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January 26

Guided Reading vs. Small Group Intervention

I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently. “I realized that what I was doing was more of a small-group intervention rather than guided reading,” she said. (We talk about really interesting stuff, as you can see. We’re the cool kids.)

“What were you doing?” I asked.

“I was taking whatever skill or strategy we had learned whole-group and I was working with a group of kids at a lower level to teach that same thing. I wasn’t paying attention to what they needed; I was just teaching the same lesson in a different way.”

Wow – what a reflective thing to say!

I think this is a common trap to fall into. We have kids who struggled with the whole-group lesson, so we pull them aside to reteach and remediate. But, as my friend noted, this is more of a small group intervention rather than guided reading.

So what’s the difference?

Small Group Intervention means that you’re reteaching or reviewing a skill that you’re currently teaching the whole class. You might use grade level materials or lower level materials, but it doesn’t reflect what students need. Students might be grouped carefully or not so much. The lesson might be targeted for those kids, or not so much. (This doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing to do. It has its place and purpose.)

Guided Reading is working with a group of kids who have demonstrated a need for a specific skill or strategy, at an instructional level. That’s important. If you pull out the same text and the same lesson plan for all your groups, while that’s a great time-saver, it’s not likely that it’s actually addressing the needs that those groups have, and therefore, not considered “guided reading”. That would be small group intervention, instead.

Working with kids well below grade level on visualizing might be exactly what that group needs at that time. But working with a group well above grade level on visualizing may or may not be what they need.

Guided Reading requires that you know a lot about your readers: what level they’re on (different in different genres), which skills and strategies they already have, and which ones they need to move up, and their interests, too.

Want to learn more?

Check out this post from the Guided Reading Series at Buzzing with Ms. B!

It’s all about getting to know your readers and it’s a great place to start!

Happy Teaching!

Chrissy Beltran

Buzzing with Ms. B

Happy teaching!

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Posted January 26, 2021 by Ready Aim Shoot in category ELA, ELL, Reading, Reading Intervention, Word Analysis/Spelling/Phonics

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