This video takes a look at the advantages and disadvantages when it comes to implementing group, paired and individual reading in your classroom. We hope that it gives you insight and will help you to manage your reading lessons.
Group reading is widely used by many teachers and schools for numerous reasons. Being in a group of learners who are at a similar reading level helps learners read and develop at an appropriate pace that doesn’t rush nor under challenge and bore them. Small groups allow teachers to give more direct instruction and guidance due to the intimate nature of reading in smaller groups, the teacher is more easily able to pick up on reading difficulties of individual learners, learners are given ample opportunity to read aloud in groups to promote reading fluency, and small group guided reading session encourages learners to take part in discussions as the teacher asks questions. This expands their comprehension, knowledge and vocabulary as well as speaking and listening skills.
Despite the many benefits of group reading, it may have a few negative consequences. Such as:
Some teachers or schools implement a strategy known as flexible grouping. This consists of learners in ranging abilities being placed in a small reading group which is changed up with different combinations of learners on a regular basis. The advantages of flexible grouping include that they widen learner’s friendship choices by giving them the opportunity to be in contact with many learners, it enhances the knowledge and skills of learners and promotes positive self-esteem in learners by not having distinct “weak” and “strong” reading groups. Disadvantages to flexible grouping include strong readers feeling under-challenged and bored by the general reading materials to suit everybody, and weaker readers may not be able to keep up with the stronger readers in their group which may make them feel confused, embarrassed and less able. These two disadvantages hinder the enjoyment of reading. Flexible grouping may also lead to inaccurate assessment of learners who may be given unsuitable reading materials to be assessed off of.
Paired reading has been praised for the following reasons
However, paired reading may not work if two strong learners are paired together they may rush through prescribed text too quickly and become restless, bored and disturb learners who are still trying to read. The teacher needs to be able to manage this and provide some more challenging texts for these learners to avoid this situation. On the other hand, two weaker readers that are paired together may struggle through a text with a lot of new vocabulary and unknown words, this may lead to them skipping these words, not progressing and not experiencing the full content of the text. Teachers should monitor and guide these students, helping them with new vocabulary. Paired reading may also be less effective due to the lack of valuable teacher instruction; the teacher is unable to observe and guide all the pairs at once and may miss opportunities to help struggling learners. In order for paired reading to run smoothly and be effective, it is essential for there to be an established routine that learners know and understand- not knowing what to do in a paired reading lesson could lead to wasted learning time.
Individual reading should be integrated into the daily programme as it allows learners to read at their own pace, which they are comfortable with and do not feel pressured or slowed down. It encourages independence as the teacher entrusts learners to go through the text properly on their own without his or her guidance. Learners are free to choose which books they would like to read during individual reading, this leads to more enjoyment of reading as they choose what interests them, shy or weaker readers are given to opportunity to practise their reading without the anxiety of making mistakes or reading out loud to other people, and this, in turn, builds confidence as learners are not under any pressure to read perfectly.
Implications of individual include that it
As you can now see, all three methods of reading in the classroom have many benefits as well as implications, therefore the best strategy would be to implement all of them by providing meaningful opportunities throughout the week; the most important thing is that reading is practised as often as possible!