Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

30 New Kaleidoscope Books!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 28, 2017 2:17:00 PM

 If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, you’ll be familiar with Hameray Publishing’s Kaleidoscope Collection. As our largest series, the Kaleidoscope Collection features both narrative and informational texts between Guided Reading Levels A – K. With its commitment to diverse representation, students have a kaleidoscope of options to choose a book that appeals to them.

We’ve just introduced 30 new titles into the Kaleidoscope Collection, which focuses on low-leveled readers at Guided Reading Level A–C. Books like My Birthday! and What Is a Pet? are sure to peak the interest of your beginning reader.

Many of the new books are complementary in topic or sentence structure, making them ideal for students to reinforce their reading skills. For example, students can familiarize themselves with the sight words “I” and “can” by reading I Can Read. Then, they can apply their knowledge to a new book, I Can Write. Using multiple books to reinforce a reading concept is crucial for developing confidence and fluency.



Other complementary titles from the new Kaleidoscope additions include the following:

You can browse all of our new Kaleidoscope titles at our website. Remember, a portion of the Kaleidoscope Collection’s profits goes to the Reading Recovery Council of North America. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!



Click the image below to download a series highlights about the newly-expanded Kaleidoscope Collection. 

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Topics: Kaleidoscope Collection, Kindergarten, Preschool

Teachers Read, Too!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 23, 2017 2:49:00 PM

 As a teacher, you are responsible for developing students' literacy skills and ensuring that they accomplish Common Core ELA standards. But does your job as a literacy teacher end there? Of course not!

As a teacher, you should also convince your students about the joy and value of reading. Motivated readers become successful readers, and a teacher's personal relationship to books can profoundly influence students' attitudes towards reading.

It is essential that students perceive you as a reader, too. Do you often use classroom silent reading time to take care of other teacher tasks? As much as it's tempting to grade papers or tidy your desk during quiet reading time, busying yourself with other errands implicitly tells your students that "reading is just for kids." If you also sit down and read with the students, you demonstrate that reading time is important for you, too.  

Treat your books with respect. Are you guilty of using books for a doorstop or a writing surface? Do you flip its pages with chalky hands? Children are incredibly observant, and small actions like these can shape a child's perception of how valuable (or invaluable) books are. Make sure to treat all your books with the respect they deserve!

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Actively recommend books to your students. Allowing children the freedom to choose books boosts their enthusiasm, but that doesn't mean that youc an't make recommendations.

Try not to talk from a literacy teacher's perspective, like "You should try reading the Underwater Encounter series because it's just right for your reading level." Instead, make a recommendation as a fellow reader: "I just finished reading Scuba School and it reminded me of when you told me you wanted to visit Hawaii. Do you want to borrow my copy of the book?"


Personal recommendations convey that you value the student's identity as a reader. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to share their reactions with you—when chidlren know that they'll be able to share their thoughts about reading with someone else, they're much more likely to finish the book. Thus, recommendations tells students that a mutual love of reading can strengthen relationships with other people.

A teacher should model enthusiasm and dedication for reading. If stuents believe that you genuinely like to read (and you're not just teaching them because it's your job), they'll be much more likely to read with you!


Click the left image below to visit the website for Underwater Encounters, which was mentioned in this blogpost. Click the right image to download a fact sheet about the series. 

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Topics: Underwater Encounters, teachers, Teaching Reading, Reading

New Spanish Fables & Paired Texts!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 21, 2017 3:31:00 PM

Do you know about Hameray Publishing's newest series?

We're excited to announce Fábulas y el mundo real, the Spanish equivalent of the popular Fables & The Real World series. ELL and dual language classrooms will benefit from this 40-book paired-text series. The fables, such as La tortuga y el conejo [The Tortoise and the Rabbit] and El zorro y el chivito [The Fox and the Goat], impart universal lessons that are relevant in any culture.


The nonfiction titles are designed to support the Common Core State Standards in Informational Texts. Titles such as ¿Es un lobo o un coyote? and La energia del sol y del viento teaches comparing and contrasting skills (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.9). Each book also includes captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, and other informational text features (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.5).


