chapter is full of work station management charts that can really help you if you're just starting out. Most of the charts have five groups of students. I've found in my own classroom that I have four or five groups depending on the makeup and needs of my class as well as the number of students.

2. How do you already incorporate this into your guided reading routine?

I also liked the little bit about encouraging independent reading. I read The Book Whisperer a couple of years ago and it's a MUST READ no matter what grade level you teach. I share the philosophy that students need the opportunity to explore and try to read books that are above their level or out of their comfort zone. My own classroom library isn't leveled. I have it sorted each month with books related to that month (ex: Thanksgiving books in November), nonfiction, by a specific author, etc. For students who aren't strong readers they love that they can explore the same books as their peers. Once they CAN read those books they are incredibly proud.

3. What is something new you want to try next school year? How do you want to make your guided reading time better or what new things do you want to try?

I haven't tried Book Talks. Well, I guess I've done a modified version. Our library was turned into a center for learning and innovation so we no longer have a librarian. We simply have a fifteen minute check out time so where I USED to be able to go in and read a book to my students and talk about an author now I'm just shuffling them in and out and lining them up. It's sad and frustrating. I did start checking out books by the same author or illustrator. I would read one to my students in the afternoon and lay out the other books along my chalkboard. Students would be able to read them all week until we went back the the "library" the next week. In my own teaching and use of mentor texts we talk quite a bit about what we like about the book- how the word rhyme, that it's funny, that it reminded you of something, that we like illustrations, etc.

4. What are some resources that you ALREADY HAVE that you can use to teach what you read about in this chapter/section?

Text to self is such a fun topic to teach. It's one that I try to introduce at the beginning of school while reading books from one of my favorite authors, Peter Brown. Peter Brown wrote You Will Be My Friend, which is fantastic for the first week of school. He also wrote Children Make Terrible Pets. It's hilarious. The main character is a bear who tries to make a little boy her pet. The kids think it's hilarious- and it is. It's perfect for making connections to pets they have or want to have. I did a cute little project that you can read about here. (Also good for following directions!)

5. What are some NEW resources that you want to get to try to use what you learned in this chapter?

My library is in desperate need of some new labels. I bought new bins from Really Good Stuff last year and I love them. The kids are able to easily flip through the books. However, the labels that come with them bins are NOT cute. There are some great labels here that I have added to my TPT wish list. 

Be sure to read up on what the other participating bloggers are sharing!


  1. Great post Jennifer! Your blog design is too cute! Happy Summer!

  2. I agree that The Book Whisperer is a must read! Totally gave me a new perspective on getting books into the hands of my students!

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