Small Group Reading

Hope everyone had an incredible Christmas season.  If your December was like mine, you were running way too hard to even consider reading blogs or organizing your thoughts.  I LOVE Christmas!  It is seriously my favorite holiday.  I like getting the perfect gifts for my family and friends.  I like the smells, the colors, and the tastes.  For this right-brained girl, it is the perfect sensory overload.

However, now it's over and I'm realizing I didn't blog for over a month.  I guess I got caught up in the moment... well, a bunch of moments, so I am just now getting my thoughts together.

Before I get started, I want to tell you if you aren't following my Facebook fan page, go follow it.  Most of my giveaways are there and I try to ask questions so I know what you need help with.

So, first blog post of 2015 is about my guided reading time.

The first thing is I break my kids into small groups.  I try not to work with more than three students at a time.  That way I can give them more attention.  When I'm working with my group, I have a light that I turn on that I sit on my table.  My other kids know that they are not allowed to interrupt me during that time unless it's an emergency.  The other kids are either reading from their book bins (Read to Self or Read to Someone), on Headsprout (Listen to Reading), or they are on the iPads reading (Listen to Reading).  These are three parts of Daily 5.  I like to have them doing this because it is something that does not leave a heavy amount of monitoring.  It also gives them time to practice the skills that we've worked on during our guided reading time.

Now, one thing I used to have a hard time with was figuring out how many times to work with my kids?  I wish I could get to them all each day, but that isn't realistic.  The last few years, I've created a schedule.  I hang it up so that the kids can see the days that I'm going to get them to read with me.  My high kids meet with me once a week.  My middle kids meet with me twice a week.  My middle/low kids meet with me three to four times a week.  My low kids meet with me twice a week. Below is an example of the cards I use for the schedule.  The ones on the left, I laminate and keep in my lesson plan book.  The ones on the right are for my kids.

I also put up an iPad schedule.  Each child is assigned an iPad and a specific day.

Now, I'm sure some of you are wondering why I'm not working with my low kids as much.  Here's my reasoning.  My middle/low kids are just a little behind.  They are making progress at a faster rate. They don't qualify for anything.  They are great kids, but they just need a little bit of extra guidance.  My low kids many times are getting small group attention through early intervention programs, peer tutors, etc. As my middle/low kids move up, I start working more with my lower students.  I just feel like in the beginning it's the middle/low kids that learn the quickest if I spend a little time with them.  If you don't spend the time with them early on, they can drop into the lower group.  If you give them the time, they move into the middle group and from that point forward they are typically solid students.

What do I do once we start working?  Well, my lower group works a lot with Annie Moffatt from The Moffatt Girls packets and Reading A to Z booklets.  Many times my lower group isn't reading yet because they need to work on sounds and blending.  Annie has packets that work a lot on simple sentences.  The Reading A to Z booklets are perfect because they are small and leveled.

My middle group works with my Question It! packets.  Most of this group is working on fluency and comprehension.  My passages are leveled, so I can make sure I'm pulling a passage that they will feel successful reading.  I have a container full of silly fingers they can use when they are reading.  I make them read the passage three times to themselves.  This gives me time to listen to them so I can help them make adjustments and it also helps them work on speed.  Once they finish listening, we answer the questions.  I bought packs of highlighters from Target for $2.  I love them because they come in a pack of twelve with six colors.  If you've ever wondered why I do six questions, this is why.  My kids have to do each question in a different color.  We read the question, they highlight the question in a color and then the answer in the story the same color.  It has helped my kids really slow down and make sure they understand what they are reading.

If you are interested in any of the things I mentioned, here are links to the products I'm using.

I don't pretend to know everything, but this is what works for me.  If you have other ideas to add to this, feel free to comment or send them to me.

Have a great Sunday!


  1. OH! I LOVE the idea of using a different colored highlighter for each question! What a GREAT idea! I am going to try that today! (PLUS, I am starting my Short Vowel Question It Pack today.)THANK YOU!

  2. How long do you work with each group? I am working on a new schedule for my small groups and centers and am modeling it off of your suggestions. THANKS for all of your help!