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.


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


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 .




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

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

FREE Zoozoo Into the Wild Teacher's Guide!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on May 9, 2017 3:56:00 PM

Long-time fans of Zoozoo Into the Wild will be elated to learn about a FREE Teacher’s Guide for the series! The comprehensive guide offers various classroom activities for the nonfiction, fiction, wordless books, and poetry cards that are included in the Zoozoo Into the Wild series. 

The series features eight different animals: Elephant, Frog, Giraffe, Hippo, Lion, Orangutan, Tiger, and Zebra. Each animal has a narrative, informational, and wordless book in which they are featured. By using these titles together, students can learn how to distinguish nonfiction from fictional texts, making them critical and active readers.

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The poetry cards include illustrations and a famous poem about animals. For example, the hippo poetry card features “One Hippo, Two Hippo” by Daniel Williams. The Teacher’s Guide suggest the following ways to introduce poetry into your literacy classroom:

“Listen to the Poem:

  • Read the poem to the children without showing the illustrations.
  • Ask them to listen carefully and try to picture what the hippos are doing in the poem.
  • Read the poem twice. Then ask the children to retell the poem in their own words.
  • Display the poetry card to the group and read the poem again” (12)

Reading the poem aloud allows the children to really focus on the semantic meanings of the words and boosts their visualization skills. After listening, the children can “Hear the Poem”:

  • “Read the first two lines of the hippo pome. Ask the children to identify any words that rhyme.
  • Reread the first two lines, leaving out one of the rhyming words. Ask the children to fill in the blanks.
  • Repeat this with the last two lines of the poem.
  • Read the whole poem to the group, leaving out some of the rhyming words. Ask the children to fill in the blanks” (12)


For more tips on how to teach poetry and use Zoozoo Into the Wild with your students, look through the Flipbook and download the Zoozoo Into the Wild Teacher’s Guide for FREE!



View the FREE Teacher's Guide at this link. To download information about Zoozoo Into the Wild, click the image below.

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Topics: Zoozoo Into the Wild, Poetry, Teacher's Guides

Wordless Books As Story Prompts to Build Oral Language & Writing Skills

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on May 31, 2016 4:53:15 PM

PDFHR_Tiger-Brothers_cvr-1.jpgWhile reading is indeed the foundation of literacy education, writing skills and oral language skills are also very important to bolster the depth of students' understanding. One crucial tool for improving both of these types of skills is the story prompt. As visually engaged as young students tend to be—as much as they love pictures—the wordless picture book is a great alternative to spoken or written story prompts to get kids' imaginations firing.

For younger students or those who may be learning a second language, wordless books are invaluable for their oral language development. First, they are a great assessment tool to use when you need to see where a student stands in oral language accomplishment. By having the student look at a series of related pictures and and asking them to tell you what they see, you'll quickly be able to assess their fluency, vocabulary, and ease of calling up language structures.

Secondly, after the assessment stage, using these books is great practice for honing skills up to a higher level. They'll get up to speed on Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards faster when they are comfortable speaking extemporaneously in response to an assigned prompt.

For students who are a bit further along and are working on meeting Writing Standards relating to sequenced events, using wordless books with a storyline as a reference are a perfect step in the process of being able to recount and sequence:

Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.3)

Example Student Work: Brothers from Zoozoo Into the Wild

One Reading Recovery teacher shared the written story produced by one of her students in response to the Zoozoo Into the Wild book Brothers, and I've recreated it here with pages from the book to show examples of what the student was responding to.


Page 2 (student text): Here are two brothers and they are tigers.


Page 3 (student text): Brothers care for each other. It doesn’t matter what happens to each other. They always care about each other.


Page 4 (student text): The brothers play in the water together.


Page 5 (student text): But then a Zookeeper comes and said, “Hey, you need to be more quiet! “ said the Zookeeper.


Page 6 (student text): Then the Zookeeper fell in the water. “Please don’t eat me!” said the Zookeeper. “I will let you be as loud as you want if you don’t eat me!” But the tigers don’t understand English. So, the two brothers ate the Zookeeper.


