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

Recognizing and Respecting Differences

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Feb 16, 2017 4:16:00 PM


February is Black History Month, which means that your students are reading about Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., and other black historical figures. Although it is important for your students to learn about important people who fought for racial equality, their stories can sometimes appear as isolated legends with the beliefs and actions frozen in time. Reading narrative books about individual differenes helps students understand that diversity is still relevant and valued today.

The Kaleidoscope Collection focuses on representing different cultural background and teaching social themes. Kit and Henry Like Different Things, leveled at Guided Reading Level D, follows two brothers that have different hobbies. They like different sports, food, toys, and indoor activities.

For each page, conduct an informal poll to see which students have similar hobbies to Kit and which have similar hobbies to Henry. For example, on page 3, ask students to raise their hand if they prefer riding a bike or a skateboard:


Conducting a poll will allow students to visually understand that not all people have the same preferences. Does this fact mean that we can't be friends with people that are different from us? No! "Kit and Henry like different htings. But Kit and Henry like each other" (8).

The Friendship Shell, leveled at Guided Reading Level K, is suitable for upper-elementary school students. Its illustrations feature ethnicallly diverse characters, which can help you relate the discussion back to Black History Month.

Focus on page 4: "'A shell is just a shell,' I said, 'see one and you've seen them all.'" Ask your students if they agree with the narrator's claim. Then, discuss how the narrator's views have transformed by the end of the book. How did the narrator learn to recognize and respect his classmates' differences?
Friendship Shell.Hi-Res-625596-edited.jpg

Both Kit and Henry Like Different Things and The Friendship Shell do not explicitly discuss issues of diversity, but they carry strong messages that value indivdiual differences in hobbies, personalities, and ethnicity. Use these titles to supplement your Black History Month readings!


Click the images below to learn more about Kaleidoscope Collection, which contains the books featured in this post.

Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet

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Topics: Narrative Text, Kaleidoscope Collection, Diversity

Reading About Reading

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Jan 12, 2017 3:23:00 PM

Your students are exposed to a multitude of texts every day—fairy tales, animal books, classroom signs, and more. Do your students ever read about reading? This “meta-reading” initially might not appear particularly helpful, but it can actually boost a reluctant reader’s confidence. When they read aloud, “I can read,” the textual content reinforces their accomplishment of reading that sentence. Sharing the following two books with a reluctant reader can also help you, as an educator, to identify ways to boost your student’s motivation.

The My World series focuses on providing emerging readers with real-world knowledge. Part of the Having Fun Theme, Reading is Fun explores the exciting world of reading.


Leveled at Guided Reading Level E, the book repeats two sentence structures: “Reading is fun” and “You can read ___.” The word “books” is also repeated seven times throughout the text. With this structured style, your student will gain confidence to read on his or her own.

After reading:

  • What is your favorite book? Use Reading is Fun as a guide to identify if the book is a story, a fact book, a cookbook, a scary book, an exciting book, a funny book, or a songbook. Can it be more than one of these things?

Where Can I Read? from the Kaleidoscope Collection also offers an opportunity for students to read about reading. Leveled at Guided Reading Level D, the text also utilizes a repetitive sentence structure.


After reading:

  • Why can’t we read in the shower? You can use this opportunity to conduct a science experiment examining which objects are resistant to water. Are plastics, crayons, and cotton balls resistant to water? Have them record their observations in a journal.
  • Ask the student where they enjoy reading the most. What do you like about that place? Is it cozy or quiet? Listen closely to the student’s answer so you can replicate this ideal reading environment in the classroom. For example, if your student likes reading at home because she can lie down on the couch, add some pillows to a corner of the classroom where she can read comfortably. A change in environment can greatly boost the motivation to read!

Reading about reading is beneficial for both the student and the teacher. Add a “meta-reading” title to your classroom library today!


Click the images below to learn more about My World and the Kaleidoscope Collection, which include the books featured in this post.

