Reading Group Differentiation

Teaching in a self-contained classroom with eight different student IEPS, varying grade levels, and multiple student learning styles can be very overwhelming and challenging to say the least!  Staying neat and organized is crucial to running a successful classroom (and preventing a daily migraine).

I am currently running four different reading groups in class based on my students' abilities, while also running a (teacher guided) Literature Circle.  Instructing in a self-contained classroom creates a whole new way of thinking and planning for a teacher.  Since many of my students have not quite developed the skills necessary for independent reading, or perhaps the higher level thinking required for running a Lit Circle on their own, both my teaching assistant and I have to be creative and give them that extra oomph they need.  Here is how my ELA block is currently being organized, with the Common Core standards in mind.

Reading Group A: This group consists of my two highest functioning students.  These children are performing both on or above grade level for most concepts in ELA.  We are currently reading, The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, and the reading assignments are primarily given for independent class reading time or homework.  When I meet with this group, we focus mostly on analyzing and discussing the text.  We re-read passages to support our answers, and these two students have recently started asking each other their own comprehension questions regarding the reading.  When we finish the novel in the upcoming weeks, I will be posting the teacher created resources I made on TpT. :)

Reading Group B:  This group contains three students who are performing on or slightly below grade level.  Many times when I am teaching a writing or grammar assignment, I like to group these students with Reading Group A because it gives them terrific peer models to work alongside.  However, when it comes to the nitty gritty details of reading, I am keeping these two groups separate.  These kiddos are currently reading The Report Card by Andrew Clements.  I also assign independent reading for this group of students, but unlike Group A, reading is not assigned for homework.   The reason being, this group of children requires much more focus to stay on task and until they develop more of their own self-monitoring skills for reading independently, I feel it is best to keep the reading assignments to class time.   When I meet with this group, I often ask students to re-read passages, and our focus is on reading fluency as well as comprehension.  I use EdHelper, combined with my own materials, to lead discussions for this group. 

Reading Group C:  The two children in this group are performing below grade level.  Reading comprehension is very weak for these students, and material need to be drastically differentiated.  However, as teachers, we are still expected to hold these students to the same standards as their peers, correct?  To do so, I have assigned the novel Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park.  The grade equivalent for this book is a 2.1, but the interest level is higher; therefore, I am able to use this book with the Common Core Standards for 6th and 7th grade.  The full pack will be made available on TpT soon.  For a sneak peek, check out the images below. :)

Reading Group D: This group also contains two children.  These students are more than two grade levels below their peers.  We focus primarily on word attack strategies, practicing our reading fluency, and listening comprehension skills.  Each time I meet with this group, I model my reading and thinking prior to students reading and thinking aloud themselves.  We use a lot of manipulative resources for this group such as dry erase boards, flash cards, task cards, etc.  The Common Core Standards are targeted through teacher prompting, listening comprehension, and group discussions.  Book resources for this group are leveled readers in addition the Flat Stanley books by Jeff Brown.

Later in the week I will discuss my classroom strategies for our whole group guided reading.  What are some ways you differentiate for reading groups in your classroom?

Sweet Dreams,

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