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Where Have All the Bluebirds Gone?

How to Soar with Flexible Grouping

By Joanne Caldwell, Michael P Ford

Flexible grouping allows teachers to address today's increasingly diverse classrooms and their diverse needs. In this practical, hands-on guidebook, JoAnne and Michael describe a variety of grouping patterns and ways to implement them.

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There is more to grouping readers than the traditional grouping by ability with each level not so cleverly disguised by names like bluebirds, redbirds, and crows. Flexible grouping allows teachers to address today's increasingly diverse classrooms and their diverse needs. In this practical, hands-on guidebook, JoAnne Schudt Caldwell and Michael P. Ford describe a variety of grouping patterns and ways to implement them throughout the elementary grades.

First they examine the most recent research on grouping practices in reading programs to present a rationale for moving these practices in new directions. Then, using an easily accessible question-and-answer format, they explore the "how to's" of alternative grouping practices, including:

  • whole room instruction
  • small-group formats
  • cooperative grouping
  • working in pairs
  • individualized reading programs.
To demonstrate how flexible grouping really works, the authors visit classrooms at different grade levels to capture the stories of teachers who have implemented flexible patterns in their reading programs. Along the way, they discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each pattern so that readers can make informed decisions and avoid common pitfalls when implementing a program of their own.

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