I wanted to share with you about the Professional Development opportunity I had last week. Fran Landess, 5th grade instructional assistant, and I headed to Hauppauge, New York, to attend Jennifer Serravallo's workshop entitled "Teaching Reading in Small Groups." She is the author of several respected books about the art of teaching reading including:Conferring with Readers: Supporting Each Student's Growth and Independence(coauthored with Gravity Goldberg),Teaching Reading In Small Groups: Differentiated Instruction for Building Strategic, Independent Readers, and The Literacy Teacher Playbook: Four Steps for Turning Assessment Data into Goal-Directed Instruction.
Big takeaways from the workshop include learning how to use assessment lenses of engagement, fluency, print work, comprehension, and conversations as keys to helping match kids with like-learners in small groups. Instead of thinking in a "yes" or "no", "deficit" or "strength" model, we should analyze kids' work along a continuum to be sure we're always teaching within learners' zones of proximal development. Also, I learned practical ways to think about the individual student before, during, and after small group instruction. I gained specific strategies to help students achieve deeper understanding of the texts they read through small group instruction. This will ensure that small groups feel like one-one-one conferences. I am very thankful to have had this opportunity to learn more about literacy education.