Tag Archives: guided reading

Rethinking Literacy in 2023

We get a “Literacy” DO-OVER : Shared Reading

And a FREE Balanced Literacy resource to help you get STARTED

2023 is the Year of LITERACY!

 Because 2022 was so BAD….we get  DO-OVER!

We get a “LITERACY ” do-Over”!

Rethinking Literacy in 2023

Rethinking Literacy in 2023

Ready to UPDATE your literacy block? 

Keep reading to the bottom of this post for a FREEBIE

Free for Followers

Freebie for Followers

Balanced Literacy: Here is your NEW YEAR’s PLAN!

*DISCLAIMER…  I know the Science of Reading is the NEW “go-to” for teaching Reading.

I AM NOT AN EXPERT! I am learning. I have been teaching reading to FIRST GRADERS for 30+ Years. AND I AM ALWAYS  LEARNING. SO… I hope YOU are open to new ideas & “reusing” OLD ideas to help our “littles” learn. If this helps YOU – Yeah! ( Jan. 2022). 

The Why? The What? and The How?

Balanced literacy has been defined as  “an approach designed to help individual students learn how to process a variety of increasingly challenging texts with understanding and fluency.” (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001)

Fountas & Pinnell have been the guiding resource for Balanced Literacy. Today we listen.

It is an approach to teaching. NOT a curriculum. It is HOW we teach our students to be independent readers and writers. It is NOT what books we use to teach them.

Balanced Literacy has been defined in “components” or  “pieces” of literacy instruction.

This series will focus on the components of a complete BALANCED LITERACY program. We will focus on clear and concise definitions. Definitions that educators can discuss in collaboration.

A “common language” where we can learn from each other and with each other.

The 8 components we will focus on are:

  1. Read Alouds
  2. Shared Reading
  3. Guided Reading
  4. Independent Reading
  5. Modeled / Interactive Writing
  6. Shared Writing
  7. Guided Writing / Writer’s Workshop
  8. Word Work

Each week we will focus on one area of Balanced Literacy and share experiences,  teacher tips, and resources to support and expand our Balanced Literacy repertoire. Start 2022 with the plans to implement BALANCED LITERACY!

This week:   Shared  Reading.

Last week we discussed Read Alouds. This week is about  Shared Reading.

How is shared reading different from a read-aloud?

Shared reading, involves quite a bit of pausing to teach or engage kids in practicing a skill. When doing a read-aloud,  go through the book a bit more quickly, stopping less frequently.

The other most important difference between shared reading and a read-aloud is that during shared reading, kids have their eyes on the print. During a read-aloud, you may show the pictures to students, but they are not usually able to see the words clearly. Since students can see the text during shared reading, you are able to teach things like decoding more easily.

Learning At the Primary Pond  

Shared reading is a part of the balanced reading model (read aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading).

It is a 15ish minute block of time within that model that should be practiced daily.  Simply stated it’s the “We do.” part of the gradual release model.  This element is crucial.  It’s time for the teacher and students to practice together.

Mrs. Richardson’s Class

The READ ALOUD is done BY the teacher FOR the students.

Shared Reading is done WITH the students.

A Poem, a Big Book, A chart. Any text where the teacher and the students can see the text, and read it together.

Shared Reading

Shared Reading vs Read Aloud


It is important to teach what “really matters” connected to a shared text. “We always want students to leave each reading experience enriched by the language and the text because of the shared approach, so we shouldn’t find hundreds of vocabulary words and instructional opportunities in a single text.

Some of  the many benefits of shared reading

  • building vocabulary
  • developing understandings of story structure
  • demonstrating reading strategies
  • entire-class reads a common text
  • all read the large text
  • high engagement

There are many types of print for Shared Reading.  Big books, charts, and poetry are some resources for teachers to read WITH students.

Here some great educators share their resources.

What is Shared Reading?

What is Shared Reading?

Learning at the Primary Pond

Shared Reading

Shared Reading

The Teaching Texan

Shared Reading

Shared Reading

Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

The main goal of shared reading is to engage students with the text. It is to share a reading experience. Everyone can read together and then participate in a rich discussion, writing, or response to the text.

In summary, Shared Reading is a reading experience where both teacher and students read a large text, together. A chart, a poem on a smartboard, or any other BIG text, where the teacher reads WITH the students using self-question and think aloud reading strategies. The goal is to model fluent and expressive reading. The students  INTERACT with the text while reading WITH the teacher and then through discussions, writing, and/or thinking for themselves.

These literacy posts may help in YOUR Balanced Literacy journey.

Balanced Literacy

Read At Home

Flexible Seating

Read Alouds

These resource books for TEACHERS may be helpful for YOUR reading.

