Author Archives : That Fun Reading Teacher


About That Fun Reading Teacher

That Fun Reading Teacher is a Canadian mom, special education and literacy teacher with a passion for kids and reading. She has spent nineteen years teaching literacy to kindergarten and primary students as a classroom, Reading Recovery and Special Education teacher.


Visual Schedules in kindergarten and primary classrooms – the benefits!

The benefits of using a visual schedule in kindergarten and early primary classrooms | That Fun Reading Teacher.com

Photo credit: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_luislouro’>luislouro / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Do you use a visual schedule in your classroom? As a special education teacher working in many kindergarten and primary classes, I’ve seen how beneficial they are for the whole class!

The origin of visual schedules

In special education, we had been putting picture symbol schedules in place for our students with autism for years, as they provide

  • an overview of the student’s day, in parts or as a whole, so the student has an idea of what to expect (this helps prevent anxiety)
  • a means of communication for students who struggle with oral language and / or auditory processing (they can point at the pictures to help get their message across, follow the pictures to understand what they might have missed verbally)
  • structure and increased independence, allowing students to manage transitions with less support
  • the flexibility of making changes to only the necessary parts of the schedule without having to change the entire day.
  • a sense of understanding how their day works, and counts down as blocks of time wrap up, helps kids feel a sense of accomplishment, more safe and in control of their emotions

The shift to whole class schedules

Our consultants began recommending visual schedules for more groups of students as time went on – students struggling with anxiety, managing behavior, transitions.  I began to notice that a few classroom teachers had just stopped using the individual student schedules (too cumbersome with multiple students with schedules in the class) and gone to a classroom one instead – and the effect was amazing.

Students checked in on that schedule all day. As time passed, a card was moved or taken down. If plans changed, the teacher simply switched out the card, and the kids understood and accepted it. The morning schedule was discussed at the carpet in the morning, and the process repeated in the afternoon.

Why it’s becoming the new normal

How many times have you heard this lately?

Kindergarten is a social communication program.

Do you agree? My very first class was a kindergarten class, in 1996, and the catch phrase at that time was ‘We’re teaching them how to play the game of school’. 

There are so many children in our classes now that struggle with social-communication, anxiety, self-regulation, learning disabilities, being in an overcrowded classroom, among other things.  And teachers have more to manage than ever before.

Consider that:

  • students regularly referring to the schedule throughout the day are prepared for transitions and managing themselves with greater independence
  • the visual schedule takes on the role of a ‘first-then’ board, as students are able to see things they are looking forward to coming up (for example, homesick students can see blocks of time disappearing as it gets closer to home time; students who dislike pencil / paper tasks can look forward to recess etc.)
  • students take pride in showing a visitor to the class that he or she can read, and knows what’s happening next
  • it is easy for a substitute teacher to step in with an already established structure in place (and it can be left prepared for the next day without having to write an explanation!)
  • With my Reading Recovery background, I can’t help but love the fact that this is just another way to drive home ‘reading the pictures’ for meaning first!
  • it can be used as a tool for teaching ‘time’ (some teachers add clocks beside each item) and sequencing events in order
  • The visual schedule makes a nice link to learning centres / centres

Have you tried using a visual schedule in your classroom? How has it been going for you?

Best wishes with your littles,

Ida Mae

If you are looking for a visual schedule and center / centre cards set, please check out mine below. The cards fit nicely into a pocket chart, can be used with adhesive magnets on the back, or simply pinned to a bulletin board. I’ve included months, days and Troll-themed editable name cards as well. Click the image to take you to my store to see the preview!

Are there cards you would like to see added to the schedule?

If so, please click the ‘ask a question’ tab in my TpT store, or email me at thatfunreadingteacher@gmail.com to suggest it for an update!

 

Related:

Back to School posts, resources, links and more! | That Fun Reading Teacher.com

The Dealing With Feelings Series

 


Great K-2 stories for the transition back to school – and $100 TpT gift card giveaway!

Tried and true stories for the transition back to school: K-2

 

Looking for some tried, tested and true picture books to help little ones through the back to school transition? There’s no better way than to show them examples of others who have been there, felt the anxiety and learned how to manage it! Here are the the stories I go back to year after year for their familiarity, upbeat rhymes and modeling for kids.

(Be sure to click enter the $100 gift card giveaway! The link is at the bottom of the page!)

 

Stories with well-known characters:

Franklin Goes to School: Franklin is up early preparing for his first day of school, and feels increasingly nervous between breakfast, the school talk on the bus, and arrival.  A great story about how we can be different in many ways, yet the same in others, and therefore not alone.

In Froggy Goes to School, students enjoy experiencing Froggy’s first day of school along with him, as his teacher, Miss Witherspoon, gently guides him through reading his name, paying attention, staying in his seat and taking turns speaking.

The Berenstain Bears Go to School begins with Back-to-School shopping, and an encounter with Too-Tall and his gang leaving Sister Bear fearing the third grade. Momma Bear thinks a trip back through the photo album to when Sister Bear started kindergarten is in order, but she is still skeptical! A great story to encourage trying new things!

 

fra froggy BB go to Sch

Rhyming Books:

These stories boast upbeat language and rhythm along with a humorous look at the preparation and jitters associated with starting school. With colorful pictures to draw kids in and laughter to ease tension, they are great picks for putting everyone at ease.


Miss B Night b k Night b 1

Great books for easing anxiety:

These are the encouraging, warm-fuzzy books when subtle just isn’t quite enough.

The Kissing Hand is a sweet story of a mother Raccoon reassuring her child that has comforted millions suffering with separation anxiety over the past twenty years.  Older sibling wisdom gives I Am Too Absolutely Small for School its authenticity while Llama Llama Misses Mama offers the reassurance that parents do return at the end of the day to pick up their children.


Kiss H absolutely llama

 Here’s a fun playlist for your listening center!

 

Back to School stories playlist free on ThatFunReadingTeacher.com

 

Do you have some favorite stories to recommend? Please share in the comments!

Related:

 

Feelings stories for children - When I feel anxious

 

Here’s where to find the giveaway!Why back to school is such a big deal - manage anxiety by setting priorities

Back to School posts, resources, links and more! | That Fun Reading Teacher.com

Best wishes to those of you who are already back in class, and all who are preparing!

Ida Mae

 


Free Back to School Literacy Lessons K-2

Hello my friends! Have you started to think about Back to School yet? (Has anyone ever really stopped?)

It’s an exciting time of year, and I always find it easier to sleep when I at least have the first few days planned out – and that involves getting to know my students. I like to find out who they are as people, how they feel about various aspects of school, get a glimpse of their skills, and most importantly – know how they’ll be getting home from school!

Disclaimer: This activity is by no means a guaranteed method of validating a child’s transportation arrangements for one day or the entire school year, but does make a nice introduction to a graphing activity.

 

I wanted to share this ten page Back to School literacy sampler with you, so you will have a window into some of the products I use with my K-2 students at the beginning of the year.

What else is in the BTS sampler?

 

I do not want to ruin the surprise, but I will tell you that this sampler could lead you to more free samples…especially if you like Sight-Word PreEmergent (Level aa) or Emergent (Level A and B) readers with sentence puzzles and fun follow ups. 

Ok, getting carried away now. Almost told you about the crazy fun game I’m making. But I didn’t! 

I will leave you with this thought, however. Start collecting smart phone boxes.

Enjoy summer for as long as you can!

