3 Simple Must-do’s for Reading Small Groups

It’s always nice to read through groups and hear what people like to say about reading small group. Over the years, I’ve come to have some of my favorite ideas turn into must dos for my classroom each year. I’ll be sharing 3 of those with you.

In this 5-part blog series, I’ll give you an insider’s look at what my reading block looks like.  My small group’s look changes every year with each group, but the basics remain the same. Here’s what you can look forward to in this series:

Part 1: Introducing and Planning Reading Small Groups 

Part 2: Prepping Reading Small Group Activities and Materials 

Part 3: Assessing with Reading Small Groups

Part 4: Tips for Reading Small Groups (that’s this post)

Part 5: Reading Block Rotations

Must do #1 for Reading Small Groups

Planning out your day-to-day, weekly and monthly goals is major! It makes teaching so much easier when you have everything that you need already written or typed up. I keep loosely written plans pretty much all the time. I write down what I want to teach for the month, but make sure that I’m meeting the needs of where my students are. It makes it really easy to plan day to day and each week when I’m flexible.

My must do is to NOT create groups of students that can’t be moved around from day to day. This is huge. Sometimes while my students are in centers or while we are working on something together during whole group, I notice inconsistencies. I jot it down and then the next day, if needed, I change that child to a group where we are working on that skill. If it’s something that I’m not already planning to teach, but I have a group that hasn’t mastered it, I add it to my flexible plans. That way, I know who needs more help and I make sure to make it happen either that week or the next week. Because I’m flexible in my plans, it makes this possible.

Must do #2 for Reading Small Groups

This is a major one! Be sure to have a game or resource that your students can do independently. I try to teach whatever I choose pretty early in the school year. If a technology issue happens, a child gets sick, or if you have an unexpected guest, you can quickly pull out the activity and have your students do it independently while they’re waiting on you to come back to your table.

That way, your students are still working on a skill and practicing. You won’t be wasting their time. You could even train a student in the room to take over your group if you need to. They could direct the students on the activity if needed until you come back to the group. A super simple idea is building words. You can leave picture cards for them to stamp out the entire word, word patterns, beginning sound, or whatever skill you’re working on. You can find these stamps here in my Amazon storefront.

Must do #3 for Reading Small Groups

My last must-do for your reading small groups is to make sure to have BOOKS! Sometimes, people forget or maybe even just run out of time and don’t have books for the students to read. It doesn’t have to be long books. Just have your students reading, being able to point to words, flip the pages, and practice reading.

A lot of the materials and resources that I see out are activities to use during small group. I hate that books in kindergarten seem that they are being pushed to the sidelines. I try to make sure that my students read a book each day even if it’s just two pages of that book. The only way that they will get better is if they are reading in an actual book. I use the differentiated books from The Phonics Diner.

My groups are on different learning paths and they aren’t all in the same story or working on the same skills. With The Phonics Diner books, it makes it easier for children to read on the level that they are on without the fuss of trying to find books for them. I just print, fold and staple. Then, we’re ready to read for the week. You can check out The Phonics Diner here.

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