Making the Most of Winter: Literacy Ideas

Winter lasts forever here in the Chicagoland area, so what do we do? We make the most of it! With my little readers, that means practicing all sorts of reading skills, but making it more exciting...with everything being winter-themed. My little friends truly love when we get new literacy centers, stories, etc that fit with our season or theme. Most of the time, they are so distracted by the new theme that they don't even realize we are working super hard- they just think everything is so fun and a game! :)

We've been working on A TON of literacy skills- from reading CVC words, identifying sight words, rhyming words and the beginning/ending sounds in words. We are practicing all these skills with a fun winter theme, of course! You can check out these literacy centers here.

Another way we keep the winter theme going in our room is through our close reading passages. These stories are so fun for my little friends to listen to and dive into. They love the passages and love even more being able to discuss the passages and then complete their own graphic organizers. They enjoy having their own passage to mark up too- they always ask me, "Can I circle this? Can I underline it?" which I just love because it shows that they really are paying attention to the text and soaking it in- woohoo!  You can check out this Winter Close Reading Pack here.

And since we are on the topic of close's a little freebie that you can check out. It's a great resource to just get you started with close reading in your classroom! This pack follows the same format as all my other close reading packs- teacher passage for displaying, lesson plan, student copy and graphic organizers for the re-readings. Grab it here!
Thanks to Hello Literacy and Teaching Super Power for the fonts and graphics! 

Have a great day!

Learn those Vowels!

Vowels can be so challenging for readers of all ages...from my ELL to my youngest readers all the way up to my 4th graders. I try to incorporate a whole lot of activities to help all my friends truly learn the vowel sounds both in and out of context.

I love these books for my littlest friends- they are fun and have tons of words with the short vowel focus of the book for my friends to listen for and identify while reading. I'll usually have them give me a thumbs up when they hear the specific vowel sound in that book, during reading, and then we make a chart together, after reading, of the words we heard.

Flip books are wonderful for several reasons. They are simple to make, hands-on for my friends to create, meaningful and can be used as a reference resource for each child! All you need is some construction paper, some scissors and markers. I cut the little strips ahead of time for each of my students, but they do all the writing.

The outside of the flip books are the vowel sounds and then under each flap my friends wrote words that began with each vowel sound. Some also drew pictures on the front of their flip books to help them remember each sound. These flip books will be staying in our room for them to refer back to whenever needed. I love that it is their own creation and that they can take personal pride in their work with these!

I love that you can make these flip books with any concept is a long vowel combinations version. Keeping with the vowel theme, the flip books can be made for long vowels with silent e, r controlled vowels, etc!

And here are some techy ways to get students engaged with learning vowels. ...I figure the more ways I can get my friends practicing them, the more likely they will learn the sounds in the end! 

This YouTube video is a fun one to help my friends actually hear and learn the vowel sounds. It compares short vs long vowels. If you have a BrainPop subscription, they also have one about vowels vs consonants. It's a great introductory lesson. Just search for short vowels once you log in!

And, if you have any iPads in your room, here are two free apps which are fun for centers! Phonics Vowels covers all kinds of vowel sounds. This one gives part of a word and matching picture, including the vowel and students have to find the missing sound to complete the word. It is good for hearing the vowel sounds repeatedly. 

Howie Finds Vowels Lite also is a game that covers a variety of vowel sounds (short, long, r controlled, vowel combinations, etc). It includes the fun monster, Howie, who the kids are trying to feed a hotdog choosing the right vowel sound that they hear, Howie can eat the hotdog! Both can be downloaded for free from iTunes. :)

Thanks to Hello Literacy for the fonts and Teaching Super Power for the fun graphics!

Have a great day!

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