Teaching Reading in Small Groups: Differentiated Instruction for Building Strategic, Independent Readers

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0325026800
ISBN-10: 0325026807
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Teaching Reading in Small Groups: Differentiated Instruction for Building Strategic, Independent Readers + The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers + The Literacy Teacher's Playbook, Grades 3-6: Four Steps for Turning Assessment Data into Goal-Directed Instruction
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jennifer Serravallo is the best-selling author of the new Reading Strategies Book as well as other popular Heinemann titles, including Teaching Reading in Small Groups; Conferring with Readers (coauthored with Gravity Goldberg); and The Literacy Teacher's Playbook, Grades K - 2 and Grades 3 - 6. She is also the author of the Digital Campus Course Teaching Reading in Small Groups: Matching Methods to Purposes where you can watch dozens of videos of Jen teaching in real classrooms and engage with other educators in a self-guided course. Jen worked for eight years as a staff developer and national consultant at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. In this capacity, she helped urban, suburban, and rural schools implement exceptional literacy instruction through reading and writing workshops. Before that, she was a New York City public school teacher in two Title I schools with large class sizes, high numbers of ELLs, and an enormous range of learners. These experiences galvanized her to write her Heinemann professional books as well as other professional resources for teachers, including the award-winning Independent Reading Assessment for fiction (Scholastic, 2012) and nonfiction (Scholastic, 2013). Jen holds a BA from Vassar College and an MA from Teachers College, where she has also taught graduate and undergraduate classes on urban education reform and children's literature. Learn more about Jen and her work at www.jenniferserravallo.com, or connect with her at @jserravallo.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 6
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0325026807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0325026800
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Follow Jen on Twitter (@jserravallo) and learn more from her website/blog: www.jenniferserravallo.com.

Jennifer Serravallo is literacy consultant and frequent speaker at conferences as well as the author of the new THE READING STRATEGIES BOOK as well as other popular Heinemann titles including TEACHING READING IN SMALL GROUPS (2010), CONFERRING WITH READERS (2007), and THE LITERACY TEACHER'S PLAYBOOK, Grades K-2 and Grades 3-6 (2013, 2012). She is also the author of the Digital Campus Course entitled Teaching Reading in Small Groups: Matching Methods to Purposes.

Jen worked for eight years as a staff developer and national consultant at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. In this capacity, she helped urban, suburban, and rural schools implement exceptional literacy instruction through reading and writing workshops. Before that, she was a NYC public school teacher in two Title I schools with large class sizes, high numbers of ELLs, and an enormous range of learners. These experiences galvanized her to write her professional books and to create other professional resources for teachers, including the AEP and REVERE award-winning Independent Reading Assessment for fiction (Scholastic, 2012) and nonfiction (Scholastic, 2013).

Jen holds a BA from Vassar College and an MA from Teachers College, where she has also taught graduate and undergraduate classes on urban education reform and children's literature.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By reading teacher on August 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
There are lots of books available on The Big Picture of guided reading, the language arts block, and reading workshops. Very few of them are helpful when it comes giving detailed advice about what to say and do with kids during your actual guided reading lessons. Jennifer Serravallo's new book is the kind of book I have been looking for since I started teaching because I always felt like my guided reading instruction could be better. I have a strong feeling that this book will be sitting in the little pile that I always keep by my side throughout the year.

"Teaching Reading in Small Groups" is about how to form guided reading groups, how to pinpoint your instruction to match your readers' needs, and basically, how to help your kids be better readers. The author spends a good deal of time showing you how to coach kids during guided reading lessons. She is of the mind that your lessons should be brief and to the point, and you should get your kids practicing what you taught them immediately. She is a big believer in teaching kids how to be strategic readers (so am I). Snapshots of her dialogue are presented as exemplars throughout the book. I found these examples to be just right in terms of their depth and relevance. In addition to learning Serravallo's approach to leading comprehension strategy lessons, you also get a great chapter on teaching engagement with reading, tips for improving book clubs at all grade levels, and some useful methods for teaching fluency in small groups. I know that all of this stuff sounds familiar, but no other book that I'm aware of presents this information in such an exemplary way. Serravallo just shines when it comes to showing you HOW to do expert guided reading lessons with small groups and individual readers.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Teri-K on January 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the book Teaching Reading in Small Groups, Jennifer Serravallo "provides you with a rich repertoire of ways to lead small groups, and with suggestions for how to teach each well." (pg ix) Confessing that in her third year of teaching she began to ask herself, "Is what I'm doing a benefit to the student, to myself (teacher), or to us both?" (p3) She decided she was really not teaching reading as much as checking up on how her students were doing. What she was teaching, she decided, was books, not readers. So she began to examine and change. Her goals for reading instruction are:
-match the individual
-move to independence
-teach explicit strategies
-value time, volume, and variety in reading
-have predictable structures and routines

In the following chapter Serravallo shows various ways to assess engagement, strategies, comprehension and conversation, and how to use the results to group students for instruction. This is the first book I've seen that covers realistic ways to assess engagement and conversation, and they were helpful. This is followed by chapters on teaching each of these points. These chapters are filled with specific examples of student work, charts, and other helpful graphics. The author is never content with merely saying "This is what I do," but always works to help the teacher make the best choices for herself and her students.

Teaching Reading in Small Groups ends with the author's take on small groups and Reading Workshop structure. She recommends Lucy Calkins book, and her ideas follow Calkins' closely. If you've read Calkins but want something shorter and more specific, or if you want an easier introduction to the Reading Workshop, I recommend this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Hayhurst on April 17, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is not one of those professional books that will sit on a shelf collecting dust. This has become my new "go to" book because it offers something to everyone. I knew from the beginning that this would be a book I would use often when I saw the "Recommendations for Reading this Book" pages - for example... "My students seem to understand what I'm teaching them in a minilesson, but I don't see the transfer of that knowledge to their own books" go to Chapter 4. She lists scenarios/questions and directs the reader to the chapter that best addresses these issues. This is the book that every teacher should read and discuss with others.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lara Parent on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Practical, insightful and reality-based. Great tips for moving kids forward and tapping into their individual needs and strengths.
A must buy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book on small group reading instruction is a must read for any teacher looking for clear, strategic ways of grouping children effectively and efficiently. Jennifer Serravallo not only lays out the reading foundations upon which to build, but offers lots of concrete ways to talk about reading with students that helps both teachers and students feel more confident about what they are doing. In addition to my original paper copy of the book, I was so excited to be able to also put it on my Kindle so that I have the book with me always and can refer to it whenever I need some wise reading advice.
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