• Welcome teachers! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

Canceled Reading groups



Okay I just need to vent. My school has started guided reading groups 1st-5th grade. So the kids in my groups range from 2-5th grades. Sounds like a great idea right? Well, at least once a week reading groups are getting canceled becuase of one reason or another. When this happens we all have to keep our own classes for the hour and half. This is a huge problem when I find out 5 min berforehand that instead of reading groups, I am going to be keeping my 20 2nd graders. Are there any ideas of what I could do with them on such shot notice? I know I should have a bag of tricks but I am running out and still a new teacher. If you have any suggestions I welcome them all.


Senior Member

Keep a supply of picture books handy (I'm sure you already do!) that can lead into a writing activity. For example, imagine you were the character in this story, how would you have done things differently? Or what lesson was this story trying to teach us and why is it so important?, etc.

Buy a book of math/reading/or spelling games. Have instructions and pieces ready to go. These things can even be found online (so you don't have to buy anything). Example, in fourth grade I have a spelling game called spelling battleship. We don't play it all the time but it's there if I need it. Also, the games don't necessarily have to cover current skills, review time is needed!!

Maybe you're already doing this but how about life skills lessons? Pick a skill - such as honesty. Have them tell or write what honesty means, and how honesty is shown. Give example scenarios: You find a $5 bill on the ground during recess. What do you do? They can even act them out!

OK, that's all I can think of off the top of my head. I wasn't sure if you needed reading activities since that's the thing you're missing?


literacy workstations

Do you already have literacy workstations set up for use during guided reading groups? If so you could have the students rotate through literacy workstations. Also, I never have enough time for writing. It would be a great time to peer conference and conference with students about writing. You could use a picture book to model a particular comprehension strategy and have the kids practice the strategy.

It's amazing how flexible we have to be!


Senior Member
When our small groups get disrupted, we tend to have several groups combining, often at very different ability levels. I like to play Jeopardy with big groups. I'll write 4-6 categories on the board with point values, then make up questions on the spot. Reading categories might include Vowels, Syllables, Book Characters, Sight Words, etc. I used to prepare these games in advance with questions on the back of cards, but now I reserve the right to make up and change questions on the spot. The beauty of that is that you can tailor the question to the kid who's asking.

Another game you can play is Bingo -- give them a blank board and tell them to fill in the boxes. You can specify categories for the five columns, or just one category for the entire board. Since you will only be calling responses that fit these categories, they will be very careful to put only relevant responses on the game board. You can play until someone gets Bingo, or do "Blackout" -- where all 25 squares must be covered.

Finally, you can play Charades, Hangman (we do a version called Around the Clock) or Pictionary with sight words, book characters, etc.


I find that making words is always a great idea and can take as long as necessary. Sometimes we can get so into it, it could take 40-45 minutes or so. Since I have a set of letters I made for each student, it also takes some time finding all the necessary letters. Cunningham makes a great book that has making words lessons for home and school and they have a worksheet to accompany them. Also, guess the covered word is great, and there are books on that or you could just make your own. Before you know it, the time will have passed with worthwhile result. Good luck!