Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

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

Animals in the Classroom

Posted by Becca Ross on Dec 6, 2016 3:45:00 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 for more posts from her or check out her blog!

I have a confession to make. I’m on a mission to add some animals to my classroom. I’m excited about the idea of digging into some new science inquiry projects based on animal exploration. One of the books I received to review from Hameray Publishing Group is called Where Do Animals Live?



This book is going to be my kick-off in animal exploration to prepare the students for adding animals to our classroom. The book has repetitive text, which is great for kindergarten students as they are learning to gain independence in their reading. It may have even encouraged me to jump headfirst into our first animal experience. See that pretty little girl in the background? 

The best part of this book is the back. I love the suggestions for teachers and parents.


The idea of creating animal homes is my favorite. Like most teachers, I collect a variety of materials. I can’t wait to set things out in our art center and let kids start to build their own animals homes.

My dream is to take our study of animals and their homes and move to our courtyard as well. We have a beautiful space inside of our school walls that I would love to make into an exploration space including birds and their needs.

becca4.png      becca5.png

There are so many exciting changes coming and I’m thrilled to let Where Do Animals Live? help kick things off! Are you ready to meet our new guest in kindergarten? Meet Peanut! She’s our 30-year-old Box Turtle who has joined us! I totally blame my new book for this little adventure. We simply HAD to take things to the next level when answering, Where Do Animals Live?


Happy reading!



To learn more about Where Do Animals Live? and the My World series, click on the image below and download an information sheet!

  My World Series Info Sheet

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Topics: Animals, My World, Becca Ross

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

Fun at School

Posted by Becca Ross on Oct 20, 2016 3:43:00 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 for more posts from her or check out her blog!

Here in the Pacific Northwest, most of us begin school in September. With a good 4 weeks under our belts, things are finally settling in and we’re having some fun at school!


In my kindergarten classroom, kids spend time playing each day. They draw, write, paint, build, play cars, play house, create with Play-Doh, and much more.



One of the books published by Hameray Publishing is all about having fun at school.


Fun at School is a book with repetitive text that shows kids doing fun activities in their classrooms.


This is a great book for letting kids make connections to their own lives and building their schema! It is also a fabulous opportunity to talk about the important work of PLAY in the classroom. I want my students to know WHY they are doing certain activities each day. I want them to understand that the tools I put out for painting, manipulating Play-Doh, and picking up beans are not only fun, but they are also great at strengthening muscles in their hands... the same muscles we use every day when we are writing! I also want kids to know that I value story telling and that their stories at the dollhouse, cars, and puppets are important aspects of language development. There are so many lessons we teach each day in the classroom, while our kids think they are just going to have fun.

So, yes, we do have fun at school. But, like the book says, we are learning at school too!


Happy learning!


To learn more about Fun at School and the My World series, click on the image below and download an information sheet!

  My World Series Info Sheet

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Topics: Making Learning Fun, My World, Becca Ross

Halloween Pretend Play

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Oct 13, 2016 3:44:00 PM

Halloween is only 18 days away! Children love this spooky holiday for its Jack-O’-Lantern carving and candy-filled surprises. However, arguably the most exciting aspect of Halloween is dressing up in costumes. Are your students already buzzing about which costume they’ll be wearing on Halloween? 

Holidays provide ample opportunity to tie seasonal events into literacy lessons. For emergent readers, however, incorporating seasonal books can pose a challenge—“Jack-O’-Lantern,” “werewolf,” and even “Halloween” will stump early readers. Pretending from the My World Series solves this problem by discussing the fun of dressing up in language that all your students can access!

 Although leveled at Guided Reading Level E, Pretending maintains an identical sentence structure throughout most of the book: “We can ____.” The repetitive structure will help your emergent reader gain confidence with each page. In a shared reading setting, encourage your students to help you read “We can” on each page. Real-world photographs also accompany each sentence in the book, allowing students to use pictorial clues to understand the text (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.K.7).


The sentence structure only breaks on the last page where the text asks two questions. With the confidence that your students have built in the first eleven pages, they will be ready and willing to tackle this new sentence structure. 

During the lesson, ask your students the following questions:

Before reading:

  • Has anyone already decided on a costume for Halloween? Start a list on the board of costumes of your students’ costumes.
  • What does "pretending" mean? How do you pretend? How is dressing up on Halloween a type of pretending?

During reading:

  • Add the different pretending ideas presented in the book to your list (cooks, shoppers, dancers, etc.)

After reading:

  • What other dress-up ideas can we add to this list? Many children may have already decided on their costume, but this list may provide inspiration for those who haven’t chosen their costume yet.


