Showing posts with label science of reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science of reading. Show all posts

Decodable is the new buzz word of literacy thanks to the Science of Reading.  Decodable texts are any kind of text (lists, passages, books...) where at least 90% of the words are decodable with the focus sound or sounds previously learned.

I first fell back in love with decodable texts 4 years ago when I was doing a maternity leave in kindergarten.  Kids were using their decoding skills to read, making connections to new phonics skills they learned, and searching for heart words in their texts.  But most importantly, they were GROWING readers.  By leaps and bounds.  In 12 weeks, I saw growth like I'd never seen in 10 years of teaching first grade because it was so widespread with so many kids making amazing progress.

But decodable isn't just a buzz word.  It's a must have in your primary classroom.  If you want your reading instruction to be aligned to the Science of Reading, then you better invest in decodable texts.  And once you get started, you'll find there are SO many ways to use them in your classroom.  Let's talk about just 5 ways to use decodable texts in your primary classroom.

Whole Group Reading

This is how I first started using them during my 12 week job in Kinder!  At the end of our phonics lesson on Wednesday, I pulled out one of our decodable books that focused on the sound we were learning.  I read the book aloud to the kids on the carpet using our ELMO projector.  

Then, we reviewed the expectations.  They were to read their book one time.  Then, go back and highlight the focus sound and circle the sight words listed on the front of the book.  Then, they were to read the book two more times.  

When they finished this routine (read, highlight, circle, read, read), then they could illustrate their pictures. 

While the kids were working, I circled around to each table and listened in on as many kids as I could read the text.  I had a class list with the title of the book and I recorded how the kids were reading that I had listened to on this recording sheet

TEACHER TIP:  If I was listening to a kid who was just copying how the friend beside her was reading, I would ask her to start back at the beginning or a previous page for me. :)

When our time was finished (this took about 15-20 total minutes), the kids would put the booklets in their book boxes to read when they finished other work early.  

Targeted Reading Groups

The nice thing about doing the on grade level decodable book as a whole group is I could quickly see who was thriving or struggling with the on grade level text.   At the end of our reading time, I quickly analyzed the running records and wrote notes for who needed what.

I used our Wednesday small group time to pull kids that were struggling.  Sometimes, we did some extra word work using making words with the focus sound.  

Sometimes, we practice our heart words.  

Depending on what my running record showed they were struggling with.  Depending on the amount of strugglers and the reasons the struggled, I might have 1-3 groups of kids to meet with.

We start with some skill practice (making words or sight words) for 5 minutes or less.  Then, we get our same booklet and reread together.  Then, I let them independently read by stagger starting them and listen in as they each read.  

For kids that read the decodable reader with at least 95% accuracy, but maybe weren't fluent, I would note that during our whole group time and pull them to reread and practice fluency.  For kids who were fluent, I might try the matching passage that is the same text as the book, but in a passage form without pictures!

Each reading group would be 10-15 minutes.  Short and targeted so that I could meet with as many kids as possible.  I was almost always able to meet with all of my kids to reinforce our focus skill, or work on fluency or even comprehension for higher kids.

RTI/Intervention Time

You might be thinking.... isn't that what you just described for small groups?  

And, yes, it is!

But that was just for the on grade level focus sound for that week.

Other days of the week, my small group time is spent filling decoding gaps or extending kids as needed.  I pull kids that maybe are still struggling on last week's skill....or the first week of school's skill.... IYKYK... :)  I keep all of our decodable books close to our reading group area so I can get to the book I need quickly and with little prep!

So how did I keep up with who needed what and how often and who I met with and didn't meet with and, and, and...???  That's all in detail in this nuts and bolts blog post.  

How do I figure all of the groups and their focuses out?   By ASSESSING!!  And that's the next way I use decodable texts in the classroom!

Assessing Decoding and Phonics Skills

Assessing is key to getting the most out of your small group or intervention time.  And if we want to know the decoding holes or gaps students have, then we have to use decoding assessments.

