Tag Archives: Interventions

#TCRWP 89th Reunion: A Reprise

What are some of the literacy buzz words in your school or region?

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • RTI
  • MTSS
  • Interventions
  • Data-based decision-making
  • Screeners
  • Benchmarks
  • Cut Points
  • Progressing
  • At Risk
  • Substantially Deficient
  • Research-based Reading Interventions

Session #2 Kathleen Tolan:  Maximize Small Group Instruction in Reading Workshop:  A Super Easy Sequence of Small Group Work that Can Fast Forward Your Readers

Sound familiar?  Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember a July Reading Institute Session here. (Scroll down to the closing workshop.)

After a second go round, here’s what finally clicked!





The goal is to plan 3 – 5 interventions to get closer to mastery.  Then our work seems validated.  The time. The energy. The accountability for teachers and students seems to pay off. With this approach the smorgasboard of interventions is gone and the laser-like focus is on those skills that have been identified as critical for mastery.

Who’s doing the work?

Who needs the practice?

Who needs the learning?

The plan:  Small group of 4 – 6 students.  Partnerships will be created.  Partners will support each other before or after the mini-lesson.

Target: Meet 3 – 5 times.  Create incremental learning through practice (like sports or musical instruments). Thoughtful planning, explicit learning targets. (opposite of over-talking, over-coaching, where all the students hear is, “blah, blah, blah”)

Session 1: Redo the mini-lesson with a small group

  • State the Teaching Point
  • Use same skill/text as Mini-lesson for whole class.
  • Teacher will remind or read a little (not the whole read aloud).
  • Together, students will re-create the demonstration with students taking the lead.
  • Students will practice skill more in turn and talk.
  • Then students will transfer learning and use skill in his/her own book.
  • The group will come back together and the teacher will give the lesson a LINK.

How do students benefit?

  • Students do more reading.
  • Each student is reading in his/her own book so the work is differentiated.
  • Students help teacher get rid of bad behavior of talking too much.
  • Students are doing the reading work.

How do teachers benefit?

  • Over planning allows teacher to have more than one session planned with clear incremental targets.
  • Makes small group session more manageable
  • Students improve a little bit each session.
  • Teacher interaction changes.
  • Link – Teacher says, “We will be meting again on —” and says when with the student recording the date.
  • Student partnerships extend the teacher’s reach as students support each other.
  • Provides task for students to bring back as evidence of transfer and applied learning.
  • So when students come back, they have done the work!

Second Lesson Series

Focus:  May be shared writing.  Use learning progressions to set targets. Then students can also self assess. Record keeping can also become student responsibility.

  • Redo mini-lesson (less demo – more coaching)
  • Reread read aloud and together come up with shared writing on a post-it or notebook entry.
  • Students do the same work in their own reading books.
  • Inquiry – Students need a post-it to write about where they are on the learning progressions.
  • Students lifting the level of work by looking up the levels of progressions with a partner.
  • *At any time, teachers can repeat any of these steps.

Readers’ Notebook:  Table of Contents – Example= Level of prediction…p 3, 7, 22. 31

With students doing the work, the teacher’s role is “Show me the work you did”… It should feel more like check ins…name the work done in the lesson. How can we use data for ages instead of individual?  This can be more manageable for us and them!  “Will you please leave your notebook open to…. when you go to lunch?”  Sometime students may check in.. Sometimes study their own work!  Product, a la Peter Johnston . If work doesn’t go up on board, complimenting effort will keep them working.  Struggling students want to be appreciated and these sequences validate their effort!

Small group ideas?  

Intervention ideas?

How did this add to your learning?

My biggest Aha happened when Kathleen shared how this format could also be used for fluency practice with that learning progression.  The mental gears clicked then.  I had an idea of the way it would look!!!  Definitely worth a second listen in order to now try it out AND explain it to others!  After my work with teachers to review screening data and plan for instruction and intervention, this makes more sense after the second time as I can actually “see” the framework that provides the extra practice! 

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