Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Early Reading and Writing Ideas Using Blends, Part 1

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Oct 5, 2017 4:22:33 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 post in a series about building literacy with early readers.

As I pondered ideas for this blog, I decided to visit my old friend, Marie Clay's Becoming Literate, from my days of training in Reading Recovery. Clay reminded her readers that the young reader is not only learning words or letter-sound knowledge, but they are learning how to use each of the sources of information as they read and write. They can then link new strategies to current reading and writing activities and become more successful.


  • Page 41: “Beginnings of literacy is more than learning letters, words, and letter relationships”.
  • Page 53 contains a caution about ‘decentralization’ of letter knowledge and the need for use of continuous texts.
  • Page 87 encourages teachers to attend closely to features of letters in writing experiences.
  • Page 314 cites that there are two variables used by children to derive sounds and meanings from words: direct visual perception and the use of spelling to sound.
  • Page 320: Clay states that young readers use information from sounds, shapes, and layout of text.
  • Page 87: The importance of writing is stressed because of its providing opportunities for students to access letter knowledge in different ways.
  • Pages 322 and 323 stress the importance of providing learning activities as they read and write that enable them to develop the articulate awareness of phonology and print.
  • Page 325 contains this quote from Clay: “My experience in the longitudinal monitoring of progress of the early instruction was that letters, sounds, words, and word analysis were accumulated gradually over a period of time because the child learned different ways of working with print.”




Those of us who have taught for many years have seen many changes in the ways that literacy skills are taught. My teaching experiences began in 1949. Basal readers were my only tools. Real writing and composing thoughts were not present in the early years. In the 80’s children were encouraged to share thoughts in writing, but modeling and child’s ability to proof and the analysis of his writing was not often present.

The national and state standards used now in our schools demonstrate the importance of the language arts’ multiple faceted programs: reading, writing, and even inclusion of content areas. Phonology is still important, but taught as a tool for reading and writing.

We model and help the students recognize and begin to use new strategies as they read and write. Letter knowledge is such a strategy. Letter knowledge involves letter identification, letter formations, phonology, word parts, and all aspects of written language. We should model and provide practice for the child as he combines new and already acquired strategies in real reading and writing activities.

Instruction of a phonetic blend is more than learning to produce the sound slowly. It involves vocabulary development and use of the blend in in various listening, speaking, reading, and writing settings.

The second part of this blog will provide ideas for doing this using Hameray’s Letter Buddies.



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. 


For more information on the books mentioned in this blog post, click the series highlights images below or click this link to visit our webpage for the Letter Buddies series.

Letter Buddies Blends Sales Sheet

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Blends, Letter Learning, Geraldine Haggard, Reading Recovery, Double Consonants, Kid Writing

This Sunday: #rrchat with Hameray Authors!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on May 19, 2017 10:34:00 AM

Do you know about #rrchat? The Reading Recovery National Council of America, which provides effective intervention for struggling readers in first grade, has developed an ongoing Twitter Chat series. Focusing on topics such as "Teaching Reading and Writing Vocabulary" and "Leveraging Deeper Professional Development," these forums allow you to discuss important literary issues with fellow educators... without having to leave your couch!

IMG_2959 (1).jpg
This Sunday, May 21 at 7 pm EST, Adria Klein and Allison Briceno will be joining Reading Recovery's Twitter Chat as special guests and leaders of the discussion "Language and Literacy: Partners in Learning." Dr. Briceno is a co-author of Hameray's Oral Language Development Series, while Dr. Klein has participated in the Hameray Biography series and our Family Literacy Workshops book. Both authors have dozens of experience on literacy and language development, and we're so excited for them to be sharing their knowledge with you!
To participate in the discussion, all you need to do is follow @rrcna_org on your Twitter account, where Reading Recovery will post questions related to the topic. Make sure to use the hashtag #rrchat to contribute to the discussion.
Mark your calendar for this Sunday, May 21—don't miss this opportunity to speak with our Hameray authors!

To download information about the Oral Language Development Series, which Dr. Briceno co-authored, click the image below.

