I'm following along with The Cafe Book study over at We Read, We Blog, We Teach. Jana's post is fantastic today so I'd recommend checking it out!
Chapter 7 is the last chapter and one of my favorite parts about The Cafe- Strategy Groups. This is definitely one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" moments- grouping kids by strategy rather than reading level. Of course, I still have kiddos together roughly at the same level because they have similar needs, but it doesn't matter what book a student is reading- they can always practice the strategy they need.
Before strategy groups can start, you need to assess and confer with individuals and begin Daily 5. During the assessments, keep track of who would fit into strategy groups together. The Sisters usually start these groups in mid-October, or about 6 weeks after school begins. They start with the most at-risk students and create groups based around the students' needs.
They have students all choose a book and quietly read aloud at the same time. They listen to each student in turn. Then they teach the mini-lesson that they would like the students to use. They have them practice alone or with a partner, and then they make a plan for next time and encourage students to use the strategy during read-to-self. The structure is very similar to the individual conferences. The great thing is that you can use these groups to plan for partner reading so they can practice together and students know who they can go to for help.
If you are interested in more information about Cafe, head over to The Daily Cafe website run by The Sisters. They have a section specifically on Cafe and some freebies to get you started.