This post will show you how to write a guided reading lesson plan, step by step.
Today I’m sharing 6 steps for planning a guided reading lesson in K-2.
STEP 1: Choose a teaching point.
Think about your group of students. What do they need to learn? If you’re completely stuck on this, no worries. At the end of this post you can download a list of possible teaching points for different stages of reading (pictured above).
Let’s imagine that I have a group of students reading at about Level M. I happen to know that these students need more experience with nonfiction text. My lesson focus will be teaching them to report what they’ve learned in an organized way.
STEP 2: Choose a text.
You’ll want to find a quality, high-interest text that lends itself to your teaching point. Since I’m looking for a nonfiction text, I’ll use one of my passages about famous people. The passages are approximately levels J, L, and N. Since nonfiction is typically more challenging than fiction, I’ll choose the level L Abraham Lincoln passage for this group.
STEP 3: Jot down an introduction to the text.
My goal here is to say just enough. I want my spark my students’ prior knowledge so they’re ready to read and understand this passage – but I don’t need five minutes to do that. Since these fictional students are advanced second graders, they already have a basic understanding of Abraham Lincoln and his place in American history. I’ll go online and print a picture of the Lincoln Memorial and use it in my introduction:
Have any of you ever been to Washington, D.C.? This is one of my favorite places to visit there. Does anyone know what this place is called? It’s called the Lincoln Memorial. It was built to honor America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. As you read this passage, think about WHY America would build such a magnificent building to honor President Lincoln.
You see that in just a few sentences I introduced the passage and gave my learners a purpose for reading.
STEP 4: Prepare a set of discussion questions.
Read over the text and prepare a set of high and low level questions to ask after the students finish their reading. Your goal is 10-12 questions. Here are some questions I could ask about the Abraham Lincoln text.
- Where did young Lincoln live as he was growing up?
- What did young Abe like to do more than anything else? Why do you think so?
- What was slavery like?
- Why do you think that Lincoln didn’t like slavery?
- Why were Southerners upset when Lincoln became president?
- What was the Civil War? How did it end?
- What was the Emancipation Proclamation?
- Why do you think Lincoln was shot?
- Why do you think America built the Lincoln Memorial?
- What is on the front and back of the penny?
STEP 5: Plan your teaching point.
Remember my focus that I set at the beginning of this lesson planning process? I want my learners to report what they’ve learned from a nonfiction text in an organized manner. I’ll want to communicate this teaching point in about 2 minutes. Here’s how it might sound.
Boys and girls, let’s talk about what you just read. Was it fiction or nonfiction? That’s right, it’s nonfiction. When we tell what we’ve learned about nonfiction, it’s helpful if we have an organized way of stating the information. Otherwise we say all kinds of facts in any kind of order … and it can be confusing for people who are listening to us.
Let’s think about the author organized this passage. It starts when Lincoln was born, and how does it end? Yes, it ends after he died and America built the Lincoln Memorial. So it looks like the passage is in chronological order. That means that it shares events in time order. I think we could tell what we’ve learned in the same way.
If I wanted to tell someone what I learned from this passage, what’s the first thing I could say, using time order?
Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809.
Excellent! What’s something else important that you want to report?
When he was 7, Abraham Lincoln’s family moved to Indiana.
And you get the idea. I would keep talking through the text with my students, helping them pick out important points to report. I would remind them that in the future, when they read a nonfiction passage organized chronologically, they can report what they’ve learned in the same way.
STEP 6: Prepare other lesson materials as time allows.
If you saw my post about the parts of a guided reading lesson, you know that many teachers also teach sight words and include word work or guided writing in a guided reading lesson. These are all great things to do, but they are not essential. If you have all the above in your lesson, that’s good enough.
But when you are seasoned at guided reading and want to add even more value to your lessons, take the time to add these elements.
My fictional group of students has strong fluency and doesn’t need sight word practice. But I do know that they need help reading long words. For word work, I’m going to show them how to find chunks in long words and read them from left to right. I’ll use these sample words: magnificent, tremendous, accelerate, precipitation, declaration, perspiration.
I know that we won’t have time to do guided writing in addition to word work. But if I were planning to include this in my lesson, I’d work with the students to write a brief summary of Abraham Lincoln’s life.