Season 7, Episode 3

When not to differentiate: A guide to small-group instruction, with Jamey Peavler

This season is all about tackling the hard stuff, and there is no harder pill to swallow than being told by a student that you don’t know how to teach reading—especially when you realize they’re right! After this happened to Jamey Peavler, co-director in the Reading Science Graduate Program at Mount St. Joseph University, she leaned in and took the opportunity to completely rethink her approach to literacy instruction. Now, her research focuses on maximizing small-group instruction. In this episode, she’ll share her findings and her advice, as well as some best practices for small-group instruction and balancing small- and whole-group work.

Meet our guest(s):

Jamey Peavler

Jamey Peavler is a co-director and full-time instructor in the Reading Science Graduate Program at Mount St. Joseph University. Before joining The Mount, Jamey served as director of training for the M.A. Rooney Foundation. In addition, she works for the National Council for Teacher Quality (NCTQ) as a higher-education textbook and teacher licensure reviewer. Jamey is a certified fellow-in-training with the Orton-Gillingham Academy and an International Dyslexia Association Structured Literacy dyslexia specialist, and currently serves on the board for the Reading League’s Indiana chapter. Her research interests include instructional design, the impact of spaced practice and interleaving to support effortful retrieval and retention of information, the role of oral language and syntactic awareness on comprehension and written expression, and foundational skills for supporting literacy in the early childhood setting.

Meet our host, Susan Lambert

Susan Lambert is the Chief Academic Officer of Elementary Humanities at Amplify, and the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast. Her career has been focused on creating high-quality learning environments using evidence-based practices. Susan is a mom of four, a grandma of four, a world traveler, and a collector of stories.

As the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast, Susan explores the increasing body of scientific research around how reading is best taught. As a former classroom teacher, administrator, and curriculum developer, Susan is dedicated to turning theory into best practices that educators can put right to use in the classroom, and to showcasing national models of reading instruction excellence.


“We have this mindset of that small-group differentiated golden standard, but there's a certain amount of instruction, again, [that] all kids need and there isn't a lot of difference between those things.” —Jamey Peavler

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