Take care,

Ida Mae, aka


LANGUAGE ARTS IDEAS – Fun Easter phrasing and fluency activities!

http://thatfunreadingteacher.com/easter-fun-fluency-rhythm-rhyme/
Copyright: denisnata / 123RF Stock Photo[/caption]

Easter is a great time to have fun with phrasing and fluency with early readers. Grab your bunny ears and check these out!

Use poetry, music and movement!

Remember the Hokey-Pokey song? Years ago I rewrote it into The Bunny Hop for my Kindergarten students. It works particularly well if modeled and students are given the opportunity to echo it back the first few times before giving them a paper with the text (to color – you’ve got to do the actions!):

 

Click here to grab it free! 
(Black and white version included with it – ideal for poetry folders!)
Bunny ear construction is off the charts in the craft center when this song is in season – be ye warned! Everyone wants to be the bossy bunny who gets to say, “Stop!”
Seize teachable moments to model and emphasize phrasing

Certain phrases just belong together, don’t they? All about the seems to be one such phrase.

When Meghan Trainor was singing I’m All About the Bass every time I turned on the radio in 2014,  there was no getting it out of my head.  This Fun, Fluency Reader version practically wrote itself as I drove in to school listening to Trainor’s voice every day.

My students knew the tune instantly. I modeled the first read to them, and we practiced a few phrases in isolation before it was fluent and perhaps a little too fun…

There is a twist on a familiar Fairy Tale in this book that made the kids laugh (but humor is a topic for another day…).

Limitation of liability: It’s all about the Eggs is not recommended for those who are prone to getting songs stuck in their head or with one last nerve.

Encourage oral language beyond one word.

Encourage kids to speak in sentences and phrases by asking questions and modeling answers. Kids mimic the adults in their lives (cringe – I’ve heard my own phrases from the mouths of babes a few too many times, have you?). When hunting for an Easter Egg, asking ‘Where is it?’ may elicit a reply of ‘there’ from a little one, but an adult can follow with the modeling of a phrase or phrases, for example: “Oh, yes, it’s under the chair’ for a gentle teachable moment.

While teaching special education to a student with prepositional language goals on an IEP, one of my students did have Easter egg hunts in my resource room to ‘practice’ for Easter.

What are some of your favorite phrasing and fluency boosters?

Happy Easter everyone!

                





Rethinking Reading Logs for young readers

Rethinking Reading Logs for young readers

I have spent most of my career teaching little people, and a good part of that time parenting little people, too. One topic of great discussion (well beyond kindergarten and grade one) was that of the Reading Log.

As a first grade teacher, I had mixed feelings about sending them home. It’s fairly easy to figure out early on what will become of one’s students’ reading logs throughout the year. As parents, we all have the best intentions. Teachers know that. Many of us fill both roles.

Life gets busy, especially that in-between school and bed time when you have to make and clean up dinner between driving kids everywhere ensure they’re somewhat clean, and maybe even do some homework. I believe that most parents do read with, or to, their kids. Writing it down (especially when we’re exhausted and feeling like we’re being policed?) Well, that’s a whole other story.

How many evenings did I spend at the end of each month, sitting at my kitchen table with a selection of different colored pens, filling in my kids’ reading logs? We absolutely read each night, probably for too long, but we sure didn’t break the spell to keep track of it all!

It is because I valued passing on the love of reading that, in the case of traditional Reading Logs, our kids learned from me that I was okay with dishonesty (under very specific circumstances). Yep, they learned that the magic of reading trumped honesty. GULP.

The Parent / Teacher Connection:

When I was teaching Reading Recovery, between my training and the variety of students I had, I began to really understand the difference between passive and active learners, and the connection between our roles as parents and teachers. Have you heard the phrase ‘Never do for a child what he can do for himself’? I’m a believer.

There was a very definite link between how quickly my students that were more independent with getting ready for recess or home, for example, and using the strategies I was teaching them, were progressing through the program. Those who simply shrugged when I asked them a question, or stood daydreaming in the hall, expecting someone to come and zip up their jackets were the ones who seemed to struggle the most. They were also the ones who left their reading bags at home, waited to be directed for every step of the same structured lesson we had each day. Some of my students did not have bedtime stories because they ‘didn’t have time’. (That did not surprise me with the amount of time it took to travel down a short hallway!)

I have ‘rejigged’ the reading log for the little people, with the purpose of parents and teachers focusing on maintaining the natural enthusiasm and building responsibility for their learning in our little people! Have a look:


Th 2 Reading Log bw cover

This is the front

cover, with space

for the student’s

portrait and

name. Copy onto

colored paper

or let them color

it themselves! 


Th 3 Reading Logs

This is the first

inside page of

the Reading

Log, with the

legend and a

note for parents

explaining how

it all works! 


Th 4 10 June Reading Log

Students draw in &

submit reading

log with a page

completed monthly.

after discussing  

the 3 boxes at 

bottom at home.


strips - Copy

This is a later addition

to Reading Logs –

rejigged, for anyone

wishing to add extra

strips for additional

tracking (weekly?)

Simply return to your

My Purchases page &

download an update!


Th1 Familiar Reading explained! Free handout for parents and volunteers by ThatFunReadingTeacher

While this is not part of

Reading Logs – rejigged

it is the ideal info sheet

(& freebie) to include

with it or in your

familiar reading bags! 


It is my hope, that by focusing on each child as an individual ‘Superstar’ Reader (front cover), who has an important job to do in bringing his or her special Reading Folder or bag home regularly (hopefully with a library book to listen to, and/or some familiar reading), and returning it to school, it help foster a sense of pride in being a big kid who ‘reads’.

It is also my hope that our earliest little readers and their parents find reading stories at bedtime something they look forward to each night, and that stories accompany them elsewhere in their lives!

Below, please find the links to the free one month trial version and the full versions of Reading Logs – rejigged! If you like this idea, please pass it on!

I would love to hear your thoughts on reading logs, this new one, and alternatives you use.

Best wishes to all of you as we embark on another school year!



 FULL PRODUCT
RL fr sample FREE SAMPLE

The full product comes with all 12 months, plus additional months  for August, October,

November, December and April to keep options open regardless of country or religion!
Reading Log preview.png - Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Related:

First Grade and Kindergarten Literacy Bundle


Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Kindergarten Literacy Fun on Pinterest.

 

2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle

http://thatfunreadingteacher.com/

ThatFunReadingTeacher@gmail.com

Click the symbol above to access my TpT Store! 😉

 


Reading Logs for young readers? Here’s an alternative!

Rethinking Reading Logs for young readers

I have spent most of my career teaching little people, and a good part of that time parenting little people, too. One topic of great discussion (well beyond kindergarten and grade one) was that of the Reading Log.

As a first grade teacher, I had mixed feelings about sending them home. It’s fairly easy to figure out early on what will become of one’s students’ reading logs throughout the year. As parents, we all have the best intentions. Teachers know that. Many of us fill both roles.

Life gets busy, especially that in-between school and bed time when you have to make and clean up dinner between driving kids everywhere ensure they’re somewhat clean, and maybe even do some homework. I believe that most parents do read with, or to, their kids. Writing it down (especially when we’re exhausted and feeling like we’re being policed?) Well, that’s a whole other story.

How many evenings did I spend at the end of each month, sitting at my kitchen table with a selection of different colored pens, filling in my kids’ reading logs? We absolutely read each night, probably for too long, but we sure didn’t break the spell to keep track of it all!