Page 7 (student text): “Mmm that was some tasty humans.” the brothers said to each other.

In the back of each of the Zoozoo Into the Wild wordless books, there is a suggested synopsis and also a list of other activities the books are good for in addition to retelling. We also have other wordless books, though less story-driven, in our My World series (which can be viewed here). They are especially good as vocabulary tools and for introducing readers to the concept of an informational text.

For more information on the wordless books used as an example in this post, you can click the image below to download a series information sheet with key features, or you can click here to visit our website.

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Topics: Common Core, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Oral Language Development, Speaking and Listening, Wordless Books, Writing Standards

10 Fun Facts About Elephants for Kids in Kindergarten and First Grade

Posted by Nick Bennett on Apr 5, 2016 8:08:36 PM

This is the beginning of a new series of blog posts on fun, unique animals which many students are sure to love — we’ll be writing easy-to-read, quick and informative posts on animals from dolphins and lions, to panda bears, tigers, and penguins.

This is first post in this series. 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.


Each new post will go over a different, fun, unique animal, and explore the interesting traits and characteristics of the specific animal with 10 fun facts. The purpose of this series of posts is to help teachers share information on some of the world’s most interesting animals, and to get students in kindergarten and first grade excited about reading, exploring, and understanding more about these animals in class and at home.


This week, we will be going over and discussing one of the largest animals in the wild — the elephant. There are several remarkable, fun facts about the elephant that are sure to fascinate young students. Following are just 10 facts that are sure to get your students excited to learn more and read more about elephants. You can use this information in units or lessons on elephants, or fun classroom activities around elephants.

     Fun Fact 1
  • Elephants are the largest mammals, and largest land animals, in the world. Some elephants weigh as much as 14,000 pounds, and are as tall as 13 feet.

     Fun Fact 2

  • Elephants are able live to be over seventy years old when living in the wild.

     Fun Fact 3

  • Elephants have a very highly developed brain; their brain is larger than the brains of all other land mammals.

     Fun Fact 4

  • Elephants are very social animals and have a well-developed system of communication.

     Fun Fact 5

  • Elephants like to eat plants, and they like to live next to bodies of water.

     Fun Fact 6

  • Elephants are like humans — they are either right-tusked, or left-tusked, like humans are either right-handed or left-handed.

     Fun Fact 7

  • Elephants one of only a few mammals which are unable to jump.

     Fun Fact 8

  • Elephants lack great vision, and have an average sense of sight. Elephants do, however, possess both a very good sense of smell and sense of hearing, as well as a great sense of touch.

     Fun Fact 9

  • Believe it or not, elephants are able to swim — they use their trunk to breathe, similar to a snorkel, when submerged in deep water.

     Fun Fact 10

  • Elephants are able to have an improved sense of smell by waving their trunks up in the air.

This is the end of the first post in this series of blog posts on
 fun facts about animals for kids in kindergarten and first grade. 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.

To view and learn more about titles from Hameray on the topic of elephants, please click the images below.

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To download an information sheet with key features about the Zoozoo Into the Wild series, which contains the books about elephants mentioned above, please click the image below.

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Topics: Making Learning Fun, Kindergarten, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Animals, First Grade

[New Post] The Use of Leveled Books in Kindergarten Science: Part 3

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Mar 25, 2016 12:42:50 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 third post in a series of posts on teaching and using leveled books for science in kindergarten. To read the first post, click here. 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 our guest bloggers’ new posts in your inbox.


Let’s begin this post by continuing from where we left off last week, with another set of classroom activities. To view last week’s classroom activity, please click here.

Book Three: A House for Me

To begin, use the book, A House for Me, from the Kaleidoscope Collection, with an Elmo or classroom projector as a read aloud. The front of the book might be used on the Elmo or classroom projector to introduce the title’s characters to the classroom. You can then do a read aloud. In the book, the sentence, “I need a house for me”, is on each page. Introduce the sentence to the children and ask them to repeat it with you each time you read it. Explain to the children that the character, the Spider, does not have a home and visits his neighbors, hoping to find one. Read the book slowly, sharing the pictures and asking the children what each home presented is called. Use a different voice for the spider. After completing the entire story, ask the students who helped the spider and how. After this, the last picture might also be shared on the Elmo or classroom projector. What does the dog call his home? Although the Spider character does not call his home by a name, ask the children if they can tell us the name of the spider's home.


