Small group instruction is used to solve barriers to the learning process with children. Providing direct instructional support allows for grouping students into sizes ranging from two to six. Students with unique demographics, such as English language learners, benefit particularly from small-group instruction.
According to Kendall, Author of “small-group instruction for English language learners,” small-group instruction sessions offer a setting where students can feel comfortable practicing and receiving feedback. Teachers can provide more teaching and modeling of topics.
In this post, we will look at how small group reading instruction is used to improve English language and reading skills, as well as some of the benefits and drawbacks of the same.
The scenario of small group instruction in reading
In small group instruction, the teacher works with 6-7 students in a class. Groups can be set based on various requirements, such as students’ abilities, interests, or choices.
For example, In the reading session, students can be divided based on language proficiency. This way, the educator can offer specialized learning for a specific level,
During this reading session, the teacher can provide targeted, differentiated instruction that meets the needs of all learners. One way to use small group reading instruction is to have students work together on reading comprehension activities.
Working on a specific text or set of texts, discussing what they’ve read, and engaging in activities to deepen their understanding could be part of this. This type of instruction can be especially beneficial for students who struggle to understand what they read.
Another way to use small group reading instruction is to concentrate on a specific skill or strategy. Students could, for example, collaborate on identifying main ideas, making inferences, or understanding vocabulary in context. Students can better understand how to apply these skills when reading independently if they work on them together.
Learning is also supported during the implementation of small group instruction through the use of flashcards, visuals, graphic organizers, supplementary aids, note-taking help, and multimedia.
What are the benefits of small group instruction in reading?
Small group instruction can be helpful for reading instruction for a variety of reasons.
- Small group instruction enables more individualized education. A smaller class size allows the teacher to concentrate more easily on the unique needs of each student. Students who have difficulty reading may find this to be extremely helpful.
- With individualized education during small group instruction, teachers have the chance to provide each student with individualized feedback, which can aid in their understanding and learning of the subject.
- In a small group setting, it offers flexibility to teachers so they can tailor their teaching to the needs of the group by adapting the lesson and resources to the student’s individual needs and abilities.
- Working in small groups enables students to interact and have peer-to-peer dialogues, which can improve their critical-thinking abilities and comprehension of the reading.
- Small group instruction can give students access to a more encouraging setting. Students may feel better at asking questions and participating in discussions in a smaller group. As a result, they may comprehend the information more clearly and feel more confident in their reading skills.
- And finally, small-group training may enable greater practical learning. The teacher may conduct experiments and hands-on activities with fewer students. Students can benefit from increased engagement and retention of the subject.
- Learning in small groups can aid students in gaining social abilities including communication, teamwork, and collaboration, which are useful inside and outside of the classroom.
Are there any challenges of small group instruction in reading?
Small-group instruction can have drawbacks when it comes to teaching reading. However, with certain proactive measures, these can be mitigated.
- The inability to keep all students engaged is a downside. It can be challenging to maintain focus and engagement with all kids. In a small group setting, students could be more inclined to participate in off-task behaviors like chatting or dozing off. Students’ involvement can be maintained by alternating between activities and engagement, such as taking short breaks, creating insightful discussions or activities, or engaging in class with fun and humor.
- Students might also easily fall behind and lose interest if they are having difficulty learning or are not on the same level as the other students in the class. To reverse the process, the teacher can use guided reading or shared reading with the group, depending on the group’s intellectual base, or take the help of another teacher during class for a joint class, making it smoother and more efficient.
- Small-group instructions are also time-consuming for both teachers and children. Small-group education can take up more time for the teacher because different materials and activities need to be prepared for each group. It is also natural for students in a small group working for an extended time to become restless or lose focus. For this, Teachers can create lesson plans in advance for the class in order to be prepared for any difficulties that may arise from working with students of various academic levels. The lectures can be kept short (such as 30–40 minutes) to keep students interested in coming to class on a regular basis.
Small group instruction promotes individualized education and practice for children in a small group setting. Students that struggle with reading will find this type to be quite helpful.
Students in small groups get the chance to read aloud to peers on the same reading level. As a result, struggling students can get the assistance they require from their classmates, which can be beneficial.
Overall, students can gain a lot from small group instruction in terms of receiving the individualized attention they need to improve their reading skills. If you have a student who is having trouble reading, think about using small group instruction to help them achieve their full potential.
I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn