Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

How to Keep Students Reading Through Spring and Summer [A Classic Post]

Posted by Elizabeth Hall on May 26, 2016 2:07:19 PM

elizabeth hallThis is a guest post by blogger Elizabeth Hall that originally ran in April 2014. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, Kickin' It in Kindergarten, for more of her writing, or you can click here to see her other contributions to our blog!

The itch of summer isn’t felt just by us. It spreads like wildfire through classrooms all over the place beginning at the end of April. May is crazier than the holiday season for me. I know you know what I’m talking about! There aren’t enough color codes on my calendar to organize all of the different activities and school programs that are happening at the end of the year.

Reading is one thing that seems to be put to the side at this time of the year. Most of the students have mastered the actual goal of learning how to reading, so parents and teachers do not emphasize at home reading as much. My biggest goal is to motivate my students to read more. I want them to want to read. One way I do this in my classroom (I usually start in April), is give them a 100 Book Challenge. If you start later in the year, you can make it be fewer books.

The 100 Book Challenge is exactly what it sounds like. Students have about five to six weeks to read 100 books. I tell them that the book has to have at least ten pages. If the book has twenty pages, then it counts twice. When the student reaches 100 books, we have a bit of a celebration. I let the kids dance around and they get a reading medal. They also get to sign their name on a poster in the hall. There are tons of trophy companies out there that have medals. You can find reading-specific medals as well.

Another way I try to keep my students engaged, even when I’m not with them, is by giving them a summer bucket. In the bucket, I always give them a book and a suggested reading list. I also fill it up with other fun summer things that they can use over the summer. The buckets can be purchased inexpensively at any craft store or on-line.

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I know you are just as excited about the days of staying in your PJs until noon as I am, but we still owe it to our students to encourage them and believe in them. Each time you say or think “I am so over it,” remember all of the hard work that you have put in to each student!

Happy Summer Reading! 

~~~

Author Bio (2014)

This is my fifth year as a kindergarten teacher. The best part of kindergarten is watching a child fall in love with reading. It has become my passion to show children the possibilities and amazing adventures literature can offer. I love watching their eyes light up when they tell me they can read their favorite book, or they can’t wait to go back to the library! I have the best job in the world!

I am so lucky to have such a wonderful support system in and out of school. My family lives close and I get to spend a lot of time with them! While I am not at school, I enjoy running, teaching spin class, swimming, playing kickball, spending time with my husband, and traveling. I also have a sheltie named Maggie, which is spoiled rotten. I am married to the best guy in the world, work with wonderful people, and have fabulous students!

  ~~~

We're pleased to offer ready-made classroom libraries to supplement your collection and give your students plenty of books to choose from for their challenge! Click here to see them on our website, or click the image below to download a brochure!

Classroom Library Brochure

 

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Kindergarten, Elizabeth Hall

[New Post] Reading and Writing the Room—with FREE Download!

Posted by Kathy Crane on Feb 12, 2016 4:26:14 PM

This is a guest post by Kathy Crane, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, Kindergarten Kiosk.

 

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Students in my classroom have been writing and reading the room since the early '90s when I first heard of the concept at a conference, and I have yet to find a student who is not in love with the activity! To make these activities even better, both of these reading and writing activities are easy to set up and use.

Reading the Room involves providing students with a type of pointer and allowing them opportunity to read any printed matter that you have in your classroom. To prepare students for this opportunity, have name charts, posters, etc. in full view of the students and use the teacher pointer to model reading displayed activities on a daily basis. Have them look for snowflake cards with letters on them (found in the free activity below) or Letter Books that are hidden around the room. 

Writing the Room involves students searching throughout the room for assigned print such as letters, numbers, words, or even poems. You can supply students with clipboards, or you can have them glue the sheets in composition journals.

Below is a "free write the room" activity your students will love.

 

~~~

Kathy Crane holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Reading, is a published author of thirteen books, a freelance author and developer of teaching curriculum, has been a teacher of kindergarten for twenty-two years, and publishes the blog Kindergarten Kiosk

~~~ 

For more information about the Letter Buddies series, click HERE to return to our website or click the series highlight page below to download an information sheet.
 

 

Snowflake Write the Room Activity     New Call-to-Action 

 

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Topics: Making Learning Fun, K-2 Literacy, Reading Activities, Teaching Writing, Kathy Crane, Writing Activity

Classic Post: Classroom Library Organization

Posted by Richard Giso on Oct 8, 2015 5:30:00 PM

Richard Giso 200This is a guest post by Richard Giso that originally ran in March 2014. Click here to see his other posts. You could also check out his blog, called Mr. Giso's Room to Read, in which he writes about fun classroom activities, behavior management, and classroom management.

