Thursday, August 8, 2013

August Currently

Well, better a week late than never :)


Listening- Oh the Big Bang Theory. I LOVE it- just started watching it a year ago so there are still lots of reruns I haven't seen like the one on now! YAY

Loving- We are buying our first house! So excited!

Thinking- I get to move into my NEW second grade classroom next Thursday. I've never taught primary before so I'm real excited.

Wanting- So we moved this summer and since we can't close on the house until I get PAID at the end of August we have been living in the Extended Stay since the first of July. I may never stay in a hotel again after this! I'm ready to go go.

Needing- Moving and setting up a new classroom is a lot of work. I wish it could just happen by magic :)

Back to school- I always buy myself a first day of school outfit. I helps make me excited to start up a new school year. I use the laminator like a maniac in the beginning of school. Finally, the relaxing glass of red. Good for stress and your heart!

Thanks Oh Boy 4th grade for the currently!

Job change (again)

Well all things change :) I am now going to be teaching second grade! I'm so excited! I think 2nd is such a sweet age for kids. Hopefully I like the grade since I've never taught it before! Eek!

Anyone have any tips or good bloggers to help me on my journey to primary this year?


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A New Freebie for Back to School!

As much as it PAINS me to say it- the new school year is looming around the corner. I am MOVING this summer and I just accepted a job as a fourth grade teacher. I am going back to the classroom after being an instructional coach so I developed some reward coupons to help with my classroom management next year!

If you look at the current research on classroom management, it shows that using positive rewards along with redirection and consistent consequences are the most effective strategies. To help with this, I developed some reward coupons that I could live with in my new classroom. I plan on using these instead of the "prize box" which can get expensive.

Find the printable HERE.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Currently

Today I am linking up with Oh Boy 3rd Grade for the June Currently! Farley has a seriously fun blog so you if you haven't seen it- check it out!

I only have 2 workdays left this year! Whoo hoo! How about you?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Getting Acquainted


I am happy to be back in the linky this week! I have been busy traveling and haven't had time to blog! For shame!
  This week there are only three short questions!

1. What made you decide to become a teacher?

2. What has been your most rewarding experience as a teacher?

3. If you were not a teacher, what would you be?

1. I can't really pinpoint when I decided I wanted to be a teacher. It was just one of those things that I always enjoyed. I used to make my little sister be my student and I had a good time teaching her things. As I got older I was always a comp counselor and I have always enjoyed being around children. It just seemed like a natural progression!
2. I had a student tell me she was being abused in a journal entry. We were able to get her out of that situation. I fell good that she felt comfortable telling me about it (and knowing I'd read her words) and that we were able to help her before things progressed too badly. She ended up with a great foster family and was able to stay in my class for the year! Sometimes we have to be our students protector as well as their teacher.
3. This is an interesting question. If I could have any job I'd want to be a set designer. I think it would be really awesome to decorate the rooms and go shopping with unlimited funds :) I always notice the sets when I watch TV or movies. Some of them are so detailed!
Flying into First is the host of this linky :)

Terrific Technology!

I went to a SUPER technology workshop a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share a few of the super websites that we talked about during the workshop! I am also starting my ITF add on NEXT WEEK so I'm sure I will have lots of techy posts in my future!

ALL OF THESE ARE 100% FREE!!!!!!!!!!! is a free website that allows the user to record 30 second audio clips.  The audio recording is then uploaded to a personalized website and available to anyone who has the link.  The developers created the site for users to  “Push. Speak. Share.” and the simplicity is genius. Use to create student reflections, share book talks, summaries, fluency practice and differentiate with audio instructions. 

Flocabulary is a GREAT website with tons of educational videos (it is not only for vocabulary). These educational videos are hip hop themed and kids love them. There are many free videos and you can even sign up for a free trial! You will find something you love. is a great website for the younger kiddos. This one has tons of games and videos for kids. It has subjects like the plant life cycle, counting, addition and subtraction, and much more! It even has free printables and lesson plans!

Comicmaster is an AWESOME website where students can make their own graphic novel. Graphics are very cool and free!
Learning games for Kids is a great website with free games to re-enforce math, science, social studies, and reading skills. Can't go wrong with free games!
Story Nory

This website has tons of free audio recordings of books! Great for a listening center!

Read Works
ReadWorks is a free (but you have sign up) resource for teachers. It has lots of lesson plans and reading passages.

