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“A few years back, after visiting Barry Hoonan’s classroom and experiencing his teaching and his students’ learning, I looked squarely into his reflective eyes and said, ‘Please write a book about what I just saw.’ Educators, welcome to Barry and Julie’s classrooms. Their most important thinking and learning has been poured into this book for us, the virtual visitors to their rooms. They invite us into their joy-filled classrooms, engaging us as their colleagues.
“ This book is a fresh reminder that the best teaching is responsive—that kids are much more likely to flourish when they have a teacher whose primary focus is on teaching students rather than on teaching stuff. Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan effectively argue that the one of the best ways to be responsive to your students is through small-group learning experiences, and the five teacher moves they outline in this book—kidwatching, pivoting, assessing, curating, and planning—are moves that should be woven through all K–12 classrooms. I highly recommend this book.”
“ In this nimble and invigorating profile of small group settings, Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan offer practical tools and actionable steps that lift small group instruction from a static focus on reading levels to one of setting learning in motion. They outline five critical teacher moves—kidwatching, pivoting, assessing, curating, and planning—that work together to help teachers take a flexible stance while elevating learner responsibility.”
“ The authors reframe, redefine, and refresh the notion of small group reading instruction. In doing so, they remind us that small group instruction is not only for our ‘struggling’ students, but rather that it’s about leaning in and meeting all students where they are so that we can move them forward. This gem of a book includes strategies for engaging students as readers, encouraging voluminous reading, and finding joy in our reading instruction. It’s a must-read for any elementary teacher of reading.”
“ Wherever I go, teachers ask me about small group instruction and how to do it. At last, there is book with systems and structures that make small group instruction manageable and meaningful. Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan provide lots of examples to show how to honor and meet the individual needs of students.”
“ These teaching moves are just what I needed to refine my flexibility and problem-solving sophistication in small group instruction. The strategies and examples read as the encouraging voices of the authors over my shoulder, grounded in powerful beliefs, inspiring me to open up my classroom practices in the quest for empowering and joyful student-centered learning.
“ For anyone who is looking to lift small group instruction to make it more meaningful, efficient, and joyful, this book is for you. Whether you are someone who is just embarking on utilizing small groups or are looking to breathe new life into this structure, the authors hold your hand and walk you through innovative, practical, and student-centered approaches to reading instruction. Because of this book, there is no longer just one way to hold a guided reading group or a coach book club.
“ Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan’s insistence on JOY at the heart of every instructional decision ensures that a teacher’s focus is not on the structure, but on each child—what they know, what they can do, and what they need next to grow—which is as it should be. One of my favorite lines is, ‘Students’ curiosity and interests are more trustworthy and energizing drivers of grouping decisions than anything else.’ What Are You Grouping For? will energize YOU as you plan worthy work for your students and focus on compelling reasons for them to read, write, and talk.
“ It’s pretty rare these days to find a book that fills both our minds and our pockets. But Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan’s What Are You Grouping For? does just that. It meets us exactly where we are as teachers, with all our questions and concerns, about time and organization and materials and strategies, and helps us not only understand what’s possible, but how to enact it too. This is the book to keep in our laps as we teach. Thank you, Barry and Julie!”
“ Barry and Julie have produced a must-read book for teachers of reading. This work is a practical guide to the use of small group instruction as a means of improving reading skills. These two master teachers provide clear, focused techniques from their own practice while making a case for ‘less is more’ relative to taking on too many initiatives in schools. This is thoughtful and provocative.”
“ Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan have hit the ‘sweet spot’ of helping each student become exquisite readers. Through authentic classroom examples, they demonstrate how small groups are the fulcrum between one-to-one instruction and whole group instruction. This book is a gift to educators desiring to create voluminous readers!”
“ Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan take us on an adventure, redefining small group instruction and broadening our vision of what it can look like when we carefully plan and then step aside and take note of student interactions. With ‘five teacher moves,’ Julie and Barry talk us through meaningful strategies for employing a variety of fluid and flexible small group instruction and work where students ‘think about and appreciate texts.’ Julie and Barry share ideas for getting started, as well as specific examples of small groups that will inspire students all year.
“ What Are You Grouping For? is a must-have resource. Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan give practical strategies followed with examples from the classroom for supporting students’ reading independence through small groups. This book incorporates the importance of building relationships and knowing your students to gain maximum impact in the classroom. The book leaves the reader motivated and inspired to get started tomorrow!”