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Dedicated to Teachers

Heinemann Summer Sessions Week 9: Jen Serravallo’s Teaching Reading in Small Groups


Welcome to the final week of the Heinemann Summer Sessions! Each week throughout the summer, we featured an article, video clip, or new professional book chapter from the Heinemann Digital Library on the topic of student engagement. Today, a video from Jennifer Serravallo's online course for Teaching Reading in Small Groups.

Often we plan carefully to target specific foundational or comprehension skills when working with students in small groups. But what about the students who have not even arrived at a place where they can choose a book and stick with it? Chances are: these kinds of readers aren’t exactly sure how make productive book choices, how to identify what they find interesting and match this with an appropriate reading level.

Choice is key to engagement. So, how do we provide the element of choice while still helping students latch on to books that are a good fit?

In this clip, notice how immediately Jen directs the students to consider their personal logs listing books they have already read and rated. This simple start to the lesson hands them the ownership of choice and guides them toward reflection. Listen for her style of questioning and notice how she encourages them to be honest and really share what they think as individuals, even though they have been pulled together for a common purpose.

Wistia video thumbnail - Jennifer Serravallo - A Small Group to Support Book Choice

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You may have noticed that she had pre-selected stacks of books for the students to peruse. While she had time to engage in conversation each student individually about their interests, she knew that she couldn’t target choosing good fit books and choosing books of interest. By taking out the element of reading level, she could focus on helping the boys find a possible title or series of high interest and most importantly, of their choice.

You can follow @jserravallo and @HeinemannPD on Twitter as well as share your thoughts using #SummerPLC. Our conversation also continues on the Summer Sessions Facebook page as well as in the comments below here on the blog.

Save your spot now for the three-part webinar series with Jennifer Serravallo beginning August 19. Attend live, view the recorded archive, and sustain your online PD throughout the school year with The Reading Strategies Book Facebook group. Click here for more information and to sign up!

Mark your calendar for our #SummerPLC culminating Twitter chat on Tuesday, August 18 at 8 p.m. EST.


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A literacy consultant and researcher, Jennifer Serravallo is the best-selling author or coauthor of the Heinemann titles Teaching Reading in Small GroupsConferring with Readers, and The Literacy Teacher's PlaybooksGrades K–2 and Grades 3–6. Her newest book is The Reading Strategies Book, out now.

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All Summer Sessions PLC content is also available within the Heinemann Digital Library. For year-round access to dozens of additional professional books, articles and classroom video examples, we encourage you to subscribe to our Digital Library.

Topics: Video, Education, Heinemann, PLC Series, Reference Library, Teaching Reading in Small Groups, Digital Campus, Jennifer Serravallo, Professional Development, Summer Sessions

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