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Mush Mush Readers

Everyone knows how much I love books. I love writing stories, reading for pleasure or to gain knowledge and of course, reading to and with my readers. I get so excited when I stumble across new books. Today I wanted to share with you all about a new favorite set of mine that is perfect for early readers: Mush Mush Sight Word Readers.

These stories are written by author, Joanna Merideth, a former teacher who has a huge passion for getting books into the hands of readers. She wrote these stories with her students in mind, knowing how hard it is to find great books for those early readers. She focuses on making engaging stories that are readable for those readers, concentrating on sight words. As we all know, the more resources we have to practice sight words, the better. These books are especially fantastic since they give those early readers a chance to read the sight words in context! I can't stress enough the importance of readers seeing things in context, rather than just alone on a card. In context means they are understanding the meaning and use of the words at the same time. Yay!

You can check out more about these fabulous books here! I highly recommend them for your early readers or any readers who struggle with recognizing basic sight words. These texts will have your readers recognizing these sight words in no time. I love this set of books for your earliest guided reading groups who are reading at Level Pre A or Level A. Take a closer look at the books below!

The first book in the set introduces readers to Mush Mush, the beloved cat. It's a perfect way to get readers excited about these stories.

These books are so colorful, readers are instantly interested in reading them. They also stay engaged while reading the entire text as they flip each page to see the new illustrations and repetitive text.

Just a few reasons you want these books in the hands of your readers!

 Let's look even closer:

Those early readers greatly benefit from pointing at each word to help them recognize words and not skip any. The little paw prints under each word make tracking simple for readers!

Having an image above challenging words is super helpful when decoding is too challenging based on a reader's current stage.

Isn't it the best when you already have questions and activities ready for your readers?? These questions and activity idea will help you always feel prepared!

Simply checking the back of the book will let you know what sight words are focused on in each story. Perfect way to know which words to introduce or review during word work.

Have a great day!

Literacy Ideas for February

I know this month is halfway over, but I wanted to provide just a few literacy ideas that are perfect for February, winter or I guess any time really! I've posted about these on Facebook and Instagram already, but figured I'd throw a post together for our blog, too.

Winter drags on here in Chicagoland (though we've had a mild one so far), so keeping kids excited about learning is extra helpful in the winter months. I try to add in fun little activities to guided reading groups to keep the engagement up. Here are two quick videos explaining the word work ideas that help make the winter months better for teachers and readers.

One other idea that seems perfect for February with all the hearts, but truly is engaging for readers at any time of year...Have you seen these fun emoji felt stickers for just $1 in Target's Bullseye's Playground (aka The Dollar Spot)?? These are perfect for an engaging reading response activity. After students read their text in guided reading, they can each select an emoji which best represents their feelings toward the text. During the follow up discussion of the text, readers can then share, with specific evidence from the text, why they chose the emoji. These can also be used to describe characters from the text- happy, silly, cool, etc. Only thing you really need to do is introduce the emojis beforehand and come up with meanings for each emoji as a group. Or, readers can individually decide what each emoji means to them!

Have a great day!

Multicultural Children's Book Day: January 27th

January 27th is Multicultural Children's Book Day! I'm here to share with you one very meaningful book that is a great resource for any classroom.

Book info:
Title: Daddy, There's a Noise Outside
Author: Kenneth Braswell
Illustrator: Joe Dent and Julie Anderson
Publisher: Father's Incorporated

This book is written in a dialogue format which is very engaging for young readers. It is a quick, important book to read and appropriate for elementary students, and even middle school students. It is great for a read aloud when discussing the very serious topic of protesting and racism. The author geared it toward explaining protesting to primary students and I think it is a great way to begin a discussion with your little readers. Depending on where you teach, your students may be dealing with some very heavy issues related to race. This book is well written and explains what the outside noise is all about (protestors). This text provides information about protests in a simple to understand manner for kids. It will help calm your students who may have anxiety about such things. Even if you don't live in an area directly involved with protests, this book still is a useful resource to help inform your students about things they may have heard about on the news/from their parents, etc. 