When discussing Halloween costumes, make sure to stay mindful that not all students’ families can afford to purchase a costume. Simple dress-up ideas such as a farmer, a teacher, or a cat can easily be put together with clothing at home. If you have any economically-friendly costume ideas for students and teachers alike, share them in the comments below!


Learn more about Pretending at this product page--it's not too late to order now and receive your books before Halloween! Click the image below to download a informational sheet about the My World Series, which includes the book featured in this article. 

My World Series Info Sheet

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Topics: Early Childhood, Leveled Readers, My World, Halloween

The Summer Olympics: A Golden Opportunity for Teaching

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Aug 4, 2016 3:30:00 PM

After four years of anticipation, the day has finally arrived—tomorrow’s opening ceremony marks the beginning of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! The Olympic Games, with their energizing excitement and patriotic spirit, appeals to sports lovers of all ages. This event is also a perfect opportunity to integrate world events into the classroom by reading relevant informational texts.


Summer Olympics from the Kaleidoscope Collection introduces students to the ins and outs of the Games. Featuring photographs from the most recent 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the books explores different competitions and Olympics traditions.

Kaleidoscope_Book.Sports.HighResFinalp4.jpgKaleidoscope_Book.Sports.HighResFinal.jpgFor early readers, the Kaleidoscope Collection’s Sports and My World’s Play Ball! tie in with the Olympic theme by identifying different types of sports.

  • After reading, ask your students this question: What is your favorite sport? Students can identify sports that they enjoy participating themselves or watching on TV.
  • If necessary, use the sports mentioned in Play Ball! for reference. Create a class bar graph to determine the most popular favorite sports (CCSS.Math.Content.2.MD.D.10).


More advanced readers can read about a timeless Olympic star, Muhammad Ali, from the Hameray Biography Series. In addition to winning gold in heavyweight boxing at the 1960 Rome Olympics, he also lit the symbolic torch at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. In the London 2012 Games, Ali carried the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony. This high-interest biography will engage the reader by connecting Common Core Social Studies Standards to current entertainment.




The 2016 Summer Olympics will take place from August 5th to the 21st, so your students will be buzzing about it all month. Don’t miss this fantastic teaching opportunity—it only happens once every four years!


Click the left image below to download an information sheet with key features about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which contains Summer Olympics and Sports. Click the middle image below for an information sheet about the My World series, which contains Play Ball!. Click the right image below to download the Muhammad Ali Teacher's Guide from the Hameray Biography Series.


Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet          My World Series Info Sheet          Bio TG Ali

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Biography Series, My World, Social Studies, Olympics, Sally Hosokawa

Nurturing Science Skills in the Early Childhood Classroom

Posted by Lily Erlic on Jul 26, 2016 3:30:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Lily Erlic, a preschool and daycare teacher. Today, she shares creative classroom activities to bridge literacy and science in early childhood.

For preschool and kindergarten teachers, teaching science in the early childhood goes hand-in-hand with developing students’ reading skills. Using From Seeds and Farmers Grow Food from the My World: Growing Things series, I will share my ideas for teaching science in the early childhood classroom.


From Seeds provides photos of seeds and what grows from them. For example, the first page says, “From these seeds, carrots grow”. From page to page, it shows children the marvel of the seed and what it can produce.

Encourage the children to answer this question:

  • What kinds of seeds were in this book?

For a supplemental activity, provide a tray of different seeds with labels on them. Tape the seeds to the tray so they do not move around. Show the children pictures or provide the vegetables for the children to touch and feel. Ask them if they have tried all the vegetables. Ask: What is your favorite vegetable? 




Farmers Grow Food depicts what happens on a farm to grow food. The first page reads, “Farmers grow food. Farmers plow fields.” It is a thorough and vivid account of what farmers do for us. The “Suggestions for Teachers and Parents” section also gives helpful tips for classroom use.

Ask the students this guiding question:

  • Where do you think our food comes from?

For a supplemental activity, create an activity sheet with vegetable drawings. Ask the children to color it with crayons. Ask them to write their own names on the paper. Display the sheets on a bulletin board and label the board, “FARMERS GROW FOOD.” 


Extended Activities:

  • Draw vegetables on the board and ask the children to identify the vegetables. You can also paste photos from books onto the whiteboard or from books. Ask them if they have eaten any of them for meals.
  • Provide the children with an activity sheet that states, “My favorite vegetable is _____________.” Print the word for each child and ask him or her to draw it.
  • Action Rhymes: Children like to participate in creative movement. They can learn about food while having fun, too! Finger Rhymes for Manners by Teaching and Learning Company includes food rhymes that would supplement the two books above. Another book, Finger Rhymes Content-Connected Rhymes for Science, Math and Social Studies, also lists food action rhymes under the fruit section.