After this, in the classroom, use two hula hoops or an enlarged Venn diagram, to compare the dog and the spider. Fill in differences first. (For example: What are their homes called? How large are the two living things? How does each animal get its food?) The center of the diagram can include: is a living thing, eats in home, needs a home. Students may think of other ways the two animals are alike or different. Ask the children why they think each animal is similar or different, and invite all the children to help make the decisions on what to include in the diagram. Inform the children that scientists do this kind of thinking and praise their thinking and sharing.

After class, the students can visit with their parents and talk about their own homes. The next day, in the classroom, provide a sharing time and allow the students to talk about their homes and what they learned about them. Discuss how long each child has lived in his or her home, and what exactly his or her favorite things to do are, while at home. How many people live in the home? Where exactly is the home? Does each of the children know their street address

Introduce the word 'shelter' and invite the children to visit with their families to discuss how their homes provides shelter. Provide an activity sheet for the students and ask them to record examples of how their homes provide shelter and personal needs. The next day, the students can draw a picture on one way their home provides shelter on a sheet of drawing paper. This can be done while you are with guided reading groups. Later, invite them to sit in groups of three or four and share their findings. The groups can then share the group findings with the entire class. Collect their drawings and make a list of ways that homes provide shelter. Create a classroom bulletin board titled, “Why We Need Shelter”, and include the students’ findings as well as some of their pictures. The children can help create the display.

During this part of the study, a museum collection can be displayed by both the children and the teacher. (For example: shells, bird nests, an ant farm, a fish in a bowl, a small aquarium, a web, etc.) Each unique home can then be labeled and either individual children, or groups of children, can write captions for the compiled museum collection. In the captions, include what lived in the home, and where the particular home might be found. The captions can also include the labels of 'living' or 'non-living'.


Book Four: We Are Thirsty

For the second section of this blog post, the wordless picture book, We Are Thirsty, from the series, Zoozoo Into the Wild, can be used to introduce the fact that living things need water to drink, in order to live. On the inside of the back cover of this title, a synopsis of the book, for teacher use, can be found. Use the first two activities suggested on the inside of the back cover. Use an Elmo or classroom projector to share the book’s cover and pages. Ask the children to talk about why the zebras, in the book, might be thirsty. Ask questions like: When do they get thirsty? Where do they find water to drink? Where do the children find water to drink? Where do the zebras find water? Why are the zebras living things? Do the children think that all living things need to drink water? Using the pictures of scenery in the book, ask the students where they think the zebras live. How do the students know this? After, revisit the last picture in the book, and discuss how the zebras must have felt after they drank the water.

In the classroom, display two living plants that look alike and similar. Water one plant, but do not water the other plant. On a daily basis, the children can look at the plants and create a record of what they see happening to the plants over a period of time. Ask the children what exact conclusions can be made about the two plants? In addition to this, the children might plant seeds in small containers in the classroom together, bring their plants home, and watch how their own plants grow at home. They can then share what is happening to their plants and possibly record, on a calendar, comments about when they water their plants and what they have observed about their plants.


This is the end of Part 3 in this series of blog posts on teaching and using leveled books for science in kindergarten. To read the first post in the series, click here. 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 Zoozoo Into the Wild series, which contain the books mentioned in this post, click the images below.



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Topics: Leveled Readers, Reading Activities, Kaleidoscope Collection, Kindergarten, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Geraldine Haggard, Science, Creative Activities

It’s Summer! Plan Your Nonfiction Library Now!

