Monday, January 25, 2016

Boost Student Engagement during Guided Reading

Today, over at Adventures in Literacy Land, I shared a few of my favorite ways to boost student engagement during guided reading.

I hope you'll hop on over there and check it out.  :)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Shark Week Blog Hop

Teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a team of bloggers have come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love!


My Shark Week freebie is a writing activity to go along with the book, Clark the Shark.

This story is perfect to read to primary students during the first few days of school.

Story Overview: Clark zooms into school, crashes through the classroom, and is rowdy at recess. He loves life—but when his enthusiasm is too much for his friends, Clark's teacher helps him figure out a way to tone it down.

Lesson Idea: After reading Clark the Shark, launch a conversation about classroom rules. Explain to students that classroom rules are made to keep us safe so we can learn. Ask students to brainstorm rules that they think are important. Make a list on chart paper. Then, ask students choose one of the rules to illustrate and write about on the “Stay Cool and Follow This Rule!” sheet. Bind all the rules together to make a class book to add to your classroom library.

fintastic freebie

Click the image to download.

Be sure to swim on over to The Kindergarten Smorgasboard and snap up Greg's Shark Week freebie.  :)

*Special note:  Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a jawesome freebie for you and your students - but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, July 12.  :)

Happy Shark Week!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

20 Best Books for Kindergarteners

I'm dropping in today to share my most loved picture books for kindergarteners. This list represents my favorite authors, favorite characters, books that will appeal to both boys and girls, and a few the classics.  My children spent many hours reading these books, and I hope yours will too.  :)

There are so many fabulous books that are perfect to share with kindergarten students.  I had a difficult time choosing just twenty.  What books are on your list of favorites?

For more picture book ideas, be sure to visit Comprehension Connection and Reading Toward the Stars for their link-ups this week.  :)

Happy Reading!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Is Here Poetry Hop

Welcome!  You've arrived at the Spring Is Here! blog hop. Several of my reading specialists friends have teamed up to offer you free poetry resources in honor of National Poetry Month.  


One of my favorite things about April teaching is poetry.  Have you ever used the book Dogku when teaching Haiku?  It's a tale of stray dog and his journey to find a family, written in Haiku.  

Dogku by Andrew Clements

After reading the story to your class, revisit the text and examine it from a poetry point of view.  
  • Does the poem have a 5-7-5 syllable pattern?
  • Is the poem about nature, seasons, or animals?
  • Does the author use the senses to convey the message?
Model writing a Haiku poem.  Make it interactive by asking students to help. Then have students write their own Haiku poems about a pet, a Petku!


The freebie I'm sharing with you today is a pet Haiku class book.  It includes a cover page, title page, and several pet pages.

My students love creating class books.  It's a great way to publish their work and recognize them as authors. 

Each student is responsible for writing and illustrating one page of the poetry book. The pages are collected, assembled with the cover page, and bound together as a collaborative book.  The book can be read to the class and placed in your classroom library.  

Click the link below to download, Petku.


Hop to THe NEXT Stop

Hop on over to see my friend, Bex, at the Reading and Writing Redhead for another poetry freebie. :)

Happy Spring!

A special thanks to Hello Literacy, EduClips, and Epiphanous Owl for the fonts and graphics used in this post.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

St. Patty's Day Picks

Saint Patrick's Day is right around the corner, and I'm here to share a few of my favorite books and activities.

Graphics by Krista WalldenAshley Hughes, KG Fonts

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover by Lucille Colandro

The Old Lady is back at it! She's eating a variety of items to make a rainbow and hide a pot of gold.

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing

Tim and Maureen stay up late to catch a leprechaun, but what will happen when they catch one?

The Luckiest Day Ever by Ethan Long

Leprechauns gather to celebrate the holiday with music, dancing, and a parade.

Graphics by Krista WalldenAshley Hughes, KG Fonts

Luck of the Irish Flip Flap Book by Simply Skilled in Second

Creative writing, making words, and a book summary are all part of this cute flip-flap book.

Lucky for Literacy Center Activities by Jessica Travis

Practice contractions, compound words, pronouns, prepositions and more with these March themed literacy activities.

Worth More Than Gold Writing Craft by The Teacher Wife

Students write about who or what is more important to them than gold.

You can download these free activities by clicking the hyperlinks above.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Wonders Blog Hop & Giveaway

Welcome!   One year ago today, a group of teacher-bloggers launched the website Adventures in Literacy Land to share tips and tools for effective literacy instruction.  

In honor of reaching our first full year of blogging together we are hosting a Winter Wonders Blog Hop and Birthday Celebration.  Join us, if you will, to read a short post by each author, download a free literacy resource, and enter a raffle for a chance to win a Barnes and Noble gift certificate. 

What I'm Wonder ing about this Winter: Close Reading with Emergent Readers

One of the instructional goals our elementary school has chosen this year focuses on close reading and answering text dependent questions.  This is an achievable goal for our intermediate students, but how do we implement that in the primary grades--especially with our emergent readers?

At a conference I attended recently, we discussed using the shared reading block as an opportunity to model and practice close reading strategies.  We watched a video of a kindergarten teacher doing a close reading activity using The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Students were seated on a large carpet in front of the big book.  They were discussing vocabulary with partners; responding to questions by finding a part in the book that proved their answers; and comparing the book to others they had read.  What a great way to introduce close reading early on!

My "ah-ha moment" was realizing that using modeling and a gradual release of responsibility is an effective way to introduce students to close reading.  Emergent readers can be successful with thinking deeply about a text and locating evidence to support their answers if we provide the scaffolding.


Studying penguins is a winter favorite of my students. The freebie I have prepared for you is a book study for The Emperor's Egg by Martin Jenkins and Penguins! by Gail Gibbons.  This mini-pack contains vocabulary cards, a KWL chart, guiding questions, and more.  It will be available on January 6, 2015 only.  Click on the image to download. :)

This Freebie has expired.

Next Stop

The next stop along the hop is Comprehension Connection.  Visit my friend, Carla, to learn more about close reading and pick up her wonderful Partner Scripts freebie.  You'll be glad you did!

At the final stop of the hop, Adventures in Literacy Land, you will have an opportunity to enter a raffle to win one of four $25 Barnes and Noble gift certificates.  Best of luck!  

Happy 1st Birthday, Adventures in Literacy Land!