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What Are You Grouping For?, Grades 3-8 - Book Cover

What Are You Grouping For?, Grades 3-8

How to Guide Small Groups Based on Readers - Not the Book
By: Julie Wright, Barry Hoonan

Foreword by Mary Howard

This book explains the five teacher moves that work together to support students’ reading independence through small group learning—kidwatching, pivoting, assessing, curating, and planning.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781544324128
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Literacy
  • Year: 2018
  • Page Count: 352
  • Publication date: August 20, 2018

Price: $39.95



Bring out daring readers with dynamic small groups!

Like many educators in intermediate classrooms across the country, you may be using guided reading principles to teach reading. Whether you’re following targeted reading levels or sticking with your school’s established routines, chances are that guided reading has become synonymous with small group reading for you and your students. But . . . are your students getting the most out of small groups? Are readers of all ability levels experiencing the dynamic learning that can occur in small groups? Do you feel confident that the way you’re grouping kids is based on their wants and needs?

Intermediate grade readers don’t need to be guided as much as they need to be engaged—and authors Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan have solutions for doing just that using small groups. What Are You Grouping For? offers the practical tools, classroom examples, and actionable steps essential for starting, sustaining, and mastering the management of small groups. This book explains the five teacher moves that work together to support students’ reading independence through small group learning—kidwatching, pivoting, assessing, curating, and planning—and provides examples to guide you and your students toward success.

From must-have beginning-of-the-year strategies to step-by-step advice for implementation, this guide breaks down the processes that support small groups and help create effective instructional reading programs. Based on more than 45 years of combined experience in the classroom, this resource will empower you with tools to ensure that your readers are doing the reading, thinking, and doing—not you.



Julie Wright photo

Julie Wright

JULIE WRIGHT is a teacher, instructional coach, and educational consultant with over twenty-five years of experience in rural, suburban, and urban education settings. She holds National Board Certification as well as a B.S. in education, a master’s in language arts and reading, a reading endorsement, and extensive school leadership post-graduate work, including a pre-K through grade 9 principal license from The Ohio State University. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at Ashland University and University of Wisconsin, teaching graduate courses focused on curriculum, instruction, and assessment and instructional coaching respectively. Julie gets her inspiration from her husband, David, and their three children, Sydney, Noah, and Max.

Barry Hoonan photo

Barry Hoonan

BARRY HOONAN teaches fifth and sixth grade at Odyssey Multiage Program on Bainbridge Island, Washington. He works with teachers both in the U.S. and internationally, including appointments as a three-time Fulbright Teaching Exchange teacher in the United Kingdom, a teaching fellow at Harlem Village Academy in NYC, and next year— a teacher-consultant at the American School of Brasilia. Barry is a co- author of Beyond Reading and Writing: Inquiry, Curriculum, and Multiple Ways of Knowing (NCTE, 2000), and is a recipient of NCTE’s Edward Hoey Award and of the Bonnie Campbell Hill Washington State Literacy Award.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Mary Howard



CHAPTER 1. A New Way of Thinking About Small Group Learning Experiences (because being up close to students is what drives discovery)

Small Group Instruction Redefined

The Five Teacher Moves

Combating the Challenges So You Can Do the Five Moves

One Last Thing

CHAPTER 2. The Launch (because who doesn’t need beginning-of-the-year strategies)

Small Groups Defined

Two Essential Questions This Chapter Helps You Answer


Ideas for the First Days of School

Listening In and Joining In

A Few Weeks Into the School Year

One Last Thing

CHAPTER 3. Scheduling (because schedules are key for the launch and beyond)

Reading Workshop: Daily Plans for Groups

Getting Started, Quick Groups

Groups for First Days/Weeks of School

Groups That Might Meet Across the Year

Small Group Foundational Q&A

One Last Thing

CHAPTER 4. Kidwatching 2.0 (because it’s all about orient, notice, take stock, and inquire)

Two Essential Questions This Chapter Helps You Answer


Our Kidwatching 2.0 Protocol

Tips for Getting Started

Using Your Notes to Form Small Groups

Four-Step Process for Going From Kidwatching to Small Group

Example of Small Group Work Based on Kidwatching Data

One Last Thing

CHAPTER 5. Pivoting Into Flexible Groups (because it’s the teacher moves that keep readers moving forward)

Two Essential Questions This Chapter Helps You Answer


How This Chapter Is Organized

The List of Reasons for Pivoting

The Teacher’s Role

Types of Groups to Pivot Into and Out Of

Timing Is Everything: More About the Duration of Groups

Language for Joining In


One Last Thing

CHAPTER 6. Assessing Student Work (because looking at our readers’ work lifts their strategies, skills, and thinking)

Two Essential Questions This Chapter Helps You Answer


Assessing With Learner-Centered Benchmarks

What to Look At

How to Sort Student Work

Planning a Focus for Instruction and Putting It Into Action

More Examples of How to Use Work to Inform Grouping Decisions

One Last Thing

CHAPTER 7. Curating (because selecting the right texts inspires readers to be connoisseurs)

Two Essential Questions This Chapter Helps You Answer


Teachers and Students as Curators

Teachers as Curators

Steps for Curating

Zooming In on Step 2: Curate and Select

Zooming In on Step 3: Decide

Steps 4–7: Spark, Read and Construct Meaning, and Reflect

Students as Curators

Exemplars of Students as Curators

One Last Thing

CHAPTER 8. Unit Planning (because small groups are best anchored in a harbor of big ideas)

Two Essential Questions Chapters Eight and Nine Help You Answer


Planning: The Reality Show

Six Surefire Steps

One Last Thing

CHAPTER 9. Weekly and Daily Planning (because weekly and daily plans chart the course for small group experiences)

Creating a Calendar for Weekly and Daily Lesson Planning

Zooming In on Step 5: Make Plans for Small Group Learning Opportunities

Some Popular, Proven Models to Guide You

Barry’s Planning Process for Hosting Two Groups

Julie’s One-Week Plan of Lessons for Launching a Unit

Student-Driven Planning

Putting It Into Practice: Examples From Our Classrooms

One Last Thing


Appendix: Ready-to-Copy Teacher and Student Reflection/Planning Pages

References and Further Reading


About the Authors



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