My favorite decoding assessments are these screeners.  I love that they are quick and easy to see the exact phonics skills kids are doing well, and the holes we need to fill.

I also assess our current focus skill on Fridays during small group time using these decodable checkups that come with each set of decodable readers.

Take Home Reading

The last way (I'm chatting about in this post anyway!) to use decodable readers in the classroom is to send them out of the classroom....HOME!

I've sent books home for parents to read after reading with them in class or in a group so that parents can stay involved.  

And I've also heard from many teachers who love sending the books or passages or wordlists home to parents who are asking for extra work!

So where can you find a TON of targeted decodable readers for kindergarten through second grade?  Shop all of the individual sets here!

If we want kids to read and spell fluently, then we need to give our K-2 students adequate time for word building during phonics instruction.  The large body of research for the Science of Reading tells us that kids need repetition with word building for a focus sound so that they can map the spelling and sounds in their brain. 

One of my favorite first grade phonics activities to do is making words.  (And it is a must-do activity for kindergarten and second grade too!)

Making words is a word chaining activity which targets a specific phonics skill or sound.  During a making words lesson, kids are building and manipulating words by changing one sound at a time.  For CVC words, they might start by spelling bat and then change one sound to make the word sat.  

This makes word building accessible to all learners because you are just changing one sound at time.  It's less overwhelming and it allows us to really focus in on that target sound or sounds.

I LOVE using making words in my classroom.  The routines stay the same and the sounds change to make the activity feel like more of a game.  Let's chat about 3 low prep ways to implement making words in your kindergarten, first grade, or second grade classroom.

Print Mats & Magnetic Letters

My first year teaching was in 2006, which doesn't seem like long ago at all, but it does when I remember that an overhead projector was the highest form of technology in my classroom. :)

Anyone besides me remember these pretty things???

"It's a beaut, Clark!" :)

Anyways... when I first started teaching, we used magnetic letters or letter cards for word building.

The GREAT thing about magnetic letters with our printable word building mats is that it is very tactile.  It gives kids something to hold, manipulate, and move.  And that is SUPER important.

The downside to letter cards or magnetic letters is time!  I ended up doing word building like this in small groups only because the time it took to pass out letters was about as long as the lesson itself!  

In small groups, I had baggies with the correct letter cards for each lesson with the coordinating mat and that definitely minimized the passout time, but it also took up some extra space!

Print Mats & Dry Erase Markers

The second way I've done making words is with dry erase markers.  This was the main way I did making words when I first started teaching because it took very little pass out time.  There are no letters to pass out.  Kids just have to grab their dry erase markers and a mat and they were good to go!

These printable mats already have the corresponding letters for the lesson on them with the correct number of Elknonin sound boxes so it's ready to go.

But while these printable making words mats are nice and cute, they aren't necessary!  I've used dry erase boards only in a pinch and had kids make lines for the number of sounds in each word!

Digital Mats & Google Classroom

Eventually, the overhead projectors went into the storage closets and the Smartboards were installed.  And then came Google Classroom.

And suddenly, making words was an EASY way to do word work with absolutely zero prep!

Now, kids can open the digital making words mat that corresponds with our lesson and focus sound on an iPad or on a laptop in Google Classroom and they can immediately build words.

Or, we can pull up the digital making words mat on our smart board and do the word building lesson together as a whole group by clicking and dragging letters into the Elknonin sound boxes.

I LOVE this way because it takes so little prep and cleanup time!

Whether you want to save prep and cleanup time and go digital with making words, or you want to pull out the tactile magnetic letters and go old school, word building is a must-do in your primary classroom to help kids map words permanently in their brains!

Have you ever heard old proverb, "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time."?

The same is true in spelling multi-syllable words.  Stay with me...

The science of reading changed so much of my literacy instruction and all for the better.  Last year, homeschooling my 2nd grader allowed me to think seriously about spelling.  

