Guided Reading/Small Groups

Yesterday I shared how what my kiddos do while I am working with small groups. Because I have had quite a few readers ask me how I do my small groups/guided reading groups, I thought I would go through a typical lesson.
For the most part, I use the model in this book:
This book was written by Beverly Tyner and I was lucky enough to watch her do a variety of lessons and teach inservices while she was hired by our county. She is super helpful and really does want to help teachers do the best they can when it comes to teaching small groups in a differentiated manner.
For my groups, I have 3 groups of 6 kids and we meet EVERY day. This is super important to me, and something Dr. Tyner gives instructions on in the book. For classes who have more children, she also outlines how to meet on a different schedule. When the kids come to group, they have this box with the materials we need:
We always have our hands in "ready."

Right now, my first two groups are working on the same thing in phonics (word families), but are on different book levels because of how many sight words they know. My other groups is still working on letter names and sounds. Here is our lesson from today (each lesson always follows the same outline, so the kids always know what to expect):
We start with a reread of yesterday's story. The kids have to use their pointer finger so that I can make sure they are tracking print correctly:
This is the group's book that is still on letters...level 1 and repetative text
 My first two groups quickly review our blends and digraphs with this wonderful chart from Katie King (click here to see):

When we have time, I have the first two groups work very quickly to spell three CVC words:

Then, we move on to word study/phonics:
We sort words according to their word families and the kids write them

This is our big board for sorting our words for word study

This group is sorting pictures by beginning letter sound and writing the letter

Our big board for sound sorting
Then, we review our sight words and play a sight word game...each group is working on a different list
After our game, we look at our new read for the day. We make predictions, inferences, etc. and take a picture walk together. While we are reading, I ask questions related to the story and to our phonics skills:
This is a harder book that the first group read today...level 5 with more complex text
Then, the first two groups get a dictated sentence to write (I forgot to take a picture) and the last group works with me to write a sentence, cut it, and put it back together.

After our group lesson, I have the kids go buddy read their new book to 2 friends (this starts after we clean up that round of workshops, so while I am starting a new group, the last group is buddy reading) then go to their workshop.
Our reading folders

The person who listened to the book has to give a smiley then the reader ranks themself on how they can get this log here.

They LOVE buddy reading!
The basic outline of my small group lessons can be foudn in Dr. Tyner's book along with all the word study, sight word,and phonics materials.
Sorry for the super long post, but I hope this might help clear up some of what we do. This is the second year I've done it this way and I can honestly say, I love it and have seen it work wonders in my children. You can see more about Dr. Tyner here. By the way, I don't get money or goods to write about how great I think this format is, I just wanted to share because it works :)


  1. Thanks for sharing! Sometimes I hate being tied down to a reading series, because they supposedly have differentiated instruction, but it's only high, medium, and low. That ticks me off, especially when I have kids who are all across the spectrum of reading ability. I'm definitely going to check it out, to see how I can tweak what we do.

    The Daily Alphabet

    1. Girl, I would hate if they made us use the reading series! I admire you for doing it and getting all the extras in! We need another meet up soon!

  2. Thank you so much. I liked the different word work activities. I love the extra practice of reading a book to a friend :) Are your guided reading books from a series or your school's bookroom?

    Literacy Without Worksheets


    1. Hi Bridget,
      They are from our school's bookroom. Our reading series (which I don't use) is full of books that really don't meet our needs. We got lucky when our school ordered lots of leveled readers :)

  3. I like how you meet with all of your kiddos everyday. I'm sure it works nicely since you have a smaller class. How long do your groups last?

    1. Hi Lee Ann,
      My groups usually last about 30 min. each. :)

  4. Such a great post! I really like all of the pictures...I am such a visual person. Is there somewhere I can get/buy your buddy reading sheet.

    1. Hey Meghan,
      I will go back and add a link in the post with it and you can also email me ( and I can send you a copy. :)

    2. I printed this right away and have already shared it with my kiddos. You would have thought reading to a buddy was a new thing in our room. Thank you!

  5. Thank you for sharing this great post! :)
    Crayons and Curls

  6. This book looks so awesome - I'm always looking for ways to beef up my reading groups. Thanks!!!!

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  7. Hi Vickie,
    I read about Beverly Tyner in your friend Deanna's (The Golden Gang) blog. She had me so excited about it that I quickly went to the website and read about it, watched the video and then begged my husband to let me order the book - So now that I have the book - I am reading and loving it, BUT I am feeling overwhelmed! Where do I start? Should I just start with my high group???? Middle of the year might not be the best time to start, but I am so excited about it that I want to implement some aspect of the book - any advice!! Thanks so much and by the way, congratulations on your baby - my oldest baby is 23 and my youngest is turning 17 real soon! Enjoy them while they are little - they grow up so so so fast!

    1. Hey there -
      I'm going to talk to Deeanna and see what she thinks about what to do when starting in mid year and I will let you know. I really love it, so I hope you will too :)
      I'm already sad about how fast Ellie Grace is seems like she should still be a squishy little newborn!
      Will you email me so I can email you more about the groups? Thanks!

  8. Thank you for sharing this book! I clicked right over to read more about it and then placed my order. I can't wait to receive it and using it with my groups. Enjoy your day!


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