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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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End of the School Year Activities

End of the Year Student Gifts and Activities

I know there are a lot of you teachers still in school and are looking for some fun end of the year activities and summer time ideas.  We've got some great ways to end your year and send your students off into summer! And a cute end  of the year student gift idea too!

End of the Year Student Gifts, activities and book list

One sure way to get students thinking about the end of the school year of course is by reading great books!  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. Here are some fun titles to add to your collection:



End of the Year activities, ideas and student gifts

Instead of a traditional memory book have students make a flip book to record their memories of the year!  It's fun and easy and makes a great writing activity. Find this flip book here.


End of the Year Student Gifts, activities and ideas

If you are searching for a fun end of the year gift for your students grab some sunglasses like these, print the I Am A Reader tags and attach the tags to the glasses.  Super easy and kids love sunglasses!  These free tags are a part of our newsletter that you can find here.  You can find sunglasses similar to these here.

Summer Bucket List Writing Activity

For those of you still in school or if you teach summer school these ideas are for you!

Happily Ever Elementary posted this bulletin board photo on Instagram last year of our Summer Bucket List writing activity and craft.  Isn't it super cute?  Be sure to follow @happilyeverelementary to see more of their ideas!  You can find this activity here.

End of the Year and Summer Time activities and ideas

Along with the End of the Year Memories flip book, you also get the Summer Time flip book.  It's another great writing idea for students to plan ahead for what they would like to do this summer and can be found here.

I hope these fun end of the year and summer time ideas and activities help you as you head into the last days before your break!



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All For Mother's Day

Mother's Day book, activities and ideas

Have you gathered all your books for celebrating Mother's Day?  These books make a great collection for read alouds and for using to create anchor charts about moms.

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.

Mother's Day activities and ideas

I love this Mother's Day Quote from Abraham Lincoln!  

Mother's Day books, activities and ideas

I especially love A Chair For My Mother for Mother's Day.  If you haven't read it, it tells about the sacrifice a mother makes for her family by working hard after a fire to save up for a chair.  


Another fun, entertaining book that you might not think of for Mother's Day is Mother Bruce!  It just shows that you don't have to be someones "real" mom to be a mom!  Love, love it!


Mother's Day activities and ideas

It's fun to make anchor charts about moms and how kids see them in their lives!


Mother's Day flip book, activities, and ideas

After reading your Mother's Day books, students can do a fun writing activity with these Mother's Day flip books!  

Mother's Day flip book, activities and ideas

These flip books can be used with the superhero toppers or without them.  

Mother's Day flip book, activities and ideas

When using the toppers, the flip books make a super cute display for your room!


Mother's Day flip book, activities and ideas

The Father's Day flip book is also included so Dad is not left out!

Mother's Day flip book, activities and ideas





Reading Comprehension Strategies


Comprehension strategies can be fun!  Adding in Thinking Marks helps reading comprehension activities become a lot more engaging, especially when students get to use sticky notes!  My students just love using Post It notes during guided reading.  Or anytime really!

Reading Comprehension Strategies using Thinking Marks

I like to help students be more intentional with their comprehension as they read.  Using thinking marks anchor charts and bookmarks helps them to achieve this.  

If you have signed up for our newsletter, you will find these bookmarks in your free resource file.  Yay!  If you have not signed up yet, you can get them right here!  

Reading Comprehension Strategies using Thinking Marks

The thinking marks anchor charts are included in the My Reader's Notebook.  This interactive reader's notebook can be found here.

Reading Comprehension Strategies using Thinking Marks

At first, students seem to use use the heart, or favorite part, of the story a lot.  But they soon move into using the other thinking marks.  I am always amazed when they use the ? or confusing part mark to get help on words or parts that they didn't understand.  It is powerful to have other students in the group help each other when someone has used this mark.


Reading Comprehension Strategies using Thinking Marks

Nonfiction texts always seem to get a lot of surprising marks!  I guess we all like fun facts that we didn't already know!

Reading Comprehension Strategies using Thinking Marks

A couple of my groups are so engaged when they are using the I agree because... or I disagree because...  They love to try to prove their points!

Reading Comprehension Strategies using free Thinking Marks bookmarks

If you are looking for ways to get students to use text based evidence thinking marks and the I agree/disagree posters are the way to do it in a fun way!  

Reading Comprehension Strategies using free Thinking Marks bookmarks

As soon as I ask students if anyone marked a surprising part or important part or any of the others, students immediately go to their book, open it and find that section.  That is exactly what I am wanting...students getting back into the text to prove their thinking!

Reading Comprehension Strategies using Thinking Marks







Reading Comprehension Let's Roll

Reading Comprehension Questions for Deeper Conversations about Text

We have the most fun and the deepest reading comprehension conversations when we are using these differentiated learning cubes!  Actually, we use them in lots of different ways in the classroom, but reading comprehension questions have really been a fun way to get students to having deeper discussions about texts they have read. 