I hope you find these useful! Please leave your favorite educational website in the comments below! Thanks!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Manic Monday at Classroom Freebies

I am going to attempt to link up with Classroom Freebie's Manic Monday Linky this week and share my new freebie! This one is for the K-2 peeps.

My newest freebie can be found on TPT here: Spring Fling Freebie

It features a Making words activity where the secret word is "gardening", and a color by sight word coloring sheet! I hope you enjoy!


Enjoy! :)
If you find this freebie useful please leave a comment below! Thanks so much!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wonderful Weekend Book Review

It is time for the Wonderful Weekend Book Review!

This week I am reviewing one of my FAVORITE books (for personal enjoyment and to teach). The book is Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer. It is the first book in a great Trilogy (the fourth book is due out in August)

Overview: High school sophomore Miranda is just like any other high school student: studying, friends, and writing in her diary. But one evening in May everything changes, an asteroid hits the moon and brings the moon much closer to earth- disrupting everything. Amidst tsunamis, earthquakes and volcano eruptions- Miranda and her family must learn to survive in an increasingly dangerous world.

Review: This book is truly wonderful. It is a little slow in the first chapter- but it quickly turns into a page turner! This book's particular focus on the characters slow starvation really makes you thankful for every morsel of food you have- it may even turn you into a doomsday prepper! There are several themes in the novel that will be good to go over with students. I particularly like the opportunity for critical thinking that the book presents when Miranda and her family try to figure out how to get food. The other books in the series are also very good. I actually think the second book The Dead and Gone is better for adult reading. The survivor of this book lives in New York City and faces more sinister challenges in his bid for survival. In the third novel- This World We Live In Miranda and Alex the character from the second book meet up (which I found to be a clever twist). If you like this type of "end of the world" fiction I do suggest this entire series. I really enjoyed it and I have actually read the series more than once!

I have a novel guide for this novel on TPT if you read it and want to use it in your classroom. Your students will love it! Find the novel guide HERE.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April in the Making!

I am linking up with Mrs. Kelly's Klass for her April in the making linky!!!

1. April Favorite: My anniversary is April 11 so I guess that's my favorite part of the month :) April and May are my favorites. The weather warms up but isn't too bad and the earth wakes back up! Love it! Oh and we are in the home stretch for school!!!

2. April in the Classroom: Well, my classroom is different because I basically do what other teachers need from me. I team up with teachers and do basically what they need. (A lot of my products are born from this- I go home, make it, share it, tweak it, sell it).  I do have a regular group of fourth graders and a regular group of first graders I see weekly for RTI. In first we are working on writing answers to questions. This is hard for these little babies. In 4th we do reading skills. I've been doing the reading quads with them a lot! It is a freebie on his site!

Find it HERE

3. Must Have: I always have to have some new clothes for the spring! I think spring/summer clothes are not as durable so they wear out quickly (this is what I tell myself anyway!)

4. April make it: I need some "new food" in my rotation for dinner. I picked this for the next try:

I am still on the super diet- lost 17 pounds! I think this looks healthy enough?!

5. April goal: I'd like to get more followers on this blog. I think 60 is a good start!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted

It is time to link up with Flying into First  let's get acquainted!

This week is super fun- It is a favorites survey!!!

Favorite Place to Shop


Love this place (and I even worked here for 6 years!)

Favorite TV Show
Season finale was last night- oh so good :)
Favorite Sweet Treat
I'm not a big sweets person but I do love me some carrot cake!
Favorite Food
If I had a million dollars- I'd hire a sushi chief to come fix me dinner every night :) Love the sushi!
Favorite Restaurant
Sushi 101 is in Charlotte. When I lived there my sister and I went there like every week. I miss it.
Thanks for stopping by!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April Currently

It is that time again! April! Geez! Time flies! It is time to link up with ohboy3rdgrade's currently linky par-tay.

Listening: The Voice has sucked me in this season. I watched the first and that was it but the new blood has sucked me in :)

Loving: HEY YA I am on SPRING BREAK. It is shortened however due to the incredible amount of snow days this year. We have to go back Thursday and Friday. The IRONIC thing is that it is supposed to snow on Thursday. GEEZ

Thinking: I had big plans for spring break but since it is cut short I'm not sure it is all going to get done.

Needing: I'm wore out so I need some relaxing which I plan on doing tomorrow. I do believe I'm going to stay in my PJ's. Hopefully no one knocks on my door :)

Advice: Well, the best advice for life, love, work, and blogging is to not sweat the "small stuff". I try not to make things a big deal. Good way to manage stress.