By second grade, kids are ready to perfect the letter combinations for almost all 44 sounds.  The transition in 2nd grade is beginning to spell multisyllabic words.  And sooooo many kids start struggling with spelling because keeping up with all those sounds in those big words is HARD!  So, how do we make that transition a smooth one?  How do we help kids successfully go from spelling CVC words to 3 syllable words in less than 2 years?  And what interventions can we use to support spelling multisyllabic words.

Spelling Development

Let's back up for just a sec.  How did we get to this multi-syllable spelling spot in 2nd grade?

First we hear sounds in words, and then we say the sounds (phonemic awareness).  Next, we see the sounds and decode them (phonics).  Last, we write sounds we hear correctly (spelling).  Early literacy development in one snapshot?  Here you go!

This is the work of kinder and first grade phonics for almost all 6 syllable types.

So then, the job of 2nd grade is to get better at spelling all syllable types and spelling them within two syllable spelling words as well.

And often times this is where the break down happens because long words can sometimes sound like a huge string of jumbled up sounds.  But if we teach kids to hear the individual syllables in longer words, they can be more successful spellers.

My favorite way to do this is with magnetiles!

Syllable Manipulatives

My son, like most boys :), LOVES building.  So anytime I can add in blocks or building to our learning, it's going to be a win!  

When we started working on spelling multisyllable words in 2nd grade, we used magnatiles to help us.  First, I would tell him the word to spell.  

For example, let's use the word carefully.

Next, he repeated the word and counted the syllables (a phonemic awareness skill that should've been mastered in kindergarten... another reason why kinder teachers are soooooo important!!)


Once he counts 3 syllables, then he grabs three magnatiles.

He lays the three magnatiles out and pushes them together as he repeats the syllables.  CARE-FUL-LY.  

If this sounds familiar to you, it's because this is *just* like pushing letter sounds with 2-sided counters into the Elkonin boxes in kinder and first grade.  

(All of these skills build on each other and that's why it's so important to master them at the phoneme level before they are mastered at the syllable level.)

Spell the Syllables

Now that hopefully has been divided into 3 syllables using 3 magnatiles, spelling this big word is MUCH easier.  All he needs to do now is spell a CVCe word, a CVC nonsense word, and a suffix.  And the CVCe and CVC spelling skills are first grade spelling skills!

That's the magic of breaking longer words into single syllables.  It's much easier to spell one of the 6 syllable types than to think of spelling the entire word together.

Remember that elephant question?  Let's take a look at that again with spelling in mind...

Now my 2nd grader is ready to spell a 3 syllable word... one syllable at a time!  We use a dry erase marker to spell on the magnatile first.  

Then, he rewrites that on his paper.

Once he got really good at this process, we were able to use the magnatiles to count and visualize the syllables and then just write the word on paper.

The next step after that was to take away the magnatiles when he was ready, and just count the syllables and write one syllable at a time.  

The process is the same each time.  But the support becomes less as his confidence and independence increase!

Honestly, with a few sessions of practice with magnatile support, he was ready to just use the syllable boxes on our spelling slides in our phonics unit and that was enough support without the tactile help of the blocks.

You can grab this -ly phonics unit here or shop all of the digital phonics units here.  

And here is the affiliate link for my fav set of magnatiles if you want to add them to your classroom manipulatives.  You can read how I also use magnetiles for writing sentences in K-1.  If you can't tell, we love us some magnatiles around here!! :)

When I first started teaching 15 years ago, phonics and phonics readers had a bit of a bad rap because they weren't as engaging and there was little to no comprehension piece to those phonics readers or decoding words practice.

But why not?  Why not add comprehension work along with the decoding practice to give our reading a purpose?  It was a no-brainer for me to beef up our decoding work by taking an extra few seconds at the end for comprehension.

Our basic routine is simple.  We read the words, highlight the focus sounds and then I ask meaning questions.  There are 3 main types of questions that I ask to add that comprehension piece to our decoding routines.  Let's take a closer look at each of them.

