Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Writing Prompts for Kids!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Jun 8, 2017 2:12:00 PM

Writing activities are essential for both the teacher and the student. With creative writing prompts, the student practices language and writing skills while the teacher gets a glimpse into the thoughts of every student, even the shy and quiet ones!

To make sure that writing remains fresh and exciting for children, it’s important to present different writing prompts throughout the year. Kid Writing in the 21st Century, Hameray’s newest professional book, provides a plethora of creative and unique writing prompts for any classroom: 

Kid_Writing_Book_500.jpg1. New Adventure Books. If students don’t know what to write about, encourage them to create new stories about their favorite fictional characters like Mrs. Wishy-Washy or Mickey Mouse!

2. Author Studies. Have students research the author of their favorite book by reading the back flap or looking at the author’s online website. Then, have students compile the information they learned into writing!

3. The Ouch Pouch. If students experience an injury or illness, have them write about their experiences on a paper shaped like a Band-Aid. Place the writing into a bag labeled the Ouch Pouch and allow the student to share their writing with the class.

4. Personal News Stories. Allow each student to make their own newspaper centered on their life: what is good news, bad news, and entertainment news that they think is newsworthy? By creating a multi-article newspaper, children will be writing informational stories about various aspects of their personal life. Journalism also encourages students to think about their audience while writing.

5. Yuck Menu. After reading Mud Soup from the Kaleidoscope Collection, ask each student writes and draws something yucky to add to the soup. Compile their work into one big class book called Yuck Soup!

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

This blog post only features 5 of the countless writing prompts included in Kid Writing in the 21st Century. For more classroom writing ideas, make sure to check out the book!

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Click the left image below to download information about Kid Writing in the 21st Century, a professional book written by Eileen Feldgus, Isabell Cardonick, and Richard Gentry. 

 Kid Writing in the 21st Century Brochure

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Topics: Creative Activities, Writing Activity, Kid Writing

5 Research-Based Practices for Kindergarten and First Grade

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jun 5, 2017 3:35:57 PM

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Kid Writing in the 21st Century authors Richard Gentry, Eileen Feldgus, and Isabell Cardonick have been featured in a guest post over on the Psychology Today blog. The post details some of the research-based, classroom-tested practices and strategies that have been shown to help kids learn to write. Here's an excerpt from the post:

1.  Use invented spelling. We found invented spelling to be joyful, motivational for our students, and wonderful in terms of providing opportunities for scaffolding and systematically teaching almost all important aspects of the kindergarten literacy curriculum including phonics, phonemic awareness, knowledge of the alphabet, writing conventions, and vocabulary development. But perhaps the most amazing discovery throughout our journey was that kids had remarkable capacities to make meaning if we supported them in the process and allowed their creative juices to flow.

2. Abandon teaching letter of the week. Teaching one letter per week was standard practice in kindergarten when we began teaching. We tried our best to jazz up our teaching of the alphabetic principle because we knew it was essential to breaking the code and reading.

3.  Use a developmental writing scale to monitor progress. Even before we published the first book on Kid Writing, we were collaborating with Richard Gentry on how to use a developmental spelling/writing assessment along with a developmental rubric to show how young children’s progression through five phases of developmental spelling revealed—among other things—the individual child’s understanding of phonics and his or her invented spellings as evidence of what the child knew or did not know.

4.  Let go of worksheets! We found that teaching and learning in our classrooms improved when we abandoned worksheets.

5. Teach children to stretch though a word with a moving target. Our stretching through technique helped kids move from l for lady in Phase 2 to lad in Phase 3 to ladee in syllable chunks in Phase 4, on the way to conventional lady. The stretching through technique met kids where they were and supported them in moving to higher levels of spelling sophistication from phase to phase.

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The book Kid Writing in the 21st Century explains in great detail how to most effectively implement these practices and strategies. It includes reproducibles and a strategy guide to make adopting this process in your classroom quite simple.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

For more information on the book, click the image below to view or download a brochure.

Kid Writing in the 21st Century Brochure

 

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Topics: Kindergarten, First Grade, Kid Writing, J. Richard Gentry, Eileen Feldgus, Isabell Cardonick

Hameray's Middle School Level Books

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Jun 1, 2017 2:12:00 PM

Reluctant readers exist at every grade level, from kindergarten to twelfth grade. While they are plenty of lower-leveled guided reading books in the educational market, it can be difficult to find higher-leveled books. This problem is especially difficult for middle school English teachers, where the school literacy program may not be as robust as their elementary school counterparts.

Hameray offers leveled books from Guided Reading Level A through Y. The two highest-level book series are the Download Series and the Extraordinary Files—together, they make a great combination of nonfiction and fiction books for your classroom! Best of all, every book in the series is clearly leveled, so you never need to guess about the textual complexity of a book.