Making the Most of Classroom Libraries

Greetings! It’s Rich Giso from Mr. Giso’s Room to Read, excited to be blogging about something both my college students and my teacher colleagues often seek my advice on. Setting up a classroom library can be a very daunting task, as there are so many questions to consider. How much space do I have? How should I categorize my books? Should I have certain books leveled? Where do I put those special readalouds I do every year? What makes the best storage? What kinds of print, other than books, should I include?

I’m hoping to offer you some pointers by sharing with you my classroom library via photographs. Keep in mind, however, that I’m in my sixteenth year of teaching, meaning that I have a vast collection of reading material available to my young readers that I have accumulated through the years. Start small. Your collection will grow from year to year with the help of yard sales, retiring teachers, eBay, bonus points from book orders, grant proposals, parent donations, etc.

Giso-8-1As far as book storage goes, I use a combination of dish washing tubs and plastic/metal coolers used to store ice in order to keep drinks cool. My tubs are all orange and blue so that they match my classroom theme. This serves to make things look both organized and uniform. ALL books should be stored with the covers facing out towards the reader. This is important for book browsing.

Notice how I have a combination of books sorted by level and by topic. This is really important. My young readers need to be picking from the right book level in order for them to grow stronger as readers. I give them a range of books to select from (a tub that is easy, one that is just right and one that is a little challenging). My mature readers have more freedom when selecting books, because they are more experienced in picking books that are a good fit for their interest and reading ability.

In addition to sorting books by levels, I have many categories that highlight Caldecott awards, poetry, science and mathematics books, wordless books, books on America, legends, fables and fairy tales, books from different cultures, wordless books, alphabet books, biographies and books about history.

I also have these shelves I turned on their sides to serve as benches. This is a perfect area for buddy reading.

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For those special books—ones that I use on the holidays, ones that teach topics such as parts of speech, punctuation, etc. and my special readalouds, I utilize a shelf out of reach so that they are always there when I need them.

I have special spinning shelves for books arranged according to my favorite authors (Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Jan Brett, Bill Martin Jr., etc.). Periodically, I move them to a display that includes lots of photographs and biographic tidbits about our featured author. We are currently studying Patrica Polacco.

I have a number of informational texts and periodicals for kids as well as pamphlets, travel brochures and menus for them to browse. These have special places in my library too.

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For topics that we are studying, I pull out books and feature them as well. Here you see a Gail Gibbons collection because we are writing teaching books. In social studies we are studying American symbols, so I have those books on display.

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In addition to these pictures, I store my dictionaries in my writing center and have a wire wrack display that showcases my holiday/seasonal books that changes on a regular basis. To store multiple copies of the same book, I have a guided reading cart on wheels so that they are easily accessible.

I’m pleased to offer you a “tour” of my library. It’s the heart of every classroom, so it’s work giving it some attention! Happy reading!

~~~

I'm a proud teacher with over 15 years of teaching experience. I began my teaching career as a fourth grade teacher at the Bates Elementary School in Salem, Massachusetts. Since then, I have taught fourth grade for eight years. From there, I moved to a job as a reading coach under the Reading First grant. Having missed my true passion—having a classroom of my own—I returned to teaching as a first grade teacher for the next five years.

Now I've moved to the Carlton Innovation School, also in Salem, Massachusetts, where I am ready to begin my first year as a member of a team of four teachers that teach grades one and two. In addition, I teach undergraduate and graduate students at Salem State University. My courses involve literacy, children's literature, and elementary education. My educational interests include early literacy, effective reading interventions, and positive classroom climates.

~~~

To download a brochure on our pre-packaged Classroom Libraries, click the image below!

Classroom Library Brochure

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Topics: Classroom Libraries, Richard Giso, K-2 Literacy, Classroom Organization

Using Predictable Sentences with Your Favorite Wishy-Washy Tales

Posted by Amanda Ross on Jul 21, 2015 4:30:33 PM

Ross-biopicThis is a guest post by blogger Amanda Ross. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, First Grade Garden, for more of her writing.  

Hi there! This is Amanda from First Grade Garden back today to talk to you about one of my students’ favorite characters: Mrs. Wishy-Washy! We love all the books featuring her. I especially love that there is a whole series of early readers featuring her. The books are simple enough for my first graders to read independently.