Oral Language Development Series Free Teachers Guide 

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Topics: Adria Klein, Reluctant Readers, Reading Recovery, Allison Briceno

A Reading Recovery Teacher Leader Scholar Tells Her Story

Posted by Teri Turner on Jul 7, 2016 5:43:23 PM

This post is a guest blog by Yuen Family Scholar Teri Turner, who wanted to share her experience of how well Reading Recovery works. Read and get inspired. :)

Screen_Shot_2016-07-07_at_5.26.10_PM.pngIt is with deep gratitude I would like to thank the Hameray Publishing/Yuen Family Foundation for their generous gift of funding the Reading Recovery Teacher Leader Scholarship 2015–2016. As a recipient of this scholarship, I have had many wonderful experiences over the year. Most rewarding of these experiences has been the joy expressed by my students, and their parents, as they realize that they are readers and writers!

I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to hear a child say, “This is an easy book!” and “Can I write another sentence?!” It was equally rewarding to hear a parent express delight that their child texts with them, or that their child reads to them at bedtime. These are life changing experiences that a series of lessons in Reading Recovery has provided for these children.

This year, through Reading Recovery, I was able to bring the gift of reading and writing to seven York Region District School Board students. Partnerships with parents, classroom teachers, and administrators made the work lighter and more powerful. Hearing classroom teachers say things like: “He’s one of the best writers in the class,” “She has so much more confidence now!” and “The other children go to her for help now,” convey how Reading Recovery has made an impact on children and their ability to access curriculum along with their peers.

Part of my year included learning at the Canadian Institute of Reading Recovery with Reading Recovery Trainer Janice Van Dyke. The courses were vigorous and clearly practical in developing the skills and knowledge required to support training new Reading Recovery Teachers. Visits to other school boards to participate in In-Service sessions and Ongoing Professional Development were very rewarding. A huge highlight was meeting and participating in for Reading Recovery was infectious. It was truly a privilege to meet her.

Another grand highlight of the year was the opportunity to attend the 2016 National Reading Recovery & K–6 Conference in Ohio. This opportunity would not have been possible without the generous funding provided by Raymond and Christine Yuen of Hameray Publishing supporting the Reading Recovery Teacher Leader Scholarships. Being able to meet them, and thank them in person, was indeed a pleasure. So too was learning of their personal connections to the York Region community and school system. Their dedication to providing children opportunities to learn to read and write was a key message to everyone who had the privilege of speaking with them. Their dedication has certainly had a profound effect on the students I taught this year and will continue to reap benefits for many more students as I move into the role of Teacher Leader in the fall.

As this school year winds down, I am looking forward to attending the International Reading Recovery Trainers Organization in Vancouver in July, as well as sharing the learning journey of new Reading Recovery teachers and their students in years to come.

Here are some quotes I'd like to share with you from parents, teachers, and administrators about our success:

We are so grateful for the RR program and how much it benefited our son. He loves to read, something he did not have interest in before this incredible program. It helped him get caught up and be at the reading level he should be in. We also see a huge difference in his confidence. I asked him what he thought about the Reading Recovery program, and his response was: “When I start grade 2, I will now know how to read.” Thank you, and this amazing program that is made available to kids like mine. We are truly thankful.  — Parent

The Reading Recovery program at Anne Frank provided students with an opportunity to enhance their self confidence and feel better about themselves as learners. It opened the door to the exciting world of the printed word and allowed their imagination and creativity to flourish and bloom, while leveling the playing field. — Administrator

You were a part of his daily routine and he really loved the time spent with you. You always brought out the best in him and would guide him to be the best and most confident reader that he could be. — Parent

He’s the last one to leave the carpet at the end of silent reading. I have to call him away! What a huge difference. He’s come so far! — Teacher

Have your own comments about how Reading Recovery has worked for your students or children? Leave them below!

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Topics: Reading Recovery, Yuen Family Foundation Scholarship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Reading Recovery

Joy Cowley Shined at the 2015 RRCNA Conference!

Posted by Malissa Lewis on Feb 17, 2015 8:00:00 AM


Something to Celebrate

Last week, Columbus, Ohio was home to the National Reading Recovery & K–6 Literacy Conference, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Reading Recovery Council of North America. We are happy to support this organization that helps to build a strong foundation for struggling readers. 

Among the many great educators, speakers, and authors at the conference was our very own Joy Cowley. Joy was a keynote speaker, but she took time out of her busy schedule to meet and greet fans and sign their complimentary copy of her newest book, What Is a Book?, which all conference attendees received.

"Pleasurable learning leads to pleasurable recall."

While giving her presentation, Joy stressed the importance of providing students with good reading materials and of learning through pleasure. She explained, "Once a child has engaged in a book—once he has an image of himself as a successful reader—his confidence and natural curiosity will make him open to learning the language skills inherent in the book."

