Guided reading and small groups are an exciting part of my day! I want to share with you some ideas for my Must Have Materials that will help your guided reading time to be more engaging, fun and more organized. I have split these ideas into grade levels, kindergarten through fifth grade. But most of these ideas go across grade levels. I have also tried to include materials that are not the stuff you usually think of for must have materials for guided reading. Let’s get to the fun!
For kindergarten, we focus a lot on letters and phonemic awareness. Especially at the beginning of the year. Some of the the links below may be referral links, which means, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Here is my list and how to use each item. Click on the name of the items to see them.
- Magnetic Letters and letter storage box– The magnetic letters don’t need any explanation of course, but if you are not using a storage box you are missing out! I cannot waste precious time hunting for specific letters so I keep mine in a labeled box. Worth it times ten!
- Magnetic Bingo chips– No, we aren’t playing Bingo, although you could! But use the chips with sound boxes to do all kinds of phonemic awareness activities. Be sure to get the magnetic kind! See below for why.
- Magnetic Wands– These wands are not just for science! After using the Bingo chips just sweep across the table with wands to pick up all the chips. Easy and fun!
- Eye Finger Puppets– Use these little guys on kindergarten fingers to encourage tracking when reading in levels A-C. There are just some students who do NOT want to track the print and these will definitely encourage them to do so! And they are not really puppets- just a weird name.
- Squeaker Hammers– I found these a few years ago. You must set rules about proper use but the hammers are great for tapping out syllables in words or for tapping out sounds in words.
- Nursery Rhyme Flip Chart– Nursery Rhymes are so easy to use and there are a ton of skills that can be covered using them. You can search for sight words, identify the focus letters that week, clap out syllables in the words, find the rhymes, look for punctuation, etc..
- Highlighter Tape– This stuff is wonderful! Use it on charts, in books, to mark areas in a student’s writing, etc… It usually peels off pretty easily too.
- Whisper Phones– Have you had students that just cannot read over the noise of other kids reading (this probably would have been me as a child!)? Give them whisper phones! Not only are they fascinated by the whole idea of funneling their own voice to their ear, it really will help with the noise level.
- Magnetic Sentence Strip Pocket– I use sentence strips a lot but I don’t always want them in a pocket chart. I may only be using one or two for a small group and I would stop to look for magnets or tape to hold my strip. These things go right on your white board easel and hold it in place!
- Sentence Strips– No explanation needed! We all use these and quite a few of them!
- Jumbo Magnifiers– For fun and engagement when you want your students to search for sight words, letters, prefixes, suffixes, etc…within the text.
- Differentiated Learning Cubes– I have two sets of these. The kids love them and I love that they don’t clank across the table! They have clear plastic pockets so you can slide pictures, Post It Notes, questions, etc…into them.
- Miniature Pocket Charts– They are just the right size for working at the guided reading table if you want students to do word sorts or picture sorts. Great for pairs of students too and they love having a pocket chart their size!
- Tabletop Whiteboard Easel– This is a must! It is two-sided so you can switch sides without having to erase information you need to keep.
- Write On/Wipe Off Answer Boards– Being able to write on either side and flip the boards around make these boards a huge hit. Great for quickly assessing students at one time too!
- Expo Markers– If you want the best marker, I think it is Expo. I give the students black and I use the colors. Otherwise, they fuss about which color they get. Or sometimes we use the colors but it is for special occasions. Get the chisel tip!
- Buzzers– Third graders are into competition. Bring these out for some extra fun!
- Magnetic Whiteboard Storage Pocket– As you already know, I need things organized and everything in easy reach. The storage pocket makes things look nice and I can get to what I need.
- Syllable Flips– My students have loved these Syllable Flips. There are a lot of possibilities with these since they are two sided. I like that the words are broken into prefix, word, and suffix for the students.
- Clipboards– Anytime we get out the clipboards, my students know we might be doing some moving around. I think the clipboards just make the students feel a bit more professional and official!
- Laser Pointer– Use a laser pointer on your word wall as you review words- you point and they read or you call out a word and the student finds the word and points to it. Use a pointer on your Smartboard as students look for and find words, punctuation or proof of their answer in the text.
Fourth & Fifth Grade:
- Dry Erase Pockets– Slip paper into these pockets and then you don’t have to be making so many copies all the time. No one wants to spend their lunch hour making copies!
- Post It Notes– We use a lot of sticky notes. Especially when you can’t write in the book. I like the ones with lines to give students boundaries. Otherwise, their sentence begins at the top and quickly heads to the bottom in a downhill slant. I like to have students take their notes and transfer them to their Reader’s Notebooks so they have a record of their thoughts and work instead of throwing them away.
- Post It Flags– These are GREAT for marking pages or sentences in books! Here is a secret- peel them back off and then stick them to the end of your easel or wipe off board so you can reuse them! I guess that makes me cheap but you can spend a fortune on school supplies!
- Index Cards– I use these a LOT! You may as well buy several packs and be done so you aren’t looking for some right before you need them.
- Reading Guide Strips Overlays– These overlays come in two ways- a thin overlay area and a thicker overlay area. You can have students use the thin ones for help tracking print if needed. Or use the thicker ones for marking paragraphs that prove answers. I love it for this!
My Favorite Organizational Tools for Guided Reading:
The whole trick is to find what works for you, set it up and then USE it. You can find these organizational tools as well as the other materials listed today in my Teacher Favs section on our blog. It is a tab at the very top. Just click on Teacher Favs and then click the picture to be taken to see all the materials!
I hope these ideas help you for ideas that are fun, engaging and maybe some there were new and fresh for your guided reading times!