Classroom Organization: Setting Up a Guided Reading Binder

Hello!  This summer has flown by, and the countdown for going back to school is on!!  In just under a week I official go back, but I know that many teachers have already been back for several weeks.

One of the first items on my to-do list is to set up my guided reading binder. I thought I'd share with you how I do that, in case you find it helpful in setting up your own.

Guided reading is such an important part of the day. That's when we meet with our small groups and target their reading instruction. There's nothing more important than teaching our students how to read, or how to become stronger readers. And let's face it, there is a LOT of organizing involved with guided reading! We need to know our kids' reading levels. We need to know their strengths and weaknesses. We need to keep track of  their progress (data!). We need to have a weekly schedule. We need to make lesson plans!  And more!  Here's how I keep all of that organized...

First, I print out the pages that I need.  (Divider pages are printed on cardstock.) Then I make multiple copies, front to back, of my lesson plan template, assessment forms, and reading conferences forms.
 Then I three hole punch my pages.
At my school, we also have a binding machine, so in years past I made my guided reading plan book, aka "binder," with a spiral spine. It looked really pretty, but personally I have found that 3 ring binders are simply easier for adding papers throughout the year. My pretty blue binder is from Target, and it was inexpensive, just a few dollars.

I organize the sections in the order that works best for me, then I put them in the binder and add tabs using these Post-It tabs. Tabs like these. They work great!

My Reading Groups page goes in front. I put mine front to back in a plastic sleeve.  I usually have about 8-9 reading groups each year. (I'm an ESOL teacher who pushes into the general ed classroom).
 Next is my weekly guided reading schedule.  This really keeps me on track!
Click here to grab this FREEBIE!
Next up is my Notes section.  I'm a post-it note kind of gal, and I usually have sticky notes EVERYWHERE!  This "Notes" page is a new addition to this year's binder (the binder is updated every spring), so I'm hoping it'll take the place of some of my post-its and help keep me organized even more! :)
LESSON PLANS!  The meat of the binder!!  This is where the main action happens!  Each reading group has their own section in my binder. Behind each groups' divider page is where I keep my weekly lesson plans.

This is the divider page for my Tiger group.  I created guided reading group names for animals and colors, but there is also a customizable divider page so that you could create your own group names.

Here is one of my lesson plan templates and my "Week at a Glance."

The calendar in my guided reading binder keeps track of things like when I am giving reading assessments or taking running records on certain students. I also keep track of activities that may interfere with my guided reading plans, like assemblies or an assessment being given by the county.
In years past I've kept my reading conference forms separate in their own binder.
However, this year I plan to keep my conferences in my main guided reading binder. Less binders means less I need to keep track of!  I like that!
Data, data, data!  We all keep data, and we all need to share our data when asked, usually with our administrators. This is how I keep my data organized, and so far it has worked out great. I formally assess my kids at the beginning of the year. I also set end of the year reading goals for each student. Now I know their starting point, AND I know where I need to get them. Each and every month I assess their reading progress. Typically I use reading records and comprehension checks, but at the end of each quarter I also give more formal assessments. This allows me to see who is on track and who might need some interventions.

I keep several copies of Running Record and Comprehension Check forms in plastic sleeves. I simply pull them out as I need them. They are handy and always right there at my guided reading table in my binder!

And that's it!  My guided reading binder helps to keep me organized throughout the year.  Not only does it benefit me, but it greatly benefits my students!  

No matter what tools YOU use, staying organized is half the battle. :)  

One of that the great things about this particular binder is that it is customizable to meet YOUR needs. If you think this could help you stay organized, you can take a closer look at it HERE.

I hope that you've had a wonderful summer!  I also hope that you have a fabulous start to the new school year!

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