Guided Reading is a way to give students an opportunity to practice their reading skills in a small group setting, with teacher support throughout the process.

When you have students sitting at your table, you want to be prepared.

Therefore, you need to have a plan!


Guided Reading groups give students a time and a place to have conversations about various texts that strengthen their reading skills. Once reading skills are mastered through this teacher-guided reinforcement, students can conquer more difficult text.


One great way to keep your guided reading lessons flowing is to have the right tools at hand. Having these items in an organized, convenient location makes your job that much easier!

That being said, I have compiled a list of 11 tools to have close by during your reading groups.

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Tool #1

  • Having a Stopwatch  is useful for timing repeated readings, fluency phrases and running records. Stopwatches are also useful for motivating students to complete assignments in a timely fashion. 

Tool #2


  • Dry Erase Boards (I like two-sided that have lines on one side) for you and your students by the reading table are very convenient. Teachers can use them to check spelling, vocabulary, sentences, for exit tickets, etc. It is a quick way to check for individual understanding.

Tool #3


  • Write-and-wipe pockets are useful to place copies of text in that the students can write on with dry-erase markers. Use them to highlight and text code on, without the need for running multiple copies. I love these because I can place a two-sided article in them or for a shorter text, I can have questions on the back for the students to see and answer.

Tool #4


  • Dry-erase markers with and without eraser tips coincide with the white-bards. I have plenty of black ones and a couple of sets of colored ones for the students to use (when I say so). The classroom rules include an explanation of appropriate uses for supplies. There is a time and a place for artwork!


Tool #5


  • A Date-stamper can be used for adding the date to pages in reading journals, assessments, comparing beginning-of-the-year work samples to end-of-the-year work samples, just to name a few.


Tool #6


  • Pocket charts are so versatile! They can be used for everything from doing Syllasearches to word sorts, sentence sorts, ordering events, sharing data, etc. Having one chart takes the place of trying to use 50 magnets on your board!


Tool #7


  • Folder organizers are beneficial to have to store reading folders, and notebooks. The cubby organizers are kept on a convenient shelf.  It takes little effort to grab them for each of my groups.


 Tool #8


  • Sentence strips are colorful and fun to use for many activities. The light colored strips are great for sequencing, recording vocabulary words on my Word Wall (also mentioned in my article 10 Achievable Ways to Provide Vocabulary Instruction), and my “Word-Bands” game, just to name a few.

Tool #9


  • Index cards are kept close by me to use for my Prefix/Suffix/Greek and Latin Roots board, and also for making fluency phrase cards for the students to use for practice. Again, I like a variety of colors. Another use for these cards is to write student names on them. Then you can tape them into a notebook for ongoing anecdote notes.


 Tool #10


  • Sticky notes cannot be forgotten! I actually keep these (in all different sizes) in locations all around my room. Keeping some at the reading table for students to use to take notes, record vocabulary they are unsure of, recording big ideas on, etc. makes my life easier. These gems are useful for taking anecdotal notes and things I need to remember. There are also some in my desk, by my phone, in my travel bag, in my purse, my laptop bag, in my luggage for my door on the cruise ship (Oh, I’m daydreaming again!) etc.

Tool #11


  • Highlighters can be used by you and your students. Keep a variety of colors in a tray for your use and student use. They are a beneficial tool for students when they are taught how to use them efficiently (vs. the student who highlights EVERYTHING because it must all be important info and it looks so pretty!)

All of these items are helpful to have at your disposal. And, most importantly, it will keep your guided reading instruction flowing.

What are your favorite items to keep by your side when teaching reading groups?

Please share your comments in the section below.

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