Reflection
This project served as a great starting off point for my interest and curiosity about reading groups. Since leveled reading groups are something I will be using in the classroom next year, this short investigation into their use and their benefits and disadvantages really made me more aware of how they can impact student learning in reading literacy.

Through this study, I learned that teacher expectations of students can really have a negative effect on students in a myriad ways, many of which teachers are unaware of. This is the most important thing I have learned because while the use of leveled reading groups will surely continue, I will be able to be conscious of any expectations I do have for students or groups, and I will be able to practice certain methods, such as using running records in both traditional and observational assessments, to help combat those potentially low expectations. These are things I will be able to do starting in September and will have an extremely practical application while I work with the teacher I am assisting in first grade.

Given more time and resources, I would like to find more research about other options that have been discovered as alternatives to leveled reading groups. The research out there now does show that leveled reading groups has a positive benefit for all students; however, it is not of equal benefit for all students. I am interested to see if researchers and educators have come up with real alternatives for leveled reading groups and what impact those alternatives have on students’ learning in literacy.

Hey Alycia,
Great job on your presentation. As the first presenter, you set the bar high for organization and speaking with confidence. I thought that your use of examples of high and low level readers were an excellent tool for bringing home the points that you were making. Your use of the fundamental theories and their application to your content was well thought out. You used a good balance of your opinion and opinion supported by research.
Well done,
Jenn

Alycia,
As I believe I mentioned during my presentation, I derived a great deal of insight into how similar you "reading group" pros/cons parallel our own when creating math groupings by streaming. Despite the apparent disparity between our disciplines they are actually much more similar than they are dissimilar. We will likely re-evaluate this within the next year as we are losing a teacher and going from three to two math teachers. Thus, my school's math sectioning practice will need to be examined further to determine how best to pursue maximum assessed skill acquisition for our students.
-Serge


Investigation
I am looking at the use of reading groups in early elementary literacy programs. Though I have yet to work with reading groups, I will be working in a first grade classroom this coming year, and reading groups are a big part of the literacy program at my school. It is also a widely-practiced method to teach reading. Based on some of our class discussions on grouping students by abilities and teacher expectations, I want to explore the history, the validity of practice, and see what kind of research is available about this type of literacy program

By starting to understand the foundations of education, it makes me question whether or not reading groups that are based on ability are an effective way for all students to learn how to read. This grouping of students based on their abilities reflects a functionalist sociological view of education (to allow for the brightest students to achieve the highest and be led into the best jobs in society—tracking). In many of the articles we read and discussed during class, this segregation of students sounds like how conflict theorists view education and would also perpetuate societal inequalities, as social reconstructivists see education.

SpicyNode:
http://www.spicynodes.org/a/7bb14966f537ddc5ec33d5479f10b271

I love your spicynode Alycia. Are you finding materials and able to access them?

National Reading Panel Results
NRP results on guided oral reading: positive and beneficial for all students; studied both general classrooms and special ed; severe lack in follow up because study relied on and analyzed already conducted research, could not determine relationship between this instruction and fluency in later years.

Discussion Questions
-What do you know about reading groups? Do you have any experience with them?
-What type of literacy program is used in your school?
-Do you see any reflection of potential problems in the reading groups at your school?
-Do you think that students feel labeled if they are put in the low-level groups?
-What are ways that reading could be differentiated? Is there a better option than leveled reading groups?
-What problems arise when grouping is based solely on English when there are many non-native English speakers?
-In what ways do you see any of these sociological/philosophical theories of education reflected in reading groups?
-How do you balance the need for differentiation in reading but avoid a conflict theorist argument against leveled groups?

A video of how one teacher uses guided reading groups in her classroom:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txC-Qo_8GiU&NR=1

Resources