Posted by Margaret Hufstedler on Jun 9, 2015 3:30:00 PM

MaggueHufstedlerbiopicThis is a guest blog post by Margaret Hufstedler, a veteran teacher of 28 years who has taught kindergarten for the past 22 years.  She is an accomplished musician, the owner of Maggie’s Kinder Corner, and co-moderator of #TeacherFriends Chat every Tuesday on Twitter.  The following article features ideas for implementing project based learning using a variety of resources in your own classroom.

Summer is the time teachers hold sacred because it is a vital to helping us renew and replenish what made us become teachers in the first place. As we sit in our comfy chairs, we enjoy the break, but our minds often wander back to what we love to do: teach. Our minds trace the layout of our classrooms as we sit wondering if there is a better way to arrange furniture, a better way to structure center times, and going over a whole plethora of other issues that help to balance the time we are with students.

ITW-Nonfiction-FrogOne necessary component of the classroom that is absolutely vital to learning is a well-stocked library. If you are like me, you have roughly an 80/20 ratio of fiction to nonfiction picture books in your class library, the way many primary classrooms are set up. However, it isn’t necessarily the way they should continue to be set up. Research supports the necessity of great informational texts as a choice in the primary classroom. Many teachers know students who are struggling to read informational texts now who could have benefitted from exposure to them earlier in their schooling.

From personal experience, my observations draw me to conclude students prefer a good nonfiction text over a narrative. During group reading, students are much more likely to maintain focus when engaged in reading with each other about animals, insects, nature, or transportation (to name a few). Students love giving their opinions, and isn’t that what we want them to do? Forming an opinion is part of the higher-order thinking model. We all want to help our students be better problem solvers. Informational text is an important bridge to making our students “thinkers”.

ITW-Nonfiction-ElephantYou may ask, “Where on earth am I going to find additional informational texts?” I hear you, and I have some ideas that may be worth your time. If you are short on funds, and you are a new teacher just beginning to build a classroom library, or you are a seasoned veteran just looking for more books, there are places to look without “mortgaging the farm.”

Some sources may be no farther than your fingers and your laptop. There are online garage sales all over sites like Facebook, so do a search for them in your area. Many times, families are just wanting to rid themselves of an overabundance of children’s books. Another source may be a site called freecycle.org. I was able to find an entire set of Beanie Baby toys for free a few years ago. The thing that distinguishes this site from other sources is the guarantee of items being free. Join up, then explain that you are a teacher looking for nonfiction or real children’s books for your classroom library. As always, use caution when dealing with online communication. Meet in a public location to pick up any resources donated. I met the donor of my Beanie Babies during the day in a parking lot next to a law office. Another resource is the old-fashioned yard sale. Check newspapers for locations and times as well as what is being offered.

Finally, many new informational texts can be found inexpensively here on the Hameray site. Something to consider: Hameray’s books are leveled readers which makes them perfect for independent reading, and the variety of topics is endless! Most of the informational leveled readers are under $5, making sets of them very affordable I am especially loving the Zoozoo Into the Wild series. There is even a Zoozoo app!


 For more information about the Zoozoo Into the Wild series click HERE to return to our website or click the series highlight page below to download an information sheet. 

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Topics: Kindergarten, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Margaret Hufstedler

7 Ways to Use Wordless Picture Books in Your Classroom

Posted by Amanda Ross on Feb 25, 2015 12:00:00 PM

This is a guest post by blogger Amanda Ross. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, First Grade Garden, for more of her writing.  


Hi there, my name is Amanda Ross. I am usually blogging over at First Grade Garden, but today I am visiting to share some ideas on how I use wordless picture books in my class. I have quite a few wordless picture books, and I was excited to add a couple books from the Zoozoo Into the Wild Wordless series into my collection.

Here are a few ways that I like to use wordless picture books in my classroom:

1. Writing Prompt: Choose a page from the wordless picture book and write your own story based on what is happening in the picture.

ITW-wordless-Giraffe-2002. Oral Storytelling: Students can work with partners to practice telling a story orally. They can take turns describing each page. I like to give each set of partners a different wordless picture book and have the partners practice their oral story a few times. Then they can tell the story to the rest of the class. I love hearing their imaginative stories! This is also a great activity to remind students that if you can TELL a story, you can WRITE a story. I always tell my students to say what they want to write out loud before they start putting pencil to paper.

