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Category Archives: Reading

Teaching About Nonfiction Text

We were learning about the features of nonfiction text. We put these flip books in our interactive notebook. It was free at the TPT store. Check it out here.

After this, we took iPads to the library, took pictures of different features and the students made a shadow puppet, emailing the final product to me.
Check out this one (see if you can find the one misake):

Early Intervention I Enjoy

I purchased the Letterland program some time ago and never really had a chance to dive into it. This year I am trying it with some kindergarten students that need review of the letters. I am really enjoying it!
Each letter becomes a character. Like “b” is Bouncy Ben and “c” is Clever Cat. There is a story book introducing the letters – we read one page each day. I have playing cards, magnets, dice I made, and now flash cards I made. We play “Go Fish”, memory, read the words on a game board (game board made by me to fit the cards), put-the-magnets-in-order, the list goes on…It has been such a blessing to watch these students learn the sounds and put them together! I would recommend this for parents that want to review with their children!



Pre-teaching Vocabulary

Working on pre-reading (is that the right word?) strategies I thought I was pretty clever today. I had the vocabulary on cards:

20130919-193754.jpgthen made up QR Codes that students could scan with their iPod or iPad and be taken directly to websites.

One website was a YouTube video of harpsichord playing, another had a definition of the harpsichord, and the third had a YouTube video of Mozart’s music. Pretty cool, right?

Well, students were told that it is a good strategy to ask yourself questions before reading so that their mind is “in gear” and ready for the topic. I asked them to write some questions.

20130919-194418.jpg The first question I got:

Do only old people listen to this music?


Click here for a copy of the Before Reading Poster.

A Helpful Resource

Heard of AERO? It stands for “Alternative Educational Resources Ontario”. I received, on loan, for free, 9 books on CD and download. Students will use the digital book, along with the hard copy, to complete age appropriate book reports, etc. and hopefully cultivate a love of books! I used two last year and they were such a hit that I am really excited about my growing digital library!

I think people underestimate the benefits of digital books. Books experienced this way not only develop a love of books but also increase vocabulary, build comprehension skills, increase empathy for different characters and help the listener understand story structure.

So True!


I have a sick ten year old today so I took the opportunity to read a book to him that I love but he would not choose on his own: Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat.

seen on Facebook today, sorry, no source

Re: Time

There is a time for everything under the sun. King Solomon said that. Summer is time to recharge and rejuvenate. Although I know they need a break, I long for my students to review. I fear the backslide after they have worked so hard to get to where they are.
Three suggestions for summer review:

1. Do it regularly so that it becomes “no big deal”, just part of the daily routine.

2. Review should be at a level that it can be done independently. You, the parent, are the enforcer, making sure it happens, but kids should be able to do it without you. In my house a math page and a French activity must be done before screen time. Since my kids want screen time, they make sure to get their work done.

3. Give your kids the option of just going to bed OR going to bed and reading for twenty minutes. Kids will say, “Can I just go to bed later?” You say, “No, you can go to bed now with reading or without, but you go to bed now”. My reluctant reader always chose reading in this scenario! Soon he was into a book and was seen picking it up during the day too!

I am looking forward to renewing my focus and reflecting on my year. I hope my students take time to remember their achievements and solidify their learning.

Fluency Comes From Interesting Places

My son had a difficult start with reading. He got extra help at school (we love you Mrs. L.). When he “graduated” from the remedial group he was kind of sad because it had been so much fun and so rewarding. That’s when we bought our son his first superhero encyclopedia. He read it, and read it, and read it, and ….. He now has more encyclopedias and they are held together by duct tape. He is reading words like “pyrokinetic” and “intergalactic”.

20130608-185408.jpg                       20130608-190446.jpg                        20130608-190405.jpg
Repeated reading builds fluency. This summer, it is important for parents to know that when it comes to helping your child read more quickly and more smoothly it is the quantity of reading that counts more than the quality. I hear some parents that want to “push” their children to read more challenging books but if fluency is your target, aim for books that are at your child’s independent reading level and encourage them to read it again and again.


Teaching Expression

Our mini lesson for reading today was about expression. My students seem to have mastered expression when they tell a story so today our focus was on adding expression when they read a story. I told my students about the time when I read Stone Fox to my grade two class and I started to cry – I got so caught up in the expression. I told my students about the time I read Are You My Mother? to my then two-year old and he started to cry when the little bird cries out “I want my mother!”

I tried to emphasize that your expression draws people into what you are saying.
I also wanted to emphasize expression because adding expression will increase students’ understanding as they read.
I have attached our poster Reading with Expression.


Re-reading for Fluency

A focus this week: fluency and sight words. A big part of this is re-reading. Sometimes I find that a challenge, especially with older children. Our project this week was using a sight words story from I made a computer file for each student that divided the story into four parts. Over a few […]

Teach Off The Wall


I love the idea of teaching off the wall. This bulletin board serves several purposes:

1. It illustrates to students that math is many different things (I point that out when a student says, “I am no good at math!” I can show them that there are areas that they find difficult and areas they are good at.)

2. It provides review (I make flaps to hide and then show answers. The chart on the right uses paper clips to hold cards in place so they can be added with different lessons.)

3. It is an anchor chart.

4. It reminds ME of things we’ve done so I can point out connections and do regular review.

I maybe use this bulletin board too much. I keep adding things. Every time I find something cool I want to add it. Fibinocci is pictured on the left – my students can’t believe someone would spend all his time thinking about math!

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