MASTER - Small Group Instruction

Continuum of Balanced Literacy, Eden Prairie Schools

Nothing small about Small Group Instruction

Small group instruction is designed to provide differentiated teaching to all students. While many small groups take place during reading, small group instruction can take place during any point during the day to help individualize instruction. Effective small group instruction incorporates weekly schedules, clear objectives, readily materials prepared and a growth mindset.


Small Group Instruction can be delivered through many different modalities including: strategy groups, guided reading, literature groups, high interest groups or self selecting seminars. Can you think of other ways to meet the needs of your students in small groups?

Small Group Instruction and Your Coach!

Thinking about how your coach can serve your small group instruction? Chat with your coach about any of these ideas:


  • Ask your coach to model a specific small group instruction or you can model for your coach or a colleague a small group instruction practice.
  • Ask you coach to video tape yourself teaching a small group instruction practice and reflect on it- the video tape is for your records only.
  • Find out ways to collect different data on your students... how can you use reading logs or engagment surveys for flexible small grouping
  • Ask your coach for Ideas of how to help manage the other students in your class while you are meeting with small groups
  • Create a weekly schedule of small group instruction with your coach
  • Create smooth transitions for when small groups change with your coach

Guided Reading

In the article, GUIDED READING The Romance and the Reality, Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell explain how guided reading has developed over the years into an even more powerful instructional practice teachers can implement into their classrooms. Take a peek at it and see if you're on the romance side, the reality side or somewhere in the middle.

Guided Reading by Fountas & Pinnell

Planning Guide

Use the planning guide as a structure to frame your lesson.

Click here for access to Planning Guide

Best Practices Checklist

Use the best practices checklist to ensure that your classroom is set up in a way conducive for small group instruction.


Click here for access to the Best Practices Checklist

Self Assessment



Click here for access to the Self Reflection Form

Effective Small Group Differentiated Instruction