Word meaning I spy

This game works best after decoding a word list.  First, we read our decodable words from our digital phonics lessons.

Then, we play I spy.  Here's an example with the short decodable word lists we use each day in our digital phonics lessons.

"I spy a word that rhymes with bag." (swag)

"I spy a word with the /sk/ sound." (skip)

"I spy a word that is another word for dot."  (spot)

I use I spy questions about sounds, rhyming, definitions, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meaning words and more!

This simple activity is easy to do in any setting with any list and increases kid's critical thinking skills.  In order to answer each question, they must be able to understand the question you asked, decode the words again, and figure out the answer to the question.

I've done this using Think-Pair-Share during whole group phonics, or by giving kids dry erase boards to record the correct word in small groups!  

Use it in a sentence

This one is self-explanatory.  The only difference is that after a decoding word list, I don't say the word.  I'll say...

"Turn to your partner and use the first word on the list in a sentence."

For a challenge, ask your kids to use two of the words in the same sentence!

TEACHER TIP:  When we share, I ask the person to tell me their partner's sentence for additional accountability, and to practice their listening skills. :)

I like to keep our comprehension work pretty quick and to the point, so we do this orally.  But this would make an easy writing task for extension work if you needed a way to tie it in to writing and spelling as well.

Illustrate the Word

There are two ways I like to use this strategy.  One way I use this is by having students illustrate a word I call out and they illustrate it on their copy of their decodable words.  

Sometimes, it's as simple as...

"Illustrate the word LIP."

Other times, I combine the I spy with the illustrations...

"Circle the word that means fake hair.  Illustrate it."

The other way I like to use illustrations is by playing pictionary.  I draw the picture and the kids guess the word!  This one is super engaging, but is best for a smaller list of 3-5 decodable words so it's not overwhelming to the kids to find the correct word.

If you're looking for decodable word lists you can find the digital ones I've used in these examples in my Super Phonics digital lessons and the printable words lists in my decodable packets!

Vocabulary sometimes gets left out in primary grades because we feel like we have "bigger fish" to fry in getting kids to actually decode and read.

But explicit tier 2 vocabulary instruction needs a place at the table in the Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade classroom too.  I love using picture books to teach vocabulary during our whole group reading lessons.  It's quick, authentic, and so easy that you can leave it on your sub plans!  

You can read about the routines I use in this blog post, but today, I'm answering a question I often get about tier 2 vocabulary words.  How do I decide what words to do?  Where do the words come from?  And what exactly are tier 2 words anyways?

What Are Tier 2 Words?

Before talking about what tier 2 words are, it's important to remember what tier 2 words are NOT.  Words can be classified as tier 1, tier 2, or tier 3 words.  Tier 2 words are NOT sight words or mortar words.  Those are tier 1 words.

Tier 2 words are also NOT academic vocabulary words like herbivore or voting. Those are content specific, tier 3 words. 

Tier 2 vocabulary words are those colorful words that make books exciting.

beckon, brilliant, shimmer, chuckle.... just to name a few!  Need some more examples?  Get a sneak peek at all of the words I use for all 25 books I have lessons for below!

Most quality picture books that are intended for read alouds are full of tier 2 words.  You just have to train your eye to look for them.

Now that we can agree on what tier 2 words are, let's talk about how to choose the most effective tier 2 words.

Find A Good, Solid Picture Book

First, before I can think about the wordlist, I need to find the book.  In my non-expert opinion, the best book for explicit vocabulary is one that is engaging, has great illustrations, and is one I'm already using for something else!

For example, last year in 2nd grade homeschool, we did a Next Gen Science unit on landforms and talked about erosion.  We were already reading this fiction book in science to illustrate erosion cause and effects.  And we were also already using it in writing to study the author's craft of descriptive phrases.

