Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Using Nonfiction and Fiction Texts for Fluency in First Grade

Posted by Cindy Price on Aug 25, 2017 4:08:15 PM

This is a guest blog post by Cindy Price, a first-grade teacher from Delaware. If you like what you read here, take a look at her blog at Mrs. Price's Kindergators, and be sure to check back here for more of her guest blog posts!

In today’s classroom, there is a lot of focus on fluency. Children are supposed to be able to read to us as if they were talking to us. So we begin in the primary grades to focus on fluency using easy text.

In my room, I wanted my children to read fluently but not just fiction books. I wanted them to read nonfiction books as well. This is why I love the Zoozoo Into the Wild series by Hameray Publishing!

This series has a nonfiction section as well as a fiction section. This allows us to bring in various texts that will pique their interests and ones that we can use during our guided reading groups as well.

The books we read were Zebra, Oh, Zebra!, Frog, and Frogs Play.

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As usual, we began by reviewing the vocabulary. Each book had some awesome words to review with my kids! I love having my kids come up with synonyms for the vocabulary words.

We made inferences about the fiction stories. They looked at the cover and told me what they thought would happen. With the nonfiction stories, they shared all that they thought they knew about the animal. We completed can, have, and are charts using the nonfiction texts.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

The text in both the fiction and the nonfiction books were perfect for my small group and my low readers. But all of my kids gravitate towards these books! They love the pictures and the easy to read text.

As I read the text to them, I stop and ask them questions. I also allow them to ask questions and to talk with a partner throughout the book. I love these pages. Look below and click on the picture for the link to the series.

The Nonfiction Texts

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After we discussed the books we then completed some activities! The pages that we completed are below! Click on the photo for the link to worksheets.

The Fiction Texts

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I love how we can compare and contrast the two series. That is a common core standard for first grade. Comparing and contrasting two texts about the same topic. But we could also compare the texts against each other, frogs and zebras. Students were able to discuss the differences in environments and storylines as well as diet and life cycles.

After we discussed the books, we then completed some activities. The pages that we completed are below. Click on worksheet image at the bottom of the page to .

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Click on the image below to learn more about the Zoozoo Into the Wild Series that is featured in this post.

New Call-to-Action Frog and Zebra Activity Packet

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Nonfiction, First Grade, Cindy Price, fiction, Fluency

Hameray's Middle School Level Books

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

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

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

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

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

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

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

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

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

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

Extraordinary Files Sales sheet  Download Series Highlights

 