Reading Comprehension Questions for Deeper Conversations about Text

 Some of my reading groups are reading fiction and some are reading informational texts.  I was looking for a way to up the engagement for comprehension discussions and a way to take their discussions to a deeper level.  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.

Reading Comprehension Questions for Deeper Conversations about Text

I have these differentiated learning cubes and already knew the students enjoy working with them.  

Reading Comprehension Questions for Deeper Conversations about Text

So we used the cubes for comprehension questions too.  I chose questions that would fit the particular text they were reading and the conversations just took off!  Using the reading comprehension question cards made a big difference in the students excitement to talk about the books!  

Reading Comprehension Questions for Deeper Conversations about Text

Besides having all those reading comprehension questions for informational text, I have 60 cards for fiction text too!  There are so many ways to use the cards:
  • guided reading small groups
  • literacy centers
  • reading interventions
  • Scoot
  • discussion circles
You could have 2 packs of cubes, load them up with the appropriate cards and have 6 different discussion circles going.  These areas could all have the same text with different questions or different texts all the students have read.  Then students could rotate to the different areas after a timer goes off.  Really, the possibilities are almost endless in how you could use them!

Reading Comprehension Questions for Deeper Conversations about Text

Using the I agree because... and the I disagree because discussion stems helped students have more meaningful conversations with their peers!  They were not allowed to interrupt as a student was answering their card after having tossed the cube to see what would be their question.  But after the question was answered, students had wonderful discussions about why they disagreed or agreed.  The conversations were at a much higher level than any other time.  Several were discussing how they were going to go home and look up a particular point they had discussed to see who was correct in their thinking!  WIN!!

Reading Comprehension Questions for Deeper Conversations about Text

The cubes come in a pack of three and are soft. This means no noise of cubes banging around on desks or floors!

Reading Comprehension Questions for Deeper Conversations about Text

Each cube has a plastic pocket where you can slide cards into them.  You can find these reading comprehension question cards- Let's Roll!- here.


Reading Comprehension Questions for Deeper Conversations about Text


Reading Comprehension Questions for Deeper Conversations about Text

You can find my other ideas and ways of using these cubes by clicking here.  So many ways to use them for letter identification and phonics skills too.


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Family Literacy Night Activities It's A Lawn Party!

Family Literacy Night Ideas and Activities for Lawn Party

Family Literacy Nights are so much fun!  The secret to having successful family nights for us is to have lots of games, good activities, free food, and lots of fun!

Family Literacy Night Ideas and Activities for Lawn Party

This year our theme (we always pick a theme- do you?) was It's A Lawn Party.  We chose games and activities families might do if they were at someone's yard party.  But we held it in the gym in case it rains.  Like it did.  And almost always does!  Some of the the links below are referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Family Literacy Night Ideas and Activities for Lawn Party

We greet our families with a welcome table.  Here is where families sign in, pick up a treat bag for each child and a Family Night Passport.

Family Literacy Night Ideas and Activities for Lawn Party

The passports this year looked like this.  I like to have a passport to help families move around to the different activities.  That way they have a chance to visit all of the areas and games.

Family Literacy Night Ideas and Activities for Lawn Party

We decorate the doors going  in to the gym too.  This is a piece of one of the doors with lawn signs.

Family Literacy Night Ideas and Activities for Lawn Party

The treat bags had a piece of candy, pencil, a couple of games and a pack of cards for playing math games at home.  Each child receives a bag as soon as they come in.

Family Literacy Night Ideas and Activities for Lawn Party

One of the stations in the Parent Survey.  We are required by state to have parents fill out a survey on our Title program.  We offer this survey on computers and on paper pencil to parents.

Family Literacy Night Ideas and Activities for Lawn Party, Bingo for Books

One of our most popular games of all time is the Bingo table.  We have a long cafeteria table covered with a decorative tablecloth, place Bingo cards and Bingo chips at each spot so families can just sit down and start playing at anytime.  When they win they go to another table and choose a free book to keep.  We have free food and free books at every family night.  The food brings the families in and we get to put free books into the children's hands to take home.  Win, win!

Family Literacy Night Ideas and Activities for Lawn Party

The other popular game for the night was Corn Hole.  It was a definite hit!  Be sure to have workers stationed here so it doesn't get too wild!  We played it differently than normal.  I didn't face the boards to each other.  I was afraid bean bags would be flying through the air towards people eating!  We placed them up by walls and that helped a lot.

Family Literacy Night Ideas and Activities for Lawn Party

Besides having yard and board games to play, we also had a drawing.  We give away books from the book fair and lots of yard games that went with our theme.  You can check out the games by clicking the links below.  It's all about getting families together and having fun!

Lawn Games:

Board Games:

You can also find our Family Literacy Night Scavenger Hunt activity here.

And our Family Literacy Night Pirate themed Scavenger Hunt activity here.




Free Resources