So, I decided to look through it and see if I could find enough tier 2 words to make a lesson out of for vocabulary.  BAM!  Done!  We read the book during our reading time and did the vocabulary lesson and then also reread it during science and focused on erosion cause and effects to introduce our STEM challenge. #winning

Another thing to consider is that the reading level of the book.  Patterned books like, Brown Bear, Brown Bear are probably not going to work for teaching tier 2 words.  Those type of books are going to be full of tier 1 words and not helpful.  So, no beginning readers, leveled readers, or repetitive texts for the most part.

On the other hand, content books are not going to be great either.  Reading a non-fiction book about erosion would be great during science, but it wouldn't be as helpful when studying tier 2 words because the academic vocabulary, or tier 3 words, would be getting in the way of learning tier 2 words.  Instead of being able to critically think about the tier 2 words I choose, kids would get "stopped up" needing to know the content specific words.

A good, solid, fiction story that's engaging and one I'm already using is exactly the kind of book I'm after for explicit tier 2 vocab lessons.

Now then, let's choose some words!

Words Kids Aren't Saying

The first tier 2 words that jump out at me when I'm previewing through a possible picture book are words my students aren't using in everyday conversations.  

I go through the book and write down every word that is off the beaten path for my kids to use in classroom conversations.  

Maybe my kids say their snack tastes "really good," but not "delicious."  Delicious could be a possible tier 2 word to teach.  Or, if my group uses delicious, but they don't often say, "scrumptious," then maybe that's the word I write down.

It's important to know that I write down the root word and then teach all variations of the word during the lesson.  I also add a checkmark every time I see the word (or a version of it) repeated.

You know your kids best.  Listen to their conversations.  They are letting you know when they talk which vocabulary words they are most comfortable using.  By explicitly teaching tier 2 words, we are increasing their oral language skills and, eventually their reading comprehension and writing style.

Words You Want Kids To Write

Speaking of writing... that's another thing I consider when choosing tier 2 words.  Which words do I want to see kids using in their writing?

With that in mind, I go through my list of words for the book I've chosen and mark through any words kids are already using in their writing.  This is because I don't always hear kids say all of the words that are in their vocabulary.  Our written language is different than our spoken language.  We use words in our writing that sometimes we don't have the opportunity to say in casual conversation.  Because of this, I know that if kids are correctly using a tier 2 word on my list in their formal writing, then it's a word they have a solid understanding of, even if they don't say it in conversations.  

I also star words that I would LOVE to see kids include in their writing the most.

The Most Bang For My Buck

I like to keep my list of words I teach in a vocabulary lesson to somewhere between 3 and 6 words, depending on the time I have to teach, the age group I'm with, and the difficulty of the words.

Usually, when I first make my list of possible words, I have more than that.  In my example, I started with 17 words that are unusual to hear my kids using in the classroom.

Then, I marked through words kids already use in their writing and starred words I want kids to use the most.

Now, I'm ready to look over the list again, thinking about the words that are going to give me the most bang for my buck.  What do I mean by that?  

I'm looking for words that my kids don't use, but if they started using them, there would be a lot of opportunities to use that word.  

For example, crest is a great, tier 2 word, but not one my kids would have many opportunities to use in their speaking or writing.  But, invade is a word I could totally see them using more, especially boys! :)

I'm also looking for words that we can illustrate well, use in everyday sentences, and have multiple synonyms so that it will strengthen their comprehension and understanding of the word.  

Finalizing the List

In the example I've been using with The Tide Is Coming In, I'm for sure using the word "defend" because it was used in the text multiple times.

I also chose fortress, invade, rogue, and deposit because they are unusual words my 2nd grader wasn't saying or writing and I knew he didn't know the full meaning of those words.

Now that I've narrowed my 17 word list down to 5 words, I'm ready to teach!  I use Google slides to teach the words whole group (or they can be assigned in Google classroom).  And I print out the independent page for some writing practice and reinforcement.  You can find this lesson here and all of my Tier 2 lessons already planned and ready to teach here.  

Last week, I blogged about why I said goodbye to guided reading.  

