Collaborative Circle Blog

Preparing for Instruction in Small-group Reading Sets 13-15 in Grades 3-6

By Gina Fugnitto | Categories: Implementation

Congratulations! You have completed the early weeks of instruction. You and your students have established a classroom community where students feel safe and connected, and your students are learning what it means to be vibrant members of a literacy community.

During reading instruction, students have been:

  • Making text-to-self connections
  • Exploring illustrations to make inferences
  • Comparing two stories
  • Learning how to use a reading log
  • Using “Turn to Your Partner”
  • Using “Turn and Look at the Speaker”
  • Practicing listening to one another

You have also established the routines and procedures for IDR, used Conference Note 1 to get to know your students as readers, and started to more formally engage in IDR Conferences using the Resource Sheet for IDR Conferences. To learn more, we recommend reading through the IDR section of Making Meaning Units 1, 2, and 3.

Considerations for Small-group Instruction

The Collaborative Classroom programs provide students with a variety of ways to engage in targeted, differentiated reading instruction. Let’s consider those ways:

In Sets 1–5, students quickly and efficiently learn the foundational skills in the context of reading to understand what they read. By the end of Set 5, students will have mastered single-syllable phonics, acquired many high-frequency words, and been introduced to polysyllabic decoding. They will also have had many experiences using reading strategies informally to understand text.

If your grade 3–6 students are in need of the type of instruction offered in Sets 1–5, they require a targeted foundational skills intervention. At the Collaborative Classroom, that intervention is the SIPPS program.

In Sets 7–12, students receive explicit strategy instruction with the goal of applying all they are learning to their independent reading. The strategy instruction and texts become more complex across sets as the students practice, apply, and expand on their strategy use.

If your grade 3–6 students are reading at Guided Reading levels J–M, we recommend using Sets 7–12 as a differentiated Tier 1 small-group instruction in conjunction with the Making Meaning whole-class lessons and IDR. For further guidance on how to group for instruction in Sets 7-12, read the blog post, “Preparing for Being a Reader Small-group Reading Instruction.”

If your grade 3–6 students have a solid foundation in decoding and comprehension and are ready to transition to more independent book clubs, consider using Sets 13–15 in conjunction with Making Meaning whole-class lessons and IDR.

To learn more about these recommendations, read the Grade 3 and Grades 4–6 considerations in the RTI/MTSS Guidance 2019 document.

Understanding Small-group Reading Sets 13–15

Sets 13–15 are specifically designed for developing readers in grades 3–6 who read fluently and accurately, but will benefit from working with a small group of similar readers to strengthen comprehension and develop group discussion skills and independent thinking strategies. Each set is intended to move students toward independence—from teacher-facilitated book discussions to student-led fiction and nonfiction book clubs.

Sets 13–15 support students to strengthen comprehension and develop group discussion skills as they generate independent thinking, support opinions with examples, make connections across texts, read independently, and record their thinking in journals to bring to group discussions.

Preparing for Grouping and Instruction

Prior to grouping students for small-group instruction, learn more about the instruction offered in Sets 13–15. In your set’s Teacher’s Manual:

  • Read the Introduction.
  • Read the Set Introduction paragraph.
  • Review the Set Overview Chart.
Grouping for Instruction

For students who are reading at Guided Reading level O–T, consider the instructional needs of the students. Use the data you have collected during IDR to support your responses to these questions:

  1. Which types of text can they read with 98 percent accuracy?
  2. What strategy instruction might they need to better comprehend text?
  3. What is their level of independence?

Some students at these reading levels might benefit from additional small-group instruction in Sets 10–12, while many will be ready to develop more independence and sophistication in their application of comprehension strategies by moving into Sets 13-15.

Determine: Which set best meets the instructional needs of each group of students? 

Set 13 (Levels O-P): Students read and understand texts that go well beyond their personal experiences. In the fiction texts, students encounter complex plots and characters while learning about the characteristics of different types of fiction, including historical fiction and mystery. The non-fiction texts provide readers with in-depth information on a range of topics and include content-specific vocabulary that is supported through context and text features.

Set 14 (Level R): Students learn and practice the skill of monitoring their thinking as they read during small-group time and independently. They record their thinking and opinions in their reading journals in preparation for group discussions. During group discussions, the students take responsibility for sharing and supporting their thinking, building on one another’s thinking, and sustaining the conversation.

Set 15 (Levels R-T): Students naturally make inferences to understand longer and more subtly constructed novels and nonfiction texts. In the fiction texts in this set, which include a realistic novel series and an animal survival story, the students encounter complex characters grappling with internal as well as external conflicts. As they consider what the characters learn and how they change, the students uncover higher-level themes pertaining to human nature and societal concerns. The nonfiction books and articles in this set provide readers with opportunities to make text-to-text connections and synthesize information within and across texts.

For more details on the texts, genres, and focuses of Sets 13–15, click here.

Planning for Instruction

You may wish to teach all the lessons in the set, or you may select lessons based on the specific needs of the group(s) of students you have identified.

To support your planning for instruction, use the Teaching Small-group Reading Sets 6–15 section in your Teacher’s Manual as a guide. Planning steps include:

  1. Read the Set Introduction paragraph to identify the overall learning goals of the set.
  2. Review the Set Overview Chart.
  3. Use the Lesson Summary chart in the back of the Teacher’s Manual to identify the focus of instruction for each text.
    • Note when the students are being asked to read and write independently.
    • Note if there is an Extension or Technology Extension for the given book.
  4. For each book, read the Overview to identify the academic and social goals for the book and the Do Ahead guidance to make any necessary preparations.
  5. For each day, read the “In this lesson, the students…” list to identify the daily goals.
  6. Scan for Topic Notes, Teacher Notes, ELL Notes, and other helpful lesson features.
  7. Scan for when you are asked to gather data using the Group Discussion Observation Note.