Joy also read aloud five of her more recent publications that follow her principle of promoting "learning with laughter": Wishy-Washy Letter, Wishy-Washy Corn, Toby Bear, Hubba Dubba, and A Book for Pet Parrots.

                      wwletter     wwcorn     tobybear 

                                            hubbadubba     book4parrots

We also can't forget to mention the pleasure we had meeting our Dine With Joy winner, Daphne Driskell! Here are Joy and Daphne at the restaurant:


Share the Joy!

We want to say thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth to meet Joy. And to those of you who took a picture with Joy or with our Mrs. Wishy-Washy cardboard cut-out, we would like to invite you to send those images in to us to be entered into a drawing! Winners will receive their very own copy of Joy's A Writer's Life, which chronicles the life of Joy Cowley in her own words. To participate, please email your photo and mailing address to wishywashy@hameraypublishing.com.


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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley, Reading Recovery

Hameray Herald: January 2015 Issue

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jan 15, 2015 11:15:00 AM


Hameray Herald: January 2015 Issue


Joy Cowley Is Coming to America!

Find Out Where You Can Spot Her!

The beloved author of the Mrs. Wishy-Washy series is coming back to the United States to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Reading Recovery in North America! Joy will be a keynote speaker at the National Reading Recovery & K–6 Literacy Conference taking place in Columbus, Ohio during February 7–10, 2015. Also, she will be spending some time at the Hameray booth, so make sure to stop by and meet Joy if you are attending the conference.

Shared Reading? Try These!

New in our My World collection of informational texts: five big books, each introducing one of the five themes in My World! These big books (12” wide by 16” tall) are perfect for shared reading and for exposing even the youngest children to informational text features and fascinating facts about the world around them. Guided reading levels for this series ranges from A–F.


Joy Cowley's newest children's book, What Is a Book?, written specially to honor the 30th Anniversary of Reading Recovery in North America, will be launched at the National Conference. 

While all conference attendees will receive a special hardcover collector's edition, a limited number will also be available to Hameray customers. Click HERE to be added to our waiting list.


Tarantulas, Coyotes, and Sharks! Oh, My!

If you liked Set 1 of the beautifully photographed Zoozoo Animal World series, you're going to love Set 2!  These fun informational texts are designed to inform students about twenty animals in four   different habitats: Desert, GrasslandsMountain, and Ocean. . Guided reading levels for this series range from C–F. 


Check out our literacy blog, which offers useful content, free downloads, and all the resources you need to make teaching a little easier. Some of the recent blog topics include:

- Guided Reading Group Activities
- Shared Reading
- Supplementing Textbooks with Leveled Readers

Upcoming Conferences



 Hameray will be attending the following conferences:

We hope you will come by to visit with us!

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Topics: Joy Cowley, Hameray Herald, Conference, Big Books, Shared Reading, My World, Reading Recovery

Dine with Joy Cowley! Enter to Win!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Nov 20, 2014 8:00:00 AM


Win a trip to dine with the beloved author of the Mrs. Wishy-Washy books. Joy Cowley will be a keynote speaker at Reading 
Recovery's 30th Anniversary Celebration (Feb 7–10 in Columbus, OH). The trip includes:

WhatBook_PLC_cover-300• Dinner with Joy Cowley
• Entry to the RRCNA Exhibitor’s Hall
• Round-trip airfare to Columbus, OH
• Two nights’ hotel stay
• Signed copy of Joy’s new collector’s edition book, What Is a Book?, written specially for the Reading Recovery 30th Anniversary

Hameray Publishing Group is a staunch supporter of Reading Recovery and is thrilled to participate in its 30th anniversary celebration. Hameray offers a two collections of Joy’s titles: Joy Cowley Early Birds and the Joy Cowley Collection, including big books. 


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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley, Joy Cowley Early Birds, Big Books, Giveaway, Reading Recovery

The Importance of Rereading Independent-Leveled Texts

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Oct 2, 2014 8:00:00 AM

haggardThis post is by guest blogger Geraldine Haggard, author of our Kaleidoscope Series books Helpers, Four Seasons, Seeds, and What Is a Friend? To see her other posts, click here!

I spent ten years as a Reading Recovery Teacher leader and Reading Recovery teacher, and I’ve spent the past fourteen years tutoring needy readers in grades one through three. I have personally seen the difference in the growth of young readers who spend massive amounts of time reading at their independent levels.