With a variety of topics such as weather, community markets, and showing gratitude, Fábulas mundo real allows ELL teachers to include content area subjects into their literacy lessons, too.

Visit the Fábulas y el mundo real website to browse all the titles and view sample books.¡Vamos a leer!



Click this link to view sample books from Fábulas y el mundo real. Click the image below to download an English series highlights about Fables and the Real World. 

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Topics: Spanish, ELL, Fables and the Real World, Paired Texts, Fabulas y el mundo real

A Call for Contemporary Books

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 16, 2017 3:50:52 PM


We all have our favorite chapter books from childhood. As we fondly remember Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Garden, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins, we encourage our students to read them, too. Although it’s wonderful to recommend books that we genuinely enjoy, classics are not always the best option for reluctant readers. For students who are unconvinced about the pleasures of reading, classics actually have the danger of prompting students to ask, “Why should I even care?”

As much as we’d like to think that childhood is timeless, we can’t deny that technology, social, and other modern inventions are fundamentally changing the way children grow up. The “classics” I’ve mentioned above are called classics for a reason—Charlotte’s Web, the newest out of the three books, was published in 1952. Colored television didn’t even exist in 1952!

Reluctant readers may find it difficult to become invested in books that seem "old"—they’re much less likely to be compelled by a 19th-century girl that practices needlework than an urban teenager that wants to become a pop star. Relevancy is crucial in order for stduents to learn that books are meaningful resources.

Hameray’s Download series is committed to providing high-interest books about contemporary topics such as skateboarding, motorcycles, and PlayStation. Behind the Scenes: Fashion features famous fashion brands such as H&M and ZARA. With style pictures of celebrities like Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake, your students will be eager to make their way through the book!


Fashion is a constantly evolving industry, where styles can change drastically within months. The best part of Behind the Scenes: Fashion is that it focuses on the fundamental aspects of fashion, such as fashion shows, jeans, and fashion advertising. Even though this book was published in 2008, its contents are still exciting and relevant for children today! 

Childhood classics will always remain dear to our hearts, and there’s nothing wrong with passing them onto the next generation. However, especially for reluctant readers, contemporary books are a great tool for boosting reader enthusiasm!



Click the image below to learn more about the Download series.

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Topics: Story World, Download, Reluctant Readers, Hi-Lo

Guided Reading to Support Textbook Reading, Part 3

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Mar 14, 2017 3:34:00 PM


This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. It is the second post in a series about using guided reading activities to support content-area textbook reading. To read the first post, click here.


The same procedures used for teaching Fantastic Frogs can be used to teach higher-level books like Benjamin Franklin from the Hameray Biography Series. The biography is a longer book, and thus contains more informational text tools:

  • The TABLE OF CONTENTS includes chapter titles. Discuss the meaning of a chapter.
  • Invite students to go to page 38 for the LEARN MORE section. A list of books and websites encourage students to do more reading about Benjamin Franklin.
  • Use CHAPTER 1 for guided reading. Discuss the picture on page 4: Why is Franklin hungry? Who is the young woman?
  • Ask the students to read with you in a guided reading setting. After reading, discuss the answers to the two questions.
  • Ask the students if there are any unfamiliar words in the chapter. Invite the students to find the bolded words in the glossary and use the words to create their own sentences.
  • What happens in a print shop? What is a document? Can you think of an example of a document?



  • Remind the students about the various informational text features that can help them read the text.
  • Emphasize the importance of pictures and their own prior knowledge to supplement their reading.
  • Encourage rereading and making a note of questions. Using graphic organizers allow the students to write what they already knew, what they need to learn, and questions still left unanswered by the text.
  • Ask children to do further reading on the content area topic.

Using parts of content area books for guided and shared reading will help students both in content area subjects and language arts. Don’t forget to frequently use the new vocabulary in your classroom!


Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children. 


Click the image below to download a FREE Teacher's Guide for Benjamin Franklin. 

