Grouping Literature Review

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Grouping Practices in the Elementary Reading Classroom Abstract Reading instruction has a long history of being one of the most highly debated topics in education. American teachers have been criticized for not producing effective readers. Teachers recognize the need to differentiate reading instruction and provide a balanced literacy program. In an effort to meet the needs of all students, teachers use a variety of grouping methods while teaching reading. In recent history, the type of grouping method that is the most effective has been under considerable debate. This mini-literature review will examine how and why elementary teachers group their students during reading instruction. Three major themes arose from…show more content…
According to the National Education Association (2013), the practice of ability grouping emerged at about the turn of the 20th century. Historically, ability groups were formed by teachers in an effort to properly prepare students for the workforce. The two most common ability grouping practices are within-class ability grouping and between-class ability grouping. Within-class ability grouping is implemented by grouping students in the same class into smaller, homogeneous ability groups usually during the reading or math class. Between-class ability grouping, commonly called tracking, is when schools separate students into separate classrooms according to their ability level. Going forward, within-class homogeneous ability grouping will be referred to as simply “ability grouping”. Ability grouping was predominant from the 1960’s until the 1980’s (Chorzempa & Graham, 2005). In response to the criticisms of ability grouping, many teachers and schools are now opting to use mixed ability groupings within their classrooms. In this model, teachers group their students according to an instructional need rather than their ability level. Baumann, Hoffman, Duffy-Hester, and Ro (2000) completed a study which mirrored a previous study completed in 1963 which researched the state of reading instruction in the United States in that era. The study was called The First
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