Are you on the hunt for guided reading groups? Here’s where to find them!
Are you on the hunt for guided reading books?
You may be a teacher in one of those wonderful schools that has an entire book room. When you need books for guided reading, you simply check the shelves, find the appropriate level, and browse the titles to find a set of books that will work for your learners.
Is this you? Awesome!
You probably don’t need this post.
But the rest of us need some ideas. Because leveled books don’t grow on trees. (Wouldn’t that be nice, though?)
Where to find affordable leveled books for guided reading
I know what you’d love to see – a list of free sites to download books for guided reading – books that are conveniently labeled A-Z according to the Fountas and Pinnell text level gradient.
How glorious that would be!
If you know of such a magical place, please let my readers know in the comments below.
Unfortunately, I haven’t discovered it. What I can give you is a list of places to find high quality, reasonably priced books for guided reading.
1 – Reading A to Z
Reading A to Z is by far the most affordable place to find books for guided reading. It does cost a little over $100 per year per classroom. While that sounds like a lot, you have access to hundreds of books that you can print in color or grayscale. Make multiple copies, bind them with a clip or rubber band (or simply slide into a gallon sized plastic bag), and you can start creating your own book room.
Simply click on the level of book you’re looking for, and you’ll find dozens of options. This is a screenshot of a few of the titles you can find for level D.
Another cool thing? You can preview the book (every single page) before printing, so you’ll know whether it’s right for your learners.
Plus! Each book comes with supplementary material – including a complete guided reading lesson. While I don’t recommend following it to a T, it will definitely give you a useful starting point when designing your own lessons.
A tip: Reading A to Z does not follow the guided reading levels exactly. Thankfully, the site has a reading levels correlation chart.
2 – Wilbooks
The nice thing about Wilbooks is that the books are solid, printed books. While you have to use printer ink and paper (not to mention time) to make those Reading A to Z books work for you, Wilbooks’ titles arrive in a nice cardboard box – ready to read.
The downside, of course, is that they cost money. A single book could cost you around $4, which means that a set of books for just one group of kids is about $24. Another thing to keep in mind is that Wilbooks’ titles only go up to level M.
These really are great little books, though, and if you get on their mailing list you can wait for a sale. Last summer I received an email letting me know about a warehouse sale at Wilbooks – every book was 50% off! I stocked up so I could use the books to teach my kindergartner to read. It was a nice change of pace from Reading A to Z.
3 – The library
It used to be that it was nearly impossible to find guided reading titles at the library, but the situation has greatly improved with the wonderful books from Holiday House. Simply go to the site and search for a particular level (as I began to do at the top of the above screenshot), and you’ll find what they have for levels A-G.
These books are fantastic! They look and feel like real books (rather than books written for kids learning to read) and are what got my reluctant kindergarten reader asking to read. I love that they’re written by authors whose names you’ll actually recognize – for example, David McPhail and Emily Arnold McCully.
Once you have the list of books, go to your library and get as many titles as you can. The trick is getting enough for your learners without having to purchase some, but for someone on a tight budget (and a small group), this can be the way to go. Of course, you have to plan far enough in advance to make this work – but it’s a good place to start.
4 – Teachers Pay Teachers
While I haven’t had success finding leveled books on Teachers Pay Teachers (except those within a guided reading curriculum), I’ve seen a lot of leveled passages, which can be excellent for use in a guided reading lesson. But buyer beware – they come in a range of quality.
Take a good, hard look at the samples before purchasing a set of reading passages on Teachers Pay Teachers. Just because a bundle is a best-seller doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve seen incredibly high quality samples. But I’ve also seen best-selling passages whose samples have typos, bad format, and a poor writing style.
(P.S. I’m in the process of creating my own leveled reading comprehension passages! Keep your eyes open for them in my shop.)
5 – Scholastic book orders
I would use your Scholastic book orders as a way to stock up on multiple copies of leveled books. The trick is that it can be hard to find books in the levels you need, and Scholastic’s guided reading levels aren’t always accurate. But again … you have to start somewhere!
Once you start to build up your collection of guided reading books, you need to stay organized. With that said, here are some …
Tips for organizing your guided reading library
- Dedicate a space for the books. In some schools, you can dedicate a whole room. Some of have to use a bookshelf behind our desks.
- Have a system for storing the books for each level. I like the idea of using a plastic magazine holder – the wider the better. That way you can put multiple books in a single holder. Whatever you decide, make sure you have the books shelved in order. This might mean 4 holders for level A, 3 holders for level B, etc.
- Inside of each magazine holder, store the books you have for that level. I vote for putting them in a gallon sized plastic bag. This way you can store supplementary material inside the bag to keep it from getting lost – including previous lesson plans that you’ve created. Save yourself time in the future!
- Have a system for returning those books when you’re finished with them. There’s nothing worse than having piles of things you used weeks ago and not being able to find them when you need them again. Or having to reprint something you know you printed a month ago. (Not that I would know anything about this. Ahem.)
Do you have places to find books for guided reading? Let us know in the comments!
Check out the whole guided reading series here: