Group Students with Similar Needs for Small Group Instruction
Use instructional profiles to match assessment information with appropriate instruction.
The key point of placing students in instructional profiles is to ensure that students are provided with instruction that meets their identified needs. To differentiate, teachers can vary the content focus, amount of time spent on instruction, and the degree of support and scaffolding.
Group students with similar needs for small group instruction.
There are many benefits to providing homogeneous small group instruction. Homogeneous small group instruction:
- provides more exposure and more focus on essential skills;
- can precisely target skill instruction needed;
- provides more opportunities for guided practice;
- can provide a structure to closely monitor student performance; and
- provides more opportunities for immediate feedback.
With ELs, use small groups for intensive reading interventions.
By providing intensive small-group reading interventions, you will give ELs the specialized attention they need to improve their reading skills.
Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades
This IES Practice Guide gives an overview of the needs of ELs and provides 5 recommendations to help schools ensure they are meeting those needs. Recommendation 2 is particularly relevant: Provide intensive small-group reading instruction.
Provide Intensive Small-Group Reading Instruction
This PowerPoint presentation gives an overview of Recommendation 2 from the IES Practice Guide, “Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades.” Use this presentation in conjunction with the guide to learn how to follow the proposed recommendations.
Organize small group instruction based on district policy and school assessment data.
Flexible grouping within a classroom by skill level is a heterogeneous format. In schools that use this format, the children stay in their homeroom classroom for reading instruction. Additional resources, such as added personnel and supplemental materials, may be “flooded” into the classroom during the reading block to allow for small group instruction.
Flexible Grouping Between Classrooms by skill levels is a more homogeneous model. In this format, students are grouped by skills across the entire grade level. Students might receive reading instruction from their homeroom teacher or from a different instructor, depending on their specific needs.
Consider designating a classroom where high-risk students receive a core intervention program.
Having a designated classroom where high-risk students receive instruction in a core intervention program can be used in combination with Flexible Grouping Options or within or between classroom grouping options. Provide additional instructional time and intensity of instruction for students in this group.
Placement in groups is flexible and permeable.
These groups are not meant to be rigidly defined; flexibility is the key point. This requires continual progress monitoring and a review of the data by grade level teams at least every 6 to 8 weeks.
Professional Development Presentation
- Part 1 (10:54)
Once student instructional profiles are determined, you are ready to plan how your school will group students to provide differentiated reading instruction. Several options for organizing a school’s reading block are presented, including scenarios for grouping students within a classroom and between classrooms in a grade level. You will see creative solutions that maximize resources and maintain flexible groupings – a key piece to improving student reading achievement.
Apply the Concepts
1. Group students with similar instructional needs
Use your current outcome and screening measure data, in-program assessment data, progress monitoring data, and phonics screening data to sort students in the handout table. Use this information to determine how to allocate resources, plan additional support within or outside of reading block.
1. Small Group Alternative Structures
This guide was developed by the Florida Center on Reading Research. It was originally written as a guide for Florida Reading First Schools. However, its contents continue to be relevant in that its aim is to provide guidance for providing small group, differentiated instruction to students in grades K-3.
2. Example Detailed Small Group Instructional Plan for All Profiles
This template is an example planning tool that could be used to detail instructional plans for all students within one grade level. The template includes space for planning instruction for students in any one of the six profiles. Although quite extensive, the template provides the type of detail needed in order to successfully manage schoolwide differentiated instruction.