But that doesn't mean I gave up on small groups altogether.  

This teacher LOVES her some small group intervention time.

So, if not guided reading for literacy intervention, then what?  Data driven groups.  That's what.

But what does that look like?  Is it a complete 180 from guided reading?  How much relearning am I really gonna have to do here? (Pssst: not much.  It's really much easier than you'd think!)

Let's chat about data-driven reading groups.  I'll walk you through a sample class data set.  We'll talk about how I assess, set up groups, plan for them, and what my schedule for meeting with kiddos looks like!

Assess the Standards

In traditional guided reading, the first thing we did was test our kids' reading level, right?  In data driven reading groups, we also assess first!

But the evidence from the science of reading tells us that levelized readers aren't the best way to grow readers.  Levels can be subjective, and word difficulty doesn't consistently increase with the level.  The criteria for leveling books is multi-faceted and so none of the components fully consider word recognition.  

In data driven reading groups, I assess the standards.  To make it simple, I started with the assessments the school I was at already required: Acadience (formally, DIBELS) and PAST.  There was no need in adding additional stress with additional assessments--UNLESS I needed more information.

K-1 Acadience (DIBELS) takes care of letter naming, segmenting sounds, decoding CVC words and Oral reading.  

PAST takes care of phonemic awareness.  Beginning in 2nd grade, the MAZE (part of Acadience) addresses some comprehension portions of reading.

As a kinder teacher (at the time I started data driven groups), those were all of the assessments I needed.  And I was already doing them. 

What assessments is your school already requiring?  Can you use those to find skills to target with your students?  If you are in a school that still requires you to assess reading levels, are you also asked to use Acadience/DIBELS with your kids?  If not, the full Acadience and PAST assessments are available online for free and are surprisingly quick and easy!

Record the Data

Once I'm finished assessing my kids, I record the data.  Well, actually, I record the data as I go, but who's counting?? :)

I use this digital data wall literally assess a kid and then type it in on my laptop.  This digital template is already set up for first grade with the DIBELS and PAST benchmarks already listed.  But it is easy to edit for the grade and assessments you are using.

Then, after I'm finished assessing, I go back and color code my data for at risk (very below), low risk (bubble kids), on grade level and above. 

Group By Data Points

Now, I'm ready to group my kids.  

I print out the grouping pages that I need from my Data Driven Groups resource.  These three pages shown below are the ones I'll be walking through in this post.  You can find tons of different grouping pages here.

For my phonemic awareness groups, I printed out a blank page because all of the skills I need to address were on multiple I'm just saving paper!  In the top category boxes, I wrote in each skill from PAST that I need to address with at least one of my kids in my sample class.  Then, I wrote the names of the kids for each category.  Notice that for the PAST, kids are only in one category...the stage they are currently working on becoming automatic at.  Also, notice I combined D1 & D2 and E2 & E3 because they are very similar and both skill groups were very small.  When I do this, I just note which subskill each kid needs to focus on so I can do that individually in the group.

For my phonics groups, I had some pre-alphabetic readers and early alphabetic readers.  Not all of the skills need to be addressed with my kids, so I'll only use the columns I need.  Again, I wrote down the kids' names under EACH category they need help with.  Notice that for phonics, they may be in multiple categories.  I will not put kids in two of the same type of subcategories though.  For example, I will not have a kid in boy the read VC and read CVC columns even if they can't do both of those, because they need to first focus on VC, then I can move them to CVC.  But I could have a kid in read VC and spell beginning sounds, because those are different types of sub skills--decoding and spelling.

I also have oral language and comprehension group pages as well that I can add kids to.  Often times, my oral language kids are my ELL kids or low language kids.  I can add those kids based on their ELL level or anecdotally as I notice oral language skills that need more work.

I want to make sure every kid is in a group.  If not, I need to consider what extension groups I could offer for those kids.  This is often where my comprehension groups come in. And for those kids with great comprehension, we work on writing their comprehension skills, like writing a retelling of a story, etc.