Thanks for stopping by! I plan on posting a new reading strategy sometime before I go back to school so check back!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Let's get Acquainted!!!

So its Sunday (how did that happen?) And time for Flying into First's linky party! If you read my wonderful weekend book review (and you should) I told the answers to my 2 truths and a lie- which was last week's lets get acquainted.

The lie was that I am a vegan. I did try it for about two years. You would think that it would have become a habit by then but my complete addiction to cheese won out in the end. I got so exhausted trying to watch what I was eating that it consumed my life.

I AM 18 months older than my husband. I guess that makes me a cougar. (GROWL).

Aren't we cute :)

I also was 21 when I started teaching my own kiddos. Way too young to be in charge of a room full of 12 year olds :)

This week is the NOUN GAME where you talk about your favorite person, place, thing, and animal.


My favorite person is my husband. :) I just love more and more the longer we are together. It is strange how that happens. I do not know what I'd do without him.


My favorite place is anywhere that is warm, tropical, and has a beach. I LOVE sitting on the beach and reading/people watching. I particularly like do this with my sister. Do I want to go swim? NO WAY. Do I want to walk? NO! I want to sit, read, and watch people.


My favorite thing has got to be my ipad as much as I hate to admit it. It is never more than a few feet away from me when I am at home. I carry it around everywhere I go.


My favorite animal is absolutely my baby yorkiepoo Bentley. He is literally my child.

I mean, look at that face! Ah! Love him!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wonderful Weekend Book Review

So it is Friday night! Woo hoo! I had a long  week this week and I'm very excited to see the weekend!

So this week we are going to look at Code Orange by Caroline B. Cooney. I read this book this week because my colleague at work is going to have her 7th graders read it after our spring break. I read it so that I can help her with small grouping and I wrote a novel guide to use with the book.

Synopsis: Code Orange is a realistic(ish) fiction novel set in New York City in 2004. Mitty is a 16 year old high school student who is as carefree as they come- especially about his school work. However, in order to stay in Advanced Biology with his crush, he needs to turn SOMETHING in for his infectious diseases paper. During his "research" he finds some old medical books in his family's weekend house. Inside the books he finds a strange envelope with scabs inside. The scabs turn out to be smallpox scabs. During his research, Mitty begins to wonder if it is possible that could have contracted the disease from those scabs!

Review:  I think this book is supposed to be "realistic fiction" but is very implausible. Once you "buy in" to the implausible events, however, the novel is exciting. It keeps you guessing as to whether or not smallpox is about to break out all over New York City. It is a very fast read because it is interesting. I think middle school students would enjoy this novel- and it goes well with infectious diseases which are studied in science.

If you are interested in this kind of thriller, suspense, scientific book it will be a good read.

Find the Novel Guide HERE.

Let's Get Acquainted:

The lie for my 2 truths and a lie was that I am a vegan. I used to be- for a few years. I love the idea of it but the actual no animal products on a daily basis is exhausting. So I do eat LOTS of vegan meals- just not religiously. 

I thought it was funny most people didn't think I was older than my husband. I am a cougar :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Smile It's Spring Linky and Lets get Acquainted

Smile It's Spring! (Almost). I wish it were spring-like here in the mountains of NC. I went to Charlotte for a wedding this weekend and the temps were in the 70's and it was sunny and wonderful. Then I drive the hour and a half north to my house. By the time I got home it was in the 4o's- then this morning it was icy and 30 degrees! AHHHHHH what a slap in da face. It is supposed to snow Wednesday-Saturday. Sigh. Well it might not be spring here but a girl can dream.

So I'm liking up with Mrs Kelly's Klass for her Spring Linky. I liked up my Spring Holiday Nonfiction Readings which are nonfiction readings for the Spring Holidays. These are appropriate for grades 4-6. I used the St. Patrick's Day reading with my 4th grade RTI group. They needed help reading it  but enjoyed the reading. Which is saying a lot since I have them the last 30mins of the day!

And now, Let's get Acquainted my new friends. I am also linked up with miss LaToya at Flying into First who does a get to know you weekly linky.

This week's theme is:

2 Truths and a Lie

1. I am a vegan. I do not eat any animal products including dairy.
2. I started teaching in my own classroom when I was 21 years old.
3. I am 18 months older than my husband.

Now it is your turn to guess which one is the lie! Answer in the comments below. The FIRST person to get it right will get a free item of choice from my TPT store. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five for Friday

 I'm not sure if doing two things on Friday nights is counter-productive but with Spring ALWAYS being more busy for me it might be the only time I get to blog!!!

