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Strategies for Teaching Small-Group Guided Reading: Grades K-5 


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Plan 3 types of reading instruction

Recommended resources for establishing literacy stations.

Launch the Reading Block

Execute three phases in every small-group lesson

Observe the three parts of the lesson—before, during, and after the reading.

View a primary lesson.

View an intermediate lesson.


Compile student data

Sample data from third graders at Mary Raber Elementary (Columbia City, IN).

Adjust expectations

Jan Richardson, author of the The Next Step in Guided Reading, has a new book The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading.  This resource offers many resources, videos, and downloadables that support teachers conducting small-group instruction.

Match lessons to reader stages

Levels A-C
(Typical of readers in grades PK-K)
PDF | Word

Levels A-C
(Typical of readers in grades PK-K)
PDF | Word

Levels D-I
(Typical of readers in grades K-1)
PDF | Word

Levels J-P
(Typical of readers grades 2-3)
PDF | Word

Levels Q-Z
(Typical of readers in grades 4 and up)
PDF | Word

Each strategy in The Teaching and Prompting Guide includes skills with prompts and questions for each developmental stage of reading.

Shifting the Balance highlights six ways to bring the science of reading into your balanced literacy classroom.


Document the Thinking Voice

Build readers who are aware of their thinking

Use toilet paper tubes for students to whisper their Thinking Voice thoughts into.

Show students how to track their thoughts in the “snow” of the pages.

Introduce students to real reader tools

Digital resources with annotating options

NEWSELA is a FREE website for current news event articles. Lexile ranges can be manipulated to make the text easier or harder. By creating a group with all students listed, assign certain articles to certain individuals.

Break Down an Inference in 5 Steps

Make the reading process concrete

Retell & Summarize Ideas

Retell literature using story elements on a Retelling Glove

Retelling Glove
PDF | Jamboard

Support summary writing with frames

Summarize problem-solution text using Somebody…Wanted…But…So…Then…

Summarize ideas honoring text structure

Take notes utilizing the appropriate graphic organizer.

Think During the Reading

Define questioning/predicting

Analyze individuals based on their actions (& reactions), words (spoken & written), and thoughts (& feelings).