|More Management Tips for Guided Reading Groups
The question of how to manage guided reading groups often
comes up when planning for guided reading. The success of
your guided reading program frequently depends on what the
other students are doing while you are giving one group your
undivided attention. At this time you want all of your
students to be actively engaged in literacy activities that
will reinforce and extend their learning. See
Managing Guided Reading Groups for some examples
of literacy activities. Here are some more management tips
that could prove to be helpful.
Prepare mini-lessons before guided reading to inform
the children of the behaviors you expect to see. Ask them
for ideas on how they can work toward improving their
reading and use their time to greater benefit. Generate a
list of reading behaviors they should be practicing during
- Teach the skills and strategies you expect the
children to practice in mini-lessons or shared reading so
that they are capable of working independently.
- Plan activities in advance that will keep them
gainfully occupied for the required period of time.
- Generate a list of activities with the children that
they can do when they have completed their assigned work.
Post the list in your room to serve as a reminder to
- Work out a rotation chart and post it in a permanent
place in your room. Before you break into reading groups
inform the children of which groups you will be working
with on that day and what centers or assignments the
others will be held responsible for. Teach them to use the
chart to know where they are supposed to be and what they
should be doing so that they can allocate their time
- Give clear instructions on how they are to work. Make
sure they know where their materials are and establish
routines for how to get and use them. Insist that they
speak in quiet voices. Generate a chart on how children
can work independently or in pairs so that all can learn.
Refer to the chart as frequently as necessary to reinforce
your rules and routines.
- Introduce centers when you feel the children are ready
for them. Introduce them one at a time and be sure to
teach the children how to work in each center.
- After each reading period is over, bring the children
together to ask them what they practiced and review the
positive outcomes. Reward positive behaviors with praise
or stickers. Most importantly, hold them accountable for
the time they spent working on their own. Ask for oral or
written responses that show how they spent their time.
Show your satisfaction with those who worked quietly and
demonstrated in some way that they used their time to
- Examine the reasons some children might consistently
use this time to misbehave and find ways to enable them to
work independently. It might be helpful to hold an
individual conference with those students to:
- determine if the work is appropriate for them;
- teach them to follow the rules that have been agreed
to by all members of the class;
- let them know you expect more from them and are ready
to help them succeed;
- work out a behavior management program that would keep
each child focused on learning.
Your success in teaching guided reading requires a good deal
of planning and follow-up. I hope these ideas and the suggested
activities in the article Managing
Guided Reading Groups and others on
Getting Started with Early Childhood Literacy will contribute
to your success.