Small Group Instruction Pt 3: How to Be Thoughtful and Intentional When Planning for Small Group

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

Intentional Small Group Planning

  1. You've set up routines and procedures for Independent Work.

  2. You've mapped out a plan for meeting with groups and individual students through the week.

  3. Now, what do you do with the group when they are sitting at your table?

Framing a word in guided reading
Guided Reading Student Work

Intentionally plan to meet readers’ needs during
workshop and small group instruction

Picture this…

You’ve made your plan for meeting students to ensure that you have face to face time with each student in the classroom this week.

You’ve pulled your students to the small group table. They are looking at you and you are looking back at them. Now what?

You’re thinking…How do I make the most of this time with my students?

Thoughtful and intentional planning! Planning for Small Group Instruction can go two ways:

  • Traditional Guided Reading group

  • Strategy group instruction

In order to make a thoughtful and intentional plan to get the most from your students, you must examine their reader’s notebooks, look over your anecdotal notes, review their latest running records, replay the conversations they have had with you.

This will enable you to make note of their strengths and needs based on the reading profile you have built for each of the students.

Now, to the tool to make this thoughtful and intentional planning easier...

When planning for Guided Reading the teacher must:

  1. Note the strengths and needs of each student in the group

  2. Choose a book that will build on their strengths and nurture their needs.

  3. Plan how students will engage in the book. Choose an engagement tool.

  4. Plan how students will respond to the reading.

Choosing a book means finding a short text that will build on the readers’ strengths but will also nurture a need.

Now, choosing a book to use with your group requires you to know the text. Think about what supports the text will offer the group and what features will challenge the group.

Decide how you will support the challenges of the text while students are reading.

You must also decide on an engagement tool. This is a tool that will keep students engaged in the text and aid in their building comprehension.

It's not just busy work; it's reading thinking work! Grab my tool to help you in this process.

Planning for Strategy Instruction:

  1. Note strengths and needs of each student in the group

  2. Choose a strategy with which students have demonstrated a need.

  3. Plan how students will engage in the use of the strategy. (Engagement tool)

I hope that my planning tools will help you organize and plan for small group instruction!

Until next time...



Here at Literacy Treasures, I LOVE to talk about reading and writing and share with teachers all that I've learned about what it takes to build strong readers and writers. I have immersed myself in the research of Lucy Calkins, Jennifer Serravallo, Stephanie Harvey, Debbie Miller, Carl Anderson, Gay Su Pinnell, Irene Fountas and so many others.  Every resource, strategy, tool, minilesson and teaching tip that is shared on Literacy Treasures is rooted in this research