On my grade level team, I teach the students who are below the benchmark. I don't teach them all day, just during small group time. I have an aide and also a Special Education inclusion teacher in my room during that time, so the kids get lots of support, which they need.
With my lowest group, they need lots and lots of practice blending sounds, reading sight words, and fluently reading sentences. We read guided reading books, close reading passages, and reader's theaters. These kids are in 2nd grade and have been struggling readers for three years now. They can only read my low-level books so many times, you know? To mix things up and practice the skills they need, we also play games.
We all know about memory or around the world with sight words on index cards. Those games are easy (index cards and markers are all that's needed) and the kids love them. But, I like to switch things up, keep the kids on their toes, and also practice some various skills before reading our text for the day.
Their favorite game we play is slinkies!
We use the slinkies to help segment phonemes in words. We do this in a couple different ways. Sometimes I'll pull words out of their reader and orally tell them the word. They will use the slinky to segment the sounds. If the word was "string", they would pull the slinky out a little bit farther for each sound: /s/ /t/ /r/ /ing/. We will find that the word "string" has 4 sounds. Sometimes, instead of orally telling them words, I'll show them a picture. They will need to produce the word themselves, then segment the word. I like this option because it helps build vocabulary and ties meaning to the word. Three out of the four kids in this reading group are ELL, so building that vocabulary and making it comprehensible is key.
Another fun game we play is with magnet wands.
On the little metal-rimmed chips, I write sight words with a thin tipped Sharpie marker. I put the chips in a bowl and the kids take turns using the magnet wand and pulling out chips. If they read the word correctly, they get to keep and collect the chips. At the end of the game, they can trade chips with another player and practice their friends' words. My kids LOVE this game! When I taught kindergarten, I did this with uppercase and lowercase letters for letter names or sounds.
The last game we love to play is Chunks.
The kids bust up laughing at the silly words they make! We sort them into real words and nonsense words. If you don't have this game, you could easily make it by writing common beginning sounds and common rimes on plastic tiles or even cut up pieces of foam from the dollar store. Here is a good list of the most common rimes from TheDailyCafe.com.
I hope you got some Bright Ideas for fun ways to practice skills in guided reading groups!
Next up on this hop is Melissa from Dilly Dabbles. She has some tips for you about using Spotify in the classroom!