Today I’m going to share with you an activity for kindergarten or first grade that goes with the original Mrs. Wishy-Washy book, but can be adapted to any of your favorite stories!

wishy-washy-activity-400Predictable sentences are short, simple sentences that follow a pattern. You can write predictable sentences together on chart paper by filling in the blank of a simple sentence frame such as “I like ____.” or “I can ____.” This is a great activity for practicing sight words, 1:1 correspondence, and fluency.

The activity I did with my class was to simplify the story of Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s farm by using simple, predictable sentences that mostly follow the same pattern. I printed the cards out on cardstock and stuck them in a pocket chart, but you could write them on chart paper or sentence strips!

When you use predictable sentences with a favorite book, it is a great way to practice retelling! You can even cut apart all the words of the sentences and have students recreate the story themselves in the pocket chart as a literacy center!

In the download below, I have included the cards for the predictable story chart. Try it out with your own class!

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Amanda Ross is a first grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching for seven years. The last three years have been in first grade, and that’s where she plans to stay! She is currently on maternity leave with her daughter Zoe, but she will be heading back to first grade in September. You can find her over at her teaching blog, First Grade Garden.

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To learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image to the left below to download information sheets with key featuresTo download the freebie, click the image to the right.

 New Call-to-Action Wishy-Washy Predictable Sentences Packet CTA

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Joy Cowley Early Birds, K-2 Literacy, Amanda Ross

RRCNA Reports: Study Shows That i3 Reading Recovery Is Working!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jun 4, 2015 4:56:00 PM


In a recent newsletter, the Reading Recovery Council of North America described a recent report published in the June 2015 issue of the American Educational Research Journal that confirms the effectiveness of the USDE-awarded Investing in Innovation (i3) grant to scale up Reading Recovery across the United States.

child_reading_smiling_4190245_Jarenwicklund-250The highlights of the study, as reported by RRCNA, include the following:

  • "Reading Recovery students achieved accelerated progress with a growth rate 38% greater than the national average growth rate for beginning first graders, gaining nearly 2 months more learning compared to typical first graders taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). Authors described the effect size as 'large relative to typical effect sizes found in educational evaluations.'"
  • "In extensive interviews with teachers in training in this project, 'many teachers reported that their Reading Recovery training was transformative in terms of their own instruction and understanding about literacy.'"
  • "'The quality of implementation and large positive effects of Reading Recovery during the first year of this i3 scale-up suggest that the $55 million investment is paying off. Although more specific cost-effectiveness results won’t be available until the final year of the project, these early results are very encouraging.'"

As always, we at Hameray support Reading Recovery, and we are very pleased to hear that word of its effectiveness is getting out! Click the link to read more about our latest book featuring a method of school improvement that relies on Reading Recovery as a cornerstone: Changing Minds, Changing Schools, Changing Systems: Comprehensive Literacy Design for School Improvement.

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Reading Recovery

10 Tips for Running a Successful Home Reading Program

Posted by Amanda Ross on Jun 2, 2015 4:35:45 PM

Ross-biopicThis is a guest post by blogger Amanda Ross. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, First Grade Garden, for more of her writing.  

Hi there! This is Amanda from First Grade Garden here again to talk with you about home reading. If you teach in the elementary grades, you probably run some sort of home reading program in your classroom. We all know the benefits that come with children reading at least 20 minutes every day, but sometimes it can be a struggle to get our students to do that. Some teachers find running these programs to be a hassle and some parents just don’t have time for it. I’m here to offer a few tips to make your home reading program successful!

