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Small-group Reading

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2016 09:05AM PST

How do we avoid round robin reading during small-group instruction?
The Small-group Reading lessons help you manage the students’ reading of the text to ensure that each student reads the entire text independently. The teacher follows the lesson as intended and monitors the students as they read and support any student who struggles. An Independent Reading Observation assessment provides a way for teachers to keep a record of individual student’s reading.
When do you start small-group instruction?
We recommended that Small-group Reading instruction begin between four and seven weeks into the school year depending upon the grade level. During the first weeks of school, instruction focuses on establishing the independent work habits students need to allow for small-group instruction. Another consideration is that assessing students for small-group placement right at the start of the school year often results in inaccurate placement. Many students need three to four weeks to settle into classroom routines and reactivate prior knowledge.
How many small groups does a teacher meet with each day?
If you have the time, we suggest three groups per day. If not, be sure to meet with two groups per day to maintain continuity.

  • 15 minutes per group at K
  • 20 minutes per group at grades 1 and 2

If at all possible, complete the three lessons for each week of instruction within the week for continuity.
How often is a student introduced to a new book?
For Sets 1–5, a new book is introduced weekly.  For Sets 6–12 books are used for 3, 6, or 9 days (one book in Set 12) of instruction, depending on the strategy focus of the lessons and the length of the text.  
How is Small-group Reading in Being a Reader the same as or different from Guided Reading?
Guided Reading and Being a Reader are similar in that they both provide small-group instruction to teach students to use effective comprehension strategies to make meaning of increasingly complex texts.
Emerging and Developing reader sets differ from more traditional approaches to small-group instruction in some important ways.    
Design Features for Emerging Readers Sets 1-5

  • In Small-group Reading, instruction is explicit and systematic.
  • Small-group Reading lessons are fully articulated and support you to be thoroughly prepared to lead the group. The step-by-step instruction frees you to focus on the students and their reading.
  • When students are correctly placed in the appropriate set, they receive the instruction they need. Students do not unnecessarily repeat instruction or receive instruction beyond what they are ready for.
  • The books the students read were developed to correspond to the scope and sequence of phonics and high-frequency word instruction. These books provide opportunities to engage in comprehension work within and beyond the text.

For additional information, reference the Understanding Small-group Reading Sets 1-5 section of Sets 1-5 teacher’s manual including the Goals for Emergent Readers pages xi. 
Design Features for Developing Readers Sets 6-12

  • In Small-group Reading, the sets of lessons for each text focus clearly on one or two strategies at a time and do not attempt to cover every possible teaching point.      
  • Small-group Reading lessons are fully articulated and support you to be thoroughly prepared to lead the group. The step-by-step instruction frees you to focus on the students and their reading.
  • Students in Small-group Reading work with texts on what might be traditionally called their “independent” reading level (rather than their “instructional” level). Rigorous instruction requires that they read with a high degree of accuracy and, in the later sets, that they read parts of texts outside of the small-group setting, during independent work time.

For additional information, reference the Understanding Small-group Reading Sets 6-12 section of Sets 6-12 teacher’s manual including the Goals for Developing Readers pages xi. 
How does the small-group instruction change over time?
All the small-group instruction is centered on reading fiction and nonfiction at appropriate levels. Initially, in instruction for emerging readers (Sets 1–5), the focus is on comprehension, high-frequency words, and reading simple consonant-vowel-consonant words. As the lessons progress, the focus remains on comprehension, but increasingly challenging phonics and high-frequency words are introduced gradually. Strategies such as checking illustrations to confirm what is read and reading with prosody are informally introduced. In later sets, for developing readers (Sets 6–12), instruction is targeted specifically to reading strategies such as comprehension, reading with prosody, self-monitoring and self-correcting, and generating independent thinking about books.
What are the “end of year expectations” for students in small-group instruction?
Students learn to read at different paces, sometimes making steady gains and other times plateauing after sudden gains. For this reason, the Being a Reader program provides a range of small-group reading books at each grade level. General guidelines for students in each grade are: Kindergarten - complete Set 3, Grade 1 - complete Set 5, and Grade 2 - complete Set 10.  See the “Grade-level Expectations for Reading” chart in the Being a Reader Assessment Resource Book on page xviii for additional information.

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