Collaborative Circle Blog

Grade 2: Preparing for Small-Group Reading Instruction

For our grade 2 readers, we want to intentionally plan experiences that extend their love of reading across genres! We also want our students to develop the strategies they need to think deeply about their texts. Word study and word-learning strategies are taught in the whole-class setting in grade 2, and Small-Group Reading and Individualized Daily Reading (IDR) are designed to provide students with opportunities to apply strategies to their individual reading and to support large amounts of reading in appropriate text.

Small-group instruction is one important part of the grade 2 reading experience and decisions around appropriate placement and grouping require concerted attention. You will need to consider both the needs of the students and the teaching opportunities and texts to determine which instruction best meets students’ needs. With that in mind, we are providing a few considerations to support your grouping, planning, and instruction.

To prepare to group students for instruction, read the “Grade 2” section of the “Administering Placement Assessments” portion of the Introduction of the Being a Reader Assessment Resource Book.

Administer the Placement Assessment for Small-Group Reading Sets 7-12 to identify students’ reading levels for small-group reading. Use the guidance offered in the “Next Steps” sections of the assessment to support placement considerations.

Instructional Considerations for Sets 6 and Below

For students whose accuracy is 94% or below when reading the Set 7 exemplar text:

Consider whether the students would benefit from instruction in Set 6. The lessons in Set 6 are designed to support:

  • Fluency (prosody) development
  • The transition from controlled-vocabulary text into trade books
  • Language development for deeper conversations with others about texts

To learn more about Set 6 lessons, read the blog post, “What is the purpose of Set 6 in Being a Reader? Which students might benefit from the instruction in this set?

For students whose accuracy is 94% or below when reading the Set 7 exemplar text and for whom Set 6 is not appropriate:

Administer the Placement Assessment for Small-Group Reading Sets 1–5.

Students who place into Set 4 or below should be evaluated for intervention. For additional guidance, use the 2019 RTI/MTSS Guidance for Reading Instruction in Collaborative Literacy document.

For students who place into Set 5:

Provide the instruction as intended. By the end of Set 5 students have mastered single consonants, consonant diagraphs, short vowels, consonant blends, long vowels (final e), inflectional endings, and complex vowels.

Placement Considerations for Sets 7-12

For students who place into Sets 10–12 based on the Placement Assessment for Sets 7–12:

Prior to starting instruction, determine the student level of independence. Students may have placed into sets 10–12 based on the reading level criterion. However, the complex work in Sets 10–12 also requires a certain level of maturity.

Think about the students’ level of independence. Observe the students during Independent Work, IDR, and Writing Time (Being a Writer) and take note of their independence.

  • Are they able to complete a task without support?
  • Are they able to follow multi-step instruction without support?
  • Are they demonstrating that they can understand texts not just “read” the texts?
  • Are they demonstrating that they are able to show their thinking in writing?

Why is level of independence important in placement decisions?

Starting in Set 10, the students are required to read outside of the small-group lesson, journal about the reading, and bring their thinking to the small-group table. This requires students to be able to take responsibility for preparing for small groups independently. For students who still need a lot of teacher support, we encourage you to work toward independence using Sets 7–9 even if the texts are easy for the students. The texts in Sets 7–9 may be easy for the students to read, but the instruction supports the social and comprehension skill development needed for students to take more responsibility for their own reading as well as deepen their understanding of text.

Instructional Considerations While Teaching Sets 7–12

As you teach the small-group lessons, take note of the students’ ability to engage in the strategy work. We want to confirm through observation that the students can engage in the complex work across sets and are not in a situation where they can read the words in the text but are unable to access deeper levels of comprehension.

Observe the students during the small-group reading lessons, during partner talk, and as they read the text. Use questions in the periodic Group Progress Assessments to determine if the set placement is appropriate.

What strategy instruction does this group need to better comprehend text? With your students in mind, locate and review the “Reading Strategies in Small-Group Reading Sets 6–12” chart located in the Introduction in the Small-Group Teacher’s Manual to learn more about the progression of instruction through the sets.

Sets 7 and 8 lessons:
  • Continue to support fluency development
  • Focus on retelling
  • Address expository text strategies
  • Address more complicated narrative texts and chapter books
  • Include wondering as a foundational skill for comprehending text
  • Introduce identifying topic as a basis for more sophisticated work
  • Include specific lessons on self-monitoring for comprehension
  • Introduce generating independent thinking
Sets 9 and 10 lessons:
  • Focus on character development in fiction
  • Continue to develop identifying topic in nonfiction
  • Continue to develop self-monitoring
  • Provide multiple opportunities for students to generate independent thinking and respond to literature.
 Sets 11 and 12 lessons:
  • Continue to develop identifying topic
  • Continue to develop self-monitoring
  • Emphasize generating independent thinking and responding to literature in a book club style
 Planning Considerations

To plan for instruction, select a set and watch a recorded discussion of Collaborative Classroom colleagues sharing their planning considerations and how they use materials during small-group reading instruction. Each discussion addresses the Introduction and the Set Overview and supports planning for instruction for the identified book.

The following books are featured in the recorded discussions:

  • Set 6: New School
  • Sets 7 and 8: What’s It Like to Be an Ant?
  • Sets 9 and 10: Happy Like Soccer
  • Sets 11 and 12: “Story” (a poem)