Exploring Small-Group Reading Instruction for Students at Risk for Reading Difficulties in Kindergarten Classrooms

header divider

Posted on January 2, 2024 by childrenslearninginstitute


January 2, 2024


Reading & Writing Quarterly

CLI Authors:

Michael P. Mesa, PhD, and Tricia A. Zucker, PhD


The purpose of this systematic observation study was to improve our understanding of small-group reading instruction for kindergarten students at risk for reading difficulties (RDs). We aimed to observe and document activity types addressed as well as instructional practices and materials employed during small-group instruction, with a particular interest in text reading instruction. We conducted 31 observations of 11 kindergarten teachers’ typical small-group reading instruction for students at risk for RDs. We also conducted semi-structured interviews with a subsample of the teachers to learn more about their instructional practices. Results revealed that teachers’ small-group reading instruction often reflected research-based recommendations regarding instruction for students at risk for RDs, but also included practices associated with less evidence of effectiveness for such students. Findings suggest there is a need to provide teachers with professional learning opportunities that build knowledge of evidence-based practices for providing reading instruction to students at risk for RDs.


This work was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education under Grant R305A180094. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Institute of Education Sciences or the U.S. Department of Education.


Katlynn Dahl-LeonardColby HallMichael P. MesaTricia A. Zucker & Delanie Peacott (2024) Exploring Small-Group Reading Instruction for Students at Risk for Reading Difficulties in Kindergarten Classrooms, Reading & Writing Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/10573569.2023.2298497