After reading the text, it is important to continue a meaningful discussion with your students on the topic. Encourage your students to share their thoughts and any experience they may have with the topic. Sometimes all kids need is a book and caring adult to help them open up about their fears. I encourage you to check the book out!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.  

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that. 

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

MCBD Links to remember:
MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta 
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

One last thing: Grab a free Kindness Classroom Kit to help spread kindness!

Have a great day!


Ideas for Teaching Comprehension

Do you still have some little readers who just can't seem to comprehend much while they read? Actually paying attention to the story and understanding it doesn't come easy to all readers. It doesn't matter if a story is read to them or if they are reading on their own. Comprehension can be a true challenge! I made a short video with a few ideas that you can try out right away to get all your readers to improve their comprehension. The ideas provided are perfect for the winter months, but really, the ideas can be applied year round with any theme!

Also, you'll see this freebie referenced in the video. It's a set of passages with a winter theme that are perfect for focusing on simple comprehension questions. You can read the story to your readers or have them read on their own. The same can be done for the questions- discuss them together first, then have them write the answers by copying information from the text. Or, if they are capable, let your readers independently answer the questions and then as a follow up, discuss the story with you. You can grab this freebie by clicking here!

I also have a set of comprehension stories that can be used year round that I mentioned in the video as well. Check out the set of comprehension stories here!

Have a great day!

Post It Notes in Guided Reading Groups

One thing I always have in my guided reading baskets is a whole bunch of post it notes. I use all sorts of post it notes- regular size, mini tabs and the giant ones that are the same size as a piece of paper. Including a variety of post it notes at my fingertips allows for more engagement with reading response- it keeps my readers from getting bored or too used to the same type of responses each day!

Not too much to read today in this post-- instead, I created a video where I explain a few different ways to use post it notes in your guided reading groups- check it out below! 

Getting to Know You

I posted this freebie a long time ago, but I never really blogged about it, so I'm doing that today...hopefully just in time as everyone heads back to school!

I love using QR codes as a way to both practice literacy skills and engage my little readers. Since I know how engaged my little readers become when the iPads and QR codes come out, I created this fun little "getting to know you" activity that is perfect for the beginning of the school year. 

All you need is something that can scan a QR code- iPad, phone, computer. The QR code gets scanned and question is revealed. The questions all relate to the child specifically and provide new information about that student. Students then write their responses to each question (if they are incoming kindergartners, then I recommend just discussing their answers). After the QR codes have all been scanned, students can share out their answers to the entire group or to a partner. Students will quickly see who they have things in common with in their new class!

This activity won't take super long, but it's a new way for students to get to know a little about each other! There are 10 question cards that you (or your students) can scan and respond to either on the recording sheet or out loud to the group/a partner. You can grab the freebie here!

Have a great day!


GRo: Guided Reading App

I love new technology...I also love being organized, guided reading and all things that keep me on track to make my readers as successful as possible.  I am thrilled to share this amazing Guided Reading app with you that was created by a teacher who also loves all these things that I listed! The GRo app allows you to make the most of your guided reading time by keeping you prepared for all your groups in one easy format!

I was so excited when Amanda Duke, the creator, reached out to me. The minute I began testing out the app, I knew it was amazing! If you know me, you know I'm a huge fan of Evernote and that I've used it for guided reading student notes. However- this new app covers everything possible I'd want to get down in one spot for my guided reading group! No need to use Evernote any longer for managing student data in regard to guided reading groups..of course I still use it daily for everything else in my life... :)

Amanda created the app (with her hubby!) because she realized there was no app out there that met the needs of what she was looking for in regard to staying organized for guided reading groups and with student data. When you begin using the app, you can immediately tell that it was created by a teacher who knows guided reading and does guided reading well!

The app is incredibly user-friendly. It truly is an amazing reference tool that you'll constantly be going back to both for teaching your guided reading groups and for follow up meetings about students. Here's a closer look at the app and definitely check out the website as well to get more information! One of my favorites, Alison, over at Learning at the Primary Pond also wrote up a wonderful post all about this app- check it out for even more detailed info!You can download this amazing guided reading app from the app store here!

Have a great day!

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