It is because I valued passing on the love of reading that, in the case of traditional Reading Logs, our kids learned from me that I was okay with dishonesty (under very specific circumstances). Yep, they learned that the magic of reading trumped honesty. GULP.

The Parent / Teacher Connection:

When I was teaching Reading Recovery, between my training and the variety of students I had, I began to really understand the difference between passive and active learners, and the connection between our roles as parents and teachers. Have you heard the phrase ‘Never do for a child what he can do for himself’? I’m a believer.

There was a very definite link between how quickly my students that were more independent with getting ready for recess or home, for example, and using the strategies I was teaching them, were progressing through the program. Those who simply shrugged when I asked them a question, or stood daydreaming in the hall, expecting someone to come and zip up their jackets were the ones who seemed to struggle the most. They were also the ones who left their reading bags at home, waited to be directed for every step of the same structured lesson we had each day. Some of my students did not have bedtime stories because they ‘didn’t have time’. (That did not surprise me with the amount of time it took to travel down a short hallway!)

I have ‘rejigged’ the reading log for the little people, with the purpose of parents and teachers focusing on maintaining the natural enthusiasm and building responsibility for their learning in our little people! Have a look:


Th 2 Reading Log bw cover

This is the front

cover, with space

for the student’s

portrait and

name. Copy onto

colored paper

or let them color

it themselves! 


Th 3 Reading Logs

This is the first

inside page of

the Reading

Log, with the

legend and a

note for parents

explaining how

it all works! 


Th 4 10 June Reading Log

Students draw in &

submit reading

log with a page

completed monthly.

after discussing  

the 3 boxes at 

bottom at home.


strips - Copy

This is a later addition

to Reading Logs –

rejigged, for anyone

wishing to add extra

strips for additional

tracking (weekly?)

Simply return to your

My Purchases page &

download an update!


Th1 Familiar Reading explained! Free handout for parents and volunteers by ThatFunReadingTeacher

While this is not part of

Reading Logs – rejigged

it is the ideal info sheet

(& freebie) to include

with it or in your

familiar reading bags! 


It is my hope, that by focusing on each child as an individual ‘Superstar’ Reader (front cover), who has an important job to do in bringing his or her special Reading Folder or bag home regularly (hopefully with a library book to listen to, and/or some familiar reading), and returning it to school, it help foster a sense of pride in being a big kid who ‘reads’.

It is also my hope that our earliest little readers and their parents find reading stories at bedtime something they look forward to each night, and that stories accompany them elsewhere in their lives!

Below, please find the links to the free one month trial version and the full versions of Reading Logs – rejigged! If you like this idea, please pass it on!

I would love to hear your thoughts on reading logs, this new one, and alternatives you use.

Best wishes to all of you as we embark on another school year!



 FULL PRODUCT
RL fr sample FREE SAMPLE

The full product comes with all 12 months, plus additional months  for August, October,

November, December and April to keep options open regardless of country or religion!
Reading Log preview.png - Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Related:

First Grade and Kindergarten Literacy Bundle


Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Kindergarten Literacy Fun on Pinterest.

 

2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle

http://thatfunreadingteacher.com/

ThatFunReadingTeacher@gmail.com

Click the symbol above to access my TpT Store! 😉

 


Which letters are most important to young learners, and a fun (and FREE) activity!

Which letters are important to young learners, and a fun activity to do with them! Blog post by That Fun Reading Teacher


If you want to get children’s interest, ask about their world.It really does revolve around them! The letters young kids learn to identify first are those that they see most often. Many of these are the letters in their names.There are a number of benefits beginning letter learning with letters a child is most familiar with.

Children learn best when they are happily engaged in what they are doing and are most enthusiastic when they feel confident.

With that in mind, here is the ‘how-to’ on the preparation and lesson for the ‘Letters in your name’ flipbook:

Preparation:

  • Using 8 ½ x 14 paper, prepare the blank flip books.  If a child has six letters in his name, you will need three sheets of paper to lay one on top of the other, leaving approximately two centimeters, or just under an inch between the bottoms of each piece of paper.  When you fold the three papers in half, you will have six layers (see photo).  Staple these pages together, covering any sharp staple ends safely.  You now have the template for the ‘Letters in your name’ flipbook!  Be sure to adjust for the length of each child’s name.
  • Usually the children associate themselves with the first letter of their name.  Consider whether or not you would like a photo to be used on the front cover so it can be ready for the activity, or provide people shaped tracers or stamps, and students can personalize from there
  • Have a variety of options available to the children for illustrating the pages in their book.  As noted in The benefits of a personal alphabet book, it is important to find out what the child naturally associates with each letter sound on her own.  Reading Recovery teachers are equipped with a collection similar to the index car box in the photo, which allows for a quickly accessible variety of pictures for every letter.  If what the child suggests is not available, it can simply be drawn.  Many sticker collections can provide great content for these files as well as photocopies and pictures from fliers.  Holiday fliers are particularly useful.  ‘Witch’ and ‘ghost’ are popular alphabet book flier additions, thanks to Party Packagers and their terrific advertisements!

    A Reading Recovery teacher's alpha photo file.

    A Reading Recovery teacher’s alpha photo file.

Materials for the activity: 

  • Upper case and lower case letter stamps (optional, but helpful)
  • Prepared flip books (with child’s name lightly marked in pencil on the back)
  • Glue sticks and coloring materials
  • Small group setting (best done as a center)
  • Scissors if using fliers that have not been cut
  • Pictures for pages of flip books

The Activity:

  • Introduce the activity by talking about names, how special they are, and reinforce that individuality and uniqueness are positive traits.

    For Joshua, 'a' is for 'apple'

    For Joshua, ‘a’ is for ‘apple’.

  • Talk about the importance of the first letter of a name. Make big emphasis on capitalization here.
  • Show the kids a model of the ‘Letters in your name’ flip book and ask them if they notice anything different about the first letter.
  • If you are using stamps, show them the two sets.  Explain how to use them, and about the difference between the upper and lower-case set.
  • Explain that just like every person is different and special, everyone’s name book will also be different.  Even if two children have the same name, it is important for them to choose a picture that jumps into their own mind right away when they hear a letter sound.
  • Aim for two or three letters per day with each child.  Say the letter sounds for the kids and ask them what comes into their mind when they hear them.  If nothing, then leave that letter and move on.  It is okay to leave a page blank.  This is the start of a record of the child’s letter learning.
  • Allow the children to make their pages special with colour and décor.
  • Once the class is finished with this activity, send it home to be shared, but only after the information is transferred into a more permanent alphabet book that the child will continue to work on at school. This alphabet book will be a reference for the entire school year, and perhaps the next one, too.
  • Have the children ‘read’ their ‘Letters in your name’ flipbook to others with pride.  Reading buddies, volunteers, family members etc.
  • Most importantly have fun!

What are some ways you introduce letter learning to kids?

 

Related:

 

The benefits of a personal alphabet book - lessons learned from my Reading Recovery days. A blog post by That Fun Reading Teacher.

 

Best wishes with Back to School, everyone!

 2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle

Benefits of a personal alphabet book – a lesson from my Reading Recovery days

The benefits of a personal alphabet book - lessons learned from my Reading Recovery days. A blog post by That Fun Reading Teacher.

 

Why go to the trouble of creating a personal Alphabet Book for your students, instead of having everyone in the class work through each letter together? It sounds like a lot to manage, but creating links to a child’s life early in literacy learning is worth the confidence and gains they make later.

