Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Rhyme Time with the Meanies!

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Meanies, Rhyme

Guided Reading Tips: Meanies in the House

Posted by Becca Ross on Aug 9, 2016 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Becca Ross, who usually writes over at Love, Laughter, and Literacy. To read more from her, come back here often for more posts from her, or check out her blog!

Have you met the Meanies? My kindergartners absolutely LOVE the Meanies series from the Joy Cowley Collection. I recently found that there are new books featuring these fun characters. It's time to start stocking up on some new Meanies books for my classroom!


The kids think these books are ridiculously funny. There is usually a rhyming element to the books and this makes it easy for the kids to chime in.


Meanies in the House is a super-fun book that the kids are going to love!  Teachers will also appreciate that the end of the book has suggestions for how to use the book before, during, and after reading.


Before Reading

Before the reading, the book suggests asking the children what a "mess" would look like in different rooms in the house. This activates their schema for messy places and helps them relate to the story a little better. I would use this book after a few other Meanies books had been introduced and ask the kids to predict what types of messes they think the different Meanies characters might make in a house. This is also a good time to introduce new vocabulary words in the story such as scattering and tappy.

During Reading

We can use prior knowledge from the reading we have done of other Meanie books. Have kids predict if there is anything they think the Meanies might be scared of.

After Reading

When the reading is complete, kids love to talk about the book. We can ask the kids to talk about the evidence they see in the story that the Meanies were making a mess. We can infer why we think the Meanies are especially scared of Grandma.  We can also dive into the meaning of words in the story. Many young readers might not know what phrases like run for cover might mean.

I can't wait to use my new Meanies books in the classroom. I think these books are great to use as guided reading books in small group instruction, but they are also awesome to use in whole class lessons. I would highly recommend using a document camera and projecting the books onto a large screen or using a big book for whole class instruction.  This book is great and I can't wait to share it with my kiddos when school starts up!


To learn more about the Meanies and see Joy Cowley's books, you can click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights images below to download an information sheet with key features.

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley, The Joy Cowley Collection, Becca Ross, Meanies

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