Guided Reading Lesson Plans

Planning guided reading lessons can be time consuming and difficult. You have so many other things to think about, that guided reading lesson plans often tend to get left until the last minute.

Don’t worry! Lots of teachers are in the same boat. That is why we have created this helpful guide. Keep reading to find out more. 

Guided Reading Lesson Plans

What Is Guided Reading? 

Guided reading is an important part of literacy education. It differs from read-aloud sessions or group reading, as the child is reading independently with some support from the teacher.

It is best done in small groups so that each student has enough support – 4 to 6 per teacher is the ideal amount. 

Whenever the student reaches a stumbling block with their reading – a shape or a sound they don’t know – the teacher will help them through it.

The teacher will use a resource like a sound box or pictures to help the student understand the sounds the word is making.

They will practice this as much as they need to before moving on, and they might need to return to it several times. 

Guided reading sessions help students to make a lot of progress with their reading, and they offer the teacher a great way to keep a track of each student’s reading level. 

How Do You Plan A Guided Reading Lesson? 

There are several steps you need to follow in order to plan a successful guided reading lesson. 

Reading Level 

It is best to group students by their instructional reading level. You will need to know their instructional reading level before you start to make sure that you choose a suitable book for them to read.

This is usually determined at the start of the school year and improves with each term. Guided reading lessons help students to improve their instructional reading level much faster. 


Make sure that you have all of the materials you are going to need to support the students during their guided reading session.

This could include sound box sheets, sound prompt cards and pictures, and whatever other resources you like to use when teaching literacy.

It is a good idea to have a folder for each child, so that you can store any resources and worksheets that they have completed.

This will help you track their progress and also gives them a central location for all of the resources that they might need to come back to.

For example, if they struggle repeatedly with a particular word they can revisit their folder to see how you helped them last time. 

Another great resource to use in guided reading sessions are individual whiteboards.

This allows you to do ‘write it/say it’ exercises which are a quick and effective way to improve pronunciation and spelling all in one go. 

Guided Reading Lesson Plans

Progress Tracker 

During each guided reading session, you will need to complete a progress tracker for each student.

This will include the book that they were reading, and any words or sounds that they struggled with. You should keep them in the guided reading folder for each child.

This will help you to see how each child is progressing, and also give you prompts on what the students need support with.

If there is a particular word or pronunciation that a lot of the students are struggling with, you know to focus on that next time so that they can all improve. 


During guided reading sessions, you should aim to use a variety of reading material.

You can use fiction and non-fiction books, as well as books that are designed to assist with reading (they might include reading exercises and diagrams etc).

Remember to keep track of which books you are using to avoid repetition and to keep the sessions interesting. 


Although guided reading lessons focus predominantly on the reading element of literacy, they can also include a bit of writing.

If there is a word that the students are struggling with, you might want to create an exercise where they write the word down along with rhyming words to help associate the right sound.

You might also want to get them to write the word down as part of a sentence and then practice reading the sentence aloud.

Keep their guided reading workbook in their folder along with the progress sheets and worksheets. 


Guided reading lessons tend to work best when the students know what to expect and they are in a familiar environment.

Try to stick to a routine or schedule, and have the sessions in the same location each time.

Keep the overall structure of the lessons the same, just switch up the resources and activities to keep it engaging. 


Guided reading lessons are a really important part of literacy education. They can be a hassle for teachers, but the key to planning the lessons is preparation and organization. 

Helena Waters

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