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Deedee Wills - Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

What Worked Last Year?: Guiding Readers

Around last November I had a conversation with Deanna Jump about wanting to do more responding to literature with my class.  I felt we had a great foundation with writer’s workshop (more on that later) but I wanted deeper connections and interactions with the texts we were reading.  So we created Guiding Readers.
is Guiding Readers?
Guiding Readers started out as a “responding to literature” unit in our heads, but then we realized we needed to integrate phonics, interactive writing, reading comprehension, phonemic awareness and vocabulary in as well.
Each week we pull a few words from our text to explore them deeper.
What Worked Last Year?: Guiding Readers 1
Heaping pile of snow


What Worked Last Year?: Guiding Readers 2
vocabulary work
I used these lessons Guiding Readers in a whole group setting.   In my kindergarten classroom, I do the reading work (decoding the words) and my students do the thinking work.
Everyone participates.   Working with a partner engages all of the students.
Students are able to focus on the mechanics of writing during our interactive writing time.
to Literature


With Rubrics!



We sometimes responded with a full sheet of paper and sometimes we responded in our notebooks.  Each response activity offers both options.   When I was short on time, I opted for the notebook responses.





Suggested Phonic Awareness activities are included.
they effective?
Here is what I know…my class soared when I started these activities.  Their level of engagement went through the roof!  Their ability to discuss text grew exponentially.  When it was time to assess my students’ reading comprehension it was so apparent that they were able to retell a story with great detail in a sequential order, they made connections, and were able to discuss the text at a deeper level.
Not only did I experience great student success, but Deanna and I heard from countless teachers saying how these units have changed their classroom.   {This is where I get uncomfortable… I don’t want to sound like I am full of myself.}   BUT SERIOUSLY… the feedback we received made our hearts happy.   I loved hearing from teachers who were using our units when an administrators and superintendents observed them and they were blown away.
You can read the feedback for yourself HERE.
they available in a bundle?
Our original intent was to wait until these units were finished to bundle them. However, we have several school districts who are wanting to purchase the bundle with school funds that must be used by July 31st.
already bought a few of the months, can I get the bundle at a discount?
For those of you who have purchased the units separately, we will still continue to list the remaining units on sale for the first 48 hours so that you still get the benefit of the bundled price.
skills and books are you going to cover?
We have created a curriculum map that should answer all of these questions.  You can find it by clicking:
We plan to have all of the units completed by September 1st.
if I loop with my class?
We are making a 2nd edition.  This will include the same skills, but with different texts.
What other questions do you have?

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Deedee Wills

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

Hi, I'm DeedeE.

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

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12 Responses

  1. I just saw the bundle this afternoon & it's on my wishlist!
    Is the phonics scope & sequence flexible/easy to adjust? I teach a reading intervention group (in addition to the general education curriculum) and I want to match as closely to what they are learning in the classroom as possible. I will also be meeting my students right where they're at – which could be right in the middle of Kindergarten curriculum map! Thank you for any advice. I love the approach "I'll do the decoding, you'll do the thinking" – great idea 🙂 Thanks again, Jen

    1. Hi Jen!

      Yes, the scope is easy to adjust. We have 4-5 letters per week for the phonics. You can do them in the order we introduce them, or you could put them in your own order. We have full color cards that you can use for sorts. The student work pages would be harder to adjust since they are comparing two letters, but in a small group you may not need those pages. You could pull an August/Sept activity and do it with a group in January as well. So I think it is pretty flexible!

  2. I began buying these units in January and I could not get over how my students increased in their retelling and comprehension skills. You and Deanna gave so many choices on how we as teachers can implement the program.I really enjoyed picking and choosing how I was going to use the different aspects of the program. I made full sheets for the writing responses because I wanted the parents to see what their children were doing and how they were progressing in their writing skills. However, I think next school year (YIKES! It will be here before you know it!) I'm going to incorporate using the interactive journal and the full sheets like you did. The retelling parts of the program are crucial to students being able to verbalize by retelling. Using the little pictures really helped them along the way.
    The phonemic awareness and phonics parts were awesome and easy to work into the program.
    I ALWAYS looked forward to seeing what stories you girls chose to use for each month. They were so much fun and it was great for me to increase my repertoire of children's literature.
    I literally just put away our county curriculum and used your resources for it all. I felt confident when my kinder babies left my classroom this year that I taught them reading skills to the best of my ability. It is mainly due to the Guiding Readers Packets! I don't know how you girls put it all together and continued your teaching duties as well! WOW! Y'all absolutely rock!!

  3. You and Deanna are awesome! Thank you for sharing your gift and passion with us! God bless you!!

  4. I really like this. How long is this reading block in your classroom . Do you follow up with small group centers after this?

  5. I am moving from 4th to K this year and would like to buy the Guiding Readers . No one else in the district uses this resources. Would you recommend set one or set two? I didn’t know if one set was geared more toward K and the other 1st. Thanks!

    1. Hi there! The units are pretty close to each other as far as rigor. The word work is the same for both. I think it comes down to which book list you like the most. Set 2 has more informational texts though… Congrats on joining the kindergarten club! It is a LOT of fun!

  6. Can you please explain the Interactive Writing piece to me? In the units it just says “share the pen as you construct a response” but I’m not sure when you’re doing that. Is it before the students respond on their own? After? Are you writing about the same thing you had your students do? I’m not getting that part during my lessons. Thanks!

    1. Hi there! Yes, we do the interactive writing after our book discussion and before the students write. Yes, we are writing about the same thing the students might also write. I don’t worry about them copying because we work so hard on having our own voice in writers workshop, it has not been an issue for me. If you are not getting to the written response, I would not be as concerned. The conversations are the GOLD in these lessons. You can grab 2-3 responses per week and still be sitting pretty!

  7. My school bought this to use next school year! Have you ever posted about how you teach the phonemic awareness section?

    1. I am not sure that I have, but the phonemic awareness is a very quick lesson activity. Students are called upon to answer and respond to the various skills. It is quick each day.

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