3. Sequencing: Photocopy three or four pages from a wordless picture book and practice sequencing the events. Have students describe what is happening in each picture and explain why the pictures go in a particular order.

ITW-wordless-Frog-2004. Speech Bubbles: Use speech bubble sticky notes or print out a page of speech bubbles that students can cut out. Have students stick the speech bubbles on a page or two in the wordless picture book and have them write what they think the characters are saying.

5. Predictions: Wordless picture books are perfect for making predictions. Starting with the cover, students can predict what they think the story is about. As you “read” the story together, students can confirm or change their predictions based on information from the pictures.

6. Daily 5 Lesson: One of the lessons in Daily 5 is about the three ways to read a book: read the words, read the pictures, or retell the story. A wordless picture book is a great mentor text to model reading the pictures. Use the pictures to tell the story.

7. Easy Reader: Do you have a struggling reading group that isn’t ready to read level-A books yet? Use a wordless picture book to model concepts of print—without print! Practice identifying the cover and author, reading from front to back, and holding the book properly. They can tell the story themselves by looking at the pictures, which is another important reading strategy they can practice with a wordless picture book! 


Amanda Ross is a first grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching for seven years. The last three years have been in first grade, and that’s where she plans to stay! She is currently on maternity leave with her daughter Zoe, but she will be heading back to first grade in September. You can find her over at her teaching blog, First Grade Garden.


To learn more about Zoozoo Into the Wild, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image below to download information sheets with key features.

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Teaching Writing, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Wordless Books, Amanda Ross

Differentiating in Science through Leveled Texts—with FREE Download!

Posted by Susan Weaver Jones on Nov 6, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Today's guest blogger is Susan Weaver Jones, an elementary educator from Orlando, Florida, who currently works in Knoxville, Tennessee. She has taught students in Kindergarten through Eighth Grade as a Classroom Teacher, Reading Specialist, Reading Recovery Teacher, and Literacy Coach. She is also the author of three leveled readers in the Kaleidoscope Collection. You can read her other guest posts here.

Teaching science in the primary grades can be challenging, depending upon the resources available. Hands-on, participatory experiments successfully capitalize on students' curiosity and interest in exploration. However, class-size amounts of consumable materials and needed equipment may be limited, due to budget constraints. In addition, some science topics may require more reading-to-learn opportunities due to practicality, as well as cost.

The same funding issues can affect textbook availability, too. Even when textbooks are provided, though, concerns may arise about the difficulty of the textbooks as compared with students' reading abilities. Given the range of reading levels in many elementary classrooms, coupled with unfamiliar science vocabulary, the difficulty of many science textbooks may exceed the instructional reading levels of some students. What alternative instructional options do teachers have

One strong possibility encourages teachers to differentiate by borrowing and/or building collections of informational books on different reading levels. By utilizing a variety of leveled texts on the same topic, most students can read more than one book about the selected topic, while ensuring that even the lowest -performing readers have at least one text that is manageable. For emergent readers and ESL students, wordless informational books can supplement leveled, non-fiction books. The photographs in the books engage the students and build their vocabulary through discussion. (See Hameray's My World Collection, Zoozoo Animal World series, and Zoozoo Into the Wild for books appropriate for early and emergent readers.) 

ANIMAL_IN_THE_SEA_cover-200h ArcticFox_cover-PRINT-200 ITW-Nonfiction-Elephant-200

Using a variety of science-oriented texts means that some facts will likely be included in several books, while other information might appear in only one or two. The differences between texts allow for reinforcement and confirmation of concepts in some cases and for introduction of new ideas in others. The variety of texts fosters the search for and the discovery of previously known and unknown facts, which can be shared with all

Before reading, teachers can access their students' prior knowledge through discussion of a KTWL chart. Determine what the students already know, what they think they know, and what they want to learn. At the conclusion of the study, the teacher can revisit the chart with the class to find out what the students have learned. If some questions are left unanswered, the teacher may choose to reference other sources through online research to satisfy students' inquiries.

