Reading Groups

Questions or discussion about Kagan theory, research, or implementing Kagan in your classroom.
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:48 am

Reading Groups

Post by branjill8 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:05 pm

I used Kagan Structures last year in my 4th grade English classes and LOVED them! The reading teacher next door is going to begin using them this year. How exciting!
However, she is concerned about how to group students for reading groups. For most skills, texts, and discussions, heterogeneous groups make sense. However, she does reading groups all at the same time since she only has 45 minute blocks. Students have different-level texts. She feels they need homogeneous grouping as low kids can’t read same text as high kids during this time...but she wants to avoid that.
Is there a way to avoid homogeneously grouping them during reading group time? Should students have two different seats? Any suggestions would be great. Thanks! …and I hope to attend a workshop soon!

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Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:09 pm

Re: Reading Groups

Post by LindyJoMc » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:19 am

What about adjusting those reading groups to focus on strategies (cause/effect, retelling...) instead of levels. Students are grouped together based on the skill or strategy they're trying to develop, even though some are reading well above level and some a below or right on. The kids may share a text while working with the teacher, but most of their work will be in whatever text they've chosen for themselves at their level, so it's ok that they're reading at different levels since they're using different books to work on the same skills/strategies.

Another idea is to go for the literature circle route, where the teacher chooses a variety of texts based around a similar topic and students choose which of the books they want to read. This would also mix the students up more.

I know many teachers fear leaving the comfort of levelled reading groups, but these two suggestions may be able to be rotated in throughout the year so the kids aren't "tracked."

Wendy Burke
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:28 am

Re: Reading Groups

Post by Wendy Burke » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:51 am

Great question!

During instruction, when you are teaching a new skill- and you want them to practice that skill in the moment- heterogeneous teams are where students should be. This will be you your biggest achievement gains. Remember, they should stay in these heterogeneous teams for six weeks. However, within that six week time- teachers should still be doing random teams, where grouping by ability is not your primary objective. Plus, they want to be doing homogeneous teams. Reading groups, where you are grouping them by reading level- is a great time to do homogeneous teams. What I liked to do during guided reading: the team working with me- was homogeneous based. The other groups at the centers in my room- heterogeneous based. That way students can coach one another as needed. Hope this helps. :) Best wishes!

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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:29 pm

Re: Reading Groups

Post by melissasw » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:51 pm

I concur with Wendy regarding how to group students during guided reading groups. While I was working with my homogeneous reading group I still included structures for comprehension and verbal processing, such a RallyRobin, RoundRobin, Timed Pair Share. When it fit, I also used Poems for Two Voices. The other literacy centers were structures as well; Showdown, Fan-N-Pick, RallyCoach, Simultaneous RoundTable, Match Mine depending on the skills we were working on. Using structures as centers really increases their retention of the content because PIES is present....more engagement.