I would recommend From Seeds and Farmers Grow Foodwith their colorful photos, they are great for teaching preschool and kindergarten students about science!


Lily Erlic is a preschool and daycare teacher in Victoria, BC. She is an author of many books like Blue Bear Makes Blueberry Pie, Finger Rhymes for Manners and more. Her recent e-book is a science fiction book called The Golden Sphere.


To learn more about the titles mentioned in this post and browse more titles with the Growing Things theme, click the image below and download an information sheet about the My World series.

My World Series Info Sheet  

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Reading Activities, Kindergarten, Preschool, My World, Science

Using Leveled Books to Help Students Develop Positive Behavioral Skills, Part 1

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Jul 12, 2016 3:30:00 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 first in a series about using leveled books to teach the importance of good citizenship and classroom behavior.

In Classroom Management that Works, Marzano, Marzano, and Pickering reveal the critical role of managing appropriate behavior in the classroom. The authors share the following research findings:

  • The teacher is the key to effective student achievement.
  • Effective teachers must be effective with students of all achievement levels.
  • All students profit from guidance in proper participation in activities inside and outside the classroom.

"Helping Children Learn Positive Friendship Skills," an article published by Kids Matter, identifies friendship patterns for the primary grades, skills needed by various age groups, and skills that promote friendship.

Friendship skills include sharing conversations, taking turns, expressing feelings, complimenting others, accepting others, refusing to join others in negative behaviors, sharing, asking what one wants and needs, apologizing to others, following rules, being a good loser, helping others, and cooperating. A teacher can immediately recognize these as the traits of a successful student who helps other students be successful.

These friendship skills must be explicitly taught. Three ways that you can support children's friendship skills are the following:

  • Teach positive social skills.
  • Be a coach (prompt, remind, encourage).
  • Help children solve friendship conflicts.

As a teacher, I found that helping children learn how to work and play together was necessary if I wanted to create an effective classroom environment. Using the book Friends Are Fun for two introductory classroom sessions, you can facilitate a fruitful new year with a new group of students. You will also be teaching curriculum goals, as shared in the state and national language arts standards.


Book One, Session One: FRIENDS ARE FUN

  • Guide a discussion based on what the children feel is the meaning of 'friend.' As the discussion comes to a close, ask the children to complete the following sentence: "A friend is ___." There may be more than one definition. Reread the sentences as a shared reading text.
  • Using an Elmo, display the book Friends are Fun from the My World Collection. Use pages 25 to discuss some ways that friends have fun together. Invite the students to share why the two activities are fun. This discussion requires the children to think about being a part of the activity and share ways they make the activity fun.
  • Provide paper and crayons for each child to draw pictures of an activity they share with a friend. Share the sentence frame "My friend’s name is ___. We ____ together" as a caption. Review the drawings and share them with the children to introduce session two of Friends Are Fun.  
  • Remind the children that today they have talked about how friends have fun playing together. On another day, they will look at how friends play and work together at school. Ask them to be thinking about what they might do to help make school a place where they can have fun working and playing together.

Book One, Session Two: FRIENDS ARE FUN

  • Begin the session by reviewing the class definitions of a friend. You can also share activities and drawings from the previous session. Remind them that the book is titled Friends Are Fun. The author wrote the first half of the book to help them understand the importance of friends, but the second half of her book shares another important reason for being a friend. Share the rest of the book using an Elmo. Examples of questions might include:

Pages 6 and 8:

  • Where are the children? What are they doing? How many children are in the picture? (There are three children seen easily and a fourth in the background.) What does that tell us about how the children have to work together if the activity is to be fun?
  • Where is the teacher? How does this affect the activity? What will happen if one child is not a good friend? Is there a possibility that one of the children is not being included in the activity?
  • What are some words to describe what good friends do in an activity like this? (share, take turns, work quietly, etc.) Write these words on the board and read them with the students as they discuss each.
  • On page 8, only two children are working together. What is necessary when two people work together? Which words on the board are examples of how they can be good friends?

Page 10:

  • Ask if being a good friend on the playground is much like working in the classroom. Why? What are some good things that friends must do if playing is to be fun?
  • Remind the children that you will be watching for examples of what good friends do in the classroom and playground. Tell them to do the same and that you will be asking them for examples of friendship they see. Before the next discussion of friendship, praise the class and individual students that you see as good examples. When the entire class works well, explain how they have helped others in the class and also helped you work with an individual child or a group of students. Say, "All of you found it easier to complete your work today because all of you worked together like good friends. Thanks!"