When I taught Reading Recovery to grade one students early in the school year, creating a personal alphabet book was one of the first things we did together when we started lessons. It wasn’t until seven years in to my teaching career that I understood the benefits of a personal alphabet book, and I have Dr. Marie Clay and my Reading Recovery teacher leaders to thank for that.

In Literacy Lessons Part Two, Dr. Clay explains:

The alphabet book is merely a record of what is known with spaces for what is ‘yet to be learned’  That gives the child a sense of the size of the task and a feeling of control over his own progress.  It also provides a location to return to when a troublesome letter, still being confused, turns up. (p37)

She explains that children do not generally learn to identify letters by name or sound in alphabetical order and that identifying a letter by name or sound is equally useful for a child early on, as it is most effective to teach both name and sound together.

 

When children have one word for each letter that he or she knows for sure makes that letter sound, they use it as an anchor, a concrete example to hold all other words against for comparison.

When they have their own sound alphabet that they have created from the words most meaningful to them, the words that pop into their minds with the initial letter sounds and that association gives them confidence that they know that particular sound.  It gives them the confidence to ‘spit’ that sound out when they see an unknown word on a page when they are reading, or put down that first letter when attempting to write a word they have never attempted before.

The personal alphabet book is the ultimate, at-a-glance reference guide. It is meaningful to each child, because that child constructed it from people and things that are meaningful to them already. The connections are already in place.

The key to the effectiveness of a personalized alphabet book is in its construction.  It must be done slowly but with enthusiasm, following the child’s lead, reviewed often and used as reference.

Years ago, we spent hours cutting up old coloring books and worksheets to use as images for our students’ alphabet books. This led to the creation of a kit as a time-saver! Try it free in the BTS Sampler, linked below!

Ready to create a personal alphabet book? Here’s how.

Related:

The Complete Alphabet Book Kit #BTS Big Bundle by That Fun Reader Teacher

Free Back to School Sampler by That Fun Reading Teacher How to create a personal alphabet book - a post by That Fun Reading Teacher.

Best wishes for Back to School, everyone!

I.M. That Fun Reading Teacher!


 2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle


Starting a Reading Buddies program in your classroom? Some tips and a freebie!

 

Starting a #ReadingBuddies program in your classroom- Some tips and a freebie to get you started!

 

Thinking about starting a Reading Buddies program in your classroom this year? Here are some tips and tools to get things rolling!

Consider putting School-wide Reading Buddies on a staff meeting agenda.

Discuss the benefits for all students with your divisional leads and administration, and even if the seed of the idea is planted to be reassessed next year, it will give you a sense of who might be open to a pairing for this year.

Take age into consideration.

An age / grade difference of 2-3 years between buddies puts a clear boundary between who the big buddies and little buddies are.

Approach a colleague about pairing classes…

…and be realistic about whether your schedules will work! Casual conversation over lunch can often accomplish this, but it seems like our time is less our own these days! I have created this free letter and form to simplify the process:

Reading Buddies teacher letter free 

Build Reading Buddy time into your timetable.

When ‘it’s official’ everyone knows what to expect, when. Perhaps it is alternate week familiar reading, word-work, or math skills review through games, part of character education or religious education for forty minutes. While  may Reading Buddies may not appear in on the timetable your principal has to hand in to the school board, it’s important that the kids have this special time to look forward to. It could even happen over lunch!

Define expectations to both classes.

This is accomplished best if done as individual classes, as the expectations differ for the age groups in some ways. Review general expectations when they are brought together for the first few times, and provide visual reminders. Reading Buddies time can quickly look like recess if sixty kids are unsure of what the rules are, half the kids, ‘read the book already’ and have decided to hang out with someone else!

Talk to your partner class’ teacher about general and specific expectations.

I wrote general expectations in a storybook lesson format for my students, explaining to the bigger buddies (third graders) ‘This is what I am reading to your little buddies‘ (kindergarters). One of my valued TpT customers reads her class the story, then posts the pages on a bulletin board! I love that!

Here are some ideas for general expectations from my Reading Buddies Starter pack:

Student expectations defined in That Fun Reading Teacher's Reading Buddies Starter Pack

What are some expectations that you find important to put in place during Reading Buddies time?

Best wishes to all you!

    I.M. at 

2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle

Related: 

The benefits of a Reading Buddies program and not just the little buddies! by That Fun Reading Teacher Reading Buddies

#BTS Big Bundle by That Fun Reader Teacher Rethinking Reading Logs for young students by That Fun Reading Teacher


The benefits of Reading Buddy Programs

The benefits of a Reading Buddies program by That Fun Reading Teacher
[/Image credit: gelpi / 123RF Stock Photo

 

Just typing the term Reading Buddies brings a smile to my face.

When I was teaching kindergarten and first grade, my students always had Reading Buddies (older students from a partner class). The older buddies usually came weekly to read with my students and do a fun activity.

Having a Reading Buddy program in my classroom is one of the things I missed when I was teaching Reading Recovery. When I became a special education teacher (providing literacy support to students up to the third grade), I set up buddy reading between some of my third grade students and snacking Kindergarten students. Half of them were interested when I first suggested bringing their ‘most practiced’ books to kindergarten, weekly, during recess. After the first month, click here to continue reading…


                               The Reading Buddies Starter Pack

                        


Canada Themed No-Prep Printables for Literacy Review (and kids’ thoughts on Canada Day)

Blog Post - Fun, NoPrep Canada Literacy Activities and Canada Day conversations with the little people!

Hello my friends! Here in Ontario, we have one week left of classes. At the end of the school year, I like to take some time to discuss Canada Day with my students. For the age group I teach, their perceptions of Canada Days past can be quite entertaining:


That Fun Reading Teacher's student - funny quote on Fireworks #kids say the #darndest things! That Fun Reading Teacher's student's view of #Canada's beginning

Canada Day is clearly a memorable experience for even our youngest students, whether it be of fireworks, time with family or friends during the day. Whether we are retelling a story that we have read together, creating our own adventure, or discussing a personal experience, there is a logical sequence of events and words that match: first, then, finally (or whichever vocabulary you have decided to use!) (For a post about using the 3 part graphic organizer with young students, and a freebie, click here!)

Here is a fun Canada Day story that started orally with a reading buddy who helped sort out the three basic story parts before the pictures were drawn (and was duly thanked!)

Canada Read and Write and More - Graphic Organizer

These no-prep printables come from Canada Read and Write and More, the first set of what I have started to develop as a series. Here is the Canada themed and Canada Day writing paper:


Canada Day Read and Write and More writing paper sample Canada Read and Write and More Writing Paper sample

My students enjoy ‘fun worksheets’ every so often. The literacy skills practice pages that are included so far are pictured below:


Canada Read and Write and More - syllables Canada Read and Write and More - read and colour

3 Canada Print or Paste

Bonus Terry Fox and hockey colouring fact sheets for those early finishers!


Canada Day Read and Write and More - Terry Fox sample Canada Day Read and Write and More - hockey sample

I will leave you with this freebie and links to money-saving bundles that include Canada Read and Write and More! Best wishes to all of you as you finish the school year, and Happy Canada Day!

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Th1 PP Canada Bundle thumbs Th1 Canada 2pk

P.S. Here’s a little ‘Aha’ moment from a pre-Canada Day conversation in my classroom about 19 years ago…no figurative language in kindergarten!


That Fun Reading Teacher's #AhaMoment on why not to use figurative language with #kindergarten students

Related:


Canada BINGO by That Fun Reading Teacher Canadian Fun ideas for elementary students to learn about and celebrate Canada sq


TpT Language Arts Lesson – Writing For Real Purposes: Fun Summer Lists!

