I love Reading Groups - really, I do! I love the independence it teaches students. I love the freedom it gives me to work with different children in different ways. I love the fun activities we get to do in small groups. If I could run my entire curriculum in small groups I would. But, it's only Reading Groups for now.
This year I have created my best system yet for Reading Groups. Well, I think it's the best yet. Each year I come up with a slightly different version depending on the type of class I've got, the size of my class and what I've been reading on blogs. This year I changed the system again, but I think it's here to stay.
In a nutshell: we start off with a Big Book reading focus. Then we do silent reading. Then we do a small group activity. And finally we reflect/share.
To elaborate: I have a different whole group focus each week. It might be a reading strategy (like sounding out words, or looking at the picture for clues) or it might be about comprehension (literal or inferential) and early on it was concepts about print and full stops. It changes every 1-2 weeks, depending on how much time we need to spend on the skill. When we did sounding out I didn't use a big book, I wrote four words on the board each day and we worked together to decode them, looking at letter combinations (like sh, oo, ck).
I am still using the amazing Rainbow Tub System from last year.
But I don't use animal names for my groups anymore, they are just the colour of their tubs, ie. Blue Group, Green Group etc. In Tub 1 are a selection of books at their reading level that stay in that tub for about 2 weeks. Every day we complete 5-10min of Silent Reading. Which isn't entirely silent, but it is quiet-ish. During this time I either meet with a whole group (often my low group who need extra support) or I work one-on-one with students for specific skills or assessment. I have one student who is well above the expected reading level so I often read with that child. After the amount of time that suits both me (depending on what I'm doing during that time) and my students concentration span for that day, we swap to Tub 2.
I have been posting photos of my Tub 2 activities on Instagram. I love Tub 2 time!! I either do Guided Reading during that time, rove around to check on the small groups, or continue with assessment. Here are some photos of the activities we have been doing during Tub 2 time.
|TL: Guided Reading. TR: Puzzles. BL: Playdough mats. BR: Beading.|
|TL: Making small paper balls (finger strength). TR: Letter matching. BL: Lining up MAB units on MAB 100s. BR: Guided reading.|
|TL: Pinning pictures. TR: Guided reading. BL: Sorting fiction and non-fiction books. BR: Pop for Letters.|
|TL: Roll, write, read sheets. TR: Sequencing cards. BL: Teacher group focussing on letters. BR: Playdough!|
|TL: Matching letters on an alphabet chart. TR: Pop for Letters. BL: sequencing cards. BR: Roll, write, read.|
|TL: Pinning pictures. TR: Tracing. BL: Threading pasta. BR: Cutting with fancy scissors.|
|TL: Pegging the initial sound. TR: Sequencing cards. BL: Matching CVC words and pictures. BR: Matching lower case letters.|
I choose my activities based on each group's goals. For example, my top group is working on mainly CVC and sight words now, with an occasional fine motor skill or letter sound task to mix things up. My lower groups are working mainly on fine motor skills and letters, including letter identification. I love that Reading Groups allows me to differentiate the tasks to match student goals.
At the end we come together and swap between a few different versions of 'share time'. Sometimes I just ask who would like to share something about their Reading Groups task. Sometimes I will get my Guided Reading group to read their book to the class. I have some cards that I occasionally use that say "Today I enjoyed..." "Today I learned..." "Today something I found hard was..." "Today something I found easy was...". Depending on how much time we have and how the kids are coping with the morning I change the closure of the lesson.
All of this takes us about 35-40mins. Sometimes we go over that time if the kids are all working really well, other times I'll shorten the time we spend on each part if we are running late or have something that we have to ready for.
I'd love to hear how you run Reading Groups, or Reading Instruction if you don't have groups.