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Extraordinary Files is a fast-paced fiction series, where two FBI agents tackle various supernatural mysteries. The titles in the series range from Guided Reading Level T–Y, allowing students to continue enjoying the series as their reading skills develop. 

The relationships between characters are complex and contain romantic elements that will appeal to a middle school audience. With 48 pages in each book, the Extraordinary Files series offers a substantive and accessible option for teen students.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

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The Download Series titles range from levels Q to T. Each title focuses on a high-interest topic, such as Motorcycles (level T) and Basketball (level S). In addition to informational facts, the books also contain fictional stories featuring older characters—the protagonist in Cool Brands (level T) uses aftershave, something that older students can relate to.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

Other Hameray series like Underwater Encounters and Hameray Biography Series contain titles up to Guided Reading Level S. Look no further for middle school leveld books!

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Click the left image below to download information about Extraordinary Files. Click the right image below to download information about Download

Extraordinary Files Sales sheet  Download Series Highlights

 

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Download, Extraordinary Files, Hi-Lo, Middle School

Compound Word Activities

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on May 25, 2017 2:12:00 PM

A helpful decoding skill for new vocabulary is to determine whether or not the word is a compound word. If students recognize that some words are made up of two words strung together, it can help them easily pronounce and understand these (often long) and unfamiliar words!

The Common Core State Standards for Grade 2 requires students to “use knowledge of the meaning of individual words to predict the meaning of compound words (e.g. birdhouse, lighthouse, housefly; bookshelf, notebook, bookmark)” (L.2.4d). Although this standard is for 2nd Grade, recognizing compound words can be very useful for younger grade levels as well.

WHAT IS A COMPOUND WORD?

A compound word is made up of two or more words that, combined, create a new word. For example, the word “baseball” is made up of two discrete words, “base” and “ball.” There are technically three types of compounds: a closed compound, like “baseball,” has no spaces or hyphens between the words. A hyphenated compound, like “merry-go-round,” contains hyphens to create one word. Open compound words, like “ice cream,” contain a space between two words but are considered as one word with one meaning. For the purposes of teaching compounds words at the lower-elementary school and for decoding skills, it’s best to focus on teaching closed compound words.

COMPOUND WORD ACTIVITIES

The best way for students to understand the concept of a compound word is to expose them to many examples. Write individual words, such as “book” and “day,” on different index cards. Place them in two columns on the white board and ask students to make compound words out of the individual words. For example:

  • Can you add note and book together to make “notebook”?
  • Can you add note and day together to make “noteday”? (no)
  • What about “eye” and “glass”? What about “eye” and “day”?

After this activity, read Miniboy’s Travels from the Joy Cowley Collection. Have students identify all the compound words in the book:

  • Is Miniboy’s name a compound word? Which two words make up his name?
  • Why do you think “Miniboy” is named the way he is?
  • Is “strawberry” a compound word? Why do you think “berry” is combined with “straw”? [The Oxford Dictionary speculates that "straw" either refers to the stalk of the strawberry or the yellow straw-like spots on the berry.]
  • Is "bushes" a compound word? Although "bushes" can be divided into "bush" and "es," which makes the word plural, emphasize that it is not a compound word because "es" is not an individual word on its own. 

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>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

Knowledge of compound words wil help students decode new words, leading to improved pronunciation and reading comprehension!

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Click the left image below to download information about Joy Cowley Collection, which features various titles about Miniboy

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Common Core, Compound Words, Reading

Reading and Understanding Nonfiction—with FREE download!

Posted by Hilary Gard on May 23, 2017 3:15:00 PM

Today's post features our new guest blogger, Hilary Gard, who is a 2nd grade teacher. If you like this post, make sure to check out her blog, Primary Planet!

Hi! I’m Hilary from Primary Planet and I am guest blogging at Hameray today!

Today, I am here to talk about reading and understanding nonfiction. Students often have a hard time remembering what they read when they read nonfiction. When we read nonfiction books together in class, we stop often to check for understanding. The books in the Real World series are a perfect way to make reading a “real world” experience!

One strategy that I use often with my students is to use sticky notes. Before we read a nonfiction (or fiction, for that matter) book, we stick sticky notes on every few pages. When we reach the sticky note, we say what we’ve learned from that section. Having students tell what they learned or teach a friend what they learned is a great way to for students to remember what they are reading about.

If we are reading independently, we write down what we learned on the sticky note. This is a great way to gauge what students are learning and remembering when you conduct reading conferences with your students.

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In this book What’s the Time?, the students read about different ways to tell time. We used a Nonfiction Notes Graphic Organizer to record the information we learned from the book.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

After we read and filled in our graphic organizers, the students shared what they had written down with their partners.

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You can get your own copy of the Nonfiction Notes Graphic Organizer by clicking the link below. 

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope you and your students enjoy the little freebie!