In Becoming Literate, Marie Clay spoke of the "constructive learner" as a child who is "seeing, searching, consolidating, and problem solving." How can a teacher encourage these practices?

In the Reading Recovery Guidebook, she discusses "accelerated growth" in reading and writing. The importance of continuous text in both processes is stressed. She states that this growth depends on how the teacher selects the clearest, the most memorable examples with which to establish student responses.

The child must take over the learning process and work independently. New discoveries must be made. Two kinds of learning must be considered. The use of familiar materials and independent solving on the part of the child must be important. The independent reading at the student's desk and at home must be at his independent level. This means that the child can read with 95% accuracy or better. The instructional level is at 90%–94% accuracy.

Therefore, the reader accelerates because some things no longer need his attention. He is now free to give attention to new things.

story_mother_daughter_100052333_juan_carlos_tinjaca-200Teachers are wise if they realize that their instruction and guidance is to assist a child as strategies to problem-solve are developed. These problem-solving techniques include monitoring their reading for meaning, searching for cues, discovering new things, cross-checking for meaning, and self-correcting their errors. The goal is not to accumulate items of knowledge.

All kindergarten and first-grade teachers would like to think that their students will enter second grade as proficient readers. A study of proficient readers in that grade was included in the Reading Recovery publication Teaching and Learning (Volume 10, Number 2). The researcher discovered that these good readers in grade two demonstrated more than sixty ways to overtly solve unknown words. They never appealed for help without attempting ways to solve the word. They never articulated a word using phoneme-by-phoneme strategies, but used larger parts of words. They expected meaning and found meaning as they read.

These second-graders were avid readers and spent large amounts of time reading. Teachers need to provide as many books as possible on the child's independent level for reading from the class library and at home. Time for reading must be provided. During a visit to New Zealand schools, I observed teachers pair students to other students reading at a slightly more difficult level. Children can read to animals, siblings, volunteers in the classroom, buddies from a different grade level and/or parents. First-graders might read to second-graders.

I recommend at least twenty minutes a day for this independent reading. It seems obvious to me and to researchers that accelerated reading growth depends upon this practice. Encourage families to have family reading times when all members of the family read independently or read to each other. Ask any pianist how they got to be an accomplished pianist. They will tell you they had to practice the same selections several times before they could play in a recital. It is the same way with reading skills.

Remember that the child leads the way. I once heard Clay say that teaching a child how to read was like dancing with him or her. The child leads, you follow. Be a good "follower." Know the child and fit the instruction to the child's reading needs. Provide the appropriate books and time for each child to read.


Dr. Geraldine Haggard is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent thirty-seven 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.


To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection series of books, which includes four titles written by Geraldine Haggard, click here to visit the Kaleidoscope page of our website, or click the image below to download an information sheet with highlights of the series.

New Call-to-Action

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Topics: Geraldine Haggard, Reading Recovery, Just-Right Books, Independent Reading

Congratulations to Our Reading Recovery Conference Raffle Winner!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Feb 11, 2014 1:13:00 PM

lucky draw header
Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at the Reading Recovery Conference and entered our Lucky Draw raffle to win a set of Zoozoo Animal World leveled informational texts. Here is the name of our lucky winner!


of Marion County School District in Bradfordsville, KY!

Congratulations, Paula!

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Topics: Conference, Zoozoo Animal World, Raffle Winner, Reading Recovery

Yuen Family Foundation Scholar Jeff Williams on Reading Recovery and CCSS

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Aug 6, 2013 8:00:00 AM

Jeff Williams, of Solon City Schools in Solon, OH, recently wrote an article in the Journal of Reading Recovery examining how Common Core State Standards implementation may influence classroom instruction and answering questions that educators might have about Reading Recovery in the context of the Common Core.

The article explores the six strands of the CCSS, and provides tables showing how Reading Recovery teaching practices align with these strands, using Grade 1 as an example.

Last year, Jeff was one of two recipients of Hameray's Yuen Family Foundation Teacher Leader Scholarship. Jeff recommends the use of books from The Joy Cowley Collection and the Kaleidoscope Collection to aid in reading instruction.

Click the image below to view and download a PDF of Jeff's article, hosted on the Reading Recovery website.

jrr 122 williams 1

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Topics: Common Core, Reading Recovery, Jeff Williams, Yuen Family Foundation Scholarship

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