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Small Group Routines: 7 Quick and Simple Things to Do Every Day

In special education, our time is precious. Routines help to accomplish many tasks on a daily or weekly basis to ensure that our students are getting well rounded instruction. I use these routines to accomplish practice basic skills in my small reading groups.

Blending Words

I lay out different letter cards on the table. What cards I have laid out depend on what group I have. In my lowest level group we work on CVC words where we have a vowel in the middle and we work on creating real and nonsense words that imitate CVC words. We work on stretching out the words. My students will give me a thumbs up if it is a real word and a thumbs down if it is a nonsense word. 

Manipulating Sounds

I build on manipulating sounds by having my students change on letter to spell a new word. Example of this would be change the word cat into fat. These words then become their spelling words for the week. I try to start with changing the beginning sounds then end with changing the end sound. 

Sight Word Hunt

When working on sight words I like to work on the students seeing them in their reading and tapping them (if you are familiar with Orton-Gillingham you know exactly what I am talking about). After using the tapping method multiple times we then look in our text for the sight word. Once we find our words we use highlighters to highlight the words. We also highlight our decode-able words. 

Echo Reading

After our sight word hunt we begin reading our level reader that we use. Most days we read our text three times. The first time reading is an echo reading. I read one sentence then the student's echo me. We continue this until we finish the story. This helps the students hear the story being read fluently and see the words in the story from the very beginning. 

Cloze Reading

The scond time reading the story we do a cloze reading. With this type of reading I read a majority of the sentence then I pause and I need the students to help me fill in the next word. This makes the students work on tracking, makes them focus more attention on the text, and gives them a purpose by helping me read. It also helps reinforce decode-able words, sight words, and words we have worked on in the previous weeks. These are the words that I usually stop on and ask for their help.

Fluency Passages

Reading fluency is something I just started implementing this year. We want our students to be good readers! One way to help make our students into good confident readers is by doing reading fluency. I started this in my groups by having my students read the first two passages at the beginning of the week and then reread those same two passages at the end of the week as reading fluency passages. We work together to read the passages three times to a timer (they start reading when the timer starts). I do sit and monitor the students one on one, but most of the time they are reading by themselves. This will help your students become better, faster readers, and build more stamina. 

Rhyming Words

Rhyming words is something that is hard for our kids. To help my kids become more successful with rhyming words I bought a cheap set of rhyming word flashcards that way I would know all the words had something that would rhyme with them. I put these cards in one of my baskets and I pull them out when we have time. I show the students the card and I ask them if they can come up with a word that for example rhymes with man. We take turns listing the words because many words can rhyme with the word man. This gives everyone an opportunity to come up with a rhyming word. This is an easy activity to pull out when you only have a few minutes left of group, while you are waiting to transition, or when you are in the hallways walking them to or from class. 

Many of these small group routines are included in my reading intervention for special education teachers. Click this link or the image above to grab it for free!

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