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Reading Groups with Classroom Volunteers

Hi everyone, it's Cori from Mrs. B's Beehive. As we continue talking about reading groups, I wanted to take a look at some resources that can assist you when planning time is short, or when a volunteer shows up to offer assistance.

At my school, the principal gets teacher aides to assist with reading groups.  We also have parent volunteers who are looking for family hours of service, or high school students that come back to help out.  Unfortunately, this doesn't happen in a consistent way in which I could teach one or two people the basics of guided reading. Because of this, I have found it extremely useful to have binders that focus on a particular skill, along with a guided reading kit ready to go.  When a volunteer shows up at my door, I pull out a binder, grab my toolkit, and put them to work!

My first binder works with letter recognition and hand writing skills.  Included in it are the following resources.

I use this one mostly for my students who are struggling with fine motor skills, and writing their letter backwards.

Next up is my letter sounds and beginning reading.  This one also contains some of the wand resources from Tara West, but most of the binder is from the following resource:

That particular resource is so full of amazing activities, that is you were to only buy one of these resources that I suggest, it should definitely be this one!

For sight words I use:

When students need work on their fluency and reading smoothly, I also use activities out of Miss DeCarbo's ELA pack and I also have:

Last, but not least is my reading comprehension binder.  In this I use:


For the read and sequence, I printed them all out, cut out the bottoms, and attached velcro to the pieces so that they could be used again and again.

I store all of these binders behind my teacher desk, where they are easily accessible.

I also bought this crafting supplies bag at Hobby Lobby, and it holds all of my fun little supplies for the kids to use.

Inside, you will find the following things:
1. Toobaloos
2. Halloween witch fingers
3. Magnetic wands with magnetic chips
4. Small white boards
5. Letter Tiles
6. Dry erase markers
7. Erasers
9. Elkonin boxes

It took me a little while to set-up all of these binders and my guided reading kit, but the time was well worth it whenever a helper comes into my class.  All of these resources are pretty self explanatory, so that when I do get assistance, I can just grab a binder, grab a couple of students, and get them working quickly in a way that is fun and engaging!  If you would like a copy of my binder covers, click below.

Reading Groups in Kindergarten

Hello Kinder Tribe friends! Heather here from Learning with Mrs. Langley and today I am all about reading groups! Actually...on most days I am all about reading groups! In kindergarten the BEST teaching comes during these small group times. I get to chat with my kiddos, see their individual needs, and really make a difference when it comes to reading.

Reading Groups didn't just "happen" for me. It took me the better part of a year to get a good routine and learn how to group my students according to their needs. If you want to read more about how I do that you can see that HERE. We use DIBELS in our district as our assessment tool so I talk a little about that too. 

Today I will be focusing in on my ON LEVEL group and some of the CVC word work we have been doing together. They love these activities! 

#1 Warm up! 
We start our warm up by reading CVC words together and really focus in on pointing to each letter and reading each sound. We concentrate on one vowel sound at a time. On this day we were working on middle E words. 

#2 Blending
 As students go through the process of learning to read they get to the point where blending two sounds starts to happen pretty naturally. I've noticed that kids will read the first sound then blend the last two together. This doesn't lead to natural sounding reading and they end up reading everything in chunks. I learned this painful lesson when I moved to first grade and spent the entire year trying to get kids past this. It was frustrating! 

My second year in first I started having my kiddos cover the last sound in a CVC word and just focus on blending the first two. By ending with that vowel sound you don't get a hard ending and blending into that last sound is more natural. Students can drag out that vowel sound while their brain processes the last sound in the word. It sounds something like heeeeeee/m (read that middle e sound as a short sound!) to get the word hem. As they practice this it gets quicker and quicker. I tell them to cover the last sound, blend the first two, then say the last sound fast! 
Cover the last sound, blend the first two, then uncover and say the last sound fast! 

I give them the same page in black and white to practice throughout the week. They keep them in their browsing boxes. 
Practice pages can be used in groups and sent home to practice blending anywhere! 

#3 Building Words
After we warm up and practice blending we play a game to build words. This activity has them spinning for beginning and ending sounds while the middle e sound stays constant. Once they spin for the sounds and write them on the lines they determine if the word is real or make believe. A lot of great vocabulary discussions come from this activity! 
Work on fine motor skills (spinning is hard work!) and CVC words at the same time. 
This activity has them building words with tokens first (not pictured) then writing the sounds. In addition to being a great word building activity it also gives me a chance to work on some handwriting issues with each individual child. Just one more reason to love small groups! 
Dry erase markers are our favorite! Slip pages into page protectors and they erase easily. 
Of course I use my little readers from our reading series and all of the small group materials too from Reading Street (I love their small group stuff!) but this is what I supplement for hands on word work with me. Once they learn these routines I can use these in an independent center. They especially love the spinner activity. 

Pin this post for later! 
If you would like to see any of the above activities in my store you can see them HERE. These tips for sounding out and blending CVC words can be used with any of your CVC materials. Thanks for stopping by KinderTribe today. Be sure to join the KinderTribe group on Facebook to connect with other KinderTribe friends.

Reading Groups: The clock is ticking...

Happy February! It's the 2nd day of the month so you're hearing from me, Breanna, at A Pinch of Primary. It's February and reading groups are pedal to the metal. Kids are in the routine, books are being read, strategies are being taught, books are going home, and those little kinders are READING. Different levels? Ohhh yes! But seeing those milestones for each individual reader is #Heartwarming.

We follow the Daily 5 model (we only do 4 rotations each day) so my students have their learning time broken down like this:

  • Read to Self/Guided Reading Group
  • Mini-lesson
  • Word Work/Guided Reading Group
  • Mini-lesson
  • Listen to Reading/Guided Reading Group
  • Mini-Lesson
  • Read to Someone/Guided Reading Group
I *try* to meet with 4 groups each day Monday-Thursday. With this pretty jam-packed reading schedule, time is money. My reading groups last about 15ish minutes. 15 minutes sounds like a lot of time until you want to take a picture walk through the new book, preview some new words, give the teacher eye to the student talking and disrupting your group time, read the book, ask questions, etc., etc. You all know the deal. Before you know it BAM time's up and you didn't get to any sight word activities or running records. Now, this might sound very obvious to all of you in this lovely Kinder Tribe, but I had this epiphany that I needed something for my students to work on as they transitioned to guided group time and I could switch over my group materials to the next group's level. It would be so much better than just sitting there waiting on Johnny and June to get to the table so their group could start. 

Each day that my kids come back to my table, they have activities they are to grab and start working on as soon as they sit on their stool. These activities can be anything quick and easy, and I believe they should be LOW PREP. (Can I get an AMEN on low prep?)
Here's some things in my Early Bird Bucket:
  • Sight Word Flashcards
  • CVC Fluency Strips on whiteboards 
  • Sight Word Spinners (differentiated levels)
  • Sight Word/Letter Sound/Letter ID puzzles
The beauty of this is that I can get a quick idea of what a student is struggling with and help them right then and there (and sometimes its before June even makes it to the table LOL) and it is something that doesn't require teaching directions each time they sit down. I believe this also reduces the possibility of behaviors arising because of boredom waiting for June to continue picking up all the magnetic letters she dumped on the rug. It has worked wonders!

How do you like to keep your reading groups efficient?