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March Literacy Freebies

Every year when March 1st hits, I also want spring to immediately be here, but that rarely actually happens by us! Regardless of the cold temps outside, I still like to "think" spring. I wanted to share some freebies that are perfect for this month as we approach spring.

This month's chart makes me extra happy because of all the color! I used silent e words on this chart to show that you can focus on other skills besides sight words. Phonics patterns work well with this format, just like sight words. Starting this at the beginning of the month helps readers focus on the words the rest of the month- it's a great way to introduce the words. Check out the full video showing how to do this here!

The basics-
Teacher: Rainbow, rainbow, what do you see?
Students: I see readers looking at me!

Then point to the words and have readers read each word. Once you've done this together as a group a few times, set this up as a center for the month, where each student gets a chance to be the leader!

The follow up page is always helpful for getting readers to really focus on sight words/word patterns throughout the month. Each reader can complete their own page at the beginning of the month and then practice reading the words at home or at school, during independent time. Grab this freebie here!

Keeping up with the rainbow theme, this is a simple extension activity from the chart. If you're focusing on a phonics pattern vs sight words, you can use rainbow erasers for this activity, if you happened to have snagged these from Target a year or so ago (otherwise, other ones will do just fine!). Readers will identify the phonics pattern you're focusing on within the chart by placing the rainbow eraser above the letter. In this case, readers will cover the silent e and underline the vowel that is making a long sound in each word.

You can use the erasers in an extension activity if you use sight words on the chart, too! This activity works well with a partner or small group. Lay out words that readers are still working on in front of each student. Then say a word and have them put the eraser on the matching word. To put the erasers back, have each reader choose a word in front of them, remove the eraser and state the word. This way they're practicing hearing/finding the word AND identifying it on their own.

St Patty's Day is coming! This freebie is great for extra practice with short and long vowel sounds (silent e). You can use letter tiles or dry erase markers if you put these in a plastic page for repeated use. They make a great literacy center or quick word work activity for the beginning of guided reading groups in the month of March. Grab these free pages here!

If you're looking for more spring themed resources, check out my Spring Guided Reading Passages for Levels A-M and my Spring Close Reading Passages for Kindergarten and 1st Grade!

This video shows one of my Level A Spring GR Passage in depth- check it out below!

Happy Reading!

5 Phonics Word Work Ideas

I'm a big believer in getting kids engaged to keep them learning! Phonics/word work activities can become a little dull for readers as they're simply repeating the same thing over and over again. One way to keep word work exciting is to use a mix of tools and activities. I wanted to share 5 different word work activities that you can use with any variety of phonics focused skills. After each activity, I included a video to show you the activity, in case you're a visual learner!

1. Readers Repeat! For this activity you will state a simple word that you expect readers to be capable of writing. You can also show a picture of the image, if you have one. (This is especially helpful for ELL or visual learners.) Then you will have readers repeat the word, clap out the sounds and then write/make the word. I used a magnet strip and magnetic letters, but this can easily be done on a whiteboard or within a journal, if you don't have magnetic letters. 

2. Letter Boxes- Zoom! You will use letter boxes with the appropriate amount of letters for the words you are doing with your readers. Readers will be making words with different phonics patterns that match up to words in their text of the day. You can state the word and then have readers make the word within the letter boxes. Next step is to use a car to zoom through the word- while moving the car along the word, readers will state each sound and then read the entire word.

 3. Switch It Up! You will begin with one simple word. That word will then have letters added to it or taken away until you get back to the original word. These words should be ones that your readers can write and decode successfully to keep the activity going, rather than making it too challenging. Each time a new word is stated, readers will write it down and then share what is different from the previous word. When all done with not more than 10 words, readers can go through and read the entire list of words written. If done on a whiteboard, you can have readers underline the letter that changes each time.

4. Search and Find! Tell readers a word that you want them to write down. Do 2-3 words, all which come directly from their text, following a specific phonics pattern. Then have readers use a different color marker to identify the phonics pattern, in this example, blends. Next, have readers find these words in their texts. They can use some sort of fun eraser, for example, to point out the words in the text. 

5. Sticky Note Reading! Prior to the group coming to the table, write a few words from the text on a sticky note. Place that sticky note on the front of the text. Have each reader silently read the words on their sticky note. While each reader is practicing their words, lean in to each reader individually, asking them to whisper read their words. Readers then need to find their words within their text. They can mark which page they found each word, on their sticky note. When everyone has finished, have each reader share one word with the group from their sticky note, that they can confidently read.

