Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Summer Reading Challenge—with FREE Download!

Posted by Lyssa Sahadevan on Jul 7, 2017 3:59:10 PM

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This is a guest post by Lyssa Sahadevan of Marietta, GA. She writes a blog called My Mommy Reads, which is about motherhood and teaching-related topics.

My first graders are readers. They love books, stories, magazine articles, graphic novels, e-books, and so on. When it came to summer reading though, I knew I had to be creative. I want them to have an amazing summer filled with playing outside and spending time with their families. I also want them to READ!

I had seen several reading challenges on Twitter and decided to discuss the possibilities with my class. Could first graders come up with categories to support their own summer reading? Yes! There was much debate and then a bit of voting. They decided to go with favorites, community, and award winners. Favorites included any books they already loved. The community category was centered on learning more about our world—the people and places. As our class has really celebrated award-winning books this year, I was thrilled with their third category: award winners of all kinds. My students even had the idea to make a challenge for their friends. We decided to create bookmarks so they could check off the books as they read them over the summer.

Once the challenge was in place and the bookmarks were made, we needed to discuss each category in detail. Hands quickly went up. Joy Cowley Collection books were especially popular. One reader wanted to borrow the Mr. Tang set because there are three books and they are his favorites. Another reader wanted a Mrs. Wishy-Washy book because she has always wanted to live on a farm. The lists were growing, and this teacher could not have been happier.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

While I do want my students to read over the summer, I want their reading to be personal and full of choice. I want them to broaden their horizons. I want them to continue to love reading. I want them to know their teacher will be taking the challenge, too! Will you join us? Download our reading challenge bookmarks below!

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For more information on the books mentioned in this blog post, click the series highlights images on the left below or click this link to visit our webpage for the Joy Cowley Collection series. To download the reading challenge bookmarks, click the image to the right.

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Lyssa Sahadevan, Mr. Tang, Summer Reading

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

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

JOY COWLEY GIVEAWAY 2017!

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!

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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

Rhyme Time with the Meanies!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Jan 24, 2017 3:51:00 PM

We all love Joy Cowley—her stories feature engaging characters, funny plots, and timeless illustrations. Best of all, Joy’s books are specially written to help your students read! 

Those Yucky Meanies! from the Joy Cowley Collection, leveled at Guided Reading Level H, contains rhyming words throughout the book. Rhyming always leads to a rhythmical read-aloud experience, and it also strengthens a student’s sound-symbol correspondence as they realize that certain sounds are represented by a certain string of letters. A familiarity with rhymes also allows young writers to spell by analogy. For example, if a child wants to write “shape,” recognizing that the word rhymes with “cape” will lead the child to the correct spelling.

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While reading aloud, pause after the penultimate word of the sentence to encourage students to chime in with the rhyming word. For example, on page 6, read: “It will smell. It will make you feel... [together] unwell.”

The rhyming words in Those Yucky Meanies! are listed include the following:

  • mucky and yucky
  • lunch and crunch
  • smell and well
  • grimy and slimy
  • run and fun
  • lands and hands
  • swamp and chomp
  • nose and clothes

The last two rhyming pairs sound the same, but are spelled differently. (You might even argue, depending on which English dialect you speak, that “swamp” and “chomp” are slant rhymes, but this term isn’t necessary to teach in lower elementary grades.)

Point out to your students that rhyming words don’t need to be spelled the same way—sometimes the same sound it spelled differently, like “nose” and “clothes.” Note that this definition doesn’t apply for rime (not rhyme) chunks, which require the words to have identical spellings.

Discussing rhyming words will help your students become better readers and writers. Reading Joy Cowley isn’t just fun—it brings learning into the classroom, too!

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Click the images below to learn more about The Meanies and the Joy Cowley Collection.

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Meanies, Rhyme

Why Are Big Books So Special?

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Aug 25, 2016 3:42:00 PM

 

Both teachers and students love Hameray’s Big Books collection, which feature select titles from the Joy Cowley Collection, My World Series, and Fables Real World Series. We’re excited to be releasing 30 more Big Books in September from the Joy Cowley Early BirdsColleción Joy Cowley and Kaleidoscope Collection—keep an eye out for our new catalog coming soon! 

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What makes these books so special? First and foremost, the large book size immediately commands the attention of any reader. In order for students to understand the importance and the joy of reading, you need to make sure that books are literally a big part of their lives!

MWBB_covers-MC-300.jpgThe enlarged text and illustrations also ensure that every student can visually access the book. You could try using a document camera to project the book during a read aloud, but not all schools offer this technology, and there’s always the risk of technological failures wrecking havoc on your lesson plan. When you use a standard-sized book for a read aloud, though, some students in the back of the reading circle grumble or shove other students in order to see. Other students will simply stop paying attention because it is too difficult to follow along from a distance. With a Big Book, you can prevent class conflict and keep all your students engaged!