Shared Reading with Big Books

Shared Reading with Big Books

Shared Reading with Big Books

Shared Reading

Shared Reading

Shared Reading

Kids with Capes

Kids with Capes


I hope YOU are prepared to practice DAILY  Shared Reading in YOUR classroom!

Stay tuned for next week… Week 2 Guided Reading.

Please share with friends.

Leave me a comment…How do YOU use Shared Reading in YOUR classroom?


Free for Followers

Freebie for Followers







Are your students ready for CENTERS?

How to add games for independent centers!

We have been in school for 4 weeks. I know…we began JULY 31! I spend 3-4 weeks working on whole class routines & schedules. Then we spend a week or two working on centers ( without me actually taking reading groups) so I can monitor HOW they are doing during independent centers. AND THEN????

We begin INDEPENDENT CENTERS without the teacher!!!  WHAT???  Yes!! 

Release the KRACKEN!

Release the Kracken

Release the Kracken

And yes..we begin small group reading.

I used to call it GUIDED READING.

But I have added Guided Reading Skills & Strategies.

Sometimes, we work on words. Sometimes we work on skills. 

Sometimes we read. Sometimes we write. 

I use my assessments to guide my instruction. 

I know WHO needs WHAT.

So what are the other kids doing?

MUST DO’s & May Do’s.

And this week..enter their FAVORITE CENTER SO FAR!

( Yes…in their WHOLE LIFE…as they say!)

Here is the FUN game for centers!

And they are LEARNING!    WIN!  WIN!





294 domino cards for short vowel practice. Domino games can be differentiated by vowel sounds, picture cards, or word cards. Fun activities for student learning. Games help students stay engaged while practicing short vowel CVC word families.

They LOVE THIS! They beg for more time! Get your WORK done so you can PLAY!

YES!  I love it when a plan works!

And so here we go!

Small groups for me..independent centers for them.

WIN! WIN!  All around. Check out the video!

Creating a Reading Community

Creating a Reading COMMUNITY!

Reading Workshop

“Creating a Community of Readers”


This is my newest FAVORITE thing!


I LOVE Lucy Caulkin’s 



If you get a chance to hear her, see her, and/or youtube her…


During Reading Workshop,, I don’t want my students to stop and ask for help.

I want them to have skills to be independent readers.

I want them to be problem-solvers.

So, I am…


 Take a picture walk. Cover the words. Make them use the visual cues in the story. Frontload any vocabulary that may change thinking, distort comprehension, or unfamiliar to them. During Reading Workshop, have them make predictions PRIOR to reading. AFTER reading, check their predictions.

 I LOVE this! After reading..then what? DO SOMETHING! Reread it for NEW information. Retell it to yourself or a friend. We use our 3 fingers retell. I love this part…DIGEST IT! Just as a good meal…when you are finished, appreciate it. Think about it. ENJOY IT!

 You are NEVER done! When you finish…read more! My kiddos love to stack ALL of their books on the left..as they finish reading a book…place it in a pile on their right. Keep reading! Their goal is to read more every day! STAMINA! Reading MATS are used to make goals. Our goals are to read MORE! Reading Worshop takes time. Make the time for it!

 We want kids to quit using their fingers to read. Good readers use their EYES! “SCOOP” up words (phrases) with your eyes. When reading, put 3-4 words together and read the phrases! GREAT time to teach prepositions & prepositional phrases!

 Always,always…reread! You will see more, read more, and understand more when you reread a story. Read it to a partner, a parent, a friend. The same book can sound new when you are reading it the second or third time!

A HUGE THANK YOU to Lucy Caulkins!

So there you are.. Reading Workshop…



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…



guided reading table

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



The guided reading table where I do small group reading as part of my balanced literacy.

Guided Reading Table

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

I use flexible seating stools at the guided reading table.

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


Vinyl clings make seating areas The guided reading table where I do small group reading as part of balanced literacy.

Dry erase dots!

I put  BIG teal dots on my table!


Vinyl clings make seating areas The guided reading table where I do small group reading as part of balanced literacy.

We write on our dry erase dots during guided reading,

My kids write on them!


Vinyl clings make seating areas where I do small group reading as part of balanced literacy.

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!

Vinyl clings make seating areas where I do small group reading as part of balanced literacy.

Students are highly engaged during guided reading.

They LOVE it!
Write & WIPE! 

I use my 


for Guided Reading Resources.


ALL of the elements needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom in one resource.

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


ALL of the elements needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom in one resource.

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”…

The reading strategy element needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom.

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.

Student assessment recording sheet needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom.

Assessment drives the guided reading groups.


Student assessment recording sheet needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom.

Teacher “HOW TO” pages for guided reading assessment.

Student assessment recording sheet needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom.

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”…

don't dawdle...run fast

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 to practice reading

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.