My World Series Info Sheet  Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet


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Topics: Kaleidoscope Collection, My World, Struggling Readers, Reluctant Readers, Reading

Helping Out During the Holidays

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Dec 16, 2016 1:42:00 PM


No matter what holiday you celebrate, one universal truth exists—the holiday season is busy!

Although December can be one of the most exciting times of the year, your students are definitely experiencing the hectic feeling in the air, too. With the cooking, cleaning, and shopping, their parents have very little time to simply sit down with their child and spend quality time. How can you assist your students during this busy but lonely time?

Hameray Publishing’s Kaleidoscope Collection includes a book titled Helping Mom. As the title suggests, the book follows ways in which the child narrator can assist his mother with errands. However, it also offers ways in which the mother can help the child, indicating a reciprocal and mutually productive relationship. Because the book is not explicitly tied around a holiday theme, the book’s subject matter will be accessible to all of your students!


Before reading:

  • Do you help out around the house? As a class, discuss the different chores that your students do.
  • What are different chores that your mom and dad do?
  • Introduce the book and explain that you’ll be reading about how a boy helps out around the house.
  • Look at the cover together. What do you think is happening in the picture?

During reading:

  • After every page, take a survey to see how many students have ever helped their parent out with the particular task. For example, on page 4 ask your students, Have you ever helped set the table?

After reading:

  • Have each child think of different ways that they can help their parents at home. Especially encourage them to think in the context of holidays. (Can your student help make latkes, like the boy on page 3? Can your student help by looking after younger siblings, like page 5?) In pairs, have your students share their ideas aloud.
  • On page 7 and 8, the roles are switched—the mother helps the boy with his homework. What are different ways that your parents can help you? Share ideas with the same partner.

Helping Mom can help students understand and cope with the holiday season and their busier-than-ever parents. This book can also be a spectacular book for students to take home for family reading.

Happy holidays, and happy reading!


Click the image below to download an informational sheet about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which includes the book featured in this blog post.

Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet


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Topics: Literature, Narrative Text, Holiday, Kaleidoscope Collection

Classic Post: A Thanksgiving Lesson on Where Food Comes From—with FREE download

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Nov 22, 2016 3:34:00 PM

Thanksgiving, our biggest food holiday of the year, provides the perfect opportunity to do a short unit on food and how it gets to the table. As a harvest celebration, Thanksgiving naturally lends itself to discussions about farms and what a harvest is, as well as the various other steps in the food production process from farm to table.

thanksgiving dinner 250The foods traditionally eaten on Thanksgiving are generally minimally processed foods that are easily traced back to their farm origins. Try introducing your class to some food-related fictional literature, such as Thanksgiving Dinner (which lists traditional Thanksgiving foods in a playful rhyme), The Little Red Hen (which traces the bread-making process from seed to table), or your favorite Thanksgiving story or food/farm story.

Then bolster the ideas from those fictional stories with informational texts that teach children about farms, harvests, and where food comes from. In the Story World Real World series, the Little Red Hen theme set comes with the storybook and three food-related informational texts: Different Kinds of Bread (which explores different breads from around the world), Who Made Our Breakfast? (which uses real photography and facts to explain the seed-to-table process of breadmaking introduced in the story book), and Great Grains (which discusses how grains are used for food).

Other books that introduce children to farming include the following:

1) General: Where Does It Come From?; On the Farm

2) Animals: the books in the Farm habitat in the Zoozoo Animal World series

3) Plants: the books in the Growing Things theme of the My World series

Pretty much any books that help children make the connection between their food and its source will be helpful for this lesson.

One way to really tie the concept to the holiday is to ask your students to bring a Thanksgiving recipe from home, then trace each of the ingredients in the recipe back to its source. You can let the children or parents choose the recipe, or you can brainstorm a list of foods as a class, then divide the class into groups of assigned recipes. This also allows children who might not have traditionally American customs to suggest a special holiday dish from their own culture and share the information with the class.

You can download a free worksheet at the bottom of this page to use in this lesson! It spaces for recipe ingredients, whether the ingredient source is a plant or an animal, and a space for children to try to draw the ingredient (either in natural or processed form) or cut and past an image of it.