Apart from the story itself, every young child’s favorite part of the reading experience is flipping the pages. Even reluctant readers will be itching to get a turn at flipping the large and satisfying pages of the Big Book, resulting in a more positive attitude towards reading time.

 

A Big Book also works wonders outside of read aloud time. During sustained silent reading, many students like to look through books already read aloud by the teacher. Rereading is also an essential tool for developing reading fluency (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.4). Because of the popularity of the book, however, arguments may break out over who can read the book first.

Fables-Dove-250.jpgHameray offers combo sets with a Big Book and matching readers, but your limited classroom library size might prevent you from purchasing matching readers for every book you read aloud. Standard picture books are only large enough for 1-2 children to read at a time, so other students might lose enthusiasm if they have to wait their turn or read another book that doesn’t pique their interest. The Big Book solves this problem entirely—its size is large enough that four students can easily share the book at the same time!

 


By now, it should be self-evident that Big Books are a must-buy for every classroom. Check out all our available Big Book products here at our website or downlaod the brochure below!

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Click the image below to download a brochure containing Hameray's narrative and informational Big Books. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Fall 2016 catalog, which will feature 30 new Big Book titles!

                                                                Leveled Big Books

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Leveled Readers, Big Books, Sally Hosokawa

Comparing and Contrasting with Joy Cowley's Mr. Tang—Includes FREE Download!

Posted by Lyssa Sahadevan on Jun 2, 2016 4:00:00 PM

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This is a guest post by Lyssa Sahadevan of Marietta, GA. She writes a blog called My Mommy Reads which is about motherhood and teaching-related topics.

As a teacher and a learner, I often wonder about the relevance of what I am teaching or what I am being taught. It is not that I am not judging the content but rather wanting to make it practical and understand its importance.

One of the Common Core Reading standards (RL.1.9) requires students to compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories. This, I can wrap my around! Comparing and contrasting information is part of real life, and we are asked to do it every day! Hmmm…which shoes to wear? Where should I sit on the carpet? Which book to read? Which car to buy?

We know students are capable of comparing and contrasting, but they need support to do it well. By helping students strengthen this skill (the sooner, the better,) we can help them remember key information, improve comprehension, and make the most of their background knowledge. Introducing this strategy during the early years also builds a foundation for higher order thinking.

In my first-grade classroom, I have some students who simply see differences and similarities right away. Whether we are playing a math game or reading a book, they have it. They can identify what is alike and different when they are read to or when they read independently. However, some students struggle with this skill. During our strategy group time, I pull these students aside, and we start small. Here are a few ways to keep it fun for our beginners:

  • Have two students stand up. Orally start sharing what you notice about their clothing. Compare and contrast what they are wearing. Then have the students join in!
  • Show students two different calendar pages, postcards, or book covers. Have them share what they notice is alike or different. Use sentence stems like, “They both have…” or “Only this one…”
  • Write the students’ names on large cards. Have them work together to compare their names. 
  • Sort, sort, sort! Have them sort books, words, pictures, and even themselves into groups and have them explain the sort.

Once they have this basic understanding, it is time to work on the standard! I like using a favorite character from the Joy Cowley Collection—Mr. Tang. I like these stories because the settings are very clear, the stories are similar, and there is more than meets the eye!

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We start by reading the title and looking at the pictures in one of the books. Then we add the next Mr. Tang story and do the same. They immediately start sharing what they notice! We then choose one of the first two books to compare to a third Mr. Tang story. This time, we record our thoughts together on a chart. Their next step is to try it independently!

At the bottom of the page, for a free download, I have included a packet of different compare and contrast organizers that I use in my first-grade classroom. I hope you will be able to put them to use as you support your critical thinkers!

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For more information on the books used in this blog click the series highlights images on the left below or click this link to visit our webpage for the Joy Cowley Collection series. To download the Comparing and Contrasting Packet, click the image to the right.

 

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Common Core, Lyssa Sahadevan, Compare and Contrast, Mr. Tang

Find Out Who Won The Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Apr 14, 2016 3:20:26 PM

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The Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway 2016 wrapped up yesterday, and we're ready to announce our winner. And, because of the tremendous response to the contest, we also have TWO surprises for you! Read on to find out what they are, and find out who the grand prize winner is!

 

Surprise 1: Mini-Prize Winners


We picked extra mini-prize winners! The following ten people are our ten runners up! Here's what they won!

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One copy of What Is a Book? goes to these five lucky winners:

1. Susan Dee of Durham Community School in Durham, ME

2. Kari Meeks of Noah's Ark Preschool in North Port, FL

3. Carolyn Wojtera of McHarg Elementary in Radford, VA

4. Jacob West of Meadowbrook Elementary in Sturgis, SD

5. Wendy Davies of Mason Elementary in Lee's Summit, MO

 

fingerpuppets-325.jpgAnd one set of Mrs. Wishy-Washy finger puppets goes to these five:

1. Carrie Hernandez of Leggee Elementary in Huntley, IL

2. Kim Barr of George Anderson Elementary in Allen, TX

3. Mary Ellen Vachta of Crestwood Elementary School in Cresco, IA

4. Debra Getsinger of Kiddieland in Shelby, NC

5. Jennifer McAdoo of Kinderpond Learning Center in Sheboygan, WI

Congrats to our mini-prize winners—we hope you enjoy your prizes!