Now that I have my kids listed in groups, I'm ready to plan!

Plan the Lessons

Once I sort out my groups, the planning starts.  This is where data driven reading groups become much, much simpler than guided reading.  I look at each skill group and ask myself...

What content should I plan for this skill?  I preplan my list of words or letters we will work on for the week.  I typically only work a week at a time because I like to adjust as my kids grow or struggle.   

What supplies do I need to work on this skill?  For many groups, I will want some manipulatives like colored blocks or felt squares for my phonemic awareness groups.  Dry erase markers, marker boards....anything that I would need for those groups.  Then I get it all together and make sure those things are organized and easily available near my small group table.

I can add all of this information to my lesson planning pages and add them to my small group binder.  Now all I'll need to do is open up to our lesson plan and get started!

As a side note....the lesson planning page is basically the longer version of the groups page.  You do you. :)  If you like one better than the other, use it.  If you like both, go for it!  For me personally, I like to do just the groups page and I keep a separate list of words by sound or feature to reference!

Meet With Kids 

Remember stressing over your schedule with guided reading?   In my head, I was like, "Ok, 2 groups a day, but I have 5 reading groups.  2 of my groups need to see me every day, but that won't work.  Can I manage to just meet with my highest group once or twice a week.  Wait, what about my bubble kids?"  Am I right??

This is the main thing I LOVE about switching my small group mindset to data driven groups.  There is no schedule.  No really.

For those of you who know me in real life, I know you are shocked.  Because I LOVE me a schedule.  I LIVE by a schedule.  But this was the most freeing part for me with data driven groups.  Remember those group pages I filled out?

Those became my "schedule."  Or, more accurately, my checklist.  

So, how does that work? Well, because I am a Type A teacher, I just simply go in order and use those columns like a checklist. 

In this sample class, I would start with my Phonemic Awareness Groups and meet with that PAST level D group.  Then, I would add the date we met (and minutes if needed for RTI) and any notes I had.  

As soon as I finished that group, I would call the next group, and so on.  

For these skill groups I'm showcasing in this post, they are short.  Sometimes just 5 or 10 minutes.  Maybe 15 minutes.  So I can fit way more groups in than the old school guided reading groups. (Yes, I continued to do reading groups with decodable texts.  That blog post is coming next....hang tight!)

My main focus for small group time when I was in kinder was during their center time.  The teacher I was long term subbing for used traditional kinder centers.  I pulled during that time and I didn't just pull one group per center.  I just called a group back and moved on through the groups, switching centers with my timer, not based on when I finished a group.  

Other kinder teachers had the kids on a class set of Chromebooks doing independent interventions while they pulled.  

The other **fabulous** thing about data driven groups is because they were so short, I was able to meet with them throughout the day, not just during centers.  If I had it together one morning and finished attendance early, I could pull a skill group or oral language group during morning work.  I pulled a group or two during snack time.  Or while kids were finishing up their writing work.  Any part of my literacy block where I had a "free" minute where I didn't need to walk around and monitor kids, I could pull groups.

So, in this sample class, I have a total of 14 skill groups.  Like I mentioned before, these are not all of the skills or intervention groups I would have.  This is just a sample!  Once I make it through all 14 groups, I start back over and do it over again.  

On average, I would say I had about 20 or so literacy skill groups in my kinder class and was able to get through all groups at least once a week.  But that doesn't mean I only met with each kid once a week.  In my sample class we've been using, that would mean that my highest kid, "William" would be met with twice a rotation for just these skills and my lowest kid, "Cooper" would be met with 7 times per rotation for just these skills.

Want to use all the Data Driven Binder Organizational Things??  You can find them here!

Okay.  Whoah.  That was a TON of info.  Maybe more than I initially intended to share.  Have I convinced you to make the switch yet?  What questions do you still have?  Drop your questions in the comments and let's keep the conversation going!

And next up on the blog, we'll be talking about using decodable texts as a reading group!

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