Books for Teachers
Reading ~ Guided Reading ~ Reader's Workshop

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Reading ~ Guided Reading ~ Reader's Workshop

If you're looking for information on how to do Guided Reading, take Running Records, start a Reader's Workshop, create Literacy Centers, set up a leveled bookroom at your school or build your own set of leveled books for a program like my Home Reading Connection program, you've come to the right place.

Here are all the books you'll need to create the Balanced Literacy classroom you've been dreaming of, with thriving readers and writers who are able to do independent and meaningful Literacy Center activities, instead of doing busywork at their seats while you read with small groups.

Also on this page:

How to level your books

How Reading Recovery Levels and Guided Reading Levels compare

Read To Me
By Jane Yolen

Read to me riddles and read to me rhymes,
Read to me stories of magical times.
Read to me tales about castles and kings.
Read to me stories of fabulous things.
Read to me pirates and read to me knights,
Read to me dragons and dragon-book fights.
Read to me spaceships and cowboys and then,
When you are finished -- please read them again.

Professional Books

Guided Reading:
Good First Teaching for All Children
by Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas

I've practically worn out my copy of this terrific book on developing a guided reading program.  Contains great information on creating a set of leveled books (with wonderful indexes of hundreds of pre-leveled books sorted by both level and title for easy reference), setting up a school bookroom, how to take a Running Record, managing your classroom during guided reading (or "what are the rest of the kids doing?"), creating Literacy Centers, and more. Perfect for Four Blocks teachers, too.

Literacy at the Crossroads
Critical Thinking About Reading, Writing,
and Other Teaching Dilemnas
by Regie Routman ~ from Heinemann

Another book that has taken changed the way I teach.  Routman asserts that teachers can no longer remain silent as the campaign for "back to basics" teaching grows stronger.  So much of the criticism is based on misconceptions about what constitutes good teaching -- here is a book that clarifies, offers suggestions, and provides the impetus to make a difference.  Should be required reading for all teachers, regardless of grade level or subject taught ... there's so much here to learn from!

Mosaic of Thought ~ Teaching Comprehension in a Reader's Workshop
by Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmermann (Heinemann 1997)

This was the first selection for our online professional reading group, and it's a thrilling book to read and use, regardless of the grade you teach.  Using Keene's suggestions, you'll guide your students in making connections between what they're currently reading, things they've read in the past, their personal experiences, and their knowledge of the world at large.  By discussing literature, you'll model how to create sensory images, ask questions, draw inferences, determine what's important, synthesize ideas, and solve problems, and soon your students will be doing it themselves.  Sound too simple?  I put Keene's methods into use in my classroom as I read each chapter, and my kids became extremely excited about the connections they were making!  These techniques merge seamlessly into your Guided Reading, Shared Reading, Independent Reading, and Literature Circle programs, modeling and encouraging students to think for themselves and share their thoughts with other students.  Their conversations will surprise you after a few short weeks with this book.  It will definitely change the way you think about teaching reading.

Flexible Grouping in Reading:
Practical Ways to Help All Students Become Better Readers
By Michael F. Opitz

Goodbye Round Robin
Twenty-Five Effective Oral Reading Strategies

By Michael F. Opitz ~ from Heinemann

An excellent resource for first grade and up, with classroom-tested strategies that will work for all teachers.  There's something for everyone in this terrific book.

The Read-Aloud Handbook
(4th Ed) by Jim Trelease

Another one of my most-loved and most-used reference books. says "Since its initial publication in 1979, this highly acclaimed reference has informed parents and teachers across the nation and around the world of the importance of reading aloud to their children. This updated edition features lists of more than 12,000 titles, from picture books to novels, that are great for reading aloud."  Also available on tape.

Hey! Listen to This
Stories to Read Aloud
by Jim Trelease, editor

Trelease presents a collection of fifty read-aloud selections from such well-loved tales as Bambi, Charlotte's Web, Ozma of Oz, Ramona the Pest, Where the Red Fern Grows, James and the Giant Peach, and Gentle Ben.

Visit Jim Trelease's Website by
clicking here.

Three Voices:
An Invitation to Poetry
Across the Curriculum

One of my favorite resources!  Many suggestions for using poetry in Science, Math, and other subject areas.
Amazon sometimes has it back-ordered, but it's worth waiting for!

Now That I Can Read

I used to need somebody
To sit and read to me.
I'd look at every page they read
And listen carefully.

But now that I am in first grade,
I'm filling up a shelf
With stories, poems, and other books
That I can read myself.

Classroom Resources

Quick and Easy Learning Centers ~ Phonics
by Mary Beth Spann

If you're looking for ideas for Literacy Centers, this is a great place to begin.  Easy to set up, easy to use, centers for emergent readers.

20% off Scholastic's price

Word Play: Quick and Easy Learning Centers Grades 1-3
by Mary Beth Spann

Another good resource for setting up Literacy Centers
in your K though 3 classroom.

