Small-Group Reading Success

When you think of small-group reading instruction in K-2 classrooms, what comes to mind?  Guided reading may be one of the  most common formats in many classrooms, but there are several other important small-group reading structures that can and should be implemented!  Some of these include reading skill/strategy groups, book clubs, and reading interest groups.  Many Wolfpack WORKS teachers and coaches are partnering to incorporate a variety of flexible, small-group reading structures to engage, motivate, and instruct students in highly effective, evidence-based ways.

The goal of guided reading is to support students’ reading development so they are able to continuously access more complex texts.  In this instructional format, Wolfpack WORKS teachers help students utilize a network of multiple reading strategies in the areas of word work (including phonemic awareness and phonics), fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.  

When a more targeted focus is needed, Wolfpack WORKS teachers are using student reading data to form skill or strategy groups.  In this small-group format, the goal is to support students’ reading development of one specific skill or strategy to help them be successful when reading and writing independently.  By focusing on an immediate area of need such as decoding vowel teams or identifying main ideas, Wolfpack WORKS teachers empower students to become independent readers.

Wolfpack WORKS coaches are also partnering with their teachers to form book clubs.  In this instructional format, students meet in small groups to discuss a text they have all read or heard.  Through collaboration, students gain deeper understanding of texts than they likely would if they read them independently, thus promoting students’ text comprehension.  Teachers often form book clubs around a common author, series, topic, or theme. 

 Another small-group reading instruction format is interest groups.  In this context, students read a variety of texts focused on a topic of their choosing.  The teacher then facilitates discussion to help students interact, build content knowledge, strengthen vocabulary, and develop their reading identities. For example, students who are very interested in insects may research different types of insects in an interest group.

By using reading data to inform the development of small groups, Wolfpack WORKS coaches and teachers are working together to nurture young readers.  Engaging students in dynamic and flexible reading groups gives them the tools they need to be successful and joyful readers!

KindergartenTeacher Allyson Reaves of Duplin County Schools is planning for her small-group reading instruction!

Elisha Cliette, Nicole Fensel, Priscilla Johnson, and Shannon Russell

Wolfpack WORKS Literacy Coaches