  1. Choose “just right” books. If students are taking home books that are too difficult for them to read independently, home reading can become a struggle. Parents have a hard time getting the students to read and both the students and parents start to dread reading time, instead of it being an enjoyable experience. I always have my students take home books that are one reading level below the level we are working on in our guided reading group. I find that the books in the Joy Cowley Early Bird Collection are perfect for first-grade home reading! This collection has an amazing assortment of books from levels C–G with familiar characters, such as Mrs. Wishy-Washy, that students just love!
  1. children_reading_exciting_16243594_Hvaldez-300Give choice. Let students choose the books they take home to read. They are more likely to read it if it is something that looks interesting to them! I organize my home reading books by level, so I just tell students which levelled tub they can choose from.
  1. Make it simple. Don’t over complicate things with tons of paperwork and homework activities to complete for every book. The goal of the program is to get students to read every day with their families. I send home a log that has them record the date, the title of the book, and if the book was too easy/just right/too hard. (This helps me decide if students should start taking books from a different levelled tub!)
  1. Set goals. I have done this three different ways--set individual goals, classroom goals, and school-wide goals. Individual goals are set in our data folders. Students can decide how many books they want to read in a month or even just make a goal to read more books than the previous month. Our classroom or school-wide goals are usually just a number we pick and we keep track of how many books we’ve read all together, using tally marks or ten frames. (Great math connection too!)
  1. Offer incentives. In the past I have had a treasure box that students got to pick from after every ten books they’ve read. You could also do sticker charts or even classroom tickets. Use your existing classroom management system to help with this. 
  1. child_reading_smiling_25446769_Petrenko_Andriy-300Make it routine. Changing our home reading books is a daily part of our morning routine. Every morning students know what is expected of them and it just becomes a habit to come in, hand in their agenda, and change their home reading book. 
  1. Be organized. When you are organized yourself, it makes your program run a lot smoother. Have all of your home reading books organized by level and have all of your handouts/reading logs prepped and organized.
  1. Praise, praise, praise! A kind word can go a long way. Praise students for meeting their goal. Praise students for remembering to bring their home reading back. Praise students for reading ten books in a month. Other students might overhear your praise and it can motivate them to work harder too!
  1. In-school options. Do you have students who just can’t get their reading done at home? It doesn’t matter the reason; everybody’s home life is different. But we still want all students to have the opportunity to read every day. My school has a morning reading program where students can go and read with an Educational Assistant. If your school doesn’t have a program like this, you can recruit some parent volunteers or even some older students who are looking for some volunteer time to read with students who cannot complete their reading at home!
  1. Celebrate! Have a big kick off to your program! The first year I taught grade one, my teammates and I put on a big “Home Reading Kick Off” evening for students and families. It wasn’t anything elaborate, but we made a big deal out of it! We gave a little spiel about the importance of home reading and how our program worked. Then we officially gave students their home reading bag with their first book in it. They also got a little treat too! It definitely got them excited about reading at home and they couldn’t wait to tell me about their book the next day!

I hope some of these tips help you. See you next time!

~~~

Amanda Ross is a first grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching for seven years. The last three years have been in first grade, and that’s where she plans to stay! She is currently on maternity leave with her daughter Zoe, but she will be heading back to first grade in September. You can find her over at her teaching blog, First Grade Garden.

~~~

To learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image to the left below to download information sheets with key featuresTo download the freebie, click the image to the right.

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, K-2 Literacy, Amanda Ross, Home Reading

Comparing Literature to Informational Text—with FREE Download!

Posted by Amanda Ross on May 19, 2015 3:30:00 PM

Ross-biopicThis is a guest post by blogger Amanda Ross. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, First Grade Garden, for more of her writing.  

It's me again—Amanda from First Grade Garden. I am back today to share with you an idea for comparing literature to informational text.

I love to compare fiction and non-fiction texts with my students. It really gets them looking closer at the texts. We dig deeper into the books to look at specific text features and elements. When I discovered the Story World Real World series, I was so excited! They match up ten common fairy tales with companion non-fiction books. There are three different non-fiction titles to match each fairy tale. I used the books Three Little Pigs and All About Pigs for this activity with my students.

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The first day, we read Three Little Pigs, one of my favorite fairy tales! After reading, we discuss the story elements—characters, setting, problem, and solution. We also practice retelling it, sometimes by acting it out or by using finger puppets. 

The next day we read the companion non-fiction book All About Pigs. Before reading, I have the students look closely at the covers of the two books and tell me what they notice. What is similar or different about the two books? While we read the All About Pigs book, we look at all the features as we come across them: table of contents, bold words, labels, index, etc. We discuss the reason for each feature and then discuss whether we noticed it in the Three Little Pigs book or not. Sometimes we go back and check, because that is what good readers do! 

Once we have read and discussed both books, we complete a Venn diagram to compare and contrast them. The students come up with some great ideas! Sometimes I have to prompt them with questions such as “What did you notice about the pictures in both books?” or “Who wrote these books?” Usually, after I ask one question, it sparks a lot of other discussions and observations about the books.

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You could do this activity with any fairy tale and non-fiction book. In the download below, I have included the headings for the “Three Little Pigs” Venn diagram or just generic “Fiction” and “Non-fiction” headings that can be used with any book! There is also a student recording sheet.