 This is the end of part one in this series of using leveled books to teach the importance of good citizenship and classroom behavior. Click here to see the next installment. You can subscribe to our blog in the upper right sidebar to get new posts delivered to your inbox.


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 My World Series, which contains the book mentioned in this post. Click the right image below to download an information sheet with key features about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which includes books that Geraldine Haggard has authored.

My World Series Info Sheet                     Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Reading Activities, My World, Geraldine Haggard, Behavioral Skills

[New Post] The Use of Leveled Books in Kindergarten Science: Part 2

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Mar 17, 2016 3:30:00 PM

GHaggardbiopicThis is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. 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.

This is the second post in a series of posts on teaching and using leveled books for science in kindergarten. To read last week’s post, click here. To read the next post in this series, please check back next week. You can always subscribe to our blog to get new posts in your inbox.

Continuing from the end of last’s week blog post, following is a list of Language Arts standards for kindergarten that can be used as the rationale for activities and instruction in the study of living things and their essential needs. These standards are a part of the national guidelines for language arts and are included in state curriculums across the country.


  • With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about the key details in texts.
  • Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
  • With prompting and support describe the relationship between illustrations and the text.

Speaking and Listening

  • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussion.
  • Continue conversation through multiple exchanges.

Phonological Awareness

  • Demonstrate an understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds.


  • Recognize that spoken words are represented in written language, by specific sequences of letters.
  • Read emergent readers' texts with purpose and understanding.


  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose information from explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and share information.
  • With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details.
  • With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences, or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

The use of Standards for delivering the kindergarten study of living and non-living things will be the basis of the use of the following discussed books from the My World series, the Kaleidoscope Collection, and other series. These suggestions are not shared to be the complete study of the topic, but can be used as a tool to guiding the students as they develop vocabulary and participate in discussion, reading, and writing during this study of living and non-living things.

Suggested Vocabulary to Be Developed

Exposure to vocabulary in listening, speaking, and writing settings help the children make the vocabulary a real part of their understanding and improves their ability to use such vocabulary. In this activity, new vocabulary that students should understand might be the following: live, living, non-living, shelter, homes, protect, thirsty, hungry.

Book One: Where Do Animals Live?

The book Where Do Animals Live?, from the Animals Everywhere set in the My World series, can be a great introduction to the study of living things. The back pages of the book share some good introductory discussion topics for both teachers and parents.


To begin the activity, after setting the purpose of learning what a “home” is, in the classroom, use an Elmo or classroom projector to display the book for a guided reading activity. Use a pointer as you do the first reading, stopping at each page to guide a discussion about why each home is a good home for the named animal. You can then ask the children to read the text with you for a second reading.

Use the page, “Why Have a Home?”, on page 12 of Where Do Animals Live?, on the projector screen, using an Elmo or other classroom projector. Ask the students to sit in pairs and talk about which animal lives in each home and how that home protects the animal. Move among the students and keep the paired student conversations going. As the students complete their discussions, each student might draw a picture of one of the homes and the associated animal that lives in it. Suggest that the students write a sentence about the animal. An example could be provided on the board:

A _____ lives in a _______.

This could be part of a center activity, as you work with guided reading groups. An idea for the art center, involving making animal homes, is suggested on a back page of Where Do Animals Live?

Book Two: Where Does It Live?

The book Where Does It Live?, from the Kaleidoscope Collection, can be used as a follow up to the first book. The format of the book provides a picture of the living thing and a picture of the living thing in its home. Use the Elmo or classroom projector to show the animal picture, and then ask the children to share what the animal would live in. After they have made suggestions, share the picture of the living thing and where it lives at the end of the book. As you point to the picture, the students give the home a name. On the last page, there is picture of a boy.


On the last page (page 12), of Where Does It Live?, there is a picture of a boy. Ask the children to discuss that the home the boy lives in is called a house, and how a house is different from the other types of homes pictured in the book — ways their homes are different could include size, what the house is built of, and what is inside the house. Use a graphic with two columns: “Things in Book” (pages 1-11) and “You or Boy”. Ask the children why the books used the word “live'. What does it mean to live in a home? Explain to the students that living things need homes.

Both this book and Where Do Animals Live? can be used with guided reading groups.

This is the end of Part 2 in this series of blog posts on teaching and using leveled books for science in kindergarten. To read the previous post, click here. To read the next post in this series, please check back next week. As always, you can subscribe to our blog to get new posts in your inbox.


Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. To download information sheets with key features about the Kaleidoscope Collection and My World series, which contain the books mentioned in this post, click the images below.



