Literature Based Reading Program
for 2nd/3rd Grade Multiage Program
Prior to my teaching in an intermediate
multiage classroom, I team-taught a multiage program for
2nd and 3rd grade children. During this time my teaching partner
and I developed a reading program based in part on one developed
at Madrona Non-Graded
School in Edmonds, Washington. Our program used children's
literature exclusively and was divided into three components:
1) Individually Paced Reading, 2) Small Group Reading, and 3)
Individually Paced Reading
We had between 1,000 and 2,000 books that we sorted into 31
sequentially leveled bins plus 10 genre bins. It took us a while
to gather this many books. We got them from retiring teachers,
garage sales, children's book clubs, library discards, donations,
etc. Each bin had between 10 and 30 books. We conferenced with
students individually, letting them read a book to us that they
had chosen from the bin they had been working in. During the
conference we listened for fluency, use of punctuation and expression,
pronunciation, word attack skills, and vocabulary. We used our
checklist with our reading rubric to assess their reading and
to help them improve in the areas they were weakest in. Depending
on their performance during the conference, they either moved
to the next higher bin level, read a few more books at the same
level, or if we noticed some extra growth they sometimes skiped
a level or two.
Small Group Reading
We believed that people learn to read by reading thoughtfully.
The small group reading circles were designed to give students
thoughtful reading practice at their approximate skill level.
We used children's literature mostly because students enjoyed
reading it more than basal readers (the stories don't have a
contrived vocabulary) and because the richness of it allowed
students to learn and practice good reading skills in context.
In our class we had six reading groups that met during the
same half hour each day. To accomplish this we relied on parent
volunteers, high school students, and older elementary students.
Oral reading helped students hear and practice good reading.
For this reason we found it best to change oral readers at each
paragraph while the group was reading. For example: adult, student,
adult, different student, adult, etc. We chose students randomly
if we found they were frequently distracted.
At the end of each day my teaching partner or I read from
a children's book to the entire class. We chose books that either
we were passionate about or that were of high interest to the
students. Reading aloud to the students gave them another model
of good reading and allowed them to practice visualizing the
scenes form a story.