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Small Group Activities

Small group activities are where you can focus on specific skills that students need to improve. While working in a small group, more attention can be provided to each student. This gives students a chance to learn more, and be successful, in a quicker manner. Whether you have students below, on, or above level, you can simply switch out the content used for all your small group activities. Read on for small group activities where you cover the main components of reading.

Phonemic awareness Activities

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The phonemic awareness activities you include in your small groups do not have to take up a lot of time. The activities can be done in just 1-3 minutes and still be impactful. Your phonemic awareness activities can all be done verbally, but I often like to include objects of some sort. Some students focus better when they have physical objects to manipulate, or move. 

This blog post provides activities that you can use for phonemic awareness.

Any phonemic awareness activities you do should be done with the intent to get students to identify and manipulate individual sounds in words. 

Phonics and Word Work

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The phonics and word work activities you include in your small groups should be repetitive. The point is to get students comfortable with decoding and encoding words. While the focus will change, based on group ability, the actual activities can be repeated. 

This post includes 5 phonics word work ideas that you may want to try out!

Phonics and word work activities should take a few minutes of your small group time. They are a great warm up before students actually do their own reading. Reading words in isolation gets students ready to read words in context. 

Fluency Activities

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Fluency activities can be a part of your daily small group time. These activities will typically be done while students are actually reading. Students can focus on one major aspect of fluency while they’re reading their texts in small groups. With a daily fluency focus, students are more likely to improve that skill. 

This post includes activities explaining how you can focus on each aspect of fluency.

Fluency activities can also extend beyond just the small group. Independent reading time, or centers, are also a great time to continue to work on fluency. 

Comprehension and Vocabulary Activities

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Comprehension and vocabulary activities don’t have to be difficult, but they need to be included every single day!

The purpose is simply to get kids used to reading texts for meaning. You want them to gain an understanding of each text they read. By including comprehension activities often, students begin to read for meaning, naturally. 

Your comprehension activities can be done during read alouds, and during independent reading time, in addition to small group activities. 

Read this blog post for a big list of comprehension activities!

Vocabulary activities go hand-in-hand with comprehension activities. Students need to not only decode content specific vocabulary, but they also need to understand the new words. By making comprehension a focus, you can also make vocabulary a main focus. 

You can model how you figure out the meaning of new words, while going through a sentence, or paragraph, in small groups. Students can then practice doing the same thing with their own sentence, or paragraph. Vocabulary notebooks and graphics organizers are very useful ways to encourage students to focus on vocabulary. 

Comprehension and Vocabulary Activities for Different Genres

Comprehension and vocabulary activities should be done with different genres of texts. Students need to know how to read for meaning, regardless of the type of text. 

You may need to spend more time on getting students to understand nonfiction text vs fiction texts.  Typically more challenging words will appear in informational text. This can be because the topic is new to students, and the words are content-specific. It is important to have students apply their comprehension skills to new texts, like nonfiction texts. 

If you’re looking to increase the amount of nonfiction texts you use in your classroom, you may want to check out my nonfiction reading passages!

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Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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