Have you noticed that in the last few weeks of the school year, it gets more challenging to motivate kids to write? Many seem to only have the energy and patience for tasks that have real purpose. And let’s face it, kids are far more motivated to do what we do or what they see others excited about.

 

 

 

The Writing For Real Purposes: Fun Summer Lists storybook provides a model of students discussing how various types of lists are useful to them, and the lists they have made. (If you purchased this pack last year, simply download the update that now includes the storybook!)

Summer is an ideal time for making plans and getting kids involved in making lists. Being mindful of meeting them where they are, it is important to communicate flexibility in terms of the expectations for how the lists are filled in. Because some children may be writing while others are copying or drawing, each printable has a lined and unlined version (except for the Friends contact lists which have ‘mostly girls’ / ‘mostly boys versions’).

Think of the possibilities of summer vacation….

Packing Lists…


10 page storybook lessonSlide1

(Excerpts shown from here)

Slide4

One of the storybook pages


5 Stuff to pack blank - Copy 7 Food list blank

Slide7 11 Things to pack for Water Fun

Lists for Summer Socials…


Slide6 Slide5

Slide10 Slide35

Lists of wishes, favorites and nostalgia…


Slide13 1 Summer Bucket list blank.png - Copy

Slide30 Slide16

Whether they draw or paste pictures, dictate to us while we scribe, print in hieroglyphics or phonetically spelled words, when students make real world connections to their own writing, it becomes its own reward!

Write for Real Purposes: Products and Freebies!


Th1 Th1

Th 1 Father's Day cover 300
Thank you for being my Reading Buddy!

Best wishes to all of you as we enter the last month of the school year!

That Fun Reading Teacher

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FREE LESSON – Differentiated Mother’s Day Card for beginning writers (and BIG TpT site-wide sale on today and tomorrow!)

Free Lesson: Differentiate Mother's Day Card!

Hello my friends!
Is it just me, or did Mother’s Day sneak up on us as quickly as Easter this year?

In times like these, I’m grateful for the stash. (We all have a collection of never-fail, warm-fuzzy lessons and go to printables, don’t we?)

The time-saving factors in this Mother’s Day Card is twofold: 1) Print or photocopy and your students instantly have something to color, and 2) the inserts that allow each child to print (or paste if unable to print) at the level they are comfortable with. By pre-printing the various options, your students have different choices for how they can complete their Mother’s Day message, and most will be able to do something independently.

Disclaimer: Student names do need to be added to individual cards! 

Inside MD card 1

Some students might be capable of printing a message on their own. Others may copy from a strip or trace. Those who are not printing yet can simply glue their message in.


Copying Th4

Perhaps you’re working on 1:1 correspondence and would like to take this opportunity to practice. Cut the words apart and have your students reassemble the sentence in order, with or without a model.

Lesson from a recovering over-achiever:

Over the years I realized that I had to adjust my expectations to my circumstances. Some years we may have a smaller number of students in our class, students that work more independently or more support for our students with special needs. Particularly at this time of the year, and even more with Father’s Day, schedules go awry and every week feels more frantic than the week before.

This activity worked best, especially in more challenging years, when I let the students choose how they wanted to do the inside of the card. It came down to a decision:

Was the goal of the activity to teach and assess a particular goal or skill for any or all of my students, or for my students to simply enjoy creating something special for mom?

If you like to #DifferentiateByPrinting as is done with this card, check out these growing collections: Sight-Word-Stages Leveled Reader Sets and Read and Write and More!

On another note…

Did you see what I added to the title?  I am a mom and a teacher and a MAJOR appreciator of teachers myself. Thank you to all of you for getting in there with your students everyday. TpT has announced that it’s time to appreciate teachers with a big, site-wide sale! Please see the button below for details!

Enjoy the sale, and Happy Spring!


Teacher Appreciation Sale! Free Mother's Day card


SWS sq 350 Father's Day card

 


Easter phrasing, fluency and fun (and a freebie for everyone!)

Easter Rhythm and Rhyme

It was almost Easter, and I found myself fighting off the urge to nod off while my students were reading some of the most entertaining leveled books schools can buy. My primary readers were in a slump. I heard it their robotic, monotone reading. Things needed shaking up with phrasing and pacing with a number of my early readers. I ran the risk of my head falling to my chest and a potential neck injury.

It was time for another Phrasing and Fluency Blitz!

When I taught Reading Recovery, there were times that a student would plateau at a a level for more than a week. We would be advised to take two or three lessons for a phrasing and fluency blitz – rereading some familiar, easier books to rebuild confidence, model and practice phrasing and pick up the pace! Many of our students’ favorites were readers that rhymed, had a lively rhythm and made us both laugh!

I used the freebie The Bunny Hop Easter Song and Movement Activity in Kindergarten poetry books as a music and movement activity. It works particularly well if modeled and echoed first before showing earliest readers the text:

This freebie also has a black and white version included with it – ideal for poetry folders!

It’s all about the Eggs is an Easter Fun Fluency Reader  modeled after I’m All About the Bass (performed by Meghan Trainor, co-written by Meghan Trainor and Kevin Kadish). I’m All About the Bass had been on the radio so much last year that my students knew the tune instantly. I modeled the first read to them, and we practiced a few phrases in isolation before we all enjoyed singing it fluently from beginning to end (over, and over and over again.)

 

 

There is a twist on a familiar Fairy Tale in this book that the kids find hilarious (but humor and laughter are topics for other days…).

 

Limitation of liability: It’s all about the Eggs is not recommended for those who are prone to getting songs stuck in their head or with one last nerve.

Happy Easter everyone!
That Fun Reading Teacher 
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original-1676037-1 Th 1 Easter freebie1 Th1 Where is my...

Related:

SWS page header Easter playlists


St. Patrick’s Day: Motivating students to reading for meaning ~ with humor!

St P humor post

Nothing grabs my students’ attention more than something that is downright silly.

They know I tend to make the odd ‘mistake’ when we’re reading together, and that reading just HAS to make sense. Whenever I sense someone’s attention (or foot, or elbow) beginning to drift, I’ll throw in the odd error, for example:

Oh No!

Recently, we have completed the Pirate Pals Read and Write and More booklet together, and it occurred to me, again, that when kids anticipate fun and laughter, they are more willing to invest their energy and focus up front.


Pirate Pals kids joking about space monkey - CopyA 2nd grade student tries to get a  peer to choose ‘Saturn’ instead of the correct answer for the setting question… Pirate Pals Reading Comp photo…then they laugh at the thought of pirates bringing a space monkey on a treasure hunt!

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. I read the story of St. Patrick to my grade one class years ago, and remember the pre-reading discussion well. A small group of my students believed that St. Patrick was a leprechaun, and others found the idea to be hilarious. The child who had expressed this idea was embarrassed and it had a significant impact on his confidence in sharing in groups, and taking risks in his learning, for some time.

This, of course, took us off-track into a conversation about teasing, laughing at vs. laughing with others.

I’m planning to give the students I see the advantage of knowing the true story of St. Patrick early, so they can be armed to laugh with their classmates!


The St. Patrick’s Day pages below and the Pirate Pals pages above are only two of the elements of the Read and Write and More Series.


