Thursday, June 30, 2011

Helping Struggling Readers Through Intensive Reading Groups

"The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
- Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

I couldn't agree more and is a thought behind much of what I do in my classroom and reading instruction. My guided reading groups are fluid and flexible. Most of the time, I organize my groups using reading levels but also meet with groups based on their need to work on a specific strategy, technique, concept or genre of text. I also find opportunities throughout the day (early morning, during independent practice) to meet with students and address individual needs.

While I am meeting with reading groups, my students go to literacy stations. My work stations are modeled using the Debbie Diller literacy workstations. I tweaked it just a bit to include the 5 components of Daily 5. My students enjoy their stations and each has educational value and the Daily 5 added a little more structure, organization and purpose to stations that I had in place already. I began reading about the Daily 5 last summer and wanted to see how it might fit in my classroom. It is a work in progress, so to speak.

As students are working through their station rotation, I am calling my groups and working with each of them. During this time, I worked with my team to structure the time that aides have with our struggling students. This is what we called IRG or intensive reading groups. The aides completed specific and data driven tasks with a group of students as part of a rotation. The students that are struggling were grouped and put into a separate rotation which was an hour long (the duration of my reading group time).
  • The groups meet with 2 aides, the reading facilitator and their teacher each day for 20 minutes.
  • This replaced their time in stations allowing for additional direct instruction in a much smaller group.
The students made huge gains. I mean HUGE and many students had two and three level jumps in a 9 week period. I was so excited that all the work that I had done with my team and my administrators to schedule the rotations and work out the kinks had lead us to a very successful intervention!

So much so that we are planning on using this strategy again this year. First and second grade will begin within the first few weeks of school and kinder will follow the second nine weeks. I am so very excited about this success and am just thrilled to see the progress that are students will make with this intervention placed earlier in the year and not just in my grade but in all primary grades.

My goal each day is to give students as many opportunities as possible to interact with text and reading. I utilize every minute that I can during the day. The intensive reading groups definitely speak to that. Reading is a reward in my room, whether it is giving them time to read independently or reading a story of their choice to them. Reading is part of my procedures as well. My students practice sight words and read books when waiting in line for the restroom and are allowed to take books to lunch and recess (as long as they are responsible with their book). I even have the students read when their might be an interruption by someone that needs me at the moment (an aide, admin, another teacher, nurse, etc.)

I am always reading new books and looking for new ways to add to and improve what I do in my classroom (you should see all the books that I am reading right now....a one woman library...ha!).

So.....what do you do? Time to share :)


Kimberly said...

Thanks for linking up! I also do literacy workstations with components of Daily 5. I love that you said, "reading a reward in my classroom"! Your students are lucky!
Funky First Grade Fun

SDNana said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. My school is in the process of adopting a Response to Intervention framework and I plan to mention your plan to my coworkers. We are a small rural school and only have one classroom per grade level so this at times presents problems with sharing paras and such. P.S. I noticed on one of previous posts you mentioned doing a monster theme. I am using this theme this year. I purchased some of Trends "Furry Friends" and have also downloaded a cute file called "oogey boogey" from justsoscrappy (only $1.50 and super cute!) Hope your Target trip turned out well-my closest one is 100 miles away. :( Liz

Teacher Mum said...

I am a Special Ed teacher - so always looking for new reading ideas, interventions and innovations. I am thrilled to have found you and look forward to connecting with you in the blogosphere.
I am now a follower thorugh RSS feeeds.


Keys4Education said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am thinking about how to structure my reading for next year and was thinking of doing a blend (of D5 and Debbie Diller). Any additional advice that you are able to provide would be fantastic! :o) Thanks so much Lynda. You are awesome!

Luria Learning said...

I think it is important to blend different structures to meet your students' needs. I have been using some of Daily 5 with sentence frames to help my ESL learners. Here is a video of how I did that for partner reading during Daily 5.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Mrs. Luna said...

That's amazing the gains your class was able to accomplish! I think I'm going to borrow your idea to allow them to bring their books to recess and lunch. Thanks for your post!

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