Try this activity out with your favorite fairy tale from the Story World Real World series!

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Amanda Ross is a first grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching for seven years. The last three years have been in first grade, and that’s where she plans to stay! She is currently on maternity leave with her daughter Zoe, but she will be heading back to first grade in September. You can find her over at her teaching blog, First Grade Garden.

~~~

To learn more about Story World Real World, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image to the left below to download information sheets with key featuresTo download the freebie, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Comparing Literature Freebie Packet CTA

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Literature, Story World, Real World, Narrative Text, Informational Text, Fairy Tales, Amanda Ross

Fun Ideas for Guided Reading Tools—with FREE Download!

Posted by Amanda Ross on Mar 31, 2015 3:30:00 PM

Ross-biopicThis is a guest post by blogger Amanda Ross. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, First Grade Garden, for more of her writing.  

I’m back again! It’s Amanda from First Grade Garden. I’m here today to share with you a look into my guided-reading tool basket! I will show you a few activities that we do during reading and after reading, using some books from the Joy Cowley Early Birds series. These books are perfect for guided reading, because they have stories that appeal to young readers, they are leveled, and they cover a variety of phonics skills!

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In first grade, there are still many readers who struggle with one-to-one correspondence. To help practice this skill, we use a variety of fun tools to help students concentrate on matching their reading to the words in the story. Here are a few of our favorite tools (all of them are dollar-store finds!):

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Magnetic letters are an essential tool in any classroom! I don’t think it matters what type you use. I have a variety of different sizes and styles. We use letters to make and break sight words, practice word families, sound out CVC words, and more.

Cat and Rat is a story that lead to a great mini lesson on the -at word family. By using magnetic letters, we could easily change out the beginning letter to make new words. I love my sound-box cards too. They are double sided with three boxes on one side and four boxes on the other, for practicing blends. They are laminated so we can use magnetic letters, letter tiles, or dry erase markers. You can download them for free at the end of this post.

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Each of my students has a guided reading notebook. It is just a cute cover on colored paper with blank, white paper bound together. The blank pages make it easy to do any activity—cut apart sentences, writing and drawing, and word work activities. After we read a new book, we usually do a word-work or writing activity in our notebook.

After reading the book Zoo Book, we noticed that both words in the title had double o’s but they made two different sounds. So using another of my favorite tools (colored sticky dots), we made a T-chart of words that had the same /oo/ sound as zoo or book. Colored dot stickers can also be used to spell sight words or CVC words.

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And the last tool to share with you (something we use ALL THE TIME) is sticky notes! Fun shapes, fun colors, repositionable—what’s not to love? We use them for writing notes in our books, for finding things in our book (such as a punctuation scavenger hunt), or for writing and word-work activities. In this example, we created a beginning/middle/end story map for the book Cat and Rat.

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I hope I’ve given you a few ideas to try with your guided-reading groups. Come over to my blog to see some more guided reading tools and lesson ideas! You can download some guided reading freebies below. In the file, you will find a guided-reading notebook cover and the 3- and 4-letter sound boxes.

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Amanda Ross is a first grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching for seven years. The last three years have been in first grade, and that’s where she plans to stay! She is currently on maternity leave with her daughter Zoe, but she will be heading back to first grade in September. You can find her over at her teaching blog, First Grade Garden.

~~~

To learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image to the left below to download information sheets with key featuresTo download the freebie, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Guided Reading Freebie Packet CTA

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, K-2 Literacy, Guided Reading, Amanda Ross

5 Ways to Differentiate with Wordless Books

Posted by Charity Preston on Mar 5, 2015 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by teacher blogger Charity Preston. If you like what you read here, check back for more of her guest blog posts, or visit her over on The Organized Classroom Blog!

Wordless books are perfect for students of all ages and classrooms. They can be used in so many different options and can challenge even your most advanced reader! Here are five ways to use them in your curriculum:

1. Younger students can “read” an older student the story. So many times, it is kindergarten or first grade students who are sitting and listening to a book.  How fun will it be for each child to be able to turn the tables and do the reading to someone who already knows how to read? In particular, those with reading disabilities will love this option.

childreading_24366319_Zirui-2502. Have students draw out a retelling of the book. Perfect for centers, students can read the book independently and then use a blank paper to draw out a retelling.