To download your free reproducible worksheet, click the worksheet image below. To learn more about the series mentioned in this article, visit our website by clicking the book and series links embedded in the text.

Thanksgiving Recipe Worksheet

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Topics: Story World, Real World, Holiday, Lesson Plan, Kaleidoscope Collection, Zoozoo Animal World, My World

Driving Into Word Study

Posted by Marcy Godesa on Nov 15, 2016 3:51:00 PM



This is a guest blog post by Marcy Godesa, a first-grade teacher from Oregon who blogs over at Searching for Teacher Balance. If you like what you read here, be sure to check back here for more of her guest blog posts! 


Word Study is one of my favorite times of the day. It is that beautiful point in the day when I get to watch my students learn new words right in front of my eyes. My kiddos are excellent at using their good reading habits to work through new words, but explicit teaching of new vocabulary, on my part, is still extremely important.

I love taking my kiddos' leveled readers and pulling specific vocabulary to not only support that current book, but to support their development of background knowledge. Hameray Publishing came to the rescue yet again with their amazing books. Big Wheels at Work has been the perfect addition to my readers' book bags. 


During our sneak peek of the book, we explored the tricky words. Throughout our small group, kiddos matched the "stretched out sounds" (word attack strategy) of each word to the correct spelling of the word. They placed the cards in the different parking spots as they matched them up. This activity allowed my students to use the visual representation of the sounds to practice each word.


Students then drove their monster trucks into the parking spots of each tricky word found throughout the book. They loved being able to "drive" into each word, thus practicing each word again.  

You can grab this parking lot and sound matching cards here.  

As you can see, I love working on words with my kiddos. Do you love working on words with your students? What is your favorite time of day teaching your students?


Click the image below to read about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which includes Big Wheels At Work.

Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Vocabulary, Marcy Godesa

Halloween Sight Word Practice—with FREE download!

Posted by Lesley Boatright on Oct 25, 2016 2:55:00 PM

Lesley_Boatright-150This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright, 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, Practice Makes Perfect.


Add a little Halloween fun to your sight word practice! Two great stories that use repeated text and high frequency words can be found at Hameray Publishing.

With repeated sentence structure and picture support for the word that changes in each sentence, Halloween Night is a fun and easy read for your beginning readers.


If you're looking for a little bit more of a challenge, Joy Cowley's Spooky House is a good choice. Two children approach a haunted house, becoming progressively more frightened as they move deeper into the house. Finally, they see and hear something that causes them to turn tail and run, all the while convincing themselves that they are very brave.

As you can see, there are many sight words included in both books. The repetitive text makes it easy for even your approaching level readers to pick up the rhythm of the words.

 A fun follow up activity is to play Read-the-Room: Halloween Style. Slide1.pngIt's a simple game to play with your whole class, or you can set it up as center. Simply print out the numbered cards at the bottom of this post and place them around the room.


Put the sight word cards in a pocket chart or display on the board for the children to refer to while they read the room. They will copy the word onto their answer sheet that complete the sentence on their card as they move from card to card.

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Take advantage of the excitement of Halloween and the abundance of seasonal stories to squeeze in some fun Halloween-themed sight word practice!


Lesley Boatright is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education teacher from Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she moved to South Florida, where she taught kindergarten in the Palm Beach County School District for 8 years. After having children, she decided (with her husband) that Florida was too far away from the rest of the family, and she moved back to her hometown, where she took a few years off to spend time with her son. She has been teaching in the parochial school system for 18 years now, first at kindergarten, and currently in a first grade classroom. Lesley has also taught 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish and 4th grade social studies. Visit Lesley at her Facebook page, blog, Pinterest, and on Teachers Pay Teachers to get great teaching ideas.


Click on the links to learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection and Joy Cowley Early Birds, which contain the books featured in this post. To download the Halloween sight word activity, click the image below!

