Differentiated Instruction (for reading) Circus Style!

Good evening all,
                 Thank you to all the newcomers and please do not be shy to follow! Ever since I started this blog, as well as started stalking all you amazing bloggers out there, I am soooooooooooooooo motivated to teach, learn, and implement all kinds of new ideas in my classroom. I haven't loved teaching this much in well... EVER!!! I think, of course, it is also due to my amazing kiddies and my very supportive and resourceful staff!
 So! Back to why I am actually posting tonight! Although my kiddies ROCK, I do have a challenge this year, as I have varying strengths and needs in my classroom. I am currently teaching approximately 3 different levels in my classroom. I am fortunate to have attendant time as well as resource time, which really helps in terms of modifying the program! I wanted to share with you some reading activities that I have implemented in my classroom this week. Along with guided reading, read to self, and read to someone, I looooooove to have shared reading activities. The kiddies really enjoy it and it is a great way to help improve fluency, word recognition, vocabulary, and build confidence in reading.
 Simply put, all you need to do is find a text that is repetitive and includes some new vocabulary words as well as theme words. I generally make my own as it is far more conducive to what I am looking to work on. I type the text at the bottom of each page and have the students illustrate each page accordingly. I read the story to them (emphasizing correct punctuation and fluency), we read the story together as a class, and then I ask students to read aloud on their own (this is great for reluctant readers, as they have heard the story twice at that point and are more confidant in wanting to read a page). Finally, we work on 1 to 2 pages and re-read, talk about the vocabulary and what is happening on these pages. The students then go back to their seats and re-read the pages on their own and illustrate! The next time you work on shared reading, you may overview what you did in previous lessons and then simply do the steps over again with the 2 pages you will be working on (no need to re-read the entire story again, unless you feel it would be beneficial).

               There are also many advantages to shared reading. It is a great way to introduce new vocabulary words and discuss the meanings. Furthermore, it is a simple way to check for understanding and comprehension. Finally, you can have students work on various skills such as punctuation, grammar etc... I usually have my students highlight (always fun!) proper nouns or descriptive words etc... it's a great addition to the activity. 
    So here is how I differentiated the reading instruction this week. I had my emergent reader group work on a circus printable booklet, which I found for FREE!

            My second group, who are now focusing on fluency, new vocabulary, and comprehension, received my lovely creation: "A Day at the Circus." This is the story (which I made up myself) that I used for the above mentioned shared reading activity. 

Finally, my advanced reading group worked on literature circles, using a circus themed chapter book.

A "Bit" About "Lit" Circles

Students work cooperatively in groups, while reading the same novel. The students complete a variety of activities for each set of pages read. The activities cue comprehension throughout the reading of the book. Once the novel is completed, the students proceed to complete a series of questions that require a good understanding of the contents of the story. With a touch of art, relations to the students life, working with peers, and a variety of other activities, this unit is a wonderful addition to any language arts program. The students generally read 1 to 2 chapters each lesson and complete a different "job."
 Then they get together and go over their "job" and discuss the content. 

I hope that this is beneficial to some of you and that you have a blast implementing any of the aforementioned activities in your classroom. My kiddies did a fantastic job and it was nice to have various groups working on different projects that were suited to their strengths and needs. 
I'll be back soon with more fun activities!

P.s. Did I mention I have a Facebook Page!


Did I mention that my mentor/colleague/bestie has an amazing blog (she is like a grade 1 and 2 guru people!) as well as a Facebook page!

Please visit, she has all kinds of great FREE resources for you!

1 comment

  1. I love your circus theme! The shared reading booklet you made is amazing! Thank you so much for all these wonderful resources!


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