3. Advanced readers can write an alternate ending.  Challenge your high performers to write out a different ending in complete sentences. It will really get those learners engaged and thinking at a higher level.

4. Pair up students and have the groups use a manipulative such as play-doh or stick puppets to put on a “play” for another group. Each group will love being able to perform their story for an audience. With each group having a different book, it will be a great way to showcase lots of different book themes.

5. Students can record audio or video of themselves “reading” the story. For your students who still struggle with completing sentences on paper, the differentiation strategy will help to build up that vocabulary and begin to put sentences together in a way that doesn’t involve the stress of knowing how to form the letters on paper.

Using wordless books as a part of your curriculum can make a huge difference in increasing student vocabulary, forming complete sentences, and adding information to their background knowledge. It encourages those students who struggle with phonics and word formation to be able to read independently as a transition to pre-primer books.  But they can also challenge even the best of readers by forcing them to think outside of the written words and really develop the theme of the book.

Two great wordless book options are the eight Zoozoo Into the Wild Wordless books (which pair with informational and narrative texts featuring the same animals) and also the My World series, which offers ten wordless books, in addition to forty other informational texts leveled A–F. See a wordless book set with all eighteen wordless books by clicking here.

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Charity Preston, MA, is the editor and creator of several websites, including The Organized Classroom Blog, Classroom Freebies, and Teaching Blog Central, among others. She received her undergraduate degree in early childhood education from Bowling Green State University, OH and a Master in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University, FL, as well as a gifted endorsement from Ohio University. She taught third grade in Lee County, FL for several years before relocating back to her hometown as a gifted intervention specialist. You can see all her projects at www.PENGroupOnline.com.

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For more information on the Zoozoo Into the Wild and My World series, click the images below to download information sheets with series highlights and key features.

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Wordless Books, Charity Preston, Differentiation

7 Ways to Use Wordless Picture Books in Your Classroom

Posted by Amanda Ross on Feb 25, 2015 12:00:00 PM

This is a guest post by blogger Amanda Ross. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, First Grade Garden, for more of her writing.  

Ross-biopic

Hi there, my name is Amanda Ross. I am usually blogging over at First Grade Garden, but today I am visiting to share some ideas on how I use wordless picture books in my class. I have quite a few wordless picture books, and I was excited to add a couple books from the Zoozoo Into the Wild Wordless series into my collection.

Here are a few ways that I like to use wordless picture books in my classroom:

1. Writing Prompt: Choose a page from the wordless picture book and write your own story based on what is happening in the picture.

ITW-wordless-Giraffe-2002. Oral Storytelling: Students can work with partners to practice telling a story orally. They can take turns describing each page. I like to give each set of partners a different wordless picture book and have the partners practice their oral story a few times. Then they can tell the story to the rest of the class. I love hearing their imaginative stories! This is also a great activity to remind students that if you can TELL a story, you can WRITE a story. I always tell my students to say what they want to write out loud before they start putting pencil to paper.

3. Sequencing: Photocopy three or four pages from a wordless picture book and practice sequencing the events. Have students describe what is happening in each picture and explain why the pictures go in a particular order.

ITW-wordless-Frog-2004. Speech Bubbles: Use speech bubble sticky notes or print out a page of speech bubbles that students can cut out. Have students stick the speech bubbles on a page or two in the wordless picture book and have them write what they think the characters are saying.

5. Predictions: Wordless picture books are perfect for making predictions. Starting with the cover, students can predict what they think the story is about. As you “read” the story together, students can confirm or change their predictions based on information from the pictures.

6. Daily 5 Lesson: One of the lessons in Daily 5 is about the three ways to read a book: read the words, read the pictures, or retell the story. A wordless picture book is a great mentor text to model reading the pictures. Use the pictures to tell the story.

7. Easy Reader: Do you have a struggling reading group that isn’t ready to read level-A books yet? Use a wordless picture book to model concepts of print—without print! Practice identifying the cover and author, reading from front to back, and holding the book properly. They can tell the story themselves by looking at the pictures, which is another important reading strategy they can practice with a wordless picture book! 

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Amanda Ross is a first grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching for seven years. The last three years have been in first grade, and that’s where she plans to stay! She is currently on maternity leave with her daughter Zoe, but she will be heading back to first grade in September. You can find her over at her teaching blog, First Grade Garden.

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To learn more about Zoozoo Into the Wild, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image below to download information sheets with key features.

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Teaching Writing, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Wordless Books, Amanda Ross

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