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Private: Teaching Reading: 3-5 Workshop

Creating Contexts for Learning Put It Into Practice | Creating Contexts for Learning

Choose Activities

In this section, you will build on what you have learned, and develop strategies you can use in your own classroom. The following activities are designed to help you develop resources for creating a more effective classroom environment. Choose one or both of the activities from the list below.

Activity 1 – Create Text Sets
In this activity, you will develop a lesson using a range of books based on the curriculum, skills, interests, and cultural backgrounds represented in your classroom.

Activity 2 – Develop Grouping Plans
In this activity, you will develop classroom charts, grouping students together together in reading based on their strengths, needs, interests, and work habits.

Create Text Sets

One of the challenges teachers face is collecting and providing accessible and motivating texts that support the content-area curriculum. In order to learn and understand the concepts of specific topics, students need to have a wide range of reading materials that are appropriate in reading level and that will engage and motivate all students. In this activity, you will research and gather a variety of texts from your classroom, the school library, and other sources that reflect and support a common theme or topic in your curriculum. Write out the plan outlined below. When you have finished, save your work to submit as an assignment.

  • Decide on a theme or topic of study in a content area of your curriculum.
  • Consider related sub-topics for the theme.
  • Identify a set of texts that relate to the theme or sub-topics and place them in a bin, crate, or corner of the room. These reading materials should reflect:
    • a range of reading levels that match those of your students
    • a variety of genres (e.g., informational books, trade books, picture books, biographies, poetry, magazines, newspapers, reference books)
    • the culture and first language of your students
    • the interests of your students
  • Develop a unit or lesson to introduce and review the texts, explaining how they can be used to learn about and respond to the topic(s).

Develop Grouping Plans

Think about the ways in which students were grouped in the classroom video clips: whole class, small group, partners, and individual performance. Now consider your own classroom–the strengths and needs of your students, and the grouping options that address them.

In this activity, you will develop classroom charts identifying students who will work together in reading because of their strengths, needs, interests, and work habits. You can use the charts you prepare in this session to group students for practice in reading and writing, and revise them throughout the year as you assess student performance. When you have finished, save your charts to submit as an assignment.

  1. Create a classroom list of students who can work together because of similar needs in reading. List the students by group and include the specific areas of literacy learning that you will address in your instruction. The fewer groups you have, the more time you can spend with each group. It is more manageable to have three groups, but you may need to have four depending on the needs of your students.
  2. Create a class list of students who can work together because of similar interests in a given subject or topic that you are teaching. Include the common areas of interest or background knowledge that the groups can use when reading and responding to texts. These students may differ in reading level. You may want to conduct an “Interest Inventory” to determine common interests among your students.
  3. Create a class list of students who can be paired for reading and writing activities because of work habits. You may want to pair a student demonstrating stronger work habits with another student who needs support in this area.
  4. Create a class list of students who can be paired to read or share their writing for feedback on revising and editing. These students may be paired because they are working on reading and/or writing of common books or topics.

Use these charts to group your students for varied reading and writing activities during the day. You may want to explain to students that they will be working with different groups and that groups will be changing continually. Review your student groups each month. Revise them based on changes in student performance and to ensure that students have opportunities to interact with many of their peers.

Sample Chart for Grouping (PDF)

Series Directory

Private: Teaching Reading: 3-5 Workshop


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation. 2006.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-815-7