So I'm going to start the Doodle Bugs Teaching blog's Five for Friday Linky. We are supposed to talk about five things that happened this week so here we go!

1. Not only did I find this funny but I am also two months and one week in to this CRAZY diet I've been doing. It is crazy because well, I am now eating about half of what I was eating. I was gaining weight at the rate of 10 lbs per year- so this is a good thing. Just an adjustment :) I've lost 15 lbs so far and hope for 15 more before we are all said and done!

2. If you are new to this blog I am a Literacy Coach/Reading Specialist and I work with various groups of kids. Today I was working with a group of first graders and we read There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Clover. We had a great time and the kids loved it. We did some sequencing with the book too. FUN FUN :)

3. I had about one MILLION meetings this week. One of them was on the assessment we have to do next week. It is the pilot for the End of Grade test next year. I predict it will CRAZY since it is new and online. I see some stress in my future.

4. I live out in the middle of nowhere (population 213) so my husband and I drove the 30 minutes to town and ate crab legs! What a great way to end a long week! YAY

5. And last but not least- I am having a SALE at my TPT store this weekend. If you have had your eye on anything now would be a great time to snatch it up!

Thanks for stopping by!

Weekend Book Review

Well, it is Friday night! We survived another pre-Spring Break week :)

This week I will be talking about Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Sharon Draper is a great author and she is the author of one of my favorite books Forged by Fire. Draper's books always are about difficult topics, and Out of My Mind is about a student with a disability.

Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.

This story is truly moving. Melody's character is rich and easy to love. Due to her physical disabilities, fifth grader Melody is unable to show her incredible mental abilities. This story is more moving for teachers in my opinion because it shows how students with disabilities can be more than what they seem. They are not a label. They should not be confined in the limitations our society places on them. This would also be an important story to teach in a classroom to show children that although we may not all look, act, or have the same capabilities- we are all humans inside.

Here is what Sharon Draper said about the book:

People often ask me, "What was your inspiration for Out of my Mind?" I reply, "All great stories emerge from deep truths that rest within us." But the real truth of a story often can be found in places that not even the author has dared to explore. I suppose the character of Melody came from my experiences in raising a child with developmental difficulties. But Melody is not my daughter. Melody is pure fiction--a unique little girl who has come into being from a mixture of love and understanding. Out of my Mind is the story of a ten-year-old-girl who cannot walk or talk. She has spirit, determination, intelligence and wit, and no one knows it. But from buildings that are not wheelchair--accessible to classmates who make fun of her she finds a strength within herself she never knew existed.

I was fiercely adamant that nobody feel sorry for Melody. I wanted her to be accepted as a character and as a person, not as a representative for people with disabilities. Melody is a tribute to all the parents of disabled kids who struggle, to all those children who are misunderstood, to all those caregivers who help every step of the way. It's also written for people who look away, who pretend they don't see, or who don't know what to say when they encounter someone who faces life with obvious differences. Just smile and say hello!

--Sharon M. Draper

If the premise of this story interests you I recommend you try the book. You will not be disappointed.

Please comment if you have 1. Read this novel 2. Have a book to recommend to others OR have a book you'd like reviewed.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Collaborative Reading Quads!

One of my favorite collaborative reading strategies! This strategy helps students process and work through their reading (especially difficult texts) while working collaboratively.

I am also on the lookout for new fun ideas for students to read beyond the outdated "round robin" or "popcorn" style. If you are looking for an alternative I suggest you try this one out.

I hope you enjoy the strategy! Let me know what you think in the comments below :)

You may download the strategy HERE .

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Night Book Review

It is that time again! Book review time. I am going to do another really good book this week. It is called Divergent by Veronica Roth. This book is EXCELLENT. I think, for the moment, it is my favorite young adolescent book. It is riveting. I gave it to a co-worker this week and she stayed up all night reading it. You will not be able to put it down. Promise. It is another Dystopain fiction- sorry but it is my favorite genre. I will do a different genre next week.

The summary: Beatrice is turning 16- with this birthday she must choose in what faction of society she will live the rest of her life. The society located in former Chicago is now divided into factions: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I suggest reading this as an adult. I do not suggest giving it to your students to read or reading it as a classroom novel (There is potential parent drama). There is a lot of violence, suicide, and a sexual assault in the novel. Oh boy is it excellent though! You'll want to move immediately to the sequel, Insurgent.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

March Currently

Time for the Oh Boy 3rd Grade Currently if you don't read this blog, you should! The author is hilarious :)

Listening- Flip this House- the people who try to do this are brave! Oh the stress!

