I am really trying to incorporate guided reading into my first grade classroom, but I need some help! I have tried putting my kids in centers during guided reading, but it's a lot of work and sometimes I think my kids get more out of whole-group then center time. I want to hear other teachers ideas for what they do with the other students, while they are meeting with a guided reading group. I am open for any ideas and suggestions! Thanks!

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Guided reading can be very difficult especially if routines and procedures are not well grounded.  What really helped me is planning what I am going to put in the stations or centers, not so much of ditto sheets.  Plan what your stations are and place activities that they manipulate before they write on paper.  There is a great book about literacy stations and it is an easy read and packed with so many activities.  It is Literacy Work Stations by Debbie Diller.  I love Guided Reading and Literacy Station and I really wish I can add more to this post.  But I will start with visual map or rotation map--structure it by assigning where the kids are going.  While you are meeting with your GR group, your second group should be doing independent work and the 3rd group are in stations/center.  Then they rotate so you get to meet with all your group and everyone gets to go a station and still be able to reinforce your whole group read aloud by doing their independent work which is always tied to your whole group lesson.  Once again, make sure that your students knows your expectations in every stations and the entire reading rotation, otherwise it can be frustrating.   Hope some of my ideas help.  Good luck.

Great, thank you so much for your help. I have heard of Debbie Diller, I'll definitely have to get her book. I really appreciate your feedback and have a better idea of what the kids should be doing. Again, thank you so much for your help!

You are so welcome!!!  Don't get overwhelmed because it can be just introduce one or two stations at a time and you will find that your kids will be engaged.  

I have two books for you "Time for Literacy Centers" which was one of my college textbooks for a class a few years ago that focuses on what other kids can be doing while you are doing groups.  Another book is one I just heard about at our state reading convention about how to conduct your guided reading groups and it really changed what I thought- look up Jennifer Serravallo.  Oh, and one more resource that you might like is www.busyteacherscafe.com there are tons of ideas and printables to help you set up some centers for students to do when they aren't at group.  Hope that helps :)

Have you read The Daily Cafe? It has excellent strategies for keeping students meaningfully engaged while you meet with your targeted children.     The Daily CAFE was developed by sisters Gail Boushey and Joan Mose. It gives you specific reading strategies to teach also.

Boushey and Mose published a book called The Daily Five which outlines how to train your students how to engage in literacy activities during guided reading instruction time. 

When my students (4th grade) are in small groups, I have the students that are not with me choose what they are completing that day on a weekly contract.  There are a list of activities/projects on the contract and they know they have to complete at least 6 of the list by the end of the week.  All of the activities tie in with the week's lessons.  The students like the facts that they can choose.

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