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Setting Up Routines and Building Reading Stamina

Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

Before ever beginning guided reading groups, you need to do the work of establishing routines and building reading stamina.  Doing these things first will help your guided reading small group activities run so much more smoothly!

Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

Before diving into guided reading groups, I take time in my classroom to teach students how readers choose books.  Some students really do not know how to appropriately choose a book that fits them.  I also have this post where we compare choosing just right books to choosing just right shoes- you can read that by clicking HERE.  The students and I created this anchor chart to guide them through the process.  A lot of my students just use the Grab & Go method (grab any book and go) before we do lessons on how to choose a just right book.  This lesson comes after talking about making reading goals.  You can find that post HERE.  Some of the the links below may be referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 


Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

After we learn and practice- very important to practice- choosing books, we then learn the expectations of reading to self.  This anchor chart is great for students to visualize this.  



I use the ideas in this book about breaking stamina.  Once everyone gets settled into place, I begin my timer.  If students are not doing their job, I stop the timer and call everyone to a meeting on the carpet to discuss what happened and how we can do better.  If there is time, I send them back out to try again and reset the timer.  I also like to do a check in on the carpet on how we are doing according to our anchor chart.  I ask them for a thumbs up or thumbs down for how they did as an individual.  For example, did you have books you could read?  Did you stay in your spot the entire time?  Were you reading the whole time?



I use this book, Conferring with Readers for ideas on conferencing.  Jen Serravallo teaches to stand back the first few days and kid watch during this time.  Make note of  who gets settled in right away and who struggles to start their books.  Maybe you have some students having difficulty choosing just right books (I always have some who struggle with this, don't you?).  Take the time to observe what is going on with your students.  These observations can them become mini lessons to help students or you can use this information when you being individual conferences.

Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

After we have learned about how to choose books, where to sit and the expectations of Read to Self, we begin building our reading stamina.  I have found students enjoy this a lot!  They like to beat their times!

Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

When building reading stamina, I like to start low so students can be successful.  Starting with success builds confidence.  But they will break stamina and not make it too.  Call them to your rug or meeting place in your room and talk about why it happened.  Then try again another day.  Students love the visualness of graphs so we color those in each time.  I like to have a record of whether we achieved our goal or not so I have a star for that!  You can find this chart for FREE in our Free Resource Library.  Sign up for our newsletter HERE to find it!

Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

If one of your goals is to get students reading at home (and who doesn't have that goal?), you can also find this reading stamina chart in our Free Resource Library.  Great way to encourage reading at home!  


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Creating Reading Goals with Growth Mindset

reading goals, growth mindset and the book Wolf

We've spent some time learning about what readers do before we begin guided reading groups.  One of my favorite ways to get started is to read Wolf! and set reading goals with growth mindset guiding us.  

reading goals, growth mindset, anchor charts, the book wolf

If you haven't read Wolf!  you need to!  It is perfect for teaching students not to give up on improving reading.  It is a fun story about a wolf who goes to the farm with the intention of eating the animals but by the end he has worked hard and has become "an educated animal" who is a good reader!  Check it out here for your classroom.

reading goals, growth mindset, anchor charts, the book Wolf!

After reading the book, I like to talk with students about how Wolf feels when reading got hard and then what action he took to make things better.  Great for building growth mindset with your class!

reading goals, growth mindset, anchor charts, the book Wolf!

We discuss all the things Wolf did each time he had difficulty and how it changed everything for him by the end of the story.

reading goals, growth mindset, anchor charts, the book Wolf!


We then write our individual reading goals to work on for this month.  Each student chooses a goal that is specific to them.  You can see reading goals, genre graph, books to be read, etc... by clicking here.

interactive reading notebooks, reading goals, growth mindset, the book Wolf

Goals and other graphs are kept in reading notebooks.  The tabbed sections make it easier to organize the 4 sections of learning: word work, comprehension, vocabulary, and reading progress.  Take a look at this notebook here.

reading goals, growth mindset, anchor charts, the book wolf

To go along with our growth mindset theme, you can get this banner and pennant set for free!  Click here to get it now!


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Make Managing Dyslexia Screenings Easier

laptop, coffee cup, dyslexia reports

Our state has mandated that we begin screening students kindergarten through 3rd grades for dyslexia this year.  And it is important to remember that we are screening for indicators, but we are NOT diagnosing dyslexia.  We needed to make managing dyslexia screening as easy as we could.  Our state department required several areas of skills that needed to be included when we screen.  Thankfully for us, we were already doing most of what they were asking for.  All we needed to do was add in a few elements and then be sure we screened all students in those grades for this first year.  

I did a lot of research into this and attending meetings to be sure we were on the right track and included all of the required components.