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Topics: Informational Text, Biography Series, Geraldine Haggard, Guided Reading, Social Studies

Essential Questions in Fairy Tales

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 9, 2017 3:40:00 PM


How do you hook your students into each literature unit? More importantly, how do you measure a studen'ts qualitative growth at the end of the unit? Using essential questions to create an inquiry-based classroom will help engage students and lead to meaningful, relevant understanding. 

An essential question frames a unit as an investigatory journey rather than a one-way acculumation of factual knowledge. The question allow students to consider real-world issues as they read the book. A good essential question is timeless, has no right or wrong answer, and are worth exploring and discussing over time.

Essential questions are especially effective because they link real-world knowledge and experience with the literary text. By framing the book of study with a question that is relatable to the real world, your students will recognize the relevancy and power of literature.


Good essential questions aren't plot- or book-specific, something that you could ask on a multiple choice test. Students should be able to write an answer to the question on the first day of the unit, even before they've read the text. Here are a few poor examples of essential questions for The Princess and the Frog from Story World Real World:

  • What were the three favors that the frog requested?
    • This question has only one correct answer and is content-specific to the story—students will not be able to relate to this question. 
  • What lesson did the princess learn at the end of the story?
    • While this question is important to test plot comprehension and might lead to a real-world moral, the question is still specific to the story and unanswerable on the first day of the unit. 

Essential questions provide students with a relevant learning goal without reducing the lesson into plot memorization or mere literacy practice. Use question words like "how" or "why" in essential questions to encourage open-ended discussions:

  • How important is it to keep promises?
    • This question is relatable to any child and also subjective.
  • How and why can looks be deceiving?
    • This question necessitates an answer other than yes or no, and is also relevant for combatting racism in the real world.

After reading and discussing the book, a student should be able to elaborate, nuance, or even change their initial answer from the first day of the unit. Now, students can compare and contrast their own views with the character sin the book. 

You can read more about essential questions in this article. Essential questions are a fantastic tool for any grade and any book!



Click the image below to learn more about Story World Real World, which contains The Princess and the Frog.

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Topics: Literature, Story World, Fairy Tales, Essential Questions

Guided Reading to Support Textbook Reading, Part 2

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Mar 7, 2017 3:34:00 PM


This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. It is the second post in a series about using guided reading activities to support content-area textbook reading. To read the first post, click here.

In today's post, I'll give examples of how to provide textbook reading support for science lessons in the lower elementary grades.


There are several tasks to complete before you can formally support readers in using content area reading texts.

First, you should explore available materials and select diverse reading materials that support the standards for the unit of study in the content area:

  • Formal textbook content that is up-to-date and appropriate
  • Books in classroom libraries and school libraries
  • Books for guided and shared reading during language arts lessons
  • Computer sites that are available and approved by your district. 

If you find a formal textbook to use, select the appropriate sections of the textbook and consider how much assistance they will need to read the text. It is important that all students are given support for two aspects of textbook reading: content-specific vocabulary and informational text features.


New vocabulary can present challenges: pronunciation, words with multiple meanings, and a lack of prior knowledge about the word and how it is used in new content. The following activities can help prepare the students for their introduction to new vocabulary:

  • A short video that introduces the unit of study and contains some of the new vocabulary
  • Reading books that introduce the topic
  • Teaching the students how to use a glossary
  • Helping students hear word segments by clapping the syllables in a new word. (As a fourth grade teacher, I used a bulletin board to divide the words into syllables and play riddle games. We also played bingo that enabled them to practice writing the word and remember its definition.)

Remember that students must understand the meaning of a word as they hear and see it. Writing the word can help the word become a part of their mastered vocabulary.


Introduce students to the informational text features that provide tools to help understand new topics and vocabulary. Project a copy of Fantastic Frogs from Hameray’s Real World collection or use guided reading copies.


Front cover:

  • Discuss the information that the cover provides, including the title, author, and publisher.
  • Why do you think there is a picture on the cover?
  • What does “fantastic” mean?

Title page:

  • How is the title page similar to the front cover? How is it different?
  • Do you think the picture is fantastic? Why?

