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Utilizing Data to Differentiate
Small-Group Guided Reading


Prepare the Data in 5 Steps

Execute instruction based on data collected

Step 1: Collect & organize data

Compile student data

Sample data from third graders at Mary Raber Elementary (Columbia City, IN).

Adjust expectations

Jan Richardson, author of the The Next Step in Guided Reading, has a new book The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading.  Jan’s new book offers many resources, videos, and downloadables that support teachers conducting small-group instruction.

In small groups, use a variety of oral reading strategies based on the needs of readers.

Differentiate small-group lessons based on reader needs revealed in the Data Tracker.

Step 2: Interpret data

Group students with similar errors and/or strengths

The Teaching and Prompting Guide provides insight into reading behaviors and reading strategies. Each strategy includes skills with prompts and questions for each developmental stage of reading.

Step 3: Establish a goal

Pick one area to target

Based on data, apply the If…Then… approach to future instruction.

Step 4: Create an action plan

Increase motivation and engagement

Get texts & room physically organized

Organize your Classroom Library by genre, author, or topic to entice students to read books in their areas of interest.

Practice & build stamina

The key to building stamina is to give each student a sampling of books and have the whole class practice reading independently at the same time.

After setting up the physical location of the Classroom Library, use these tips & tricks to teach students how to read independently while practicing the action of “Classroom Library.”

Use visual displays to help grow reader stamina bit by bit until students achieve the desired number of minutes of reading independently during the Classroom Library.

Nadine Gilkison uses a PowerPoint at the beginning of the year to keep track of time while students are building stamina.

Reading Stamina Timer Grades 1-2
PDF | PPT | Google Slides

Reading Stamina Timer Grades 3-5

Find many other ideas to increase motivation and engagement in Jennifer Serravallo’s The Reading Strategies Book.

Step 5: Assess & repeat

Track progress 3-5 times a year

Target If/Then Strategies

Target Retelling Ideas

Build readers who are aware of their thinking

Find ways to make the reading process concrete.

For intermediate grades, use the Beats™ Headphone graphic.

Use toilet paper tubes for students to whisper their Thinking Voice thoughts into.

Retell with key details during and after reading

Target Summarizing Ideas

Narrow down the details

Compare-Contrast & T-Chart
Example | Template

Summarize with frames

Students’ oral and written summaries need to match the same text structure of the passage. Before asking students to generate a summary based on reading, identify the text’s organizational pattern by looking at its transition words.

Identify the highlights

A summary is significantly shorter than the retelling. Use the analogy of ESPN SportsCenter to show students how to use just the highlights from the passage told in order for the summary.

Target Inferring Ideas

Demonstrate an inference in 5 steps

Identify the 5 steps to making an inference.

Silhouette Template
Chart Sense K-2 | 3-8

Target Vocabulary Strategies

Increase comprehension while reading with vocabulary

Help students determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. During reading, utilize author’s context clues to acquire a word’s meaning.

Provide a daily dose of context clues practice with the Vocabulary Cartoon of the Day series.

Target Fluency Facets

Attend to format and punctuation

If students lose their places or accidentally skip lines while reading, teach them to place a bookmark above the line they are reading and slide it down.

Utilize Fry’s Phrases to help students gain automaticity with common phrases.

Practice reading punctuation while adding expression with the What’s My Voice Fluency cards. Available in grade-level specific digital downloads.

Target Self-Monitoring & Decoding

Focus on phonics principles

Assess students’ knowledge of phonics principles by using the Word Study Inventory for Transitional Readers. Collect the data for the students in the group and deliver targeted word study instruction during small group meetings.

Practice high-frequency words

Beginning readers need to build a core knowledge of the common words that will appear frequently within their reading. use the list of High-Frequency Words found in leveled texts A-E to assess and keep track of known and new words to highlight in the small-group meetings.

Untangle confusion with letters

Untangle letter confusions by assessing known letters, using consistent verbal directions for writing letters, and linking the letters to an alphabet chart.

Adjust level of Teacher Support

Provide & pull away support as needed

Conduct small-group meetings, providing and pulling away support as needed.