I’m still not sure what my plan of action is going to be this year concerning small group instruction. Our reading program, Reading Street, calls for a version of leveled guided reading. This is what their plan looks like:
Scott Foresman Reading Street small group reading
1. Kids are grouped according to reading level ability
2. They are all reading the same leveled reader within their group during small group instruction. Essentially, you read with the group of kids, show them how to fill out a worksheet, send them out to fill out the worksheet, maybe meet with them again to go over the worksheet-then the process starts all over
3. “Most” of the provided leveled readers are non-fiction (and not too interesting, I might add!). They are not easy to read, and I really haven’t seen too much of a difference between the below level and on grade level ones
4. Kids can be re-assessed every 6 weeks and moved into different groups based on the assessment
CAFE small group reading
1. Kids are grouped according to the reading strategy that they need help with (visualizing, summarizing, etc)
2. They are all reading their own independent books(that they have chosen). You teach them what they need to know at that given time-this could be going back over a whole class lesson that you feel they need again, showing them a different way to use a certain strategy, practicing a strategy for mastery, etc.
3. Since they are reading books they have chosen, they are reading on their level of comfort
4. Kids can be changed from group to group whenever you feel they have mastered a strategy-this can be done OFTEN
So, having said all of that I’m not sure how I want to design my small group instruction. I see pros and cons of both types! (Isn’t this always the case???) 🙂
It would be EASY to follow the Reading Street plan because it is already layed out for you-day by day by day…. However, how did those people that created that plan know my kids? Did they get together with them over the summer and see what they needed and create a plan based on that? NO! So what if I follow the small group daily plan and just waste their time??? What is the benefit in that?
On the other hand, if I truly want to teach each child what THEY need to know and practice, I would be planning EVERY DAY! WOW! Would that be too time consuming? There’s already so much to do anyway. Hmmmm…..
Maybe I should do this (since this whole post is my thinking out loud):
1. Definitely group the kids according to what they need to work on and what they need help with
2. Sometimes use the leveled readers (if they support what I am teaching the kids), sometimes use magazines, articles, poems, essays, sometimes let them use their choice books-vary it depending on what I’m doing with them during group time
3. Continuously observe and talk with individual students (this is informal assessment) to be able to know what group they need to be in-try for a weekly reflection time on my part for all of my students to make sure that they are not part of a group working on a strategy that they have already mastered
4. Talk to the kids about what they think they need to work on-hopefully this will not blow their minds since I will begin week 1 of school talking to the kids!!!
I have high hopes in reaching every child this year and guiding them from where they are to where they need to be!