What Dyslexia is Not

One of the trainings I attended was a MARRE conference and I was able to attend a session by Linda Dorn.  It was a great session with a lot of information on dyslexia and what it is not.  

Managing Dyslexia Screenings to Make Assessments Easy and Affordable

I knew I didn't want to use a program for this.  I am not a program kind of person.  But I did need to make this screening affordable and as easy to manage as possible.  I already use ESGI software for my RTI screenings and am familiar with how to use it.  So using ESGI for dyslexia screenings was of course what I knew I would need for this too.  

We chose to use free screenings for the most part and I just entered them into ESGI.  Our screenings include PAST for phonemic awareness, Quick Phonics for phonics, letter identification and letter sounds assessments, Dolch sight word lists, and nonsense word lists.  These are all free and all you would need to do is type them into ESGI.  I enter yes or no if the child knows the word/answer or does not.  

This has saved me HOURS, not kidding, of my time!  By using ESGI, I do not have to make paper copies of all my kids, test them, then go back and score them.  I can assess them quickly and as I push yes or no, ESGI is scoring the assessments for me!  Now, there are a few screenings that we still administered with paper- spelling and writing.  I also did not use ESGI for the rapid naming assessment.  But all the others, I did and it was smooth and easy!

Managing Dyslexia Screenings to Make Assessments Easy and Affordable

All these screenings could have been a paperwork nightmare to score and try to create reports for each student.  But again, ESGI made it easy because they do that for you!  I can run reports for the least know letters for an entire class.  Or phonemic awareness for just one student.  If you look at the last report in the picture, a new feature of ESGI is plotting the progress of students.  We will be assessing students 3 times per year.  So by May each student will have 3 data plots of progress in their graphs!  So easy and I didn't have to be the one to do it!  I just pull it up and send to the printer.  

We have all of our screenings done now and I am using this data to help me reach students where they are at and who needs help in each area.  






Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade Classroom Tools

If you think ESGI might be what you are looking for to help save you time when assessing, click the picture above.  There are many more features to this software that I didn't even write about today.  Try it out  for 60 days and see!  I use it for dyslexia and RTI screenings.  Classroom teachers use it for grade level check off skills and so much more.  


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ABC Letter Recognition Activities That Work!

Letter Recognition and Letter Identification Activities

It's Back to School time and if you teach preschool, kindergarten or first grade, you are thinking about letter recognition and letter identification activities for your little students.  You need ABC activities that are fun and that really WORK!


Letter Recognition and Letter Identification Activities

There are a lot of different ideas and games for learning the ABCs.  These are just a few of them that we use.  The first several listed are hands-down some of the best ways to help students learn their letters!

Linking Charts for Letter Recognition and Letter Identification Activities

LINKING CHARTS
Reading an ABC Linking Chart, every single day, is one of the most beneficial ways to help students get those letters and letter names learned!  Read the charts during guided reading time or shared reading.  There are so many ways to use the linking charts:  
  • read it across
  • read it from the bottom
  • read each row backwards
  • take away the letters with just picture clues remaining
  • take away the picture clues
  • match magnetic letters
  • call out letters
  • call out sounds
As student get more confident and learn more letters, you can mix it up more.  This keeps it interesting too.  You can find the linking charts here.

Tracing Books for Letter Recognition and Letter Identification Activities

ABC TRACING BOOKS
Whenever I have a student that is simply struggling to learn the ABCs, I instruct them with tracing books.  Students trace each letter (capital and lower case) with the proper path of movement, say the letter and then picture cue:  trace capital A and say /A/, trace lower case a and say /a/, then say alligator.  This works best if you use letter books that match your linking chart.  You can also cut apart the letter cards to make letter matching games.  This works best if you can do this one on one with the student to ensure they are properly tracing the letters.  A para, parent volunteer, or even an older student provided that they are detail oriented for the path of movement can help with this.  Tracing the letters, saying the letter names and the pictures every single day makes a big difference in their learning! Find the tracing books here.

ABC Alphabet Books for Letter Recognition and Letter Identification Activities

ALPHABET BOOKS
Using Alphabet books are a fun way  to practice learning letters too.  After reading the book in whole group, set the book in a literacy center for students to read and match letters to the pages in the book.  Here are my favorite ABC books:

The Handmade Alphabet (different hands signing the abcs with a picture cue)

ABC Arc for Letter Recognition and Letter Identification Activities

ABC Arc
As you read alphabet books or if you place them in a center, have the letters formed above the book in an ABC Arc.  Students can pull down letters to match letters on the page.

