School starting online? Worried about how to do small group reading instruction through a screen? Don’t fear! We have you covered! Although teaching online is NOT ideal, there are still ways to engage students in meaningful, small group instruction. Keep reading to check out some of these strategies and tools to rock online reading groups!
Where to start?
The first step for creating successful reading groups, is determining your students’ reading strengths and weaknesses. Usually teachers listen to students read, observe in class phonics work and give an assessment of skills.
The second step is grouping your students. There are a few ways to do this. This post will discuss focused skill groups and interest groups. These groups should be fluid, in other words, changing throughout the year. What does each type of group look like? And what are the best online resources to use with each type of group?
Focused Skill Groups
Many teachers use ability grouping, which means placing lowest readers together, etc. Some teachers have found that students do not experience as much reading growth as they do through focus skill groups! Focus skill groups are groups that blend together students with different reading levels BUT a common skill they need to work on. You can find out your student’s skill deficits through whichever assessment you district uses. If you need to give these assessments online, here is a free sounds assessment you can do through a screen share! It comes with a recording sheet too!
This assessment checks what sounds they know and/or need improvement on. (You could have an r-controlled vowel focused group for example.) There are MANY other skills to assign a focused small group. Comprehension strategies, word attack strategies, or writing strategies would all be great skills to assign a focused small reading group made of diverse learners. Once students have mastered their focus skill, time to work on another skill and reformat your groups!
At Home Learning Binder
When students are working from home, sending a Lucky Little Toolkit with them ensures success and that all of their materials will be in one spot! Check out this BRAND NEW resource! It includes sound spinners, sight word wall, graphic organizers, letter tiles, sound boxes and more!
Another way to group your students is through interest. Some teachers call this type of reading group a Book Club to pique student interest. Give your students a quick reading interest survey to learn more about their reading interests and habits. Scholastic has a great free one HERE. (This could be assigned digitally as well through a google doc or whichever platform you use.)
Once you know their interests and have an idea of their reading level, make those book clubs! Using ZOOM, or whichever platform your district chooses, teachers can meet with these groups as needed. Reading books they are interested in is a surefire way to help them become successful.
For this group strategy, however, be careful on the level book you choose. Due to varied interests, you could end up with a wide range of abilities. Choose a book that suits student interest, but will make all feel success. After the book has been read, it can be fun to take a virtual field trip focused on the books topic. For example, if you read about dinosaurs, share your screen on an online museum tour. If you read Little House on the Prairie, take them on a tour of her homesites.
Online Resources for Reading Groups
Depending on the skill/interest your group is working on, there are several online resources to use! Here is a list of a few teacher favorites!
- EPIC Reading: this site has over 40,000 books! A teacher account is free and students accounts are for a limited time. Through EPIC you can assign books and monitor student reading time and progress. Through a screen share, a teacher and student (or reading group) can read it together and discuss. (Tip: you can search book by topic, genre and reading level.)
- Reading A-Z: Another great site! Full of leveled readers and comprehension activities to go with each book, this site has enough resources for the whole year! Both in session and online teachers utilize this site!
- ABCya: This site could be used to add some more fun into skill work! There are several reading games that could be assigned depending on what skill your group is working on.
- Did you know our TOOTHY is digital? This would be a fun one to do in a virtual small group! The teacher would read aloud the task card, student gives the answer and if they are right, the whole group can chuckle at the cute teeth drawn! (links below)
- 2nd Grade Digital Reading Toothy
- 1st Grade Digital Reading Toothy
- 3rd Grade Digital Reading Toothy
- Digital Phonics Toothy
- Digital Grammar Toothy
There are MANY other resources that could be used to aid in virtual reading groups! Head on over to the Lucky Little Learners store for digital resources to help in all areas of instruction!
Together we are better! (Even when spaced apart!)