Thursday, July 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Writing During Small Group Instruction

I’m always working on ways to improve my small group instruction. For the past few years I’ve always had a wide range of abilities, from super gifted to struggling, and it’s always my intent to meet students where they are, and move them as fast and as far along the literacy and math continuum as I can. I mean why would I give a student who’s reading chapter books the same type of instruction that I’d give a struggler…duh…
Anyway, here’s a post that I got lots of good feedback from.
BTW don’t forget today is your last day to purchase my Aug-Dec. Promethean Board Calendars at a discounted price.

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. Thanks for sharing about these books. I do some professional reading every summer too. This year I will be teaming in first grade. I will be teaching all the literacy for two classes. I'm scared and excited all at the same time. I have been reading books on how to help the "struggling" readers. I have already placed your book suggestions on my Amazon wish list. They sound like they would be very useful!

    1. I love When Readers Struggle! It's my go to book all year long!

  2. Thanks for sharing these writing journals! I think I might copy the different sections on different colors so it's easier to flip to the section we'll be using. Thanks again!

  3. I have followed your work for quite a while now. Everything you post is wonderful! I can tell that it is well thought out and research based. Thanks for all of your hard work.
    Beverly Vercelli

  4. " Appreciate for sharing this Blog. Thanks Again Cool "

    Youth Group Games

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