20% off Scholastic's price

25 Just-Right Plays for Emergent Readers
Outstanding plays for K-1-2 classrooms, perfect to set up as independent group work.  Illustrations support the text of plays about pets, dinosaurs, space, birthday parties, making new friends, and going to school.
20% off Scholastic's price
Quick-And-Easy Learning Games ~ Phonics
ByWiley Blevins
20 % off Scholastic's price



A story is a special thing.
The ones that I have read,
They do not stay inside the books,
They stay inside my head.

Parent & Teacher Resources
10 Minutes a Day to Reading Success:
Activities & Skill Builders to Help Your Kindergartner
by Gari Fairweather
Houghton Mifflin, 1998

A wonderful and inexpensive book filled with ideas you can use in the classroom or put in notes to parents.

10 Minutes a Day to Reading Success:
Activities & Skill Builders to Help Your First Grader Learn to Love Reading

by Gari Fairweather
Houghton Mifflin, 1998

112 pages

10 Minutes a Day to Reading Success:
Activities & Skill Builders to Help Your Second Grader Learn to
Love Reading

by Gari Fairweather
Houghton Mifflin, 1998

112 pages

Great Books for Girls:
More Than 600 Books to Inspire Today's Girls and Tomorrow's Women
by Kathleen Odean

Odean's first Great Books guide, this one contains a chapter on empowering girls through literature.

Best Books for Beginning Readers
by Thomas G. Gunning (1997, 256 pages)

I don't own this one yet, but it came very highly recommended from another K-1 teacher.  Amazon says:  "This book provides descriptive listings for over 1,000 high-quality books that are especially appropriate for novice readers.  Books are listed according to eight levels of difficulty, ranging from emergent or very beginning reading level through the start of second grade."

Great Books for Boys:
More Than 600 Books for Boys 2 to 14
by Kathleen Odean

A guide to books that will make boys want to read.
I don't own this one, but I've heard only good things about it.


How to Level Your Own Books
and the books and stories in your basal series

There are two basic systems for assigning levels to books:  Reading Recovery (a copyrighted program, but they do NOT publish books) and Guided Reading levels as outlined by Fountas and Pinnell in Guided Reading.  That book is my teaching bible when it comes to leveling books.

There is absolutely no reason why you can't level your books yourself.  Start with the books you already own, including trade books, books from the bookclubs, your basal  series books, etc.    My suggestion is that you level everything you own and write the level on the back cover in black marker, where it's easy to see.  In my classroom, I put a square of either red or blue masking tape on the upper left corner of the front of each book (blue for my personal books, red for school-owned books).  I write the level on the tape, for quick reference, and use the colors to quickly return the books to the correct baskets (my first graders do this for me).

To level books yourself, read the guidelines in Guided Reading (pp. 117-130) and use the charts in the back of the book, which list hundreds of books by title and level.  When I need to level a new book, I check to see if it's in the Guided Reading book.  If it's not there, I check the Reading Recovery lists that I have, to see if the book was already leveled for the Reading Recovery program.  If so, I have a good starting point, and I convert the R.R. level to a Guided Reading Level using the chart below as a general guideline.  My next step for all books -- whether they were listed or not -- is to compare them to several other books I already own (usually at 3 levels) to see where they seem to fit best.

If you're not a Reading Recovery teacher, absolute accuracy is unnecessary -- your students will read more than 100 books during the year, so you don't have to fuss too much about getting each book perfectly and concisely leveled.  The important thing is that you get your books out and level them as soon as possible, to make your reading instruction and independent reading time more efficient and effective. You can obtain lists of Reading Recovery leveled books from the various publishers by calling and requesting them.  Click here for a list of publishers and how to contact them.

How Do Reading Recovery Levels
and Guided Reading Levels Compare?

Guided Reading
Reading Recovery
3 & 4
5 & 6
7 & 8
9 & 10
11 & 12
13 & 14
15 & 16
17 & 18
19 & 20


Looking for more ideas?

My bookstore pages have lots of information on how I use various materials in my classroom, and on activities you can do with your students.  The thematic pages are complete unit resources, with lots of poems, songs, and links on each page.  Make yourself comfortable and take a look around!

Choose from the categories below.
Underlined subjects are links, the other ones are coming soon!

Top 10
Must Have
Phonemic Awareness
Integrated Curriculum
Balanced Literacy
Mini Books
for Emergent
Pat Cunningham Books &
4 Blocks Books
Writer's Workshop
Guided Reading
Pocket Chart Resources
Songs and
Math Centers
What's In A Name?
Back to School
Marvelous Math Books
Literature for Math
Monthly Themes
I Love
Bears Everywhere
Down on the Farm
Rain Forest
Going Buggy!
Spring Has Sprung!
Come Into Our Garden
A Camping We Will Go!
Under the Sea
A Rainbow of Colors
How to
Trade Books
and others
 Special Books
for Special People
reading for pleasure
Coming Soon!

These pages are updated often, so
please come back soon to see what's new at KinderKorner!

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