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

Fun Comprehension Activities for Zoozoo Animal World

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

 ~~~

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

  Zoozoo Animal Hunt  New Call-to-Action 

 

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

Engaging Readers with Literary Mirrors

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Apr 20, 2017 3:02:00 PM

“How can we engage children with books?” Teachers, literacy specialists, and publishers face this big question every day. Even if we teach young children about phonics and sight words, they will not successfully become independent readers unless they think that books are interesting.

One obstacle to reader engagement is that very few children’s books feature meaningful characters with minority identities. Classic children’s books feature white children living with two parents in a financially stable home. However, many children today do not fit this lifestyle, and they have trouble becoming invested in characters that seem so different to them. The library becomes an unwelcoming place that doesn’t accept minority identities—as a result, the children lose their interest in reading.

Rudine Sims Bishop describes this situation as a lack of literary “mirrors,” where readers can see their own lives and experiences reflected in the text. A mirror encourages self-affirmation and helps readers make connections between the book and their own lives. Thus, it’s essential that every child have access to mirrors in the books that they read.
 
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Hameray is committed to featuring diverse characters and stories in our products. The Kaleidoscope Collection features authors of "diverse geographic and teaching backgrounds, [allowing] every student an opportunity to find the right books that best suit them":

  • Narratives such as Tortilla Sundays and The Hospital Can Be Fun feature stories about children with different cultures and abilities.
  • My Big Sister, The Tarp Monster, and The Friendship Shell feature protagonists of color.
  • Children of ethnic minorities will even find mirrors in nonfiction informational texts such as Here I Am! and Hot and Cold.
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This blog only mentions a few of the many Hameray titles that will engage any child. All readers should have the right to be engaged with literary mirrors!

 

 

Bishop, Rudine Sims. “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” Originally published in Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, v. 6, no. 3. 1990.

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For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection, click the image below.

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Diversity, Reading, Mirrors

Reading About Weather

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Apr 18, 2017 3:14:00 PM

Spring has sprung! Because spring is a transitional season, the weather outside often changes drastically from day-to-day—even if it’s sunny and pleasant today, it could be windy and raining tomorrow. Unpredictable weather fluctuations might be frustrating for your students, who are ready to play outside on the playground. On the other hand, though, since it’s possible to experience a vast range of weather during a short amount of time, the spring is the best time of the year to teach lessons about the weather.

Hameray offers a multitude of books, both narrative and informational, that discuss the weather and the changing seasons. On a rainy spring day, keep students engaged by reading narratives about puddles and umbrellas from the Kaleidoscope Collection:

  • In Puddles, a young boy frolics outside in the rain by jumping into puddles—he even sees a rainbow!
  • Whose Umbrella? traces a rabbit’s quest to find the owner of a lost umbrella.

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On a sunny day, teach your students about the importance of sunlight with these titles from Fables Real World:

  • The Sun describes how the sun is so hot that “nothing can even get close to it without melting”!
  • Sun and Wind Energy discusses how the weather can be used for sustainable energy and for generating electricity.

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On windy days, mix up the genres with one informational and one narrative book:

  • Wind, from Fables Real World, discusses the different words that we use to describe wind (breezes, gusts, gales, hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards). Students will be enthralled by the power of wind!
  • Hurricane Dog, from Kaleidoscope Collection, follows a dog that looks for a new home after a disastrous hurricane hits his town.

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Selecting reading materials based on that day’s weather keeps your lessons relevant and engaging. Happy spring!

 
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For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection and Fables and the Real World, click the images below.

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Science, Fables and the Real World, Weather

Using Level A Books to Teach Children How to Read, Part 2

Posted by Paula Dugger on Apr 11, 2017 3:28:00 PM

describe the imageThis post is the second in a series that documents guest blogger Paula Dugger's experience of teaching her grandson how to read with Level A books. To read the first post, click here

In my previous post, I prepared my grandson, Carter, with literacy exercises in preparation for his first Level A book. After using the Letter Buddies Magnetic Letters to teach Carter about the words “me” and “my,” it was time for me to introduce the Guided Reading Level A book, Cowboy. 

3) I explained that both the words “me” and “my” are used in the book. I asked Carter to show me the word “my” on the first six pages of text and “me” on the last page. We also went back and looked at the pictures to see if he could tell me what he saw in each of those photos. This exercise encouraged him to use the pictures for textual meaning.

 

4) Now, it was time to model reading the book. Using my fingers, I matched each printed word with the word I said aloud to show one-to-one matching (“My hat,” ”My boots,” etc.). Next, I asked Carter to help me by pointing to the words while we read together. Finally, I asked him to read the book by himself, making sure he was matching one-to-one by pointing. The first six pages of text are patterned, but the text changes on page 8 and there are two lines (“Me! I am a cowboy”). Cowboy_v4 (dragged).jpg

In the following days, I asked Carter to read the book, but he sometimes would not use his finger to match one-to-one and would insert words that weren’t in the text. I repeated many of the steps listed on the first day to provide support, eventually dropping some of the activities until Carter was able to pick up the book and read independently.

The scaffolding and procedures set up on the first day can be used to introduce any book. A great follow up book to Cowboy is another level A book in the Kaleidoscope Collection called My Birthday. It is also structured and patterned much like Cowboy. The first two pages are “My friends” and “My present.” I would introduce the book and ask, “What would you have at your birthday party?” and then have the child look at the pictures and tell me what s/he sees to confirm meaning. Then I would say that there is a word on the pages that he (Carter) already knows from his last book, Cowboy. I would ask him to find it by framing it with his fingers or sliding his finger under it and reading it slowly. The word “my” should be a known anchor word that can be recognized and read, which provides confidence when reading a new book.

Some very important things to remember when teaching a child to read include the following:

  • Reading is a skill that takes time to develop.
  • A child should spend a minimum of 20 minutes a day reading or having books read to them.
  • Allow the reader to read the same books over and over to increase fluency and quick recognition of familiar words. Re-reading also provides confidence.

Hameray Publishing provides a wide variety of titles written for the beginning reader, many of which are found in their Kaleidoscope Collection. Thirty new titles have recently been added at levels A and B, providing a great selection of titles for aspiring readers!

