6. Children with special needs benefit from flexible grouping and intense instruction
When Children with special needs have been taught the routines for working together, they learn best from instruction in small same-ability groups and from working with more capable peers. They benefit from small-group instruction that is intense (e.g., five days a week for at least 20 minutes) so that they can develop their reading skills. Flexible grouping patterns include:
- Whole class grouping for teacher read-alouds, book discussions, and the introduction of new vocabulary and strategies.
- Mixed-ability grouping (e.g., cooperative learning activities) in which children have different roles and can support each other’s reading.
- Small same-ability grouping (5:1 or less) for explicit instruction in specific reading skills.
- Flexible-skills grouping for instruction on particular skills such as onset-rime, blending and segmenting phonemes, making a story map, and vocabulary development.
- Pairing of children for skills practice such as oral reading to build fluency and comprehension, peer editing and word study activities such as sorting and making words with movable letters.