Guided reading in kindergarten?

Many teachers ask me about guided reading in kindergarten. They ask what to do with students who are not reading, what to do after reading the book, how to start guided reading, and why they even need to do guided reading with “the little ones.”

Well, I firmly believe that guided reading is one of the most important parts of a kindergarten child’s day. It is during this time that you can really see what a student knows, what skills you are constantly using, and what you need to work on, and most importantly, students spend a little time individually with you.

In my class I have 3 different reading levels: non-readers, pre-readers and readers. I follow the same “plan” with each level. I use the Literacy Tree, PM Starters, and other leveled DRA resources for guided reading. I start my nonreaders on DRA Level 1 books right away so they can start acquiring the necessary print concepts. The other students start at their DRA level.

Usually in guided reading, I have the kids read a review book for warm-up. It is at this time that it would pull a “Running Record”. Many students aren’t ready for an RR right away, so let them warm up for the reading and skills work to come. This time is crucial for your short students or students who are not confident readers. By reading a familiar book, the child may realize that “I can read!” and they are more prepared for a new story.

After the review book, I present a new story with a cover discussion and a photo tour. This is when I can insert whatever keywords or vocabulary the kids need to read the story.

So, they read! Children should read at their own pace, NOT together. Listen carefully to the students. See what strategies they have used and what strategies have yet to be discussed. For a great list of kindergarten reading strategies, visit Kelly’s Kindergarten.

After reading the story, we discuss the necessary strategies and review the story. Then I usually do some mini skills lessons. For example, we can work on initial sounds, syllables, final sounds, rhymes, phoneme segmentation and combination of phonemes or words that are recognizable at sight. Sometimes I use a game, like the Instant Learning Centers, or sometimes I use picture cards.

After reading, skills, and review, I always ask the children to reread the story before returning to the centers.

I always end the guided reading with a smile and a cute stamp on her hand and excitement. This makes the kids even more excited to come to the table next time!

My groups last 15-20 minutes and I meet each child at least twice a week. My shorter students are found every day.

Good luck and happy reading!

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