My afternoon schedule is a little funky and definitely outside the box but it works! If you have a classroom dynamic similar to mine you have a huge range of types of students, academic levels, verbal abilities, etc. I have readers and nonreaders; students who are verbal and those who are nonverbal. It’s a big range. The downfall of this is that I don’t have enough students to form effective reading groups. I have readers but not enough to have create groups of readers at the same level.

My coworker and I solved this issue by combining our classrooms for part of the afternoon. Between our two classrooms we were able to create small reading groups of students at the same level. We run a parallel teaching schedule. We run groups simultaneously on similar concepts individualized to that group’s level. This is SUPER efficient because we are able to get much more teaching done at a far more personalized level. Every other week we switch groups so we both see all the students an equal amount of time.

Now what do we do in these guided reading groups is the question at hand. We spent a good percentage of the start of the year work and reworking some of the basics:

  • the schedule – who sits at what table at what time and what are the kids who aren’t in a group doing (independent previously mastered tasks)
  • basic group behavior: raising hand, taking turns, minimizing inappropriate behaviors (we use kids vs. teachers a lot here), staying in your seat
  • academic group behavior: listening to a peer reading, answering/asking comprehension questions to a peer, following along in a book, knowing when it is your turn to read

Yes I am aware that it is January but don’t you worry we still incorporated a lot of reading activities but it is imperative to get those foundations down first. The major academic focus for all of the groups are reading fluency and comprehension (this big kahuna of reading struggles for my students). But now that we have improved so much on the basics we are ready to up the anty and a some structure and higher level material.

Since I had the sneaky pleasure of having only 3 students last Thursday we were able to get a bunch of guided reading planning done!

We organized the planning sheets similar to my lesson plan format with a a page for each group for the month. We decided on doing every other week of fiction and nonfiction focus and pick 2 – 4 major grammar concepts for each group to zoom in on. We did general activity/concepts for each week and then will add detail as we get to the week. I like to add the details closer to because you know how it – anything can happen right? You can plan this awesome week of activities but then meltdown city happens and change of plans. Gotta be flexible!


We put all of the forms for the one group in a top loading sheet.



Here are the general concepts we will be working on in January for one of my groups. Major topics to be covered: review of questions vs. sentence and prepositions. Another group will be working on verb agreement. Next month: adjectives!


Having the general concepts laid out for a few months helps me plan ahead and know what type of work I need to create. Hope this could be helpful for your reading planning. Here is a word and pdf of this form: Reading Form Word and Reading Plan PDF.