Letter Sorts for Letter Recognition and Letter Identification Activities

LETTER SORTS
Letter sorting can be done in many ways.  Here are a few ideas:
  • letter attributes- curved, straight, both
  • sorting by colors
  • in my name & not in my name
  • vowels and consonants
  • tall, small, and fall


Pinch A Pom Pom for Letter Recognition and Letter Identification Activities

PINCH A POM POM
Fill a bucket with pom poms and magnetic letters.  Students reach in with a pair of tongs to try to pull out letters to match with their name card.  Teach letters and strengthen hand muscles at the same time!


Letter Toss Game for Letter Recognition and Letter Identification Activities

TOSS A LETTER
I use letter bean bags in a basket.  Students reach in the basket to pull out a bean bag- capitals on one side of the bag and lower case letter on the other side of the bean bag.  They decide if the letter is in their name or not and then toss it into the YES or NO bucket.  Kids love this game!  I use this ABC Bean Bag.



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Decoding Multisyllabic Words

Decoding Multisyllabic Words with phonics word work activities

We are headed quickly for Back to School!  Summer seems to go by faster every year, don't you think?  This year for one of my goals in reading as we start back to school, I want to work on fluency.  Word fluency and building automaticity in words and how to break them apart in phonics work is more specific for my goals.  

Be sure to read the entire post- there are links to free stuff and a TpT Gift Card Giveaway!!

Thinking Marks

 My overall goal for some of the students I will be working with this year is reading fluency.  But we will need to do some work in other areas to get us there.  One of those areas is word fluency and building automaticity.  Especially with multisyllabic words.  With the Bruce book above, some of my students would have difficulty reading "hibernate".  I need them to learn how to break that unknown word and to be able to do that quickly and efficiently while reading.  So we are going to have to get in some practice with this. Some of the the links below may be referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 

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Decoding Multisyllabic Words with phonics word work activities

One fun way to do this is with Word Triangles.  Students practice reading words broken into syllables to build word fluency, after having been taught about syllables and where to break the words apart.

Decoding Multisyllabic Words with phonics word work activities

After practicing how to break words apart, students need to practice reading the words in context.  Fluency is all about aiding comprehension, not just fluency in isolation.  The multisyllabic words can also build vocabulary when students use context clues from the sentence to understand the word's meaning.  

Decoding Multisyllabic Words with phonics word work activities


You can use these cards as a word work activity during guided reading or as a warm up activity to small groups in guided reading.  They also work great for literacy centers and for reading interventions.  


Decoding Multisyllabic Words with phonics word work activities

The cute little boxes that I use can be found here.  They are colored 4 X 6 photo boxes and are just the right size for many activities in my room!

Decoding Multisyllabic Words with phonics word work activitiesDecoding Multisyllabic Words with phonics word work activities

The Word Triangles and Sentence Comprehension cards are in 2, 3, 4, and 5 syllable words. 


Decoding Multisyllabic Words with phonics word work activities

You can also check out the bundle if you needed 2 through 5 syllable activities.  

Happy Back to School!!  But don't go yet...  Sign up below for our TpT Gift Card and 1 Decoding Multisyllabic Words set!


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Using Miniature Anchor Charts at the Guided Reading Table

Tips for Creating Miniature Guided Reading Anchor Charts

I've got some tips today for how to help students use miniature anchor charts at the guided reading table to strengthen and build upon their reading goals and skills they need to improve!

We all make anchor charts with our students for reading.  Sometimes, students need a quick reminder of the skills when they are at the guided reading table or we want student pairs to work together on skills covered in an anchor chart.  But full size anchor charts can be expensive, they are too big for the guided reading table, and sometimes it's a good idea for students to make their miniature anchor chart! Some of the the links below may be referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 

Use Different Sizes of Paper for Anchor Charts

Tips for Creating Miniature Guided Reading Anchor Charts

There are all kinds of chart papers you can use that are smaller in size and easier to manage at the guided reading table.  Some are useful for the teacher to sketch out part of an existing anchor chart that you see students need a quick reminder about.  Sketch pads with flip styles are great for this!

Phonics Anchor Chart for Decoding Skills

If you have done a phonics anchor chart for decoding words in a whole group lesson, but then see that one of your groups needs a reminder of this skill you can do a miniature chart at your guided reading table with a small flip chart type.

Tips for Creating Miniature Guided Reading Anchor Charts

This is a handy little chart pad that flips easily so you can go back to previous charts you've made at the table to recycle using them when needed! You can find these smaller spiral notebooks if you click here.

Have Students Work In Pairs to Create Anchor Charts

Tips for Creating Miniature Guided Reading Anchor Charts Problem and Solution

My students this year LOVED finding problems and solutions in the stories they were reading during independent reading time.  We did an anchor chart together, then they used their Independent Reading Tool Kits (read about that post here) to record the problems and solutions that they found when reading.  They used a LOT of Post It Notes.  A better solution is having the students, when reading in pairs, use a miniature sketch pad.