 Halloween Read-the-Room


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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Kaleidoscope Collection, Sight Words, Lesley Boatright, Halloween

Seasons with Guided Reading Groups—includes FREE Download!

Posted by Laureen on Oct 11, 2016 3:26:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Laureen, a Canadian first grade teacher of 25 years who writes at the blog Teach with Laughter. This post includes a free download!


The Kaleidoscope Collection makes guided reading planning so easy for teachers! The books range in guided reading levels from A to K, include both fiction and nonfiction, cover a range of topics, and are highly engaging. Each book clearly indicates the reading level so teachers don’t need to make any guesses.

With the arrival of fall, I was struggling to get my students to dress properly for the weather. Then, I stumbled upon two books from the Kaleidoscope Collection, both at level D, that focus on the seasons and weather. I used the books Four Seasons and Recess Time to make guided reading relevant to my students. In addition, they match my grade one outcomes perfectly!


After I finish with a guided reading group, I like to give them a follow-up activity that keeps them engaged with the information and text. This is essential for their own learning and allows me time to work with another group. For this follow-up, I have students work on a flap book that I preassemble for them.


This flap book is available for you as a free download. Although you can use this printable in a variety of ways, I ask students to draw pictures of themselves wearing clothing appropriate for each season. I have also included two different printing lines for you to easily differentiate for your group.


As you can see from the pictures below, the combination of photos and illustrations lend themselves to discussion about the seasons.





To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection, click the series highlights image below to download an information sheet with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the right image below!

Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet Ocean Life Activity Sheet

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Topics: Kaleidoscope Collection, Guided Reading, Seasons, Laureen

Reading to Develop Emotional Literacy: Afraid

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Sep 29, 2016 3:29:00 PM

This is the fifth and last post in a series about reading narrative books to develop emotional literacy. For the first post (introduction), click here. Click the links for the second (happy), third (sad), and fourth post (angry).


This weekly blog series discusses how reading narrative books helps students develop both emotional and literary skills. Today's post will focus on the fifth and last basic human emotion: fear. Since Halloween is only a month away, a discussion about fear will help students prepare for this spooky event!

The Man Who Was Afraid of Ants from the Kaleidoscope Collection features Jake, a firefighter who abhors ants. With an adult as the protagonist of the book, students can realize that everyone, even adults and community helpers, all feel scared sometimes. The book's subtle narration will provide an appropriate challenge for your students to utilize the emotional and literacy skills they have developed over the past 5 weeks. 




Discussion points:

p. 2:

  • Look at the illustration of Jake. What words would you use to describe him? How do you think he is feeling?
p. 3:
  • Does Jake look different in this illustration? How do you think he is feeling now?
  • How does Jake act when he is afraid? (His nose itches, his finger twitches, he gets a creepy feeling)
  • As a class, brainstorm other reactions that your students have when they are afraid (sweating, butterflies in the stomach, faster heartbeat).
  • Many of your students may laugh when they see Jake’s scared face. Remind your students that what might not be scary for one person might be for another, so it’s impolite to laugh at someone’s fears or call them a scaredy-cat.
p. 7:
  • Why did Jake leave the picnic?
p. 8-12:
  • How did Jake overcome his fear of ants?
  • Why do you think Jake was afraid of ants? This question requires children to empathize with the character and brainstorm possible origins of a fear.
  • In pairs, have students discuss their own fears. Identifying and putting fears into words will help students feel agency over them. If your students are feeling shy, share one of your fears with the class. Recognizing that they aren’t alone in their scared feelings will encourage students to speak up. 

Writing exercise:

  • Have students complete the sentence “I am scared of ___.” and draw an accompanying picture. Again, illustrating allows students to feel more powerful over the fear.

Today's post concludes this blog series on simultaneously developing emotional and literacy skills. What are other ways that you teach emotional skills through reading? Which emotions would you like to see featured in the future? Let us know in the comments below!


Click this link to browse all of our products about Feelings and Emotions. Click the image below to download a informational sheet about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which includes the book featured in this article. 

Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Sally Hosokawa, Emotional Literacy

Book Introductions With Guided Reading Groups, Part 2

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Sep 20, 2016 2:50:00 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 in a series about utilizing book introductions to help guided reading groups develop their reading strategies. To read the first post, click here.

The first blog in this series included reasons to use book introductions in a guided reading group setting. I also included hints for selection of a “just right book” and tips on teacher preparation for the introduction. Today's blog shares examples of effective book introductions for two differently-leveled Hameray titles: Buddy Boy and His Skateboard and Dragon's Friend.



Series: Kaleidoscope Collection. Guided reading level: E. Genre: Narrative.


Imagine that your guided reading groups includes children who were not reading with fluency. As you read Buddy Boy and His Skateboard, you feel that the quotations in the book could be used to help children read more fluently and recognize the use of the quotation marks.

There are three compound words in the story: 'someone,' 'skateboard,' and 'grandma.' You predict that the children can use the pictures and meaning cues to determine the two latter words, but you decide to introduce the word 'someone' in your introduction.


  • Distribute the books. Ask the children to study the cover and meet Buddy Boy. Where is he? How do you think he feels about the skateboard? As we read the story we will discover how he enjoys the skateboard, and how something sad almost happens to him.
  • Ask the children to look through the pictures and decide who the other characters in the book are.
  • Use page 3 to introduce the quotation marks. Model what Mom said with expression and ask the children to read the two lines of conversation with you. Remind them to read all the quotations in the story in that way. You might emphasize the word 'Please.’
  • Now we are ready to read and find out what happens to Buddy Boy and his skateboard.
  • Watch and listen as the children do the first reading of the book. Did they read with fluency?


Follow up the reading with these discussion questions:

  • Why does Buddy Boy have the skateboard in bed with him?
  • What lesson do you think Buddy Boy learned?
  • Why do you think his dad threatened to take his skateboard?



Series: Joy Cowley Early Birds. Guided Reading Level: G. Genre: Narrative.


Three notable punctuation marks appear in the book. The apostrophes make the word a possessive. The quotation and exclamation marks can help students read with greater fluency and expression and understand the characters’ emotions.

Multiple-meaning words also appear in the book. Page 2 introduces the word 'poor.’ Page 10 introduces the word 'scales.' The picture on the two pages can help the children understand the meanings of these words. The word 'cared' on page 14 is important to help the students understand why the dragon decides he has friends.


  • Distribute the books. Ask the children to study the front cover. Read the title with the children. Why do you think the dragon is crying? How many dragons are in the picture? Why does the word “Dragon's” contain an apostrophe? Explain its meaning.
  • Use the title page to meet the other characters in the story. Where might they be? Why are they looking down? What do you think they may find?
  • Ask the children to read the first line on page 2. Encourage them to use the picture and discuss the idea of the dragon being 'poor.' Go to page 14 and use the double picture to discover the meaning of the word 'cared.' The readers need to understand why the children helped the dragon.
  • Ask the children to find some quotation marks and review why they are there. Do the same thing with an exclamation mark.
  • Invite the children to read and discover how the dragon's problem was solved.


In addition to the follow-up activities below, the back cover of Dragon’s Friend has some excellent After Reading suggestions.

  • Do you think Joy Cowley gave the book a good title? Can you find another possible title on page 16? This will require the use of the understanding of the apostrophe.
  • Invite each child to write about a time that someone cared for him/her and helped solve a problem. Remind them that some of the words and spellings they need to use can be found in the book. The writings could be illustrated and compiled into a book for the classroom library.

Next week, I will conclude this blog series by examining one last book and offering tips for teacher reflection after the guided reading group meeting.


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 left image below to download an information sheet with key features about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which contains Buddy Boy and His Skateboard and books written by Geraldine Haggard. Click the rigth image below to download an information sheet about Joy Cowley Early Birds, which contains Dragon's Friend.

Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet                 New Call-to-Action

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Geraldine Haggard, Guided Reading, Book Introductions

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