New Call-to-Action       New Call-to-Action  


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Topics: Leveled Readers, Reading Activities, Kaleidoscope Collection, Kindergarten, My World, Geraldine Haggard, Science

Using Leveled Books to Teach Literature Standards in Kindergarten

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Oct 27, 2015 3:30:00 PM

GHaggardbiopicThis is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. 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.

Today I’d like to share ideas for using leveled nonfiction books to teach the literature skills as outlined in the English Language Arts Standards for kindergarten. The books chosen for use are Seeds (from the Kaleidoscope Collection) and five books from the Growing Things theme in the My World series. These books include From Seeds, Growing a Garden, Planting, What Are Plants?, and Who Grows Things? The content area topic is plants. The concept labels are based on the standards in Literature for kindergarten.


LK.1: With Prompting and Support, Ask and Answer Questions About Key Details

Seeds: How are seeds different? How do seeds become plants? What plants provide food for us? Have you ever eaten a vegetable from a plant? Have you eaten a fruit? Did this food contain seeds?

From Seeds: Why does the author say that the things in the pictures are plants? What does a seed need to become a plant? Why is each person in the book important if we are to receive vegetables? What is a farmer? Where does a gardener work? What is a harvester? What is a grocer? What kind of plant is seen on page 7? Why are these plants in a nursery?

LK.2: With Prompting And Support, Retell Key Details

Seeds: Why did the author write the book? What are some things she tells you about seeds?

From Seeds: What does the author tell us about the plants that grow from seeds? Do the seeds look alike? What do we know after reading this book?

Growing a Garden: Why did the author write the book? What new words did you find in the book? What does each new word mean? (The children will probably be familiar with some of the words that are illustrated. You can help them add the others to their speaking and listening vocabularies.)

What Are Plants?: Can you name some plants after reading this book? Why do you think the author used a picture to help us understand each kind of plant? What question does the author answer? What does each picture tell us about the page just before it? What do you think the author wanted you to know as you read and study each picture?

Who Grows Things?: This book has two main ideas: discussing who grows the plants (pages 2–7) and who helps us get the plants (pages 8–11). Discuss each section and talk about what the two parts of the book tell the children.


LK4: Ask and Answer Questions about an Unknown Word

There are some prompts that are appropriate for all of the books below:

  • Does the picture help you know what that word is?
  • Is there a part of the word that you recognize?
  • Using what you know about the word, what would sound right and be correct in meaning?

In addition, the following prompts are specific to the particular title:

Growing a Garden: This book is a picture dictionary. Guide the students as they talk about how the pictures help them identify and understand the words illustrated. This would be a good book to use with all levels of readers.

Seeds: Better readers in kindergarten would profit from the use of the book for guided reading. For other readers, it could be a shared reading experience or a teacher read-aloud. The following words are likely words that the children might meet in this book that they might not understand: ‘few,’ ‘pit', 'pods,’ ‘germinate,’ and ‘seedling.’

From Seeds: This is another book that can be used with all levels of readers. There are two types of plants that students might not be familiar with: ‘pine tree’ and ‘palm tree.’ The pictures can be used as the two are discussed.

Who Grows Things?: Words that end in ‘-er’ can be explored. Guide the students as they talk about the words that have that suffix.


LK10: Actively Engage in Group Reading Activities with Purpose and Understanding

Use the books discussed in guided reading if the children are at the instructional level for a title.

Seeds is the most difficult book and caution is suggested for its use in guided reading, as it is appropriate with only above-level readers in kindergarten. This book would make a great read-aloud for the teacher or a guided reading activity (if you have multiple copies of the book), or if the teacher can project the book on a screen. Guided reading activities for children should be organized by the children's instructional levels.

Planting is a wordless book and can be used for discussion of vocabulary. The other three books are appropriate for all kindergarten students as vocabulary is developed in big group or guided reading. These books would be great to add to the class library for independent reading after they have been introduced and read.

The use of these books can help the children develop the vocabulary they will need as they go to grade one. Hearing the vocabulary, studying pictures of the vocabulary words, reading books that contain the vocabulary, using the words in oral activities, and writing the words can assure teachers that the children will grow in all language arts areas. This repetition is essential for children who are second language students and those with limited vocabularies.

All students can profit from the multiple uses of new vocabulary. The absent meaning of an unknown word can prevent comprehension. Developing an understanding of new words is an integral part of literature. After the children learn the skills needed to unlock new words and use them independently, they become strategic readers.

NOTE: Not all literature standards were included in this post because some of the standards are based on fiction.


Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection Series. For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection Series click HERE to return to our website or click the series highlight page to the left below. For more information on the My World series featured in this post, click here or click the image to the right below.

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Topics: Common Core, Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Kindergarten, My World, Geraldine Haggard

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