I teach 11 to 14-year-old students in an area where many of the students are socially and economically disadvantaged. All students at my school receive free breakfast and lunch daily. The majority of the children come from single-parent homes and are well-below the poverty line. This causes the students to miss out on opportunities that students from other areas may receive.
My students sometimes require a little more motivation than others their age, but they are generally eager to learn and are more than capable of overcoming their barriers and being successful.
During whole group instruction, a lesson, or standard, is introduced to the class. But what happens to the students who didn't quite understand? Half of the class grasped it and is ready to move on while a group of others could really benefit from more reiteration.
Providing students with small, differentiated reading groups enables teachers to focus on specific skills needed by different groups of children.
Small-group instruction allows teachers to foster reading development by utilizing lessons that provide opportunities for struggling readers to actually read, without facing the anxiety or embarrassment of having to read in front of the entire class. Small group instruction also allows teachers to work with students that may be struggling with the same skill or that may be advanced and need to be challenged. Pulling those groups of students away from the class as a whole gives those students a better chance for success by having close proximity and one-on-one time with the teacher.
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