Tips for Creating Miniature Guided Reading Anchor Charts Problem and Solution

Get some cheap sketch pads for students to create anchor charts together rather than using your expensive full size chart paper.  Students can use one page for several ideas and the paper will last longer! You can find sketch pads like this one by clicking here.

Use Interactive Notebooks for Anchor Charts

Tips for Creating Miniature Guided Reading Anchor Charts in interactive reader's notebooks My Reading Goals

Have students record their Goals for Reading in their Interactive Reading Notebooks!  This helps students to take ownership of their goals and learning.  You can use different forms or students can design their own charts.



 Find & Use Cheap Pads of Paper


Tips for Creating Miniature Guided Reading Anchor Charts

When you find good deals on pads of list making paper, buy a few!  The cheaper the pads of paper the better since students use them up so quickly. Kids love these and you can find all kinds of them for pretty cheap.  Switching out to different kinds of designs will keep it interesting for the students too.  Once they create an anchor chart they can then glue it into their Interactive Reader's Notebook to refer back too.  No need for each student to have their own pad.  

Tips for Creating Miniature Guided Reading Anchor Charts

Have you ever bought your students those tiny spiral notebooks to jot thoughts about reading into?  They are small, cheap and fun for students to use.  They can be slipped into the front pocket of a binder if students use Interactive Notebooks.

Store Chart Pads in Small Containers at the Table

Tips for Creating Miniature Guided Reading Anchor Charts Storing Anchor Charts

Gather all the smaller pads and chart tablets, put them into a small plastic container with some markers and your miniature anchor chart station is ready to use!  Keep it on or close to your guided reading table so it is handy for you and your students. Using miniature anchor charts at the guided reading table enhances learning and can be very engaging for students!  


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Top 4 Must Read Books for Teachers

Teacher Book Stack Must Read Books for Teachers

Are you curious about what the top must read books are for teachers this summer?  I've got 4 great teacher book picks for you that will help you with your literacy instruction, organize your classroom library and promote books to students, develop reading fluency and help you with RTI reading interventions!  Wow, that is a lot of good stuff!

Teacher Book Stack Must Read Books for Teachers

I call it my Teacher Stack!  I choose a few books every summer to read and study with the hopes of improving my teaching and taking my students to the next level in their reading skills. Some of the the links below may be referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 

Teacher Book Stack Must Read Books for Teachers From Striving to Thriving


Teacher Book Stack Must Read Books for Teachers From Striving to Thriving

From Striving to Thriving is about growing confident, capable readers through experiences with appealing books.  This book has lots of great ideas on how to build engagement with books so students will increase the volume of reading.  There are many pictures as examples of how to design spaces in classrooms, examples of anchor charts, and ways to get kids excited about books by displaying, reading aloud and holding book talks!

I am excited to use the ideas in this book to get my students excited and to build life long readers by cultivating their curiosity and natural wonderings with highly engaging texts!
Teacher Book Stack Must Read Books for Teachers It's All About the Books


Teacher Book Stack Must Read Books for Teachers It's All About the Books

I feel like this book, It's All About the Books, will make a good companion to From Striving to Thriving.  This one gives you ideas on how to create bookrooms and classroom libraries to inspire your readers to read and love all kinds of books.  It will help you to support student choice in book selections and support instructional goals. 

I can't wait to put into place some of the ideas to take my classroom library to the next level for my students!  All the colorful pictures of classroom libraries and bookrooms are very helpful.


Teacher Book Stack Must Read Books for Teachers Reading Success for All Students


Teacher Book Stack Must Read Books for Teachers Reading Success for All Students

I learned about Reading Success for All Students during a conference on dyslexia.  Our state is rolling out some new mandates on how to screen and help students who have the markers of possibly having dyslexia.  There are all kinds of  word lists that could be used for RTI assessments.  How to use the assessments, how the skills correlate to the common core, ideas for teaching, etc... are included. 

This book will be getting a lot of use for our RTI interventions.  I like all the different assessments included and ideas for helping students who are still struggling with the skills.

Teacher Book Stack Must Read Books for Teachers The Megabook of Fluency


Teacher Book Stack Must Read Books for Teachers The Megabook of Fluency

I have been so excited about this book, The Megabook of Fluency, since I saw that Timothy Rasinski had come out with another fluency book.  Rasinski is the guru of fluency and his ideas really work.  This latest book of his not only includes all these ideas, but it also includes how to use the ideas AND it includes different kinds of texts to use with the ideas!  No hunting down texts to use- he has included it in the book.

This book will get a lot of use with my reading interventions groups along with my guided reading small groups.  Lots of great ideas that could be used for shared reading.


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