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Hilary Gard has been teaching for 17 years, 13 of those years in 2nd grade. She is a children’s book collector and does a weekly book series called Book Talk Tuesday on her blog, Primary Planet.

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To download Hilary's Nonfiction Notes Graphic Organizer, click the left image below. For more information about Story World Real World, click the right image below.

Nonfiction Notes        New Call-to-Action

 

 
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Topics: Real World, Reading Comprehension, Nonfiction, Hilary Gard

This Sunday: #rrchat with Hameray Authors!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on May 19, 2017 10:34:00 AM

Do you know about #rrchat? The Reading Recovery National Council of America, which provides effective intervention for struggling readers in first grade, has developed an ongoing Twitter Chat series. Focusing on topics such as "Teaching Reading and Writing Vocabulary" and "Leveraging Deeper Professional Development," these forums allow you to discuss important literary issues with fellow educators... without having to leave your couch!

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This Sunday, May 21 at 7 pm EST, Adria Klein and Allison Briceno will be joining Reading Recovery's Twitter Chat as special guests and leaders of the discussion "Language and Literacy: Partners in Learning." Dr. Briceno is a co-author of Hameray's Oral Language Development Series, while Dr. Klein has participated in the Hameray Biography series and our Family Literacy Workshops book. Both authors have dozens of experience on literacy and language development, and we're so excited for them to be sharing their knowledge with you!
 
To participate in the discussion, all you need to do is follow @rrcna_org on your Twitter account, where Reading Recovery will post questions related to the topic. Make sure to use the hashtag #rrchat to contribute to the discussion.
 
Mark your calendar for this Sunday, May 21—don't miss this opportunity to speak with our Hameray authors!
 
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To download information about the Oral Language Development Series, which Dr. Briceno co-authored, click the image below.

Oral Language Development Series Free Teachers Guide 

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Topics: Adria Klein, Reluctant Readers, Reading Recovery, Allison Briceno

Fun Comprehension Activities for Zoozoo Animal World

Posted by Paula Dugger on May 16, 2017 3:34:00 PM

describe the imageThis is a guest blog post series authored by Paula Dugger, M. Ed. Paula is an educational consultant who has previously served as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, and a Reading Coordinator. 

Hameray’s Zoozoo Animal World series has been a favorite series of books not only for me, but also for my Reading Recovery students and other beginning readers I have worked with over the years. These informational texts not only help children learn to read, but they help them read to learn about a wide variety of animals. Vocabulary is enhanced and comprehension is built along with the discussion that takes place with the talking points at the end of each book.

Zoozoo Animal World contains 8 habitats with 5 animals in each. Forty nonfiction books leveled from C-F contain beautiful photographs that support meaning and repetitive sentence structure for beginning readers. My students enjoy having such a large selection of different animals to read about at their reading level.
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>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

I have created a fun activity, a scavengers hunt of sorts, to help my students analyze and compare/contrast the different animals within the Farm and Forest habitat. Students enjoy rereading the books and searching to confirm their answers while building comprehension skills.

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You can download my free activity sheets, complete with answer keys, for the Farm and Forest Habitat Set. I hope your students enjoy displaying their knowledge with this activity!

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Paula Dugger has a B.S, M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. A former first grade teacher, reading coordinator and Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Paula has served as an adjunct professor at Texas Woman’s University and Dallas Baptist University teaching reading classes for current and future teachers. She also does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC, in addition to writing blogs and early literacy books for Hameray. She can be contacted at pdugger11@gmail.com

Paula and her husband Neil have two married daughters and are grandparents to Carter, Blake, and Faye. She raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. Her longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing group, Longhorns. She has authored six additional titles in the Kaleidoscope Collection—Ben & Ruby, Buttons, Cowboy, Dinner, Going Up and Down, and Round, Not Round.

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To download Paula's free activity sheet, click the left image below. For more information about Zoozoo Animal World, click the right image below.

  Zoozoo Animal Hunt  New Call-to-Action 

 

 
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Topics: Early Childhood, Leveled Readers, Paula Dugger, Zoozoo Animal World

Identifying Character Perspectives with Joy Cowley Books

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on May 11, 2017 3:44:00 PM

An essential literacy skill for reading fiction is the comprehension of character perspectives. In order for students to fully understand what is happening in the story, they must recognize that different characters are collectively contributing to the plot. Two Common Core Reading Standards relate to character perspectives: “Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text” (RL.1.6) and “Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories” (RL.1.10). 

Joy Cowley’s books offer two ways for you to teach character perspectives to your students: 1) through dialogue and 2) unconventional points of view.

1) DIALOGUE

Many of Joy Cowley’s books contain dialogue between different characters. Wishy-Washy Mirror, part of the Joy Cowley Early Birds series, features the characters Mrs. Wishy-Washy, the cow, the pig, and the duck. On page 3, 4, and 5, ask students to identify who is talking and how they can tell. Emphasize quotation marks and words like “said” as markers for character’s speech, which gives the reader insight into the character’s perspective.