I wanted to throw in a little something about phonemic awareness too, since they go hand in hand when readers are learning how to read. Phonemic awareness can become even more repetitive than phonics word work. One thing you can do to keep it excited is to use a variety of tools when readers are repeating the sounds to make a word or when breaking down a word into sounds. Simply having a different manipulative for each day/week keeps readers engaged!

Happy Reading!

February Literacy Freebies

Happy February! I hope your month is off to a good start, after a long January!

Since it's a new month- time to switch out the sight word chart! You can list words your readers are working on right on the chart.

You'll say: Valentine, Valentine, What do you see?
Students reply: I see readers looking at me!

Then you'll point to the words, and readers will read each word. This then makes the perfect center. Each student can have a chance to be the leader and reader- especially when including fun pointers and glasses for fluent word reading practice. Then readers can list the words they want to work practice on their own sheet. You can send the recording sheet home or keep it at their desk/guided reading table for daily practice! Grab the free recording page here! If you want to watch the video to set it all up, you can watch that and grab the freebie here.

These mailboxes were back at Target this year and they make introducing words for the week so exciting! You can put a few sight words in the mailbox to pull out during morning meetings, guided reading groups or another time of day. It's wonderful to assign a student helper who gets to open the mailbox and pull out the words for the week. You can then place the words back in, after reviewing them, to go over each day for the week. It's a great way to really concentrate on just a few words. This goes along well with the freebie above because you can just put the same words in the mailbox to pull out throughout the month of February. *If done in guided reading groups, you can just change out the words in the mailbox for each group, for differentiation.

It's extra engaging to switch out graphic organizers each month to keep kids excited about responding to reading. These graphic organizers are perfect for February, with a focus on a character readers LOVE from their books. Grab these free graphic organizers here!

Happy Reading!

Non Fiction Fluency

Non fiction is a huge part of our daily lives, especially as adults. It's important to prepare students for being able to read and comprehend non fiction, from an early age. Kids LOVE learning from non fiction text, so we may as well keep exposing them to it. This can be done in read alouds and through their own reading. Guided reading is a great time to focus on non fiction. I have non fiction passages for Levels Pre A-V that you can check out here. This is a great way to introduce non fiction text features and difficult vocabulary. Readers can also work on improving their ability to read non fiction through fluency folders. These work great in a small group center, partner activity or with an adult helper in your room. They can even be sent home for extra practice! I recently wrote new non fiction passages with a focus on fluency, for Levels A-V. Each passage also comes with written comprehension questions so that the student is not only working on fluency with non fiction, but also working on improving their comprehension of informational text. Take a closer look at my Non Fiction Fluency Passages below and here for Levels A-V, Kindergarten-5th Grade!

Fluency folders are a huge hit with readers. They took ownership of their own folders and love competing against themselves, trying to beat their previous score. 

Each passage includes a colorful version (that I recommend keeping all your copies of in a binder) and then a student version that stays in their folder. This one is for you to mark up and score each reading. Students can then use this copy to practice in between formal readings with you. They also do a quick self evaluation, marking off how their fluency was during their reading. When they've completed their three readings, they can make a goal for the following passage, in regard to fluency.

The comprehension piece can also go in their fluency folder. It's great to complete once the three readings are done because the reader will likely have gotten the furthest along with the final reading.

These questions can also get asked verbally if you want a quick check of their comprehension. I provide a list of all the questions at the beginning of the pack, on one page, for your reference. Tracking sheets are also included. You can copy one for each student and keep it in your own binder. Then after each reading, you mark down their score. You can also mark down their completion of the comprehension questions, to refer back to later on. These tracking sheets are super helpful at RTI meetings or any team meetings where student progress is discussed.

If using in a fluency center, I recommend including other tools to keep the readers engaged while they're practicing! Fun pencils and markers for comprehension questions always work well. These little glasses from the party section at Target also make kids excited to read fluently. If you have a fun timer that you allow your kids to use, throw that into the bin too. Readers can set the timer for a minute and see how far they get!

If you haven't done a fluency center in your room yet, I highly recommend it! These are also super helpful in getting kids to improve their scores on fluency benchmark assessments or progress monitoring, if you do those. Grab my Non Fiction Fluency Passages here for Levels A-V, Kindergarten-5th Grade!

Happy Reading!

I See Readers Looking At Me: Engaging Word Work Activity

Here's an idea that will help your readers become engaged during word work activities. This activity is perfect for Guided Reading, Morning Meeting or a center/partner activity. The best part is, once you set it up and show readers how the routine works, you'll be set for the year!