~~~

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

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

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For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which features many Guided Reading Level A books, click hte image below.

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Topics: Early Childhood, Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Paula Dugger

Using Level A Books to Teach Children How to Read, Part 1

Posted by Paula Dugger on Apr 4, 2017 3:28:00 PM

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

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend six days with my four year-old grandson, Carter. I thought that it was a great time for him to learn how to read. I was especially excited, as I had a copy of a brand new Guided Reading Level A book, Cowboy, that I recently wrote for the Hameray Kaleidoscope Collection. Best of all, this book features Carter on the cover and throughout the book.

 Choosing the appropriate leveled book is critical when introducing a child to reading. Guided Reading Leveled books A -C (Intervention Levels 1-3) are called early emergent readers. They are perfect for children who are learning the basic concepts of books and print awareness. Books at these levels contain the following features:
  • Controlled and limited text per page
  • Repetitive patterned vocabulary and text
  • Strong picture support for meaning
  • Familiar language and concepts
  • Large print and wide spacing

cowboy.jpgBefore I outline my teaching procedures, let me provide some information about Carter’s literacy background. His parents, who appreciate the importance of reading, have read to Carter almost every day since birth, and he has an ever-expanding library of books. He attends a preschool and has learned letter names and most corresponding sounds. He is also aware that his cool name contains the words car, cart, and art. All of the books read and re-read to him have helped build his speech, language and listening skills while expanding vocabulary, imagination, curiosity, and background knowledge. Carter is often seen picking up a book and “reading” based on what he has heard and remembers from being read to.

 

I felt that Carter was now ready for the next step in learning how to read. Here is how we first prepared to read Cowboy:

 

 

1). I began by using magnetic letters from Letter Buddies to display the words me and my. I took my finger and slid under each word and said slowly “me and then “my pointing out that they both started with the same sound and letter but ended with a different letter and sound. After my modeling, we did the task together and then Carter did this independently. I mixed up the letters and had him make each of the words, telling me what they said.

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2) Next, I had Carter write the two words, using the model that the magnetic letters provided. Afterwards, I asked him to read the two words, sliding his fingers under each to make sure he was looking at all the letters and making the correct sounds.

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Now, we were ready to start reading CowboyNext Tuesday, I'll share how to model reading with a Guided Reading Level A book. Make sure to subcribe to the Hameray blog in the right-hand bar to receive my next post in your inbox!

~~~

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

 

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

 ~~~

For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which features many Guided Reading Level A books, click hte image below.

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Topics: Early Childhood, Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Paula Dugger

Zoozoo Storytellers Activities!

Posted by Cindy Price on Nov 29, 2016 2:58:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Cindy Price, a first-grade teacher from Delaware. If you like what you read here, take a look at her blog at Mrs. Price's Kindergators, and be sure to check back here for more of her guest blog posts!

I love the Zoozoo Storytellers series! In first grade we are comparing fiction and nonfiction books as well as learning about retelling a fiction story and the importance of making sure the text and photographs match in a nonfiction text. The series is perfect for this comparison.

