Small Group Activities for Your Classroom
Conducting small groups is one of my favorite times of the school day. This is when I can meet each student where they are and watch them produce some amazing results! During my literacy small groups, I provide direct instruction using decodable books and explicit lesson plans. I speak to this a little more in the blog post, 5 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into Your Classroom; you can read about it by clicking here.
Yes, a bulk of time is spent on whole group instruction, but I also want to be sure to include small groups in my daily schedule. This is the best way to meet everyone’s needs. Before I dive into reading instruction, we do some sort of warm-up activity with my group members. I always have a collection of activity ideas to use depending on what skills need to be practiced during my small group time. I love that so many of these activities are editable so I can differentiate as much as I need to.
Many of the small group activities are game-based and available with various literacy skills. Game-based learning is a great way to practice and establish mastery through repetition. Working with smaller groups allows students to spend more time with a skill and with great games, the students feel like they are just having a great time! These activities allow students to master the structure of the game while the literacy skills change to match your differentiation needs. I love that once I use a fun game in small group instruction, I can add it to our literacy center time for additional practice all year long.
13 SMALL GROUP ACTIVITIES
#1 SUPER SPEEDY
This quick and editable fluency practice is so much fun for your whole class or small group lessons. I like to add fun pointers to make this activity even more exciting. Students roll the die and see how fast they can read the row of lowercase letters (or words). The common goal is fluency! Students can establish a starting point with the goal of finishing the line in less time.
#2 PHONICS LITERACY GAME
Practice beginning sounds, blends, CVC words, CVCe words, and ending sounds with this spin and write literacy game. You can use letter manipulatives or use a dry erase marker on the laminated cards. Changing the materials is a fun way to keep students engaged. The first person to fill up their board is the winner.
Sequence games are great! I love the flexibility of the game and the different ways I can use it. I like to mix it up. Sometimes, I will use the colored cards for a sound sort and other times break out the daubers and let students practice that way. They sort of love daubers so they get pretty excited when I tell them we are going to play a sequence game. The goal of the game is to get four in a row.
ABC memory is one activity that doesn’t need much explaining. Most students come in knowing how to play this type of game but it is great fun! There are multiple themes of ABC memory so you can use this game throughout the year.
You can also teach a new game using the same cards and the special cards that are included.
#5 Color It! Bingo
This game takes ZERO prep! Well, other than making the copies… It is super quick and students love coloring the thematic pictures. You can have students work on a single word or individual letters.
#7 Board Games
Different game board themes to keep learning excited. Plus, I love that these games are non-seasonal so I can use them at any time throughout the year.
#8 Phonemic Awareness Sorting Cards
I use these sound sorting cards a ton! There are so many different phonemic awareness sorts and these are such a quick way to review sounds in my small groups.
#9 Phonics Bingo
Students practice various literacy skills with these bingo small group activities. I will even sometimes use this activity with the entire group and the kids LOVE it!
#10 Sight Word Fluency
A fun and engaging way to practice sight words. Plus, this activity is editable! You can easily differentiate for your students that need to practice different words.
#11 Flip to Review Decodable Sentences
We can easily practice specific sounds and words with these decodable sentences.
#12 SNAP Phonics Games
We love Snap! Super easy card game with various literacy skills to practice.
#13 Bump Games
Last, but definitely not least! Bump games are the best! Make sure to snag your free Bump game at the end of this post! We tend to learn this game during our large groups learning time, but we can move it into center time or