Wednesday, September 16, 2009

After much testing...DIBELS! I was able to make my small groups. My lowest group needs lots of phonics instruction as most first graders do. These students are more on the kindergarten level, they don't know their letter names and sounds. I hear a song in my head "lets start from the very beginning, a very good place to start..."

We had a half an hour for this group: started with phonemic awareness... air --- plane, what's the word? quick and easy, we want PA to be more of a game. Then we played pass the site words: see and the. Next, we talked about A and the sound it makes /a/ and its spelling. I gave them a card with letters jumbled and had them find the letter a many times by naming things that started with a. I wrote all their names on the board and we circled the letter a in their names. To end and assess, I had them write the uppercase and lowercase a on a small whiteboard and say the sound.
I know this sounds "elementary" BUT, this is where we start with these students.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Testing, testing, testing... it is so tedious and well, annoying. But, let me remind you it is the only way to gauge student learning and understanding of certain phonics concepts. So, make sure you test often and look at the data for every child. Use the knowledge to create a teaching plan to suit each small group. Sometimes I feel like teachers forget the importance of testing and look at it more as an annoying time eater. I know I am a teacher too, but if you look at it in a more positive light it can benefit your instruction.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Step one: Grouping the students

Guided reading or small group instruction is a chance to work one on one with your students. You are able to reach the struggling readers in this 15-30 minute block. This could be the most important 30 minutes of the day for these students. Make it matter! Assessment is crucial in order to place students in the correct group. Once you have assessed their phonics knowledge you can create small groups. You should never have more than 4-5 students in one group. For example if you have four students who are having trouble with the r controlled vowels such as ar, er and ir...put them together, because you have a starting point for them. The placement is all up to the teacher. I like to put at least one higher reader in with a mix of low students to lead the group. The high student should only be a bit higher so you don't hinder that students developement. I like to use the core phonics test to create my small groups. Remember this small group/ guided reading should be focused and intense phonics, fluency and comprehension instruction. It is hard to determine where students are in fluency and comprehension when comparing them to peers. Phonics concept placement is a good start because you have one common ground.

Here we go...

I always get questions about the best small group instruction. Teachers are very intimidated by the terms used in current research. I wanted to start this website to break it down and explain how easy it is to teach explicit small group reading instruction. I work with mainly K-2 students, therefore my blogs will be focused on these grades and phonics, comprehension and fluency concepts. If you have any questions feel free to ask.