St. P's Day Reading Comp JPEG updated

St. P's Day questions JPEG updated

Isn’t laughter the way of the Irish, after all?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

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Related:


Th1 Th1 St P Day Freebie main product cover

More R & W & M Read Rec Sound boxes


Read and Write and DIFFERENTIATE by printing – for Valentine’s Day!

Read and Write and DIFFERENTIATE by printing - for Valentine's Day!

A significant part of my support role to kindergarten and primary teachers in recent years has been to provide instruction and / or resources to differentiate instruction for little people in literacy.

Within one class, the range of abilities can span four grades. A little one’s tolerance to frustration towards a task that is too difficult, or another’s need for something to challenge his or her learning for just the right amount of time, can be a tough order to fill – especially at the same time – after gym and snack time and before recess, library and reading buddies.

I have designed my Read and Write and More packages to allow teachers to #DifferentiateByPrinting. There are always activities in each of these products to address a variety of needs.

Valentine Scrambled Sentences:

(Note: The colored sentence strips shown in the first example are provided in the Valentine’s Day Read and Write and More set. There are two different sentence options to choose from to photocopy onto each color paper, with six identical scrambled sentences on each strip).


Val sent sheet  Slide6 Slide7

Having the option to place and paste sentence strips, place and copy sentence strips, work without the strips on easier or more challenging sentences, means that many pre-writers, early writers and / or are independent writers have an accessible starting point.


Valentine Rhyme and Ending Sounds:

See it, hear it, read it? Assessment or  fun practice activities?
I use the following pages for fun small group review, then send them home for the fridge, where my wish is for the back-of-the-cereal box effect.

When I am doing the following rhyme activity with students, I am mindful of my data. Those who need more practice listening for rhyme and ending sounds and who automatically compare letter patterns at the ends of words will get the sheet without print. Proficient rhymers who need more practice with looking closely at print will get the copy with the words. And, of course, other days there will be other activities for those who do not fit neatly into those categories. 


Slide5 Slide4 Slide3

Check out these fantastic ideas and resources on our Rhyme Time board below:
Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Rhyme Time! on Pinterest.


Valentine’s Day Read and Write and More contains a number of other fun literacy activities, including:


Slide2->

Graphic Organizers, Writing Paper,

B & W Cards to color with insert ->

Valentine Graphic Organizers and Cards

And for another day…

…activities for the 100th day of school!

 


The Read and Write and More sets always contain three-part graphic organizers, thematic writing paper, and fun, literacy activities with an explanation page, ideas and options to help make activities accessible to a wide range of kindergarten to grade 2 students.

We all remember our little students on Valentine’s Day. Check out the freebies below to be sure no one is missed!

2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle Happy Valentine’s Week, my friends!  


Th1 Valentine Th Staffroom Valentine Cards cover 400 Th1 Reading Buddies V

Save with Bundles!


Th1 Th1 Val Bundle Cover Th1 Winter Valentine Bundle.png

 

 



Teaching happiness in elementary?

Happiness Post pic.png

 

Are you a happy person? Do you remember yourself, siblings, friends and classmates as relatively happy children?

When you think back to your own friends and elementary school classmates, those you have taught over the years, does there seem to be an increase in students struggling with anxiety and / or stress, social and /or emotional issues?

It was once assumed that happiness was a child’s birthright, and thankfully, many children do continue to live happy, carefree lives. Some live very difficult lives.

Many of our students live in that grey,middle zone, where a combination of factors, sometimes one’s models, experiences, genes or things we may not yet be aware of,  might sway their perspective on whether one’s glass is half empty or half full.

Years ago, I taught a child who had fled from Syria with his family, and despite having so little, still stands out in my mind as the most content and grateful little boy I may have ever met. I can think of a number of others who appear to have everything, yet rarely seem genuinely happy. Of course, there are children who seem to have more challenges.

The children we collectively teach are unique individuals from different countries, lifestyles, belief systems, religions and experiences. While they are so different, they are still all the same. They’re children. Children with growing, open minds, who respond to humor, positive attention, role models and respect. And stories.

Many of us have worked with a number of very young, struggling children throughout our careers.

This book is for all children, but especially the glass-half-empty kids. There is so much hope there.

Happy Kids Preview

(And I thank those of you who have requested a ‘Happy Feelings’ book for prompting me to get it done!)

It is similar in style and structure to the popular Dealing With Feelings introductory color story All About Feelings with two child narrators interacting with the audience and each other as they observe some of The Secrets of Happy Kids. 

As I was preparing to write this post, I was curious to see if there was such a thing as a Happiness Curriculum for kids, and was so happy to see that there is! In case you wonder why That Fun Reading Teacher writes about #EmotionalLiteracy, I’ll give it to you straight: Research and experience prove that many children who are overwhelmed with emotional concerns have little to no energy, attention or drive to give to learning to read and write.

Let’s start with happiness. Here are some FREE mini-posters from me to you, with thanks!

Happy Kids Poster FREEBIE.png

 

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Related:


Th1 Secrets Happy Kids Th1 Happy Kids Poster FREEBIE DWF th1 300

Why reading enjoyment is just so important TFRT Family Day Th Dos & don'ts of motivating young children to write

 


No-prep printables – Reading and Writing for Christmas!

2x Xmas Preview - Copy

Happy (almost) holidays, my friends. Have you noticed an excitement in the air? My students definitely have the Christmas Spirit, and are always thrilled to have some fun seasonal activities do to recognize it!

I run Early Literacy Intervention groups with students from grades 1-3. While we do guided reading and writing, and play skill-building games, once in a while I do like to have them do some worksheets that I can keep a copy of in their files. We are currently working through both of the packages shown in the picture above and they are enthusiastic with the variety of activities at their ‘just-right’ level, too.

Here is a close up of the North Pole Reading and Writing Fun preview:

North Pole Preview

…and one of the Nativity Reading and Writing Fun preview:

demoNativityReadingandWritingActivities

The kids are having a lot of fun with these, thanks to the wonderful clip art by Edu-clips.com. They can’t wait to color the pictures!

Each of these packages come with the following tip sheet:

Instructions

Best wishes to all of you and yours as we wrap up for the holidays. Take care of you, too!

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Th1 Xmas bundle Th1 BigXmas

Th1 Nat R&W cover - Copy Th1 North Pole R & W JPG file

Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Christmas Literacy Fun! on Pinterest.


Counting by 2s, phrasing, fluency and quotation marks with REINDEER!

Counting by 2s post

Have you ever noticed how perfectly the Santa’s reindeer and Rudolph stories lend themselves to teaching kids about counting by twos? The reindeer are paired up in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer song and in Santa’s famous line at the end of the classic story Twas the Night Before Christmas. The teachable moment is just sitting in front us begging to be used!

Perhaps that is why I, That Fun Math Reading Teacher, have started passing on this Phrasing and Fluency Reader to teachers as a math resource as well. (For anyone who may have purchased it more than a year ago, please go back to your purchases page and download an updated version.)

Last year I was using 10 at the Sled primarily for the phrasing, fluency and fun factor. That is, after all, the purpose for which it was written in the first place. It can be sung to the tune of Ten in the Bed, and even if students are not familiar with the song, they do catch on to the simple melody quickly and enjoy the repetition. They also hear how certain words fall together naturally to create phrases.

TenattheSledacountingbysphrasingfluencyreaderandsong

After several requests for a black and white student booklet last year, I created one over the summer, using speech bubbles where there are quotation marks used in the color edition:


Th2 10 at Sled 1 Th3 10 at Sled

I wanted to show students what quotation marks really mean, in a visual way, rather than only telling them. I am finding that with this year’s students, this concrete approach has made a huge difference. We compare my color copy with their black and white copy and discuss how quotation marks and speech bubbles really serve the same purpose. *Lightbulb moment*!

