Guided Reading Activities for Winter

Welcome back to school! Except... I'm not actually back to school. I am currently running off two hours of sleep and surrounded by the flu. My younger son is out of the woods and feeling better. My other son had the worst night ever! He's still sick but at least the worst is behind him. Or at least it seems that way. My husband started up at 4am. Like I said, it is all around me. Right now, the house is quiet with everyone sleeping. Ahhhh. Here's hoping I don't catch this nasty bug!

Before this craziness started, I finished my Winter Guided Reading Activities pack. So, I'm all set for when I can actually get to go back to work. There's a plus.

The setup is the same as the Christmas, Fall, and Spring version.

There are 20 short stories to sequence.

I love this activity because it is a built-in reading lesson. Seems so simple, but there is so much going on when I bust these out. 
1. First, students need to read each card. I give them their strategy bookmarks (also included) to help them decode. Depending on their ability level, it may take them a few minutes. Both those minutes are packed with teachable moments! You can do this as a group effort if it's a really small group (each student gets one card), or give each student their own set of four cards. Your more proficient readers will be able to read through all four pretty quickly. Your newer readers or RTI groups will take a bit longer. This is the perfect time to listen in on them as they whisper read to see what strategies they are using and what phonics skills they need to work on. 
2. After reading through each card once, students will start to put them in order. This is good for two reasons. Obviously, it's great practice for sequencing longer stories. But it also forces them to read the cards more than once to figure out which order they go in. Yep, building fluency right there with repeated readings. :)
3. After all the cards are in order, read the entire "story" through. Discuss with the group if the story makes sense in that order. 
4. Finally, have your students retell the story in their own words.

There are 66 story cards! I originally made these to help practice fluency. After using them for months now, I've found they are so much more. We get out our strategy bookmarks with these also. Each student gets a card. We discuss the picture and make a prediction. Then, if there are quotation marks, we underline the part where someone is talking. This helps remind them to use their character and narrator voice. We often use dry erase markers to also highlight the punctuation to help remind them to pause and use appropriate inflection. Then students whisper read their cards, using their strategies to decode unknown words. I listen in to guide them as necessary. They have to read their card three times before "presenting" to the group. Even my most struggling reading want to read their card to the group. (I never make anyone read aloud.) After they read their card, I also take a turn to read it, to model fluency. I always find something to point out that the reader did well, like pausing at punctuation, having a good character voice, using a specific strategy, etc.

After reading the card, they get to use the story spin if time allows. :) They use dry erase markers to show their answers in the text. As I've mentioned a time or two before, for some reason, using dry erase markers makes it so much more fun. 

Here are a few other ways you could use these cards (in addition to fluency, comprehension, and practicing decoding strategies). 

All stories have two levels of difficulty:

My students do not tire of this activity! Such a fun way to practice sight words. We do this for a few minutes. I've included fry and dolch words, as well as a blank board so you can write words in. 

This is a new one! I've always done Match a Sentence with the subject and predicate in my monthly centers.  I thought I would add some fun with the spinners. :) They spin both spinners then choose one of the sentence parts that match with the color that they spun. Then they read the sentence and decide if it's silly or sensible. 

These are sentence strips. A quicker way to work on fluency. :) There are two levels of difficulty and I'm thinking of adding a third for some kinders who need even more basic sentences. 

Side note: I only use one of these activities at a time. This way, they last through the winter! 

This is also a change from the others! This has two files. One file is the color version that I've always used. The other file has everything in black-and-white! In case you are needing to save your ink, now you have that option. ;) 

I also included a black and white version of the strategy bookmark:
We use our strategy bookmark with ALL of these activities! It's all about getting kids to be more independent with their reading. :)

You can get this set of activities here:

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  1. Sarah! I love everything about this post! Great product! I hope everyone is feeling better very soon! Happy New Year!


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