Saturday, June 30, 2012

Writing in Small Group Instruction

Hey! I hope your summer is going splendidly!

Every summer I pick an area of my classroom or an instructional strategy to focus on. This year I’m choosing getting myself organized in terms of places and spaces for my instructional tools (i.e. where to put my stuff!), and I’m honing in my focus on effective small group instruction.

I’m diving back into this book in the hopes of researching strategies and tools that will provide the most effective instructional grouping for my students. I love Fountas and Pinnell!
When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works

Framework for my small groups:
I have four different types of small groups that I use during the school year:
1. Word Work
2. Comprehension Strategies
4.Guided Reading
This year with the addition of RTI to my school I’ll also pull intervention groups. I’m using these books to help in my planning for that.
Interventions that Work: A Comprehensive Intervention Model for Preventing Reading Failure in Grades K-3 (Interventions that Work Series)    Differentiated Small-Group Reading Lessons: Scaffolded and Engaging Lessons for Word Recognition, Fluency, and Comprehension That Help Every Reader Grow
Differentiating Reading Instruction for Success With RTI: A Day-to-Day Management Guide With Interactive Tools, Targeted Lessons, and Tiered ... Word Recognition, Fluency, and Comprehension
During any small group lesson I’ve always used the Reading Recovery model to help me structure my groups. In any type of small group I pull there’s always a writing element, because we all know that reading and writing are closely related. The same strategies young readers use when interacting with text are the same strategies they use when composing text.

I’ve been studying the chapter in When Readers Struggle: Extending Reading Power Through Writing. This chapter discusses ways in which student’s writing can be used in small groups as a teaching tool.

There are several types of writing we can use during small group instruction. I wouldn’t do this every time,  but for my strugglers I work it in each time we meet.

Types of Writing in Small Group Instruction:
Shared/Interactive Writing
Dictated Writing
Independent Writing
The routines for using each type are:
1.Talk: Let students discuss the text that they will write. This could come directly from the text they read during guided reading.

2.Compose: Negotiate the composition of the text with your students.

3.Write: Depending on the type of writing you choose you would have a combination of teacher writing (shared writing), teacher and students sharing the pen (interactive writing), or students writing (dictated or independent writing).

The types of writing could be story summaries, writing about your favorite part, writing beginning middle and end, first next last, something you learned from the text, extension sentences..the possibilities are endless.

4. Reread: Read the text together each time you add a new word. Rereading is a powerful strategy to teach our students.

5.Revisit: After the text is written revisit the text for letter or word study. You could use prompts like “Find a long word.” “Find a short word.” “Find a word that begins with.” There is an entire page devoted to prompts to use when revisiting the text and Fountas and Pinnell also have other prompting guides.

You could also provide students with a typed copy of the text the next day, or produce a cut up sentence that the students would put back together.

When I was a Reading Recovery teacher I’d make individual writing books for my students. I’d take a ream of  paper and divide it in half, this would give me two books. Then I’d create a cover and bind the booklet together. But this year I’m expanding my small group writing journals to include pages for different things. But I also plan to include a section of plain unlined copy paper.
Click on the picture to get your copy if you’d like to use it during your small group time. There are two different cover options.
You can use any combination of the pages you’d like. I’m planning on sectioning my pages off so that we can flip to whatever type of writing we’re going to do during small group instruction.
Sorry for the long post, but I hope you find something you can use. If you download please consider following me or leaving a comment about your small group instruction.
I’m planning on posting about my next chapter: Building and Using a Repertoire of Words along with some more freebies. Have a great weekend!


  1. An amazing post- I will need to print this off. I like all your ideas.

  2. This summer I'm trying to find ways to improve my instruction in writing. Thanks for posting this. It's good food for thought. I always enjoy reading your blog.
    First Grade Found Me

  3. This is great! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing these resources. I can't wait to check them out.

    First Grade Magic

  5. I'm a big fan of Fountas & Pinnell, too! Thank you for the small group journal. I love it and will definitely use it.
    I'm curious: How long are your GR groups and how many a day can you fit in? Mine are 15 to 20 min. but I can only fit in three.

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  6. Thanks so much! Trying to get my rising 2nd grader to write more over the summer. Thanks again for sharing.

  7. Love this post! I'm definitely going to use these ideas to help my kiddos. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Love your ideas, as always Ms. A! I especially love when you post about the books you're studying as I like to see what will help me in my classroom. Thank you!!!

  9. I just love your blog, ideas and organization {I can't say enough about organization! haha}.

    I couldn't agree more with using writing while working on reading. So important.

    So glad I found you!
    ❤Dragonflies in First ❤

  10. I am excited to learn from you this summer!

  11. Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for sharing!!! I am a fan of F & P as well!

    Hope you have time to check out my blog! Hopefully I have a freebie that you might like! Happy 4th!


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