Portraits of practice: A cross-case analysis of two first-grade teachers and their grouping practices

Beth Maloch, Jo Worthy, Michelle Jordan, Angela Hampton, Holly Hungerford-Kresser, Peggy Semingson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This interpretive study provides a cross-case analysis of the literacy instruction of two first-grade teachers, with a particular focus on their grouping practices. One key finding was the way in which these teachers drew upon a district-advocated approach for instruction-an approach to guided reading articulated by Fountas and Pinnell (1996) in which students are instructed in small groups based on reading level-as a resource for their sense-making. Analysis indicated that the two teachers enacted the practice in distinct ways based on their experiences and personal characteristics. Findings further suggested that, reminiscent of research on ability groups conducted mainly in the 1970s and 1980s, instruction and materials in both classrooms were qualitatively different between lower groups and higher groups. Although we do not implicate the practice of guided reading per se, we call for closer examinations of modern manifestations of ability-grouped practices and explorations of alternatives to such practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-312
Number of pages36
JournalResearch in the Teaching of English
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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