The tone, expression (and curiously deep voices) they use when reading the ‘spoken’ lines are hilarious! But clearly, meaningful to them!

Thank you to all of the teacher bloggers who provided feedback during the Christmas in July sale that led to these revisions.

Enjoy these last two weeks!

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Th1 10 at Sled 1 Th1 BigXmas Th1 Xmas bundle

What are your favorite ways to bring various subject areas together? Here are some of mine:


CH 2pk cover 5 H Fr Th1 Halloween Count main cover - Copy

Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Math and Literacy Fun on Pinterest.


Halloween Math and Literacy Fun, freebies and Blog Hop with great prizes!


 Hal Fr  Main Image

Happy almost Halloween everyone! I am so excited to be participating in this Halloween Blog Hop! There are lots of great teacher tips, lessons and freebies along the way, so I hope you’re able to visit each store for inspiration and (who’s kidding who!) the awesome freebies! And check this out:

Prize

You’ll see the Rafflecopter machine a little further down. But first, I thought I’d take you down memory lane..

Did you used to sing the classic song 99 Bottles of Beer, with its stick-in-your-brain-forever melody and uncanny ability to teach even the most math-challenged among us to rote count backwards from 100?

I did, and it stuck so much that, years ago, I changed the words and created an activity to go with it. Its adhesive quality remains.

The activity:

  1. Print enough freebies for your entire class, and one for yourself. You’ll also see options for the color version at the bottom of this post.
  2. Plan enough time for each student to take a turn at the board. You’ll see why in a minute!
  3. Have some early finishers color and cut out your freebie, mount on sturdy paper, laminate if you wish, and place magnets on the back for use on a magnetic surface.
  4. Gather the class and draw a wall for your characters to stand on. If you have not read the story with them (optional purchase pictured below), then introduce the activity by discussing their thoughts regarding standing on high walls, predictions about what could happen etc. Throughout the course of the song, one character will be falling at a time.
  5. Now, warm up that singing voice! “Mi, mi, mi…”
  6. Give each child a chance to make a character fall from the wall as you sing this song:

Hal Fr 1  5 Halloween friends on the wall,
5 Halloween friends …
Hal Fr 2  If 1 of these friends has a big fall,
How many friends are left on the wall?

Hal Fr 3 4 Halloween friends on the wall,
4 Halloween friends …
Hal Fr 4 If 1 of these friends has a big fall,
How many friends are left on the wall?

Hal Fr 53 Halloween friends on the wall,
3 Halloween friends …
Hal Fr 6 If 1 of these friends has a big fall,
How many friends are left on the wall?

And you simply continue this way until there is one friend left on the wall.

7.  Invite your students to discuss what they noticed or found interesting about the song / story. Were there any patterns? Does anyone think that there was math in the story? How could a number sentence be written about what just happened?

8. Have fun!

Now back to the fun for the grown-ups!  Here’s the secret word for the Rafflecopter machine…


Potion

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to pop over to Elementary AMC by clicking below!


Haunt Over to Next Blog

And grab your freebie below! The story and activity book with color cut-outs is also available here.


Th1 Halloween freebie Th1 5 Hall friends cover

And here’s a little something of interest for those advanced-placement math-types (who I know all too well…)


Happy haunting everyone!

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Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Math and Literacy Fun on Pinterest.


Back to School and Fall Graphic Organizers: Kindergarten and Primary – and a SURPRISE ONE DAY SALE!

 


Fall Graphic Org Long Pin G.O. square.png

Hello my friends. Are you fans of graphic organizers? Since I have started teaching Special Education, I have become one, particularly of repeating the three-frame format regularly to encourage sequential thinking and organization in our youngest students. It helps them understand, make predictions and retell the stories they hear and read, and plan out those they create.

I say create, and not write, because some of our students do not write, in a conventional way. When focusing on beginning, middle and end; first, next, finally; list creation or anything else that a three-frame organizer can accommodate (and really, the possibilities are wide open, which you will see in the post I wrote here demonstrating some options for the free Earth Day 3-frame graphic organizer).

Regardless of age, motor skills, or writing ability, this format allows space for drawing, stamping, pasting pictures, using stickers, and large invented spelling with the teacher’s translation below!

I have created a bundle of over 20 3-frame graphic organizers for Back-to-School and Fall. The following are the pages contained within it:


Th1 Fall BTS org cover

Available at TpT

Th 3 Summer Memories Th 6 1st day of school

Th2 All About Me Th 5 Best Things About School Th 8 Goals

Th 4 BTS Th 7 blank starting school Th 9 Apples Frame

Th 11 Fall animals Th 12 Fall Th 13 Pumpkins

Th 10 Leaves border Th4 I am thankful for Th 16 Thanksgiving for my family

Th 19 Halloween Th 17 My Halloween Costume Th3 Halloween Night

Th 20 Remembrance Day Th 21 Veteran's Day Lesson & freebie!Earth day freebie.png

I also wanted to let you know that TpT has just announced a one-day surprise Site-wide sale for Wednesday August 19th! I have marked everything in my store down by 20%, and with TpT’s discount (use PROMO code MORE15), that’s 28% savings! I am bundling more items for even more value to you!


Related:


Kind 1st gr Lit Bundle Sq Th1 TFRT BTS & F Special Cover original-1994028-1

Th Dos & don'ts of motivating young children to write Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Graphic Organizers on Pinterest.

Best wishes to you for the rest of your summer, and to those of you returning to school already!


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An important lesson from my Reading Recovery days: Begin at the very beginning

Begin at the very beginning

I taught for a decade before I started my Reading Recovery training, beginning with kindergarten in a school where half of my students understood only Portuguese when they arrived. In those first ten years I moved between kindergarten, primary special education and grade one. My grade one students who struggled the most were lucky enough to have the Reading Recovery program in place, and I was astounded at the changes I saw in them in such a short time. Those teachers had some kind of magic and I was thrilled when I was able to take the position at my school. There was a mystery that surrounded what really happened in that little room.

Wait a minute – the kid learns nothing new and the teacher does everything for them?

I began my Reading Recovery training like my fellow trainees, enthusiastic, and in a hurry to get my students reading and writing! I was impatient with the ‘Roaming around the Known’ period: ‘Roaming’ being delicately consolidating (with ABSOLUTELY no teaching) around what the child already knows (the ‘known’), perhaps discovering more about what is known or stumbling upon areas of difficulty somehow missed in the testing process. It was a ten lessons, two week complete, no-stress, the-child-does-all-he’s-capable-of-and-you-do-everything-else period of (what felt like) non-structured, laziness. It drove us all nuts – at first.

But here’s what actually happened.

We had LOADS of fun. The kids, who at the beginning of grade one already knew they were ‘the worst readers in the class’ and had already been refusing to take risks and try anything new, gained confidence and trust in us, the process and themselves and started to try. They were excited to come to Reading Recovery every day, before we even started lessons.

What did we do?

  1. We read familiar books over, and over, and over again.
  2. We made our own story books, sharing the marker; the child writing the words s/he knew, the teacher writing the rest.
  3. We played games with the words and letters the child already knew. We painted (with water) on the walls of the school and the playground, in sand trays, and shaving cream.
  4. We practiced moving from left to right…and I could go on (and will in a future post)…

My point is, we learned that there is nothing wrong with EASY, especially when dealing with a child whose confidence needs a boost.

