Balanced Literacy

In a Balanced Literacy Classroom, the Guided Reading table is THE COMMAND Center.

What is YOUR favorite time of the day?
Before lunch?
Mine is…



The MAGIC happens at the Guided Reading Table

In a BALANCED LITERACY classroom,  

this is the place where “MAGIC” happens!
The “AHA!”..the lightbulb…whatever you want to call it.
Last year I got rid of my 

This is my 

Guided Reading



Guided Reading Table

Then I added stools from IKEA.
My kiddos LOVE IT!

The central area of any Balanced Literacy classroom…the guided reading table!


My next favorite

Guided Reading”accessory”

from by




Brewster Wall Pops 

WPE99065 Peel & Stick Calypso Dry-Erase Dots

 with Marker


Dry erase dots!

I put  BIG teal dots on my table!


We write on our dry erase dots during guided reading,

My kids write on them!


Using dry erase dots on our guided reading table for word work, comprehension, and vocabulary.

After we read… then
we write questions on them
 and then change seats to answer them!
Musical Chairs!

Students are highly engaged during guided reading.

They LOVE it!
Write & WIPE! 

I use my 


for Guided Reading Resources.


Balanced Literacy Resource Binder. ALL of YOUR Guided Reading resources in ONE BINDER


The components of Balanced Literacy.

I use it
to assess kids reading levels,
 to group them with like skills,
 and to teach them AT THEIR LEVEL.

Guided Reading 101

Now a couple of things I have learned “on the way”…

Teaching reading strategies is vital to a Balanced Literacy reading program.

1.  Guided Reading is NOT independent reading time!
They read to themselves (READ TO SELF) at a different time of the day.. we do it after lunch.
2. Guided Reading is NOT a time for a LONG teacher LESSON!
 I only have them for 15-20 min.
  Always give them a skill or strategy they can use NOW!
Your goal is to create INDEPENDENT READERS… do not enable them to wait for YOU to do the reading.
3. You DO NOT have to read a BOOK every day!
 This is not the time for HOW MANY BOOKS have you read?
  My lowest reading group needs PHONEMIC AWARENESS. If you don’t know your letter sounds…it’s really HARD to read.
My “bubble” kids ( those that have some skills, but need support and practice to move over the “BUBBLE” into INDEPENDENT READERS) need phonics support to be able to solve reading problems, independently!
So Guided reading should be called


Meet them at their level.
Give them a “take away” that they can use TODAY.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I also use FRIDAYS for assessments ONLY.

Assessment drives the guided reading groups.


Teacher “HOW TO” pages for guided reading assessment.

Assessing skills for guided reading groups.

I do one-to-one RUNNING RECORDS.
I do fluency assessments.
I do letter, spelling, word family, & phonics assessments.
Don’t  “DAWDLE”…

Turtle and rabbit running FAST!

Make it quick. Not a “story” time.
Try to get the most BANG for your buck.
Start with your middle groups.
The “BUBBLE” kids.
They will be moving the fastest.
 Alternate assessments between your highs & lows.
Your highs probably will make continued growth with “less” support…they came in with strong foundations or they wouldn’t be HIGH!  
Don’t forget about them. Keep them connected with BOOK CLUBS,    Writing, and LOTS of COMPREHENSION.
My low babies. You can’t practice TOO MUCH.
When they become “done”…distracted, unable to focus, etc.
Interactive writing, phonics games, reading with “finger pointers”, etc. etc.  
 Change the game…not the content.
Here is a Sight Word FREEBIE for YOU to get started !

FREE sight word game for guided reading.



1. Assess your students. Check data frequently.

2. Sort students into groups ( 4-6 student per group is perfect!)

3. Reteach skills and Strategies.

4. LET them READ! They need PRACTICE!

So I LOVE the guided reading table.
LOTS of learning goes on there.

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5 thoughts on “In a Balanced Literacy Classroom, the Guided Reading table is THE COMMAND Center.

  1. Rach Jamison

    What a fantastic idea having the students change seats to answer questions!! I just might try this as some of my fifth graders need a little more of a push! Thanks!

  2. Ariana

    AS a mom of a Kindergartener, I feel *without* any tools as far as the homework coming back this year already (YES, really, in kindergarten! i was not ready for this!) Obviously I can *do* the work, but it is the patience and skill that go with *teaching* the skill that I'm not 100% sure about… I'm pinning this post for next year! I love how you change this up with the kids moving around the table.

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