Reading Workshop: Grouping
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
Flexible Grouping Matters
Teaching reading should not be confined to whole-group interactions. To meet the needs of elementary and middle-school students, educators recommend a mixture of whole-group, small-group, one-on-one, and individual learning events. Research describes the benefits of the following groupings:
- whole-group events: gatherings, shared reading, teacher read- alouds, discussions, sharing students' projects, book talks, mini-lessons.
- small-group events: book discussions and dramatizations, mini-lessons, conferring, one-on-one interactions
- individual events: silent reading, journal entries, self-evaluation, choice in reading
During whole-group discussions, and as heterogeneous groups of children talk about books, developing readers can observe how proficient readers go about summarizing, synthesizing, posing questions, and so forth. Over time, observations and guided practice, combined with scaffolding from teachers, help struggling readers develop their own strategy models.
Each day, teachers
who interact with their middle school students observe them at work,
confer with them, and read their journal entries. The information
gathered enables teachers to decide how to group children for reading
instruction and when to move each child forward.
Independent Free-Choice Reading While students read, teachers can hold short one-on-one conferences, giving students individualized support on selecting readable and interesting books.
Strategic-Reading Groups Pairs or small groups of students with similar needs work with the teacher on understanding and applying reading strategies.
Literature Discussion Groups Small heterogeneous groups talk about books they've read that relate to a theme and/ or author study.
- Review behavior guidelines frequently, as students need reminders.
- Create a signal for immediate quiet, such as flicking the lights.
- If students are rowdy, give them one warning.
- If unacceptable behavior persists, stop the activity, explain why, and tell students you'll try group work on the next day.