 

Surprise 2: Preview 15 New Stories by Joy (Coming Soon!)

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You’ll be excited to know that Joy has authored 15 new stories! The adventures of Little Rabbit—the next installment of the Joy Cowley Early Birds series—are coming soon. Little Rabbit, his family, and his friends will delight and engage young readers with their cute and funny explorations. You can click here for a sneak peek into this fun new series of books.

       

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Congratulations to Billie, who has won a complete set of all of our Joy Cowley products—leveled readers, big books, audiobooks, and finger puppets—worth over $1,000. 

Thanks to everyone who entered this year, and we hope you stay tuned for our next contest by subscribing to our blog posts at the top of the page. 

Want to learn more about our Joy Cowley books? Click the images below to download series information sheets with key features, or visit this page to see the titles on offer.

 

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

Teacher Bloggers Weigh In on Joy Cowley's Newer Characters, Pt. 2!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Apr 6, 2016 2:04:00 PM

As part of our celebration of Joy Cowley during this year's incarnation of our yearly Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway (click here to enter BEFORE APRIL 14th, if you haven't already!), this year we had a group of teacher bloggers weigh in on some of Joy's lesser-known characters. We wanted to know, from an educator's perspective, what there was to say about these characters and the books that they are featured in. Our first batch of blogger posts came out on March 23 and you can see those here. Today we have an all-new batch of posts from different bloggers, giving more perspectives—some on the same characters, and some on different ones! If you want to know more, read on for a listing of where you can see these character reviews and some ideas for using these books in your classroom!

 

JC4_US_Barbie_WildLamb2-contest.jpgBarbie the Lamb and Mr. Whisper

Mrs. Price's Kindergators 

Learning Is For Superstars: Post 1 and Post 2

Learn more about Barbie the Lamb and Mr. Whisper!


Huggles and the Gruesomes

Primary Teaching Resources

JC4_US_Gruesome_Song-contest.jpgThird Grade Bookworms

Kreative in Kinder

Learn more about Huggles and The Gruesomes!

 

Hairy Bear and Miniboy

Filling the Frame with Learning

Learn more about Hairy Bear and Miniboy!

 

Smarty Pants and Mr. Tang

Tales of a First-Grade Teacher

Beach, Sand, and Lesson Plans

Learn more about Smarty Pants and Mr. Tang!

  

We also created a brand new set of packages featuring only these newer characters, in case you had all the old favorites and wanted to bolster your collection with these fun newer guys! You can find the new character set here, and the guided reading version with six-packs of each book here!

I'd like to give a special thanks to all of the teachers who participated in this year's giveaway and character review! We love having the perspectives of educators and being able to share them with the wider educational and literacy communities!

If you are a teacher with a blog and would like to be considered as a contributor, either to our weekly blog postings or to be involved in our next contest, email tara@hameraypublishing.com and let us know how you'd like to participate.

— Tara

 

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Joy Cowley, The Joy Cowley Collection, Contests

Teacher Bloggers Weigh In on Joy Cowley's Newer Characters, Pt. 1!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Mar 23, 2016 6:15:19 PM

As part of our celebration of Joy Cowley during this year's incarnation of our yearly Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway (click here to enter, if you haven't already!), this year we had a group of teacher bloggers weigh in on some of Joy's lesser-known characters. We wanted to know, from an educator's perspective, what there was to say about these characters and the books that they are featured in. Our first batch of blogger posts is in! If you want to know more, read on for a listing of where you can see these character reviews and some ideas for using these books in your classroom!

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Hairy Bear and Miniboy

Searching for Teacher Balance

Reading Toward the Stars

Laugh, Eat, Learn

Learn more about Hairy Bear and Miniboy!

 

Smarty Pants and Mr. Tang

Busy in Kindergarten

Learn more about Smarty Pants and Mr. Tang!

 

Sloppy Tiger and Oscar

Maggie's Kinder Corner

Swamp Frog First-Graders

Storytime Secrets

Learn more about Sloppy Tiger and Oscar!

 

  

We also created a brand new set of packages featuring only these newer characters, in case you had all the old favorites and wanted to bolster your collection with these fun newer guys! You can find the new character set here, and the guided reading version with six-packs of each book here!

I'll be posting the next batch of teacher blogger posts soon as our busy-bee teachers return from their spring breaks and test the books out on their students! Keep an eye out for the next update. :)

If you are a teacher with a blog and would like to be considered as a contributor, either to our weekly blog postings or to be involved in our next contest, email tara@hameraypublishing.com and let us know how you'd like to participate.

— Tara

 

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Joy Cowley, The Joy Cowley Collection, Contests

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