Small-Group Instruction and Guided Reading With Storia

Suggestions for using Storia with small groups and in guided reading

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Small-group instruction is one of the most effective ways to impact student learning. It provides a setting small enough to individualize instruction, while still reaching a variety of students. Guided Reading groups, strategy groups, and invitational groups are just a few of the successful models that can be used in small-group settings. Storia can significantly enhance any small-group instructional model.


The Benefits of Using Storia for Small-Group Instruction 

  • By using Storia for small-group instruction, you no longer have to use up your classroom's shelf space storing multiple copies of a book. Simply buy multiple copies of the same Storia book and assign a copy to the bookshelf for each student in your reading group.  When students move in and out of groups, you can simply reassign a book from one student to another.
  • You can store your e-books on up to 40 devices. When you create a bookshelf for your small-reading group, you can assign multiple copies of the same e-book to the reading group bookshelf. If you have multiple devices available in your classroom, each student can access the book from a different Storia device simply by signing in to Storia.
  • You can set up an instructional reading group bookshelf that all of the students in your reading group can share. If you set up a bookshelf for each of your reading groups, you will see progress reports for your entire reading group rather than for individual students. And by accessing the e-book from a shared bookshelf, students will be able to share notes and highlights easily with others in their group.
  • You can write and organize your lesson plan notes right in your copy of the Storia e-book, as long as you save that book on your personal bookshelf. You can then refer to the notes in your e-book whenever you teach with that book. You’ll never again have to tote around books and separate lesson planning notes to prepare for a reading lesson.


Tips for Using Storia for Small-Group Instruction

By managing your Storia devices and doing a little advanced planning, you can seamlessly integrate Storia into your daily reading routine.

  • Small-group reading with Storia can be as intimate as reading with traditional print books. Gather your students around a “kidney table” or have them sit in a small circle on the carpet and their Storia devices in their laps.  
  • Teach students how to orient their devices. When holding their iPads or Android devices  vertically (portrait orientation), they will see their book one page at a time. This is often appropriate for chapter books. When holding their iPads or Androids horizontally (landscape orientation), they will see a two-page spread. For books with two-page illustrations, this makes more sense. Students should hold their devices in the same direction so they all have the same view.


The Benefits of Using Storia for Guided Reading

Guided reading allows you to work with small groups of students on the specific strategies they need to develop, at their individual reading levels. Choose a book that will challenge your guided reading group, and provide the scaffolds that will enable them to meet the challenge. 

Storia complements a guided reading program by offering a variety of leveled, high-interest books, as well several tools useful for guided reading instruction. Storia tools enable you to scaffold instruction in many ways, from placing teaching reminders in the guided reading books to highlighting phonic patterns for students to focus on.


Tips for Using Storia for Guided Reading

All of your best practices for guided reading instruction still apply when using Storia with your guided reading groups. Using Storia will allow you some extra flexibility and creativity in planning your guided reading lessons. Here are just a few ideas for how you can use Storia to enhance your guided reading instruction.

Choose Your Start

A typical guided reading group lesson begins with the students analyzing the book cover and is followed by a picture-walk or other preview. With Storia, you have more control over how to introduce the book and what you want the focus of your lesson to be, because you can preset all of the books to open to a page that has an illustration or quotation that you think will be a great introduction.

Teacher Chat
When beginning a book about exploring Antarctica with a guided reading group, I decided to introduce the book with the wonderful map of Antarctica that appeared on the seventh page of the book. So prior to the lesson, I opened each e-book to the seventh page. When my students opened Storia on their iPads, they were intrigued to see a map waiting for them, and it led to a great discussion about the text.”


The strategy of adding highlights to your e-book and then projecting it or adding highlights to each student copy of the book you are teaching from works for a variety of teaching purposes.

You might choose to highlight new vocabulary you want to emphasize, an important sentence you want the students to reflect upon, or a literary device to which you’d like to call attention.

If you have added highlights to the student copy of the e-books, you can either alert the students to the highlights before they read the text or you can wait until they come upon the highlighted text themselves and have them decide why you highlighted this particular text.

If you are projecting your highlighted e-book for a group lesson, encourage a group discussion about why the highlights are there.


Teacher Chat
For a guided reading group lesson that focused on inferring new vocabulary using context clues, I pre-highlighted five challenging words in a chapter and saved that e-book to my personal bookshelf. I projected the e-book during instructional reading time and asked students to infer the meaning of these words using their prior knowledge and clues from the text. Using the Storia notes feature, they wrote down their inferred definitions in their own copies of the e-book, and we compared their definitions after they finished.


Note Prompts

The books you choose for guided reading instruction are usually slightly above your students’ independent reading level. One great strategy for older students who are working toward greater independence but still need some support is to leave notes for them inside the books to scaffold their comprehension. These notes can provide background information, suggestions for strategic thinking, or prompts for oral or written response.

Illustration Zoom-In

When reading picture books or books with maps or illustrations, you can use the pinch-and-zoom feature on iPads or Android devices to focus your students’ attention on one part of an illustration, diagram, or map. You can also ask your students to “zoom in” on what they feel is an important part of an illustration.


Teacher Chat
While working with a first-grade reading group on reading for information, I asked my students to zoom in on illustrations that answered questions they had about frogs. My students held up their iPads and showed their close-up to the group. They explained what they learned from this part of the illustration. The zoom-in feature helped the students really pay attention to learning from the illustrations, and it provided support for tackling the challenging text, as well. 

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    Teacher Tips and Strategies, Teacher Training and Continuing Education, Teaching with Technology