All you have to do is create this chart and then walk students through it.
You say: Teacher, Teacher, What do you see?
Then students reply: I see readers looking at me!
Next, you point to each word as students read them.
Once you've done it together as a group, it can be set up in a center or partner activity. For the center or partner activity, one student is the leader who gets to use the fun pointers! Then the rest of the students can use some sort of fun "reading glasses" or other engaging tool as they read the words. Students can switch roles so everyone gets the chance to be a leader and reader!
This activity is great for practicing sight words, letter names/sounds and special phonics patterns. I have a different theme for each month so you can simply create a new chart each month! 

I also created follow up pages for students to complete so they can practice the words all month long. You can send this home or simply have them keep it at school to practice whenever they get a chance! 

I created a video to show you how to set it all up. You can download these free student pages and watch the video here!

Here's a very quick video too which shows how to use the chart: 
(This is also part of the slightly longer video linked above!)

Happy Reading!

Word Work Idea: Figuring Out Challenging Words in Context

I'm a big believer in readers seeing words in context to help them become better readers. By focusing on figuring out challenging words within text, students improve their abilities as readers.

Here's a word work idea that you can implement during Guided Reading groups, small group time, whole group- really, whenever you have time to squeeze it in! The purpose is for students to see and identify words with different patterns/endings, etc in context.

I compiled a small collection of stories that address a wide variety of word patterns. I made student pages of each passage that you can grab for free below!

 You can write the passage on a board/project on a SmartBoard. Explain which types of words your students are looking for while reading today. Then read it to your students, with your students or have them read it to you. After reading, go through and mark up the passage, identifying the various focus words. I recommend using a variety of colors and designs (circling, underlining, squiggle line, etc) for each type of word that is being found. Then follow up by making a list that fit in each category of words.

Students can then mark up their own copy of the passage as well, using highlighters, fun markers or crayons. They will also write a list of words below the passage that match each category. By seeing the types of words repeatedly, when they are reading on their own, they're more likely to recognize those patterns in words. This will then lead to them being more successful in figuring the words out!

You can download these passages for free here!

Happy Reading!

Going Digital with Guided Reading

I remember being so excited when the school I was working at a few years ago decided to go 1:1. I love technology and was looking forward to implementing it into my intervention groups. My students had both iPads and Macbooks, depending on the grade level. Sure there was a learning curve at first, but it was such a great experience! I ended up trying so many new activities with my group where their devices were used for engagement. From creating projects to using QR codes, we did a whole lot!

After realizing just how effective the inclusion of a device could be, I decided to make my Guided Reading Passages into a digital format. The purpose of doing this was to make even guided reading groups fully digital! I knew Google Classroom was the perfect format for it since it allowed the lessons to be super interactive in a user friendly way. If you're trying to do more completely paperless activities, these passages packs are perfect for you!

These digital passages work well on an iPad or computer. All you need is a free Google account and access to the Internet at your school. Once you have your free Google account, you can set up Google Classroom and then use these within Google Slides. You then simply share the file out to each of your students, so they each have their own copy to work with as they read the passages and complete their comprehension activities. (I include very specific instructions with screenshots within the file to help you get it all set up!)

Take a quick look at all that's included and how it all works in this short preview video:

Both you and your students will access everything right from your devices! The passages can be read (in presentation mode) while the interactive comprehension activities can be completed in the non-presentation format. As students are reading their passages, the stories appear in a book-like format. They tap the screen to "turn" the pages of their book. The comprehension portions for each passage include moving around words/phrases/sentences and typing in text boxes or using the Google tools to draw pictures.


Check out how you can use the passages and comprehension activities in these short videos:

Lower Elementary Levels:

Upper Elementary Levels:

Upper Elementary Levels Comprehension:

As the teacher, you can pull each lesson up directly on your own device to lead each lesson. Each passage also includes a digital running record that you can complete right within Google Slides. You'll simply be marking errors and writing notes on your device vs on paper. Everything is right there in front of you and already done for you! All you need to do is lead the group and encourage great discussions.

Take a closer look at the lesson plans and running records in these videos:

Since these passages packs work in Google Classroom, once you've assigned all students their stories, readers have the chance to come back to their passages at any time. They can work on them with you during Guided Reading, on their own during Independent Reading or even at home if your students are allowed to take home their devices! (While working during Independent Reading time, students can be rereading previous stories they've read.)

You can check out all the different bundles and individual files for Levels Pre A-V here! If you already own my Guided Reading passages (fiction), these passages are the same but in a completely new format. So, if you've been looking to take the plunge and dive deeper with technology- this is a great resource to use.

Happy Reading!

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