Guided Reading: Space Planning


Anyone else feel like organizing never stops? Once you start organizing something, it spills over or borrows a container from something else which inevitably directs your organization destination to never-stops-ville. Okay, so I’m probably being dramatic, and I do love being (or at least feeling) organized, but sometimes I have to make myself stop because it can be a never ending cycle.

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

I shared previously about how I organized my guided reading paperwork all into one binder and if you haven’t read guided reading: guided setup – I’d say go for it! Then come on back here to read about how I’ve chosen to organize the rest of my space to make guided reading go as smoothly as possible. The photo above shows my guided reading space. My main components are: kidney table (lowered as far to the ground as possible), large floor pillows, my binder, and my organizational space (magnetic front side of my desk and underneath).

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

I sit or kneel on this memory foam seat cushion that I snagged as a freebie. I’ve decided that as long as I’m young enough to be on the floor, I’ll choose to do so. When I’m sitting, to my left I have a white basket that tucks under the table when not in use. I store my groups’ books here for the entire week. (I took this picture late in the week so you only see a few.

Plus, I have a student teacher and she is storing her portion in the green basket seen above.) I use the green thingy as a divider – two groups in the front side by side, and two in the back. It works to stash all my books in and carry back to my classroom from the literacy library.

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

My literacy centers are grouped heterogeneously. This way all students have the opportunity to see good modeling, work with different personalities and learn by teaching each other. So to call groups, I simply ring a bell (I have three to choose from) and quietly call out the names of the kinders I need to see.

These seriously change on a weekly basis! In the same container, I keep a set of dry erase markers, erasers (baby socks) and  flashlights.

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

This magnetic container was going to be trash before I rescued it! I finally feel like I have figured out how to use it best in my classroom and love it! It holds my highlighters (to highlight my students to take a running record on), my white boards (I wanted really small ones and these came from Dollar Tree), a pad of paper to write myself reminders to place on my desk for later, and these items seen in more detail below…

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

Our reading & retelling bookmarks (free) – each student has their own laminated one that they keep in their book pockets but I keep a stack to use with my higher levels to ensure we are focusing on comprehension. We pick a part to talk about, or often they use these to prompt discussion with a partner.

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

When they forget to return their books that they took home the night before, they grab a bookmark-like slip (I find that different sized paper helps grab an adult’s attention) and they write the title of the book they forgot and sign it.

They seem to like having the help of a reminder, and I need them to put in a little bit of work as the other kinders are signing out their new books. Sometimes I use a bookmark to give a little direction when they take these books home, like assigning a sight word to practice writing.

My kinders transport their books to and from home everyday in what I lovingly refer to as their “book pcokets.” These poly, double sided pocket-like envelopes are a score in being sturdy enough for backpacks and keeping our books safe. We have parents sign a permission slip along with sending home strategies and questions to ask before a kinder can take home these books.

Parents seem to enjoy filling out the simple book log with it and being able to comment about their child’s reading. The compilation picture of our book pockets came from our  “What to Say When Your Child is Reading to You” package.

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

On our bookshelf (close to the kidney table) we keep these baskets of books with our previously read books. At the beginning of our GR times when they were all reading A’s and B’s (or 1’s and 2’s) students would have to read our new book three times. Of course they all finish at different times!

So to afford me more time to listen/guide those not done yet, the first child done simply would get our book basket and re-read our previously read and familiar texts. Then I could stop everyone and do a wrap-up piece of our lesson.

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

Now our books are a bit longer, and students are allowed to finish (after generally only 2 readings) and then leave after they have signed out their new book and returned their previous book. I am just sure to do all of my lesson pieces before and during which really fits the needs of my readers. They are mentally “done” after all of the work they do (because really my job is to just ask questions of them as they read) and enjoy this self-paced ending to our lessons.

They know which book is checked out because it is the only one with their name on it in the front pocket. They return these to the pockets in their books and write their names on their new cards.

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

Of course, we always find books that don’t have a card, so I keep plenty of blanks tucked behind my notepad.

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

I keep our larger pointers, word windows and digraph reminder magnet close by. Students can use a pointer during their second and third read through. These are kept on the edge of our space so all students can access them as needed.

guided reading - space planning :: KindergartenWorks

Smaller, star pointers and pencils are also kept towards the edge for students to grab as needed. They are independent in getting the materials they need to check out books, allowing me to continue reading with whoever needs it. And of course, our reading strategies! My favorite thing about these is that they grow with the kinders over the months and develop as they do.

I created these posters to be magnetic so that I can put on them on the table, discuss them and use them as prompts. They also come in different sizes for different needs. You can always get it all in the Guided Reading Pack too!

What’s something that helps keep you organized for guided reading?

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  1. Do you have any whole room pictures? I’m trying to redo my room to make it more functional and I LOVE your ideas!! I wish i was closer to come observe.

  2. Fabulous post! I love the idea of having the table down low so the kids can sit on the floor. I am a Title I teacher, working with struggling kindergartners. I am always looking for easy readers, mostly with sight words. The kids are not ready for CVC words at this point. Do you have ideas where I can find books for them?

  3. Thank goodness I’ve found this blog! I’m new to Kindergarten and it has been such a struggle to transfer my thinking from teaching 2nd grade. I would love a step by step approach (as I was taught in college) on arranging my centers and room that the children understand and can become less dependent from myself and my assistant. Btw…my assistant has never been an assistant in Kindergarten nor for another teacher. Oh the opportunities :-). Would love some advice/guidance in creating a successful year.


  4. Thanks Fran! You’re comment is so thoughtful! Your blog is wonderful too and full of great resources – thanks for what you do!

  5. I am amazed by how systematically you teach and thinks. The posts you provide are full of incredible and valuable information. Every young teacher should be reading this blog. Thank you for sharing your thinking and your high level of organization. You do nothing without a purpose. I would like to be your friend! (haha) I love reading all that you do in your room!
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