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Ask the students: why did the cow, the pig, and the duck see different things in the mirror? This comprehension question requires students to recognize that each character has its own perception—because mirrors reflect the things in front of it, each animal sees itself!

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

 

2) POINT OF VIEW

The Joy Cowley Collection includes three books called A Book for Pet Cats, A Book for Pet Dogs, and A Book for Pet Parrots. Each of these books contains advice for the reader to be an ideal pet—the narrator begins with “If you are a parrot and you want to be a pet, this is a book for you” (2).

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The second person “you” point of view implies that the reader is a parrot. This narrative frame requires the child to adopt the perspective of a parrot who wants to become a pet, not a pet owner (which would be a more familiar perspective). With this experience, the reader takes on the shoes of someone else and learns to dive deeply into a fictional character’s perspective.

 >> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

This blog post only mentions 4 books, but all of Joy Cowley’s books are stellar titles for teaching students about character perspectives!

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To download information about Joy Cowley Early Birds, click the left image below. To download highlights about The Joy Cowley Collection, click the right image below.

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Joy Cowley, Joy Cowley Early Birds, Literature, Point of View

FREE Zoozoo Into the Wild Teacher's Guide!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on May 9, 2017 3:56:00 PM

Long-time fans of Zoozoo Into the Wild will be elated to learn about a FREE Teacher’s Guide for the series! The comprehensive guide offers various classroom activities for the nonfiction, fiction, wordless books, and poetry cards that are included in the Zoozoo Into the Wild series. 

The series features eight different animals: Elephant, Frog, Giraffe, Hippo, Lion, Orangutan, Tiger, and Zebra. Each animal has a narrative, informational, and wordless book in which they are featured. By using these titles together, students can learn how to distinguish nonfiction from fictional texts, making them critical and active readers.

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The poetry cards include illustrations and a famous poem about animals. For example, the hippo poetry card features “One Hippo, Two Hippo” by Daniel Williams. The Teacher’s Guide suggest the following ways to introduce poetry into your literacy classroom:

“Listen to the Poem:

  • Read the poem to the children without showing the illustrations.
  • Ask them to listen carefully and try to picture what the hippos are doing in the poem.
  • Read the poem twice. Then ask the children to retell the poem in their own words.
  • Display the poetry card to the group and read the poem again” (12)

Reading the poem aloud allows the children to really focus on the semantic meanings of the words and boosts their visualization skills. After listening, the children can “Hear the Poem”:

  • “Read the first two lines of the hippo pome. Ask the children to identify any words that rhyme.
  • Reread the first two lines, leaving out one of the rhyming words. Ask the children to fill in the blanks.
  • Repeat this with the last two lines of the poem.
  • Read the whole poem to the group, leaving out some of the rhyming words. Ask the children to fill in the blanks” (12)

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For more tips on how to teach poetry and use Zoozoo Into the Wild with your students, look through the Flipbook and download the Zoozoo Into the Wild Teacher’s Guide for FREE!

 

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View the FREE Teacher's Guide at this link. To download information about Zoozoo Into the Wild, click the image below.

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Topics: Zoozoo Into the Wild, Poetry, Teacher's Guides

Hi-Lo Books for Movie Fanatics

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on May 4, 2017 4:17:00 PM

Books have a lot of competition in the modern day—children are increasingly turning to TV, video games, and the internet as their preferred form of entertainment. Many reluctant readers love watching movies, but find books to be stuffy or boring. Different media don’t have to exist in isolation to each other, though. Why not capture your reluctant reader’s interest with books about movies?

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Behind the Scenes: Special Effects, from the Download series, discusses the various cinematic features included in movies. Readers learn about stop-motion animation, stuntmen, CGI, and more! The book showcases many pivotal moments in moviemaking history, such as the first movie with special effects and the first IMAX film. Any movie buff will be thrilled to read about the work that goes into moviemaking. Best of all, the book is filled with photographs from famous movie franchises such as King Kong and Spiderman.

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The Hameray Biography Series highlights the life of Walt Disney, one of the most famous moviemakers of all time. The biography traces Walt Disney’s path to fame with Steamboat Willie and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Today, Walt Disney’s name still makes any child perk up with excitement; even your most reluctant reader will be drawn to this high-interest book!

Specifically written for students reading below their grade, Behind the Scenes: Special Effects and Walt Disney are perfect high-interest, low-level books. Your students will realize that books are just as entertaining as movies … and some books can even make movie-watching more interesting!

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To download information about Download Series, click the left image below. To download a free Teacher's Guide for Walt Disney, click the right image below.

                                        Download Series Highlights    Bio TG

 
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Topics: Biography Series, Download, Reluctant Readers, Hi-Lo, Movie

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