Guided Reading with Finn Books

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Guided reading, reader’s workshop, The Daily 5 – however you structure reading in your classroom, the end goal (promoting literacy skills) remains constant.

Fountas & Pinnell describe guided reading as “scaffolded reading instruction that propels all students toward confident, independent reading of high quality grade level books.” When I search for high quality grade level books [Finn Books] is quickly becoming a go to resource!

Looking for activities or ideas to use during your Kindergarten or First Grade guided reading time?  These leveled books are fantastic for reinforcing sight words and are so engaging for students!

Leveled books with high-quality photographs?  LOVE!  While I love fantastic illustrations, there’s just something about real photographs that can’t be beat!  Finn Books do a fantastic job of providing high-interest storylines while utilizing patterns found in Level A, B, and C books to promote early-literacy skills.

We all know that guided reading looks a bit different in each teacher’s classroom, and one of my favorite things to do is take a peek at how other teachers conduct guided reading.  I hope that these tips may work for you, or spark an idea that will be perfect for your classroom!

My school is on a 6-day rotation, which in simpler terms means that each Monday is not necessarily the start to our learning week.  A “day 1” could fall on any given day of the week (Monday-Friday).  I think a great benefit of this is having an extra day to focus on whatever your focus skill may be (visualization, predicting, etc).  On days 1 & 6 I teach lessons whole group and focus on the focus skill, while on days 2-5 I use a modified Daily 5 format that includes mini-lessons and centers while I work with small groups.
Why do I modify the Daily 5 format?  That’s simple.  Every classroom is different, every teacher is different, and every group of kiddos has different needs.  When I first started teaching I stuck with the traditional Daily 5 format to a “T.”  I’ve learned over time how to tweak the system to fit my classroom.  Here’s a peek at my guided reading structure:

First off, you’ll notice that we spend quite a bit of time on sight words.  This is usually at the tail end of calendar time and rolls nicely into our literacy block.
Each guided reading rotation is 17-20 minutes (depending on the day), and I will meet with 2 reading groups during that time.  This allows me to meet with 4 groups a day OR several students individually.
Our 4 centers can shift slightly from week to week but usually we have one center for poetry, one center for handwriting, one center for word work (word families currently), and one center for sight word practice.  You may be wondering how my students work for a full 20 minutes on the same center.  The answer is they don’t, with the exception of the word work center.  The word work center is generally a craft for practicing the word family of the rotation and takes the full rotation (Ex: Making an “_at bat hat” with _at family words written on it).  I usually set up all the centers before school each day so that we can get started right away after our mini-lesson.

Each of the 4 centers above is intended to last around 10-12 minutes, and then the students in that group move on to an extension activity.  This is where differentiation comes in so easily!  I won’t go into too much detail on this because there is a wide array of activities a given group might move onto, but a few examples are listen to reading, reading from their book baggies, placing magnetic letters in order on an alphabet arc then making sight words, making sight words from play doh, etc.  Also, each student has an “Unfinished Work” folder in his/her cubby, and I slip extra activities into them that are tailored for that kiddo.
As a side note, we don’t gloss over the traditional “Read to Self” center.  We have a separate D.E.A.R. time for 15 minutes where students practice read to self later in the day.
My school bought us some really nice book baggies that are made of sturdy nylon.  They’re cheaper than a book box, and in my opinion they are much easier to use/store.  Inside each kiddos book baggy is an alphabet chart, color chart, shape chart, file folder, and 4 to 6 books of varying levels depending on his/her reading level.  This is where [Finn Books] come in super handy.  They are already leveled for each kiddo and are PERFECT for keeping in your classroom library to let students “shop” through for their book baggies.

You can grab your own copy of the alphabet chart and file folder labels that we use in our book baggies for FREE by clicking the picture above.

Here’s a look at the file folder mat in our book baggies.  When students pull out their leveled books (think Finn Books people!) and other picture books, they place them all on the “Time to Re-Read” side to cover the label.  As they read each book, they place it on the “I Read It” side.  Once all of the books have moved to the “I Read It” side the kiddos know it is time to re-read!  This is a great visual for the kiddos and helps them know when it’s time to re-read the books in their baggies. 
I hope these tips have been helpful for you!  Now imagine having your very own set of Finn Books for your kiddos to use in their book baggies or boxes, as well as during small group instruction.  Well, you could win your very own set for your classroom!    One lucky winner will win a set of 6 books of his or her choice (Level A, B, or C) – that’s a $30 value!

Entry is easy using the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. I've never seen these before! They look so much more interesting than the readers that correlate with my reading series. Thanks for sharing your guided reading plan! I'm a fairly new teacher and I'm still trying to figure out the best routine for myself ๐Ÿ™‚

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