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Guided Reading Activities for First Grade

By Eric Benac ; Updated April 18, 2017

Guided reading is a program that helps younger students learn how to become more successful and proficient readers. The teacher will guide the students through several steps, including pre-reading preparation, guiding during the reading and activities after reading. First-grade guided reading should also follow these simple steps.

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Reading Preparation

Introduce your students to vocabulary they will encounter during your reading. First-grade reading vocabulary will consist of simple words such as cat, hat, truck, boat and other simple three- to five-letter words. New vocabulary words should be added with each new piece of reading. A good preparation can be vocabulary games, such as vocabulary match cards or vocabulary quizzes. You should also focus on the syntax, pronunciation and phonics of each of the vocabulary words. Whole-class oral pronunciation will get your students mastering their pronunciation. Sound out the words slowly, syllable by syllable, in order for the students to master the more difficult words.

During Reading

Read out loud as a group so that you can guide your first-graders as they read. Try simple focusing activities to keep them going. For example, if your student gets stuck on a word or fumbles a sentence say “try it again for fun!” After she reads through the sentence, give the student a point. Students earn points for each sentence they read and if the class earns a set number of points, reward them with a pizza party. You should also give them clues as they read. For example, tell them to “look at the neighbors.” Students can use the words that surround the word they are struggling with in order to create a context for the meaning and pronunciation of the word. Be gentle and kind as you guide.

After Reading

Praise your students after they have finished their reading. Ask them what kind of strategies they used to get through the reading. Discuss these strategies with the whole class so they can consider trying these strategies themselves. First-graders who struggle to read in one method may achieve better reading comprehension using a different strategy suggested by a friend. Ask them questions about what they read to gauge their comprehension of the material. Praise all your students for their reading efforts but gauge each student’s progress to focus on how to improve their reading.

At Home

Send home an assessment of each of your student’s reading progress in their Friday Folders at the end of the week. Give each student individualized guided reading lessons to complete with their parents. This should include vocabulary exercises for words the students had problems pronouncing as well as games parents should play with their kids. Games include “I Spy” or “Spell It.” These games are perfect for car rides, boring days around the house or even while watching television. Parents should do these activities with their kids and send them back in the Friday Folder so that you can evaluate the student’s progress further.

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About the Author

Eric Benac began writing professionally in 2001. After working as an editor at Alpena Community College in Michigan and receiving his Associate of Journalism, he received a Bachelor of Science in English and a Master of Arts in writing from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

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