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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!

Books to Build Your Community of Readers

I've stressed this from the very beginning of my blog writing days and I will continue to do so! It's so important that readers feel like they are part of a reading community in your classroom. This not only builds confidence and excitement, but it also creates lifelong readers. I've come up with a new list of books that I recommend adding to your classroom library. Reading these books at the beginning of the year and then coming back to them throughout the year will help establish a community of readers! The main purpose behind reading these is to share a love of reading with your readers. These books all show a character interacting with books in a positive way, even if some struggle with the idea at first.

A community of readers is simply a place where everyone feels like a reader, is excited about reading and engages in discussions about what they read. If you don't have these books yet, I recommend checking them out! Now, don't think you need to actually purchase all these, except for your very favorite choices. As you'll see, many of these I snagged from the library. Otherwise, Amazon and Scholastic Book Clubs provides many wonderful books.

It also helps to display these books in an inviting way so that readers are attracted to the books in the library. Even if these books are kept on your own shelf, make them visible to readers so they can get excited about the books! 

Ranting and raving about the books by keeping them on a list on a bulletin board is a constant reminder to students that books are SUPER important in your classroom! Showcasing particular ones as a "Book of the Day" or "Book of the Month" will grab your students' attention as they see which books are selected for the day/week. You can check out these displays and labels here!

Hopefully I continue to convince you that sharing an enthusiasm for reading ALL the time in your classroom, is a must-do in your room too! Establishing a classroom community of readers benefits you and your students all year long. 
Happy Reading!

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