Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Small Group Reading Strategies for Kids

1.  Read Aloud   
After developing a schema and background, introduce key vocabulary in 
an interactive and visual way.  Have children practice oral vocabulary.  Then read the 
text aloud to the students.  You may choose to read through the entire text the first time 
for continuity.  Stop to ask questions when needed during the second and subsequent 
readings.  When reading narrative texts, ask students to predict what they think will 
happen next.  ELLs should have other ways to show what their predictions are, 
especially if they are not yet orally proficient in the language being used. As you 
encounter words you think students do not understand, provide pictures, translations or 
definitions as needed.  Read Aloud is a good way to familiarize students with the text to 
prepare them for other kinds of reading.  Reading Aloud exposes students to text that is 
too difficult for them to read independently and provides a model for pronunciation, 
phrasing and expression.  Be sure to read expository passages aloud as well as 
children’s literature.  

2.  Choral Reading  
Students each have their own copy of a text, and all read aloud 

together.  Start with short, interesting passages.  The teacher can stand in front of the 
class to lead choral reading.  Students can also lead if they are comfortable doing so.  
When reading dialogues, plays or stories with dialogue, different groups often read 
different parts of the text.  Assessment suggestions: After students are comfortable with 
a text, have a student-lead the choral reading while you walk around the room, standing 
behind individuals as they read.  Note their progress on self-stick notes for individual 
folders or on class checklist.  This strategy helps children become more fluent and 
confident readers.

3.  Paired Reading  
Paired reading is an enjoyable way for two students to complete a 

reading assignment  or share a story.  The students might go into the hall or designated 
spot and take turns reading.  They can decide themselves how they will divide the tasks.  
Some pairs choose to alternate after every page, some choose to alternate after each 
paragraph, etc.  One reads and the other follows along, supporting each other as 
necessary.  Generally, students of similar reading ability are paired together.  
Sometimes a more competent reader is paired with a less competent one, and the more 
able reader reads aloud and the less able follows along.  This enables the less able 
reader to follow the text visually with little or no pressure. 

4. Reciprocal / Paired Reading   

In this form of paired or group reading, four readers 
participate in a discussion about the text.  Each person has one of four roles (Asks a 
Question; Predicts what will happens next; Clarifies something that was unclear to the 
group, or Summarizes the short passage that was just read) that he or she fulfills for a 
particular passage they have just read together.  The students switch cards (roles) and 
then read the next section of the texts, perform their new role, switch cards and so forth 
until they complete the reading assignment.  Students learn and practice the strategies 
of summarizing, predicting, clarifying and question-generating.  This reading structure 
can be used for fiction and nonfiction texts.

5. Jigsaw Reading.
The teacher divides a long reading section into sections.  One or two 

individuals in a group read each section and prepare to retell the information in the 
passage to the group.  When the group meets, each individual tell or teaches the group 
about the section he or she read.  The teacher uses a “group quiz” or the numbered heads together” cooperative learning structure to ensure group responsibility for the 
content and to assess comprehension.  Each group can be given a graphic organizer 
(on large chart paper or a transparency) to fill out as they prepare their section of the 
reading to present to the class.

6. Content Raps  
Read aloud an important passage from a content-area text with 

important new concepts.  Using the overhead projector or chart paper, discuss ways to 
unlock meaning from the text.  Ask students to help you develop sentences with key 
principles and main ideas.  Add elements or rhyme, rhythm and repetition and/or try 
putting short passages into jazz chants or raps.  Ask students to reread entire passage 
to acquire supporting details.

7.  Echo Reading  
This is another way to help children develop confidence and fluency.  

Read aloud a line of text.  Ask a student to read the same line.  With young children, 
point to the line of text as you are reading and encourage the child to do the same.  
Continue taking turns reading and rereading same lines.  When the child begins to read 
with more expression and fluency, suggest that she/he read aloud on her/his own.  This 
strategy can be used with expository texts as well as literature. 

8.  Intensive Reading:
Marking a Text    Students read and mark a short text (or use 

post-its) for a specific purpose, e.g. “underline the words in this paragraph that you are 
not certain about.”  The purpose is to assess and then teach vocabulary.  After 
discussing and resolving questions regarding the first marking, students read and mark 
for other purposes and discuss, e.g. “Circle the key words or phrases you will use to 
summarize this passage”.  Purpose: to practice summarizing, paraphrasing and outlining 
of nonfiction texts].

9.  Independent Choice Reading  
Students are taught how to choose books at their 
independent reading level or are given interesting and appropriate books and are provided with time for sustained silent reading and time to conference individually with the teacher. Teachers and students should keep track of the books they are reading, and teachers should keep a small reading notebook on each child where they record information they learn about the child during their periodic reading conferences (informal running records, student comments and goals, retelling  list of books read, child’s interests, etc.).The teacher should date every entry.

10. Guided Reading  
The teacher works with a small group of students who have similar   

reading processes.  Books are carefully leveled.  Teachers select and introduce new 
books and support students as they read the whole text to themselves.  Teachers 
typically use many pre-reading strategies such as a picture “walk-through” of the book, 
previewing vocabulary and key ideas of the text, etc.)  Based on close observation of 
students’ reading, teachers make relevant teaching points during and after reading. 

Adapted partially from:  McCloskey, M.L. (1998).  Scaffolding for Reading: Providing Support Through Reading Process, ESL Magazine, November/December 1998

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