Most of the children I have worked with in recent years are these very children. For many of them, the little things are giant in their minds. Anticipation of a task can be more difficult to manage than the task itself. We need to start with success and build up one baby step at a time. You do remember Baby Steps, don’t you?


Dr Leo Marvin TFRT

And, of course, humor keeps us all going when the going gets tough!

Here are a few links to help anyone who is starting at the very beginning of the literacy journey this year. Best wishes to you!


Fam Read Fun Th Dos & don'ts of motivating young children to write Th1 Reading Logs - rejigged!

flipbook post pic ben-of-alpha-book.png-150x150 Alpha book 350 x 350

PreEmergent Sight-Word-Stages Readers (two words per page, also available in bundles):

Th School Things half page cover Fall Things Thanksgiving Things half page cover Hall Things half p cover

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Canada Day is July 1st, so brush up on your ‘Canadian’, eh?

Canada day cover for post.png

 

Happy Canada Day, everyone! I write this to you on the eve of Canada’s 148th birthday! 

For those of us who are Canadians of a certain age, life experience and education, the images below are easy to name and contain a number of our national symbols.

BINGO.png

Do you know anyone who could benefit from brushing up on their Canadian vocabulary?

demoCanadaCanadaBingo

BINGO is a fun way to do it at any age!

Click below to access Celebrate Canada Bingo and a Happy Canada Day FREEBIE! in my TpT Store!


BINGO game cover Th1 Canada freebie Canada freebie.png

Like the freebie?

Here is another Celebrate Canada Product, this one focused on Early Literacy, which can be purchased in a bundle with the Celebrate Canada BINGO game:


Canada Literacy preview.png


Click the links below to my TpT store for the Celebrate Canada Literacy activities or Bundle, or to explore other areas of the site with related Canadian content!


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And have a Happy Canada Day!!!!!

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A post to pass on to parents: Reading and writing through play!

Reading and writing through play!

 

Do you have a child who loves animals, may wish to be a veterinarian or doctor, and could use a little practice or writing his or her name? (Not that you would ever mention it…)


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How about one who does not see the point in learning to read or write, but has a fantastic imagination?


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A sociable child with boundless energy, an interest in the law, perhaps, and exploring roles?


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Maybe you have a child that likes to pretend to be grown-up sometimes, and receive the praise self-esteem boost that goes with it. I admit to feeling very important as a ‘waitress’ at summer BBQs growing up. (My brothers preferred to be ‘bartenders’). It was always more official and fun with a notepad in hand.

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And once the drinks are handed out, someone is bound to start telling stories. Perhaps your child is a fan of pirates, or a natural storyteller?

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The child in this post could be any child.

Children learn without even realizing it through play, and read and write for real purposes .

We learned this way when we were kids. We played. We helped out. We didn’t have the electronic distractions of today.

The templates above (and a few more) have been designed for today’s more discerning audience in a product called Summer Fun: Reading and writing through play. It is included in a bundle with another Writing for Real Purposes product: Fun Summer Lists, which I wrote about here. I have included the links below, and the original post that launched this line of products.

Kids love to imagine, create and role play. Thank you to those of you who do purchase these products. I hope anyone reading this post is inspired to play with their kids and discreetly slip in teachable moments where possible. The key is to have fun and let go of expectations.

It is summer time after all.

Best wishes to all of you!

I.M.

That Fun Reading Teacher 

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Related:

Thank you for being my Reading Buddy!

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Fun Summer Lists – Writing for Real Purposes!

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Many children today do not have much appreciation for the world of paper and pen. The electronic world is far more seductive and even the adults in their lives are likely spending time on laptops or smartphones. Guilty as charged over here.

While building writing skills may come easily to some children, it can be overwhelming and exhausting to others. What is in it for them? They simply must see a point to it for real-world purposes, and receive positive feedback.

Kids do see us make lists – even if we make them on our smartphones. And kids do what we do (not necessarily what we say!)

For our purposes today, writing will mean any communicating in print. We’re talking about Kindergarten to grade two or three students of varying abilities.

Our goal is to help them understand why they are learning to write, buy into it and know that they are contributing members of society, who are appreciated for the contribution they are making by doing so!

Think of the possibilities for planning a day trip, or vacation….

Packing Lists…


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11 Things to pack for Water Fun 12 Things to pack for Water Fun - lined

The Social and Wish Lists…


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Lists about stories and games…or anything really!


16 Fav Stories 18 Stories I want to read 17 Books I read this summer

13 Games I really like 14 Games I really want 15 Apps and Games that help me learn

Whether our child / student draws or pastes pictures, dictates to us while we scribe, prints in hieroglyphics, or phonetically spelled words, we need to make this real world connection and commend them for making the effort. Especially in the summer!

Fun  Summer Lists is included in a WRITING FOR REAL PURPOSES bundle called Summer Literacy Fun Pack, with Summer Fun: Reading and Writing through Play pictured below.

These products were inspired by a post I wrote last summer (also pictured below) and by the effectiveness of these types of activities with my own children and students. I hope you enjoy them. Think Summer! It’s just around the corner!

Best wishes to all of you as we head into the final month of school!

I.M.

That Fun Reading Teacher 

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Some 

(almost)

Summer

freebies!

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That Fun Reading Teacher’s Sight-Word-Stages Leveled Readers: Differentiate just by printing!

 

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As educators, we have all kinds of fun activities and strategies for teaching and reinforcing sight words for reading and writing. Many of them involve practicing these words out of context. The point of Sight Word Recognition is to be able to recognize these words at a glance, in isolation. But all of the practice needn’t be.

I am in the early stages of creating a series of readers called ‘Sight Word Stages’ readers to help teachers differentiate for their students within the same reading level. While some of our students may struggle with putting all of the pieces of the reading puzzle together and need to work on that, there are many others who simply have difficulty remembering, and who require extra opportunities to practice using these little words in context.

Here is an example of a DRA/Reading Recovery Level 2 Reader:

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 A color PDF is included in the package, indicating the sight words of focus on the cover.

I print these on thicker paper, laminate them and keep them with other guided reading books.

Who is Furry

 Directional support is provided with the go to stop method.

 

bw Fur 3,4

 A regular black and white copy is provided. Students can color and keep these, if you wish.

 

Fur 3,4 (1)

 A trace-the-sight-word copy is provided for students requiring this level of support.

Fur 3,4

 A fill-in-the-blanks copy is also provided for each title.


Supplementary Materials:

Color and black & white sentence strips                                                                                                                                     (Tip: Print color copy onto card paper and laminate, and store with color readers for reuse)

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Color and black & white Self-Check lists                                                                                                                               (I have a laminated color one on the wall over the writing table with a dry-erase marker, but know classroom teachers who give each child their own black and white copy, one who shrinks it to half-size. Early finishers draw or practice words on the back!)

Self-Check color

Sometimes – there’s a surprise bonus activity – particularly in the bundles. Check the previews!


 Here is what is currently available in the Sight-Word-Stages Readers Series:

Please note that freebies will not contain all of the parts mentioned above.


Text box.png We are Community Helpers! Free Sight-Word-Stages Sampler

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 4 Book Bundle long More titles coming Summer 2015!  Save with bundles!

Are there any particular themes you would like to see covered in these early levels? Please leave a comment and let me know! (Easter and Earth Day are already started in draft!)

Have a wonderful spring day, and pop into my store for a visit sometime by clicking my button!

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