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!

Guided Reading Passages: Levels N-P

I'm so excited to share my newest set of Guided Reading Passages packs! I've had many requests for levels above M for quite a long time and since my 3rd and 4th graders this year were ready at these levels and above, I went for it!

I broke down all that is included at each level to give you a closer look! If you are a new teacher just starting out, or an experienced teacher looking for some new guided reading resources to always have on hand, these passages will provide you with just that. There is also a freebie sampler included in the preview of the N-P Bundle that you can use to test this all out!

These passages, lesson plans, comprehension questions and running records are meant to make your life easier. They also will make your guided reading time more meaningful because you'll have all the resources you need directly in front of you and your readers at all times!

I am always amazed by just how much progress readers make within a year. Leveled texts move at a gradual pace, but the difference from for example, a Level K text to a Level O text, is truly extensive. Readers need to continually apply strategies to figure out difficult words as text continues getting more challenging at each level. Figurative language also plays a big role in these higher levels. And let me tell you, readers need a lot of exposure to figurative language in order to even begin understanding it and using it in their own writing. These passages include a variety of figurative language for just that purpose. Readers need to see it both in and out of context to further their understanding.

I included a full page of comprehension questions for Levels N-P that require more in depth thinking by the reader. At these levels, with the intensity of Common Core Standards, readers need to really be diving into their texts and understanding figurative language and why/how characters or the author do certain things. These comprehension questions provide readers with the opportunity to dig deeper as they read!

You can check out each set, including the bundle by clicking the images or links below!

Happy reading!

Have a great day!


I Can't Do That With an Actual Book!

I've been doing a lot of reading this summer, which I love! When asked, I generally tell people I don't have a preference of reading on my iPad/Kindle versus an actual book. I truly enjoy reading on both. What I didn't realize until after reading several books in a row on my iPad and then switching to an actual book was just how dependent I've become on the dictionary feature on the iPad.

All of a sudden I came across a word I didn't know the meaning of in my actual book and I found myself instinctively touching the word to have its meaning pop up. Uhhhhh. Yikes! That doesn't work on a non-electronic device- who knew?? :) It made me realize just how much I rely on immediate gratification in the sense that I don't even take the time to consider figuring out the word on my own while reading on my iPad. It's just done for me with one simple click. Which is fantastic- I think it's a great feature, however it got me thinking... so many of our students know things through the use of technology- they are heavily reliant on things just being told to them. I still want them to be able to think for themselves though personally!

Since I interact directly with students on a daily basis as they read in my guided reading groups, I also realized this year just how little my readers understand at times. The books we were reading were actual books. For my 3rd and 4th graders, I usually only had them read a short bit of the text aloud to me. The rest they would read on their own, but one way I could tell if they were really reading/understanding was by asking questions about the text that they didn't read aloud for me. I would turn to page with a word that I knew was challenging and would ask them to explain the meaning. That's when the conversation above would occur...nearly every time. I was kind of shocked just how easy it is for kids to just keep on reading, but then again, I know I've done the same thing myself as a reader! Of course, I would then continue the conversation by guiding the reader to figure out the meaning of the word through these questions:

You can grab this freebie here for your classroom- I recommend leaving it in your guided reading basket. Perfect spot for easy access to use with readers as they are struggling to figure out the meaning of words! 

I did a quick video with a few examples of how to teach context clues- you can check it out below!

Have a great day!

Oh Those Challenging Letters!

A few weeks ago I noticed that some of my earliest readers were still struggling with letter recognition. I know this happens every year, but this year it has been especially apparent. I was having a tough time getting those little readers to read the most basic leveled text and even just simply decode words. That's when I started to realize it's because they still didn't know all their letters! If they were struggling with identifying letter names and sounds still, well, then sure, reading words when trying to apply sounds you don't actually know is a true challenge!

As a result, I took a step back and focused a little less on leveled text and more on texts that allowed these little readers to see the same letters and hear the same letter sounds over and over again. I am so glad I did this! Now these same students are able to make quicker connections to letter names/sounds and in turn able to decode more words....annnnd read more! Yay!

