Guided Reading Lesson Planning and Note Taking

I got a ton of LOVE from my Bright Idea post from a few weeks ago.

If you missed it, the post was all about how I organize my guided reading scoring/notes sheets. Click here to check it out!

I had a lot of requests to share my recording sheets, so I will... but on one condition: you don't judge :) I made all of these on my computer at work, so that means I probably whipped them up in 5-10 minutes. I also used standard fonts and no clip art (no fun stuff on my school laptop), and I didn't cute them up either for this blog post so that you can edit them to fit your needs. So no judgy giraffes, OK? Feel free to download them and cute them up for yourself :)

This is my 10th year teaching, and I swear I change my guided reading note taking sheets every. single. year. But I think I found the perfect format (for me) this year, and in conjunction with my folder system, I am rockin' and rollin'!

Let's take a peek at what's inside my guided reading folder...

In the first pocket I keep my running record info, group info, group schedule, and log sheet. It looks like this:
The top page you're seeing is my log. Here's a close up:
Their names are on the left and then their instructional reading level. At the top I write the dates, skipping a column between weeks. It helps my visual brain stay organized. I can fit about one month on each page. I write the level of the book we read in the group under the day. This helps me keep track of how many days/weeks we've spent on a certain level. Click here for the blank one. You'll notice that I took students' names out, but left their levels on the page, so you can see where those go. Also, I use the bolded lines to visually separate each group. You can easily move the bolded lines if you have more/less students in a group. Just change the border style to the thickest solid line, or you can use the draw tool to draw in the borders. To get rid of the bold lines, highlight the cells with the bold line and then click on the standard border. Hope that makes sense!

The rest of the pockets are for each group:
Each group has a lesson plan sheet. I started out with this page:
But after a few months I switched to this one:
The reason I switched is because in second grade, the guided reading books are longer, so it sometimes takes me 2-3 sessions to get through a book. The second version only requires me to write the title of the book once, whereas the first one, I had to write the title each session. It might sound a bit lazy that I didn't want to write the title each session, but I'm all about maximizing my time :) If you are a kinder or first grade teacher, you can usually get through your books in one session, so you might like the first version. For lesson planning, all I have to do is write the goal/strategy we're working on for the day. The application and summary/goal review at the end are already filled in to make my life easier. Here's the first version and the second version :) For some reason, they saved as a landscape document to Google drive so it's going to look a little goofy. If you click on the arrow in the upper left corner to download to your computer, the Excel file will open up and it will print in portrait A-OK!

Then each student gets one of these:
I am IN LOVE with this page. Notice at the top of the page it says D/C/F. These letters stand for decoding, comprehension, and fluency: the top box I give a decoding score, the middle box gets a comprehension score, and the bottom box gets a fluency score. I give my students a score of 3, 2, or 1, with 3 being the best. This is the scoring system I use on my report cards, but I know some people use letters or a 4, 3, 2, 1 scale. Do what you gotta do! Then in the large box I take notes. I write my notes about decoding towards the top, comprehension in the middle, and fluency at the bottom--trying to keep them in line with the D/C/F boxes. I used to have a larger space for notes, but I noticed that my notes were all usually focused on one aspect of reading (usually fluency). This set-up forces me to take notes on the whole reading picture. I also don't stress about filling in every score every day. Sometimes I don't get a chance to listen to individuals read or do an in-depth comprehension activity. Sometimes I write notes; other times I don't. Click here if you want this form :) Again, it will look a little strange in Google Drive, but just click on the arrow to download and print directly from Excel.

You've seen this pic before, but this is what my space looks like when I'm conducting a group:
I can easily move from one student to the next, and when I'm done with a group, all of their papers go back in their folder pocket.

My favorite part about the way I take notes is that I feel incredibly well-informed when I am talking about specific students to parents, administration, interventionists, etc. And my life is SO EASY when I need to complete progress reports or report cards. I hope I've answered all your questions about how I keep track of my growing readers. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below :)


  1. They look awesome. Thank you so much for sharing the documents!

    Luck's Little Learners

  2. Thank you, thank you, Angela!!! You totally inspire me to be a better, more organized teacher :D

  3. Thank you so much for these!! They look awesome!!
    The Bomb-Diggity Classroom

  4. I love this!! You've definitely sparked my thinking on how I can make my documentation more meaningful. Thanks for sharing! 😊


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I *love* reading comments!! Make sure you are a no reply blogger or leave your email address so we can stay in touch!

Back to Top