How to Run a Middle School Language Group

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When everyone’s working on the same thing:

Whenever possible, group together children that are working on similar skills.  Then, present the lesson by teaching the skill and follow with opportunity for group and partner practice of the new skill.

When everyone’s working on different skills:

I know that it’s not always possible to have children working on the same skills in a group. If this is the case, you’ll want to handle it more like a study hall where they come in to work on their speech/language goals.  Try this approach:

1. Each student should have his/her own folder that he grabs at the beginning of each session.  In each student’s folder is some independent work that targets the skill he/she is working on but is easy enough that he can do it on his own.  This could be a list of words or sentences to read out loud or a worksheet that the child is comfortable doing independently.

2. Each student comes in and starts doing his independent work.  One at a time, you work with each child independently.  Present the next level up with the skill they are working on.  Show them how to do the next hardest step in that skill’s progression and show them how to do the next level of independent work (worksheets, word lists, etc.).  Take data on the student’s performance during this time.  Instruct them to keep practicing as you move on to the next student.  Make sure you’re monitoring all students throughout the session to make sure they are practicing correctly but then spend a few minutes with each child directly instructing them on how to do the next hardest step in that skill’s progression.

3. At the end of each session, students make a copy of their independent work to take home as homework.


  • Student is working on irregular plurals
  • Current independent work: Student has a list of words and he must circle the correct plural of the word (for example, the worksheet says “tooth:   tooths  /  teeth” and the student must circle “teeth”).
  • During your one-on-one time with the child, you take the choices away and ask him to tell you the plural of “tooth” and the other words on the worksheet.  You help him remember the one’s he’s having trouble with.
  • New independent work: Give the student a worksheet that has a list of singular nouns and ask the student to write the correct plural noun next to each one.  Leave the old worksheet in there (with the correct one circled) in case he forgets or needs to check his work.