What is Guided Reading That Works? - Simply Skilled Teaching

What is Guided Reading That Works?

guided reading that works

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m thrilled to finally write this post to introduce Guided Reading That Works! I love my community of 20,000+ elementary school teachers, and I recently polled them to ask about what they experience as they run their Guided Reading groups.

These educators shared openly with me about their Guided Reading struggles. The feedback came via email, Facebook and Instagram–so many stories! These teachers are committed to the task of teaching children to read. Yet their comments revealed a huge helping of frustration, mixed with a little confusion, topped with a generous dollop of exhaustion.

Here’s just a taste of what I heard…

  • “Pull-outs and interruptions kill me!”
  • “Grouping students! I have one kiddo way lower than anyone else.”
  • “Keeping the other students focused on their independent tasks”
  • “Fitting in all the areas that my different groups need to focus on”
  • “Knowing what I should be focusing on during the lesson”

Doesn’t sound like a recipe for success, does it? Not in my book, anyway.

We all know that reading is the SINGLE most ESSENTIAL skill our students will learn in school. But there’s no pressure in teaching them to read, right? (Gulp!) OK, so there’s a little pressure…

More like a pressure-cooker, sometimes!

In addition to the pressure to organize level groups and assign students appropriately, there’s also the issue of overwhelm. Teachers have A LOT on their plate, and Guided Reading struggles can pile on the stress. Ever had any of these questions cross your mind when you’re preparing to teach Guided Reading?

  • “There’s so much important material to teach…how am I ever going to get through it all without rushing?”
  • “How can I differentiate my teaching without creating more work for myself?”
  • “What are the other kids supposed to be doing while I’m teaching small groups? How do I avoid interruptions and keep my independent learners accountable for their work?”

The bottom line of what teachers are saying?

“I need help with Guided Reading. Pronto!”

Well, my teacher friends, it’s finally here! I am so excited to serve-up my online, anti-boring professional development workshop for 1st-5th grade teachers,

Guided Reading That Works has been over 20 years in the making. I created this program to save you hours of planning and years of stress; it’s packed with actionable information and strategies you won’t find anywhere else.

What’s the secret to my Guided Reading recipe for success? Like any good recipe, it took years of trial & error! I spent countless hours trying to create a reliable system that ensured my guided reading groups were rigorous and inspiring. I finally focused on streamlining my instruction and building a routine that simplified my Guided Reading blocks. That’s when everything changed!

Now I’m ready to share all the yummy goodness with my teacher peeps…

Guided Reading That Works: A Recipe for Success

The best recipes combine quality ingredients and a step-by-step plan. Guided Reading That Works does the same. It’s made up of 5 zero fluff training modules and bite-sized tutorials to get you up and running fast. And it’s all built around my step-by-step P.L.O.T. Framework for Flawless Guided Reading Groups.

That action plan was born out of my 23 years of personal experience. I learned to translate theory into practice as an elementary school teacher, curriculum developer, and adjunct university professor. Were my early attempts at Guided Reading always successful?

Absolutely not.

When I first started my Guided Reading groups, I was a HOT MESS EXPRESS! I knew how important guided reading was to my students’ academic success; but I felt confused, overwhelmed, and, at times, ready to quit.

But just like you…I kept going.

Those years of trial and error finally led me to discover there was nothing wrong with me! I didn’t need a time machine to fit everything in. What I needed was a SYSTEM for running my guided reading groups.

As I said before: when I learned to streamline my instruction and simplify my routine, it was a game changer!

Finally, I could fully focus on my small group, rather than constantly monitor other students to ensure they weren’t goofing off. I no longer worried about whether I was meeting all my students’ needs, checking the right curriculum boxes, or differentiating as well as I could be. Was it because I no longer cared? No! I cared plenty, but my mind was now at ease. My students were consistently leaving my classroom at the end of the year at or ABOVE their reading benchmarks. Yet I wasn’t running myself ragged to make it happen!

That’s why I’m so excited to share that system with you through Guided Reading That Works.

I’m here to tell you that it is possible to find a rhythm that works for your guided reading groups. It’s even possible for Guided Reading to become the time of day that you and your students look forward to the most!

With Guided Reading That Works, in as little as 7 days, you’ll learn how to:

  • Take the materials, plans and resources you have and turn them into a streamlined SYSTEM for running your Guided Reading groups with ease—from literacy stations to independent work and everything in between.
  • Begin your Guided Reading blocks each day with confidence and calm—because you know exactly how to keep students on track and making progress
  • Differentiate and scaffold your instruction, minus the stress and frenzy. And stop worrying you’ll run over time, have to rush, or not give each student the attention they deserve.

I created Guided Reading That Works to help you save hours of planning and years of stress. I give you actionable information and strategies you won’t find anywhere else. Here’s just a taste of what you will find…

  • My PLOT Framework for Guided Reading Groups That Work — your new go-to framework for ensuring your Guided Reading groups are more calm, engaging and effective than ever before
  • 5 “make it work” professional development video modules, complete with step-by-step instructions and zero-fluff strategies. EVERYTHING you need to breathe new life into reading groups!
  • 30 easy-to-digest, action-packed video tutorials covering 5 learning modules. They’re rich with examples, strategies, how-to’s, and behind-the-scenes peeks to help you streamline your Guided Reading instruction
  • The essential info on literacy assessments, planning, materials, printables and more — so you know exactly where to focus your time to optimize your reading instruction, without hurrying to fit everything in.
  • The cherry on top! Exclusive bonuses & resources to help you tame the chaos and ensure that every student is engaged, on track, and working on exactly what they need to progress toward becoming a confident, capable reader!

