Guided reading is a very important part of the day as an elementary school teacher.  To make this time go smoothly and effectively, there are some simple materials that you can use.  Post-it notes are one of them!  There are many different ways you can use post-it notes in guided reading to make the most of your time with your kiddos.

How to Use Post-It Notes in Guided Reading

1. Mark Spelling Patterns

During guided reading, students are often studying certain spelling patterns.  When they read books, it is good practice for them to find the spelling patterns that they are currently learning. One way to practice finding spelling patterns in an actual text is by marking them with post-it notes!  I recommend using the small ones because they take up less space.

2. Mark High-Frequency WordsMark spelling patterns post-its

Similar to the previous suggestion, students can practice finding the high-frequency words they are learning by marking them with post-it notes while they are reading.  I also recommend using the small post-its for this activity.

3. Comments & QuestionsComments and Questions post-its

When students are reading, we want them to be engaging with the text, not just decoding the words.  One way to help kids think about what they are reading is to have them add comments and questions as they go.  By using post-it notes, students can add their comments and questions right in the book.

4. Favorite PartFavorite Part Post-It

This is another way for students to engage with the text as they read.  While adding comments and questions is great for older kids, marking their favorite part is great for students who can’t write well yet.  You can have students simply put a post-it at their favorite part, or, if your kids can write well, they can write why it is their favorite part.

5. Annotate TextAnnotations Post-Its

Yet another strategy for getting kids to engage with what they read is to have them annotate the text using post-it notes.  Whenever they get to a part they want to annotate, kids put a post-it with the appropriate marking.  You can use whatever suits you and your students, but I like to use the following:

! = interesting or surprising part

? = I have a question about this part.

* = important plot development

# = unknown vocabulary word

6. Practice Context CluesContext Clues Post-It #1

Younger kids need to learn how to use context clues in a sentence to decode unknown words, while older kids need to learn how to use context clues to figure out the meaning of unknown words.  You can practice both of these context clues skills by using post-it notes!  Just cover up a word or words in the text, then have students use context clues to figure out what the word should be.

7. Add IllustrationsAdd Illustrations Post-It

Reading comprehension is a huge part of guided reading.  Not only do kids need to decode the words in a text, but they also need to understand what they read.  One way to determine if students understand what they read is to have them add illustrations to a book (if it doesn’t have any) or add details to illustrations (if it already has some) using post-it notes.  This activity is fun for students and helps improve their reading comprehension!

Bookmarks Post-Its8. Color-Coded Bookmarks

You can use different colored post-it notes as bookmarks in your guided reading books.  If students will be reading at their own pace, this will help avoid confusion over which book belongs to which student.  Just assign each student a color for their post-it bookmark.

This also works if you have two groups using the same set of books.  Just assign a color to each group, and students will know which bookmark is theirs.

9. Make PredictionsMaking Predictions Post-It

Making predictions is another skill that students practice during guided reading.  If you want your kids to make a prediction after each chapter, or at certain parts of a book, you can have them write it on a post-it note and leave it in the book.  Then, you can review predictions during the next guided reading meeting before reading the next section of the book.

10. Mark Unknown VocabularyUnknown Vocabulary Post-Its

In guided reading books, students will often come upon unknown vocabulary words.  If they are reading on their own, you can have them mark those words with post-it notes.  Then, you can discuss them as a group, or students can look up the words in the dictionary.

Exit Slip Post-Its11. Exit Slips

Another helpful way you can use post-it notes in guided reading is exit slips.  At the end of a guided reading session, you often need a quick check for student understanding.  You may need to know if students can know a phonics pattern, if students understood what happened in the book, or if students can spell a certain word or words.  Using post-it notes is a quick and easy way to give your students a brief exit slip at the end of a guided reading group.


Post-it notes can be a very effective tool to use during guided reading sessions (and also for math!).  Have you used post-it notes in guided reading?  If so, leave a comment below or send me an email!