The books we read were Frogs and Frog’s Play. As usual, we began by reviewing the vocabulary. These books have such an awesome vocabulary bank. The text was perfect for my small-group and my low readers, but all of my kids gravitate towards these books! The one thing I love about these books is the fact that they increase my students’ self-esteem. The easy-to-read yet informative text was a hit with my kids!

We can use these books for many Common Core Standards. We can use them for point of view, opinion writing, compare and contrast stories, text to self connections, listening and speaking standards, as well as reading fluency and writing activities! 

The nonfiction book, Frogs, had awesome photos that closely match the text. This is an important feature for the books to have, especially at this reading level.

Here is the cover and some pages from the nonfiction book!

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Here are some of the things my kids did with the nonfiction text!

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We read the book and discussed the parts of a frog. Then they labeled the frog with the word bank at the bottom of the page. We also compared ourselves to the frog. What body parts do we share with frogs?

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We also talked about what frogs "can" do, what they "have," and what they "are." We made a large class chart as well as the children making their own individual chart to share with their families.

Then we read the fiction book Frog’s Play. My kids loved the bright pictures and the easy-to-read text. We read it once as a class and then they read it individually. All of my readers loved this book despite their reading level. I also put it in our class library and it has been a constant hit!

Check out the cute pictures and easy print as well as some of the activities we did using this book!

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After reading, we retold the story. First we retold it with a friend, then as a class. Then, depending on their abilities, the kids either wrote what happened or drew pictures for what happened in the story!

Then we did this fill-in activity.

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When we were finished reading both books, we also compared the two texts. The kids loved this entire mini-unit.

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Click on the image below to learn more about the Zoozoo Storytellers Series that is featured in this post.New Call-to-Action

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Zoozoo Storytellers, Nonfiction, First Grade, Cindy Price

Driving Into Word Study

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

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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! 

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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. 

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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.

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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

Election Vocabulary with the Biography Series

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Nov 3, 2016 3:01:00 PM

 

In just five days, American voters will elect the 45th President of the United States. Everywhere we turn, the media bombards us with the latest campaign news, polls, and political advertisements. Our students also want to take part in the fervent discussions taking over our country, but they are still too young to actually cast a ballot.

Especially in this year’s controversial election, discussing politics in the classroom is complicated by the need to respect the different beliefs of all students and their families. How can you, as an educator, healthily and productively teach students the knowledge needed to become responsible citizens?

A great way to address the current campaign in the classroom is to turn back into history. The Hameray Biography Series features the stories of three American presidents: George Washington, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. Reading past and current presidents’ stories will circumvent heated debates about the 2016 candidates while still providing students the opportunity to learn about the U.S. Presidential election. 

Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan’s biographies devote multiple chapters to their presidential campaign. Each book also includes a glossary that allows students to familiarize themselves with this informational text feature.

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Using the glossary and relevant chapters in the book, ask students to create a list of election vocabulary and their definitions. Underneath each word, have them write examples about how the vocabulary word relates to Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan.

Example: Campaign- the competition between political candidates.

Ronald Reagan talked about the danger of the Soviet Union during his campaign.

Barack Obama began his campaign in February 2007.

 

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This exercise will help students draw connections between two historical figures through specific information in the text (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3). The two biographies also include the following election vocabulary words:

Candidacy

Conservative

Concession speech

Convention

Debate

Democrat

Election

Liberal

Nominate

Opponent

Republican

Vice President

 

 

In a follow-up class discussion, ask your students about the current election using their newly learned vocabulary: Who are the candidates? When is Election Day this year?

Encourage your students to watch the news with their family on November 8th. They’ll appreciate how classroom literacy directly relates to important current events happening in the country! 

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Click the image below to download the Teacher's Guide for Ronald Reagan and for Barack Obama.

Bio TG     Bio TG

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Biography Series, Social Studies, Election

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