Pages 4 – 5:

  • What is the title or subject of these two pages?
  • Study the pictures. How do they help the student’s understanding of the text?
  • Ask the student to do shared reading while reading the pages. Slowly pronounce the two bolded words. Ask the students to use the glossary to identify the words.
  • Invite the students to discuss why frogs might need to adapt. Can you think of other amphibians that live on land and water?

Make sure to note that every word in the index was also included in the glossary, which explains content-specific vocabulary.

Next Tuesday, I’ll discuss how to apply this reading support for higher-level social studies curriculum. Make sure to subscribe to the blog in the right-hand toolbar to receive my new post in your inbox! 


Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children. 


Click the image below to learn about Story World Real World, which features the book mentioned in this post. 

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Topics: Real World, Informational Text, Geraldine Haggard, Science, Guided Reading

Using Joy Cowley in Science Lessons

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 2, 2017 2:34:00 PM

Joy Cowley’s stories are famous for teaching “literacy through laughter” and are specially written for young students who are developing their reading skills. Did you know that Joy Cowley’s narratives could also be used to teach content subjects? By pairing her books with supplemental informational texts, you can use Joy Cowley in all your lessons, all day long!


In ­Wishy-Washy Mirror, Mrs. Wishy-Washy's animals encounter a mirror for the first time. The cow peers into the mirror and sees a picture of a cow, but the pig sees a picture of the pig (34). Discuss with your students why the animals can’t agree on the mirror’s content. What happens when your students look into a mirror?

The Next Generation Science Standards expect first-grade students to understand that light waves can travel in many ways, including by bouncing off of reflective materials (1-PS4-3). To teach students exactly how mirrors work, introduce Mirror Magic!


Part of the Story World Real World series and leveled at Guided Reading level L, comprehending the entire Mirror Magic book may be challenging for many first-grade students. However, they can focus solely on pages 6–7, which trace the path of a light when it reflects off of a mirror. Of course, you as a teacher can read the rest of the book aloud and try the cool mirror tricks in class!

Although more implicit in content, What Is a Cow? from Joy Cowley Early Birds is also relevant for science lessons. The title of the book poses a research question: “What is a cow?” In the story, Little Rabbit and Chickie set out to answer this question by observing a cow outside. Both characters draw upon their own knowledge to describe different features of the cow, such as “A cow has four posts” (4) for its legs and “a cow has a rope” (5) for its tail. This process of asking questions and observing real-life evidence for answers parallels the Scientific Method introduced by Aristotle. Reading this story will help your students think like scientists!


Joy Cowley doesn’t need to be confined into your literacy lessons. You can incorporate her lovable stories into your science lessons as well!


Click the left image below to learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, which includes Wishy-Washy Mirror and What Is a Cow? Click the right image below to learn more about Story World Real World, which contains Mirror Magic.

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Real World, Science, First Grade

Joy Cowley Contest Winner!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Mar 1, 2017 3:15:00 PM


We have our contest winner! Is it you? Click here to find out who won the grand prize!


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Topics: Contests


Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Feb 28, 2017 11:50:00 AM


It's not too late to enter the Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway! The grand prize includes more than 100 leveled readers from the Joy Cowley Collection and Joy Cowley Early Birds series, a dream addition to any classroom library! JoyCowley_Contest2017_550px-add.jpg

All you need to do is fill out a short form to be entered for the grand prize, which features:

  • 60 Joy Cowley Collection leveled readers
  • 45 Joy Cowley Early Birds lower-leveled readers, including the all-new Little Rabbit series
  • 34 Joy Cowley big books, including her newest Mrs. Wishy-Washy big books
  • 1 set of finger puppets

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But wait! The Joy Cowley celebration doesn’t just stop here—THREE teacher-bloggers have teamed up with Hameray to host their own Joy Cowley mini-giveaways! Join Lyssa, Kathy, and Laureen’s giveaways to win a Wishy-Washy Garden big book at the links below:

The deadline for the Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway is March 1—don’t miss this amazing opportunity!



Click the left image below to download a brochure featuring Joy Cowley's books. Click the right image below to enter the Joy Cowley Giveaway! 

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Joy Cowley, Joy Cowley Early Birds, Contests, Giveaway

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