Small Group Reading Instruction

Happy May!! I have to apologize for my MIA here lately! At school, we are completely changing up instruction for next year, and I am on like 4 different committees. I feel like all my time and energy has been spent on all that! Those of you that have read previous blog posts know that I teach in a departmentalized first grade. There are 5 of us teaching on this team, and each of us is responsible for all 97 kiddos. We have switched what we teach each marking period to keep things fresh (for us and the kiddos). These are the subjects we rotate-- math, writing, science/social studies/intervention, FUNdations (our phonics program from Wilson) and 2 small reading groups, and WHOLE group reading and 2 small reading groups.

The first marking period I taught all the guided reading, which our students lovingly called rotations. They loved it! However, for one person to teach all the guided reading (which included doing all the F&Ps for all the students) it was a little bit overwhelming. So, after the first marking period we decided to have the person doing the FUNdations pull 2 small guided reading groups, and the person teaching the WHOLE group reading also pull 2 small guided reading groups.

The 2nd marking period I taught writing, and the 3rd marking period I taught math.

After seeing the success of our students progress, our administration decided to switch things up for next year. We are going to operate as primary and intermediate. As far as teachers go, we are either a primary math or a primary reading or a intermediate math or an intermediate reading teacher. This means you could have multi-age classrooms, but hopefully we will be reaching the kiddos at their level.

So, we have been given our assignments, and I am a primary reading teacher. I am super excited about this new role. My only anxiety is that I won't be with my team! Which I'm sure you all can understand and relate to if you've ever switched grade levels or positions! My two closest teammates are both going to be Primary Math teachers. A part of me wanted to go to my principal and say "Hey, can you just switch me?" BUT.... I knew that she placed me in the Primary Reading position for a reason, so I will do it :)

So these last few weeks of school, I have really though about my guided reading instruction and really hitting the kiddos at their levels. This is what I have done for different kiddos with different groups.

 The kiddos that are reading right where they need to be (f&p level H, I or J), I have been having them picture walk through the text before reading. We discuss our predictions. I also write any words I think they may have trouble with on index cards, and we decode them and talk about their meaning before we read. As we are reading, I have the kiddos 'whisper read', that way I can hear each kiddo and see if they are having an trouble with certain words or fluency. I also add the light pointers to make it fun :)

The kiddos that are struggling, that are reading on a (D, E, F or just below level), we do a lot of work on a whiteboard. I have them practice spelling words first. Then we will practice decoding words, and reading them fluently in sentences. We don't do as much work with vocab as I do with the kiddos on level and above level, just because I feel that I really need to hit being able to read first. Although, I do still expose them to new vocabulary (just not as much).

My kiddos that are reading above where they need to be (levels L and above), they have no trouble decoding words. They read beautifully. The trouble they have is really comprehending what they have read. I use the strategies from C.A.F.E. to help with their comprehension, as well as a lot of time spent on vocabulary. I am currently reading "Frindle" with the one group of kiddos, which is a level R. They can read the book, but they have trouble understanding it. So before each chapter, I pull out the vocabulary words that I think they don't know or may be challenging, or may have multiple meanings. As they read, they put sticky notes where they words are, that way they are reading with a purpose. When they are done the chapter, we will go back where those sticky notes are, and we figure out from the context of the sentences what those vocabulary words mean. They love doing this, they say it's detective word :)

I also pull groups based off exit tickets to re-teach. But the groups above are groups I pull daily for their guided reading instruction. These groups generally have 4-6 kiddos in them.

What do you do in your guided reading or small group reading instruction? I would love to hear from you!

Wishing you all a fantastic remainder of the school year!

I had to add this for some comic relief :)


  1. Great post! Love reading how other teachers do their reading groups! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Where did you find the light pointers?


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