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Students can keep track of the information they locate through the use of jot charts. Jot charts are simple graphic organizers that allow writers to keep information about topics in one place. Using selected questions from the KTWL charts (which could vary by student, as needed), students record answers to the questions and include the title and author of each source on the jot charts. When students use nonfiction texts in conjunction with jot charts, they learn how to seek information and take notes from sources other than themselves. Some students might record information from single texts (including photographs), while other students might be capable of using information from two or three sources in their jot charts. The jot charts can then serve as references for students to review information and as means to summarize their learning. Students can also refer to the photographs in leveled texts to create illustrations that depict the information they've learned. No longer solely dependent on what they can remember after reading, students can reread and compare their information with others from their jot charts.

When teachers incorporate different levels of text on the same topics to accommodate their students' reading levels in content areas such as science, they open up new avenues of learning for all of their students!


If you'd like to learn more about our Zoozoo Animal World series, click the images below to download series highlight sheets! Click the worksheet image at the bottom to download the free charts.

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Jot Chart and KTWL Chart

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Topics: Informational Text, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Animals, Zoozoo Animal World, Susan Weaver Jones, My World

Hameray Herald: Late June Issue

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jun 25, 2014 5:40:20 PM

Zoozoo Wordless Books


Part of the popular Zoozoo Into The Wild series, this 8-book animal-themed wordless set is ideal for beginning readers who are still building their oral language proficiency and foundational reading skills. Using unique and engaging photo illustrations, each humorous story explores themes and content areas that are relevant to a young child's life, including friendship, helping others, family, and sharing. 

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June_Blog_290  Colorcards

Teaching Kids to Read with Shared Reading: Part 1

NEW GUEST BLOG: Kathy Crane of Kindergarten Kiosk shares techniques for an effective shared reading lesson.

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Speechmark ColorCards Created by SLPs

Designed for Students with Special Needs: ColorCards improve language skills & develop emotional literacy!

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Coming Soon...


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Topics: Zoozoo Into the Wild, Hameray Herald, Shared Reading, Wordless Books, Special Education, Professional Books

Why Is Teaching Poetry Important?

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Mar 31, 2014 8:00:00 AM

ITW-PC_Frog-150We're focusing today on why it is important to teach poetry, introducing it to students in even the lowest grades. As the Common Core State Standards are implemented in more and more states, poetry becomes part of the curriculum beginning in kindergarten. Kindergarten students need to learn how to recognize poetry when they see it (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.5), and the best way to get them to that point is through lots of exposure!

Poetry can help children learn to read by developing pre-reading and reading skills. It can introduce new vocabulary, improve fluency through increased rhythm skills, and build phonetic knowledge through familiarity with rhyme.

Rhyming is an especially helpful aspect of poetry when it comes to learning to read. When students can recognize rhyming words (through activities that can be jumpstarted by poetry, such as creating lists of them), it improves their handle on which letters can correspond to which sounds, as well as which word "shapes" repeat in words that sound the same at the end. These skills become part of the basic framework off of which children learn to read.

ITW-PC_Tiger-150Poetry can also contribute to speaking and listening skills. Through reading poems aloud and hearing them read by others, students become more familiar with the cadence of the language. They naturally absorb the concepts of meter and beat, and tapping these things out also can be a fun way to incorporate physical learning.

Poems also tend to be shorter than most other types of written works, making them less daunting to read for struggling or easily intimidated students. Students who have never before finished reading something will be delighted to learn that they just read "a whole poem" by themselves!

Coming soon, we'll have poetry cards available as part of our Zoozoo Into the Wild series. This series currently contains three genres of books—fiction, informational, and wordless—with eight animals. There is one book from each genre for each animal. When the poetry cards are released, there will be a snippet of poetry on each card, with a card for one of each of the same animals. Pictured to the right are two sneak previews: the card for the frog, and the card for the tiger. Keep an eye out for these fun additions to your poetry collection!

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Topics: Common Core, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Poetry

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