I wanted my little readers to hear words with each letter more often, so I use my full color teacher version of the passage to read to my little readers. We then discuss the letter that pops up frequently in the story. My little readers then go to their own journal which includes the same story, but in b&w. They then go through and find all the uppercase and lowercase letters that we discussed. I have them highlight each time they see the letter within the story- no matter the location in the word (doesn't just have to be at the beginning of the word) because I just want them to really see the letter and recognize it right away! The next step for my little readers is to label pictures from the story that begin with the letter we discussed. This provides each reader with another aspect of recognizing the letter.

I have one passage for each letter of the alphabet (each passage has a colorful teacher version and a b&w student version) and I love that I can pull these out whenever I notice a specific letter that is still challenging for my earliest readers!

These passages are great to use to introduce letters whole class, review letters in small group/one-on-one or even to send home for homework! You can check out these passages by clicking here or the pic below! I hope these passages help out your little readers as well. :)

Here's a video showing how I use these passages in my room to help my struggling readers!

Have a great day!

Get Parents Involved in Literacy!

We all know that one key component to students being successful in school is having parents who are involved. I believe this to be especially true in the area of literacy. The more practice students have with reading in any setting, the better they become at reading. There are only so many hours in a school day, so if the reading can carry over to home, I'm one happy teacher! 

Another important component of literacy, especially for struggling readers, is to provide kids with a model of a fluent reader. The more students see what a fluent reader looks like, the more likely their reading is to eventually become fluent as well. Struggling readers have a tough time identifying that they are not reading fluently because they are so focused on decoding each word. By providing a fluent model regularly, they begin to notice the differences in their own reading and strive to sound the same as the fluent readers. These important components of literacy led me to my latest packs which I'm super excited about- they're a way to combine all of the above- get parents more involved & get kids hearing a fluent model reader often.

I posted this video on Instagram to give a quick glimpse into the can check out the close-ups down below!

My initial plan for these passages is that the child is working at home with a parent/adult...but they also work well for parent volunteers in the classroom, one-on-one/small group/whole group reading time with the teacher at school! It's really just what works best for you and your population of students. 

Each child gets their own I Read, You Read folder. Within each folder there is a set of directions for the parent so they know how to use the passages with their child. The passages are also in the folder. Students then follow the simple steps below- reading their passage first (at their ability level) and then listening to the parent/adult read the higher level story. The parent and child can then discuss the story while the child writes responses to each question. The last step is for the student to go back and look for sight word(s) or underline their evidence from within the text.

 I love that parents have a chance to see what their child is capable of reading-wise. They may realize certain types of words their child is struggling with or something they didn't realize their child was really good at reading already!

These passages don't require too much time from the parent, but just enough to not only be practicing reading, but also providing the child with some one-on-one attention which we know they all love!

2nd Grade Edition also added! 

If you're looking to add something new to get parents involved in literacy, check out the packs by clicking the links below!

Have a great day!

Spring has Guided Reading!

Well some days recently it has felt like spring, but other days not so much. So until spring actually comes to stay around here, my little readers are enjoying spring time in our guided reading groups instead!

I switched out some of our winter and regular guided reading folders for our spring ones. My little readers LOVE getting their new guided reading folder full of fun stories! I'm always prepared for each guided reading group with my guided reading folders for each student, my lesson plan and running records.

Here's a quick video showing a run through of a guided reading lesson using my spring guided reading packs:

I love discussing the text together after students read the stories with my guidance. They find it so simple to look back at the story right there to answer the questions if they can't remember what they read. The running records also make it a breeze to see who is ready to move on or who needs some extra practice at the current level.

My littlest readers still need some help identifying sight words, so going back and circling/highlighting/underlining specific sight words within each story helps them practice those special words!

During our preview of each story before reading, reviewing specific skills and concepts related to word patterns is so meaningful. It is so beneficial to review right before my readers get a chance to apply the skills in context while reading!

Having my readers go back to the text and highlight where they found their answers ensures that they actually have an answer that makes sense to each comprehension question!

Another meaningful piece of these guided reading lessons involves setting the purpose for each read. This is simply 1-2 sentences that reminds each reader why we are reading the story and what they should be paying attention to while reading.

I'm so glad we can enjoy spring in some way in our classroom...and you can too! Click here or the pic below to check out all my leveled (A-M) guided reading passages. :)

Have a great day!

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