Professional Development

June 26, 2023

Reading Groups and Structured Literacy: What Do They Look Like?

We know things are changing with our small group instruction, just as they have changed with our literacy instruction. And itโ€™s a good thing, friends! There is so much good information out there about structured literacy. But what do we need to include in our literacy block each day? Today on the blog we are going to talk about reading groups and structured literacy, and how they can work together to best support your readers. 

What Should I Teach in a Structured Literacy Small Group?

Small group literacy instruction is a special time for you to meet your students where they are and work with them. After you know your student’s strengths and weaknesses, you will group them together based on what skills they need help with.

The key components of structured literacy are:

Once you know where your students need help, you will know which elements to teach in small group. For example, if a group is struggling with phonology, you might work on phonological awareness activities in reading small groups.ย 

What Should I Leave Behind?

There are a few things we should leave behind, now that we know more. One of those things is using leveled readers for our beginning readers. Leveled readers have a place, but not with our students who are just learning how to read. We want our students to use the phonics knowledge and skills we are teaching them in the books they are reading.

A good decodable reader follows a systematic progression. It also has students practice the phonics skill they are working on and any previous ones. 

Another thing we want to leave behind is omitting phonics instruction during small groups or making it a short, quick item at the end. I know I was sometimes guilty of quickly doing a word work activity at the end so I could fit it in at the end of my reading small group lesson.

We want to spend some of our small group time explicitly teaching phonics skills. Then, have the students practice them in a variety of ways. We donโ€™t want phonics to be an afterthought.ย 

Getting Started With Reading Groups and Structured Literacy

Getting started with something new can feel overwhelming. Where do I start? What materials do I need? How do I make sure I am actually DOING BETTER now that we know better?

I have great news! I have ready-for-you lessons with everything you need to get started with science of reading aligned small groups and structured literacy.

We have seven different sets of decodable readers. Each kit comes with:

  • Decodable books
  • Decodable passages
  • Easy to use scripted lesson plans
  • Strategy Posters
  • Word work activities
  • Phonics skill practice
  • Parent communication notes
  • and more!

They follow a scope and sequence that is research-based and systematic. You can also grab the bundles to save!

What does your small group time look like, friend? Are you doing some of the skills mentioned above? Iโ€™d love to hear what your small group time looks like in structured literacy in the comments.

Happy Teaching,



Want to use the latest research to boost your readers during small groups? Thisย FREEย guide is packed with engaging ideas to help them grow!

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your studentsย loveย and that areย easy to implementย for teachers.ย ย Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, youโ€™ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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