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Guiding Readers post by Deedee Wills with FREEBIES!!!

We are so excited about our Guiding Readers units... you can tell because I. Can't. Stop. Talking. About. It.   You can tell because I blogged about them just a few times.

Guiding Readers 2nd Edition book selections
Guiding Readers

So WHAT is it?

Around last November I had a conversation with Deanna Jump about wanting to do more responding to literature with my class.  I felt we had a great foundation with writer's workshop but I wanted deeper connections and interactions with the texts we were reading.  So we created Guiding Readers.

What is Guiding Readers?
Guiding Readers started out as a "responding to literature" unit in our heads, but then we realized we needed to integrate phonics, interactive writing, reading comprehension, phonemic awareness and vocabulary in as well.

Each week we pull a few words from our text to explore them deeper.

Heaping pile of snow

vocabulary work
I used these lessons Guiding Readers in a whole group setting.   In my kindergarten classroom, I do the reading work (decoding the words) and my students do the thinking work.  
Everyone participates.   Working with a partner engages all of the students. 
Interactive Writing
Students are able to focus on the mechanics of writing during our interactive writing time.

Responding to Literature

With Rubrics!

We sometimes responded with a full sheet of paper and sometimes we responded in our notebooks.  Each response activity offers both options.   When I was short on time, I opted for the notebook responses.

Phonics Work

Phonemic Awareness
Suggested Phonic Awareness activities are included.
Are they effective?
Here is what I class soared when I started these activities.  Their level of engagement went through the roof!  Their ability to discuss text grew exponentially.  When it was time to assess my students' reading comprehension it was so apparent that they were able to retell a story with great detail in a sequential order, they made connections, and were able to discuss the text at a deeper level.

Not only did I experience great student success, but Deanna and I heard from countless teachers saying how these units have changed their classroom.   {This is where I get uncomfortable... I don't want to sound like I am full of myself.}   BUT SERIOUSLY... the feedback we received made our hearts happy.   I loved hearing from teachers who were using our units when an administrators and superintendents observed them and they were blown away.  

You can read the feedback for yourself HERE.

Are they available in a bundle?  AND why are there two versions?

We created two versions because districts have requested two tracks.  They wanted to be able to use these for their kindergarten and First Grade classrooms.    You certainly don't need both versions for your classroom, but you may like to have a variety of texts to choose.
click on the image to see this bundle.

Our newest version....
click on this image to see this bundle.

What skills and books are you going to cover?
We have created a curriculum map that should answer all of these questions.  You can find it by clicking:

Can I try it out?
Yes, you can IF you are quick!

You can download a free week's worth of reading lessons, but they will only be available this week!
Just click the image below.


  1. I own all of the guiding readers so far for the 1st edition. My administration is buying the titles for me that I don't already own. Would you be able to list the author's name with the books on the kindergarten map? Some of the titles have multiple authors. Thank you!!! These units have completely changed my teaching, I am shocked at my children's growth and what they accomplished last year!!!!

    1. HI Brandie, If you click on the titles it will take you directly to Amazon so that you can access the author's names. Wow! What a great principal you have!

  2. We have the first edition. Why a second edition? Is it different except for the books? Like the outline is the same correct?

    1. Hi Liz, We had some school districts that wanted to purchase the units for their kindergarten and first grade teachers. This made it necessary to create a second set of books for teachers to pull from so that there wasn't overlap. The outline is still the same. Thanks so much!

  3. I absolutely LOVE your units! I have purchased all of them from January to Aug/Sept in the first set. For those of us who have already purchased them (before a "bundle" was available), will there be a price break for Oct-Dec? I am buying these on my own and any help is sooo appreciated. Also, how long will the "vol 2 bundle" be discounted? Thank you so much for all of your wonderful products!

    1. HI Lisa, YES! We always put them on sale for the first 48 hours after they are posted so that you still get the advantage of the bundled price. :)

  4. I just purchased this bundle and it is amazing. The details you have provided will make teaching these units flawless. I've taught upper elementary for 9 years and this is my first in Kindergarten. Could you help me with two questions? I'm not sure what interactive writing is all about - does the class come up with one sentence, then the teacher writes lines, and a few students try to write/spell a word? Also, I saw in a student notebook writing about a snowman. There are lines under each word. Do I need to teach them to think of a sentence in their head, write the lines, then add the words? I would really appreciate your help. Thank you so much. :o)

  5. I love your ideas. Only teachers are okay with beg, borrow, and stealing ideas. Thanks for letting me do all three. My students are learning so much from the activities I have seen on your blog.



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