Grouping for Reading Instruction Teaching Reading in a Mixed-ability Classroom.
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Grouping for Reading Instruction Teaching Reading in a Mixed-ability Classroom
There are four basic questions teachers tend to ask: How do I decide which children to put in which groups? How many groups do I need? How large should the groups be? How often should I change the groups?
One’s purpose is the guide to grouping decisions.
A variety of grouping strategies is necessary for effective reading instruction.
Whole group or small group? Homogeneous or heterogeneous? One week or all year?
Flexible grouping solves many grouping dilemmas. Flexible grouping refers to having students work in a variety of differently mixed groups that are drawn together for a specific purpose.
How to assign students to groups Randomly when the reason is primarily management or forming groups of equal size. Interest when student interest in a topic is the motivating reason for learning about a topic. Skill and/or instructional need when you need to teach a skill or strategy to a group of students.
Use whole group/class to Introduce a unit, a new book or a new strategy, e.g., using dictionary guidewords Planning Build community Tap prior knowledge (e.g., K-W-L) Closure
Use (teacher-led) small groups to: Provide focused instruction Guided practice Guided reading Some types of assessments
Use (student-led) small groups for Shared tasks Collaborative responses Shared reading, e.g., literature circles Shared writing
Use dyads and one-on- one to: Buddy read Shared tasks Supported practice—think Vygotsky and the ZPD Tutoring Independent practice Individual assessment, e.g., running record One-on-one instruction
Some things to remember about grouping NO group should stay together all year. No grouping scheme should feel like a permanent sentence for teacher or student Grouping can change within a lesson. Groups should stay together only long enough to achieve an instructional purpose.
One myth about grouping must be eradicated… Just say NO to homogeneous grouping in reading. Homogeneous reading groups
Homogeneous grouping in reading is good for very few readers. It’s a management strategy, not an effective literacy instructional strategy. Using this grouping scheme, adds to the “Matthew Effect.” That is, it helps make the good readers better, and the poor readers worse.