Professional Development

End of Year Literacy Assessment Tools: A How To Guide

When I was in the classroom, reading assessments looked like this: a large DRA box, a stack of running records that were to be carefully analyzed, leveled texts with lots of wear and tear, and maybe some checklists. But now that we know what we know, thanks to the science of reading research, we can […]

5 Fun Phonics Games to Boost Early Literacy Skills

We all know how important phonics instruction is. It is a pillar in the 5 pillars of reading, it’s integrated into Scarborough’s Reading Rope, and it is heavily supported by research when it comes to how the brain learns to read. Phonics instruction is both explicit and systematic, but that doesn’t equal boring! We need […]

Rethinking How We Fill Book Boxes for Independent Reading Time

As early childhood teachers, we know the importance of reading. We know how important all the aspects are from phonics instruction to phonemic awareness instruction to reading comprehension to small group instruction to independent reading time. As we want our readers to blossom into strong readers, we know that providing them with the right tools […]

How to Share Reading Tips for Your Kindergarten Parents

What do you say when your kindergarten parents ask for reading tips? Do you struggle to offer them concrete, practical activities to do at home? I sure did! Until I got my little secret weapon ready, I found myself digging through files and grabbing charts and flashcards to send home with students who needed a […]

Balanced Literacy in Kindergarten and First Grade

Balanced literacy in kindergarten and first grade is a crucial part of the day. See how this teacher explains each element and teaches it in her classroom.

Balanced literacy is truly a passion of mine.  I was lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing teachers who took me under their wings my first few years of teaching and really taught me how balanced literacy in kindergarten and first grade should look.  I have had several questions about when to do guided reading and […]

The Best Way to Monitor Sight Word Progress

Sight word data tracking doesn't have to be tricky! See how this teacher made it easy for herself and engaging for students. Don't forget to grab the FREEBIE! #SightWords #WordWork

92 words. 100 words. It doesn’t matter which list you use – Dolch, Fry’s, or your own. Mastering sight words is a key factor in reading success with little learners. That makes progress monitoring for sight words important. But the task of tracking it all can seem so daunting. How do you keep students motivated? […]

How to Help Cultivate a Love of Reading

Loving to read is not something that comes naturally to all children. Sometimes they love to get lost in a book, make connections, predict what will happen next and other times children just want to look at the pictures and be done. I can even see that in both of my own children.  My son […]

What is Shared Reading?: An Easy Start Guide

Shared reading instruction can seem tricky, but it doesn't have to be! This how-to guide makes it super simple and manageable for kindergarten and first grade! I love what they do after a week of instruction and practicing strategies, too! #balancedliteracy #sharedreading

Shared reading is a valuable part of the balanced literacy approach. You may be wondering what it is or how it’s different than a read aloud. Because it takes up such a small amount of time, it often is left out. But I am here to tell you that the 15 minutes spent on shared […]

11 Tools to Help You Get Started With Reading Small Groups

Just the thought of getting started with guided reading small groups can be overwhelming. I know that was the case for me when I started teaching. You have to create a space for it You have to gather reading tools. Then, you have to create groups and write effective lessons. It’s a lot! One area […]

Integrating Science into Reading and Writing

Integrating science into reading and writing is a breeze once you see how this teacher does it! She provides a detailed look into how she squeezes it all in!

Science was, hands down, a favorite time in my class for all of my students year after year! We were not only able to explore fun topics, but we were able to get our hands dirty and carry the topic throughout the day as we learned reading and writing skills.  And let’s be honest–with everything […]

Making Sight Words Stick

Do your students struggle with sight words? Here are 4 Simple Tips to Help Make Sight Words Stick, plus a FREEBIE!

Sight words are an important part of teaching little learners to read.  As more research has become easily available to teachers, we now know that sight words and high-frequency words are different. You can read more about that here. No matter what, though, when it comes to making high-frequency words turn to sight words and […]

10 Must Make Anchor Charts for Reading

10 must make anchor charts for reading on all topics like reading comprehension, main idea, and cause and effect. Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade classrooms could all use these graphic organizers to help young readers. #reading #anchorcharts

I talked a little last week about how much I loved using anchor charts in the classroom.  We would use them time and time again to “anchor our learning”.  From introducing topics, to exploring more about topics, recording our learning, and being referenced later—they were always a part of our classroom environment.  Today I want to highlight […]

Gingerbread Activities for the Classroom and a FREEBIE

‘Tis the season for some gingerbread activities! I know when December rolled around, I was always so excited because the students were eager to learn through some new engaging units–Gingerbread, Reindeer, and Christmas Around the World were some of our favorites! I always loved teaching thematically, but here’s the deal: I had to be able […]

4 Pumpkin Literacy Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade [+ A Freebie!]

One thing I have learned over the years is that no matter the child, drawing on a relevant, engaging topic that brings excitement benefits our learning environment. Depending on the time of year, it can be life cycles, animals, insects, or even pumpkins. The fall is so fun and is a great time to bring […]

Reading Tips for the Beginning of the Year

These 3 tips for the beginning of the year are sure to start reading off on the right foot!

The beginning of the school year can seem like a whirl! But in the midst of the chaos, my favorite thing to do is to get to know my students through reading when we get back to school.  Not only does it grab their attention, but I love to help them fall in love with […]

How to Get Organized for Guided Reading {with a FREEBIE}

When you open your guided reading binder, what do you see? Are your lesson plans and student data forms easily accessible? Do you know which students need a running record today? Do you have all the resources you need at your fingertips? I know I got tired of disheveled papers falling out, losing track of […]

A Glimpse at Shared Reading and a Facebook FREEBIE

Great tools to use for shared reading! I also love the weekly teaching guided she shares. It makes shared reading a breeze to implement!

Shared reading is one of my most favorite parts of the day!! It is a time for me to model what great reading looks like, sounds like, and even how great readers think.  The best part is that the students get the joy of reading the on-level text with me! When I taught Kindergarten in […]

Which type of professional development interests you?