Guided Reading that Works Bonuses:

Here’s a peek at what’s contained in the 5 modules in Guided Reading That Works…

Module 1:

Course Introduction and Overview – Building Your Balanced Literacy Classroom: In this module, I explain how to implement a balanced literacy approach in your classroom—by simply tweaking what you’re already doing—to make your reading block more effective and much less hectic! You’ll learn what a balanced literacy framework looks like in action and see how it can transform your classroom to provide a new level of flexibility for you and your students, while also encouraging independence and self-learning.

For those new to guided reading, this module will demystify it and show you how to bring all its components together into a smooth, workable system. Yet those familiar with or already using a Guided Reading approach will love the introduction to my PLOT framework for more effective Guided Reading instruction. By the end of this module, newbies and seasoned educators will have a structured, step-by-step game plan. You’ll know how to develop a streamlined, consistent, strategic Guided Reading block that meets the needs of each of your students.

Module 2:

How to Pre-Assess Your Way to Reading Success: Finding each student’s starting point and conducting ongoing assessments are key to a successful Guided Reading approach, and that’s what this module is all about! You’ll learn about the four main types of reading assessments, along with when and how to use each one. You’ll understand how assessments can inform your instruction as well as help you make confident decisions on leveling, progress monitoring, and addressing individual learning needs. We also explore how to use informal reading assessments to periodically monitor students’ reading level, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary.

Each lesson is packed full of essentials and in-depth information, giving you everything you need to choose the right assessment, for the right student, at the right time. Assessments don’t need to be overwhelming or time-consuming! By the end of this module you’ll be able to use assessments to plan your instruction more effectively and make the most of the time you have.

Module 3:

Level Groups – The Low-Down on Leveling Your Groups…The Right Way!
In order for guided reading to work, it’s essential to appropriately group your students by their instructional reading level. In this module, we’ll cover the how and why for grouping your students. This is the foundational structure that allows you to provide differentiated, small group instruction that keeps your students moving forward toward their literacy goals.

I’ll introduce you to Strategy Groups, an alternative to a conventional Guided Reading group that allows you to provide differentiated small group instruction to students of varying ability levels who struggle with the same skill or strategy. Plus, in an in-depth, “nuts & bolts” video, I’ll show you the approach I personally use to group my students by level. I share the methods and criteria I’ve used to successfully create guided reading groups in my own classroom. You’ll learn how you can apply these same strategies to ensure your students are getting the support they need.

Module 4:

Organizing and Optimizing Your Time for a Seriously Smooth Guided Reading Block
Effective guided reading groups require an organized approach. If you feel like you’re drowning in activities, worksheets and materials, this module will deliver a serious dose of sanity to your classroom!

I’ll share the most effective strategies for organizing materials near your teacher table and around the classroom. (Ensuring that everything you need is always within arm’s reach is key to optimizing your time!) We’ll also answer the most common question I receive about guided reading: “What are the other kids doing, and how do I keep them on track?” We’ll cover how to implement literacy stations, showing you the different types of literacy stations and activities you can provide, and sharing a step by step approach to setting up literacy stations in your classroom.

I’ll also share insights on how to implement an effective behavior management plan. I’ll give you practical, creative ways to calm the chaos and ensure an engaging and peaceful learning environment for your students (some of these will surprise you!) Next, I’ll share a workable plan for implementing guided reading rotations, including the steps you should consider when planning out your rotations. I’ll explain how to streamline your rotations so you can fit everything in with the time you have available. Finally, I’ll share the most effective ways to hold students accountable for the practice activities they perform during literacy rotations

Module 5:

Tackle, Tend & Teach: The Nitty Gritty of What to Teach, When and How
This module will give you total clarity about the types of reading groups you’ll have in your classroom, and exactly what to work on with each of them. I’ll show you how to tackle your guided reading instruction, tend to each individual learner through differentiated instruction, and teach your heart out to help your students reach mastery level in their literacy development.

In this final teaching module, I give you a detailed lesson plan for each of your leveled reading groups. Then, for each group, I’ll show you how to tackle the task of planning an effective, engaging lesson that accomplishes your instructional goals and meets the needs of the students in your group. You’ll also learn how to tend to the individual learning needs of your students, by using the information gained from monitoring and assessment to differentiate your instruction and inform your teaching.

I’m on a mission to give your Guided Reading story a happy ending…

Thanks for joining me for this tour of Guided Reading That Works. I’ll continue to offer blog posts with helpful teaching tips, creative ideas and actionable strategies you can use in your own classroom; however, I wanted to take this opportunity to share the exciting news. There’s a lot of good stuff that’s waiting for you; so be sure to check out this page for Guided Reading That Works!

‘Bye for now, and happy teaching!

xoxo, Anna

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Anna DiGilio

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I'm Anna DiGilio

Hi, I'm Anna! I was a primary teacher for over twenty-three years, wife of a firefighter, mother of twin teenage boys, obsessed with being creative and helping teachers and love my Saturday morning quiet cup of coffee!
Thanks for stopping by!



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Hi, I'm Anna! I was a primary teacher for over twenty-three years, wife of a firefighter, mother of twin teenage boys, obsessed with being creative and helping teachers and love my Saturday morning quiet cup of coffee!
Thanks for stopping by!

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