This post originally appeared on the blog Mrs. Wills’ Kindergarten.

Guided reading on a budget is tough! Some of the materials can get downright expensive! I want to share a few ways YOU can do guided reading and not break the bank! I started out at the Dollar Store. I knew I needed some cookie sheets for my word work. I have been using cookie sheets for years to organize my magnetic letters, but I gave mine to a teacher friend and I needed some for the upcoming week. So Dollar Store… here I come!

High Frequency Words

When I start guided reading, we usually do a little teaching and review of high frequency words (AKA: sight words). On this particular day, I was armed with my cookie sheets, but I hadn’t had the chance to load them up with magnets… No problem…I selected a few “lucky children” to load them up for me. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. I used a Sharpie to write the capital letters, then the students put the lowercase letters over the top. Guided Reading Leveled Texts (17) Now I am ready for the lesson. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. At a glance, I know exactly the activities I will do with the word. No further preparation is needed.Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Here is a visual of what these guided reading lessons look like. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. These cookie sheets fantastic $1 guided reading resources are perfect for writing on as well. I seriously think the cheaper they are, the better they work. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. When we are finished with the lesson, these stack up BEAUTIFULLY. They are ready for the next group or if I am going to do a “Making Words” activity as part of my word work lesson. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. You can find these magnetic letters on Amazon by clicking HERE. Or if you are on a budget, you can make your own! I picked up these glass vase filler rounds at the Dollar Store. I think you would need 3-4 bags to make a set for your small groups. You can grab the letters for this for FREE by clicking HERE. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. I used Modge Podge to put the letters on and I put adhesive magnetic dots on the back of each letter so they would not slide around when I put them up.

The Guided Reading Books

When I was the literacy coach for my district, I helped set up our literacy room that was filled with guided reading texts. Let. Me. Tell. YOU! Those books are expensive. A set of six can range from $36-$48 dollars! This can VERY quickly eat through your budget. Deanna Jump and I have written leveled texts to help fill up your guided reading resource shelf. The books start with a level AA text. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action.We have currently written texts through level E (we will continue to add books until we reach level J.)  

Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action.

We have fiction and nonfiction guided reading texts in each set.

Word Work

Early in the school year, you will probably focus on student names for the first few weeks. Simply writing their name on a piece of card stock and cutting it into a puzzle is easy and is certainly within everyone’s budget. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. This is another similarly budget-friendly name activity.Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Again, I used the glass vase filler beads for our word work. This lesson is for 3 phoneme words. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Guided Reading on a Budget Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. You can even fancy these up with scrap-booking paper and a little Modge Podge.Guided Reading on a Budget

Sentence Work

We don’t need anything fancy for this… just plain paper will do! Students unscramble the sentence and illustrate it. Then we save this paper because we need it for Day 2, which is sentence dictation. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action.

Sentence Dictation

On Day 2 of the guided reading lessons, students write a sentence that has been dictated. They use the previous sentence as a support. This is a great opportunity to do some guided writing instruction. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action. There you have it! That is how I do guided reading on a budget. You can see all of our leveled text resources HERE.

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Guided reading on a budget is tough, but it can be done! Get fantastic tips from Deedee Wills, plus see colorful examples of these ideas in action.Deedee is an experienced teacher, literacy coach, and a national presenter with a deep background in early childhood education. She has won numerous awards, including Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year. She loves connecting with other teachers through her popular blog, Mrs. Wills’ Kindergarten. Deedee is a recognized teacher leader in the area of “best practices” and classroom efficiency. Deanna has been a TpT Teacher-Author since 2011. She has also collaborated with Deanna Jump on their best-selling curriculum in the areas of: Writer’s Workshop, Math Workshop K, Math Workshop 1st, Calendar Activities, Close Reading/Interactive Read Alouds, and Guided Reading. You can see more of Deedee’s resources and ideas on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.