Loving- So today is the hubs birthday- the big 3-0. He is a year and a half younger than me and for those 18 months he has been giving me a hard time about being in my 30's. Now it is time for PAYBACK. I am going to fill the house with over the hill balloons.

Thinking- My house is a mess :( 

Needing- A Spring Break......... GEEEEZ we've had a lot of snow days from school. We have to go a week longer until school is out for the summer and now we are taking Spring Break days. NOT COOL. Old Man Winter needs to take a HIKE see ya next year. We are supposed to have a big snow event Tuesday. AHHHHHH.

Like, Love, Hate- Wearing Capri's rocks :)  Gotta love that coffee!

And once I post this I have to go and clean the house. BOOOOOOO.

Have a great March everyone!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Weekend Book Review

I have decided to start doing a book review every weekend. I can't promise it will be done EACH AND EVERY weekend but I am going to try.

I am a voracious reader, I particularly love young adolescent literature( now we know why I like to teach middle school Language Arts). There are SO MANY wonderful book in this genre that I will have a hard time deciding which ones to highlight each week!

I am going to start out with The Host by Stephanie Meyer. YES that is the author of Twilight. 

However, in my opinion, this book is much better than the Twilight Series. 

The Host is a sci-fi adventure novel set after an alien race takes over the planet. The aliens are body snatchers, who take over human bodies at the spinal cord. Once you are able to "buy in" to this premise, the novel really is good. The novel starts out when the alien named Wanderer takes over Melanie's body. Usually the human hosts fade away when overtaken by the alien- but not in this case. Melanie just won't go away- she fills Wanderer's mind with images of her love, Jared. Jared is still human, hiding in the outskirts of the world, trying desperately not to be taken by the aliens.

I am not a huge sci-fi person, but I really loved this book. It is really engaging and so different from anything I've ever read before! I highly recommend the novel.It will keep you thinking long after you've put down the novel!

If you want to read it HURRY- because the movie is in theaters March 29th!

Second Grade Nest Linky

Here is another Spring Linky party with great freebies! Second Grade Nest Linky

Spring Fling Linky

You can check out this HUGE Spring themed linky party on Perfectly Poetic Page!!

This great linky has free and paid products! How fun! :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Free Writing Resources!

Here are a few freebie writing prompts for you! 
I like to do writing prompts as a "do now" for the beginning of class. Here are a few of my favorites.
  • What is the biggest problem you have ever faced? How did it turn out?
  • Who are the people you care about the most?
  • What are your hobbies? Which hobby do you enjoy most?
  • You are grounded for not doing your homework at school. However, your best friend is having a birthday party. Write a letter to your parents/guardians to persuade them to let you go.
  • Write about a time when you have been the most scared.
  • You are a food critic, write a review of a meal you recently ate.
  • Write a short autobiography about yourself.
Another one of my favorites- finish the story! 

  • Listening to the radio the family huddled around the fireplace for warmth...............
  • Lee looked down the old, rickety basement stairs. Yes, the sound was definitely coming from the basement. Lee slowly walked down the stairs............
  • At that exact moment, the lights came on...........
These prompts are also a FREE download on TPT- check it out!
Writing Prompts Freebie! 
Also, if you download the previews for my monthly writing prompts on TPT you get a few freebie prompts :)
 March Writing Prompts


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Liebster Award Nod

Thanks to the The Applicious Teacher for the Liebster Award Nom! Since I've been blogging for about one second it is cool that someone noticed!

The nomination comes with some "rules". I need to post 11 random things about me. I'll try to keep it interesting.

1. I hated school as a kid. HATED it. This is the main reason I became a teacher.
2. I am the only teacher in my family or extended family. My people are engineers, or in the medical field.
3. My sister is my best friend. We have matching wrist tattoos.
4. I am 18 months older than my husband. Cougar!
5. My husband is a golf pro. He plays golf for a living. Actually, he is on his way to the beach to play right fair! His full time job is to run a golf course.
6. The town I live in is very, very small. It has three golf courses and one gas station (which just went out of business). The census in 2010 put us at a population of 237. It picks up in the summer when all the people come back from Florida.
7. I love to watch reality TV.
8. I hate the singing and dancing shows.
9. I am going back to school this summer for my Technology Facilitator add on. I already have a masters in Reading.
10. I love football.
11. Apparently my natural non-smiling face looks kind of mean. This doesn't help when making friends- but it does help with discipline. The kids are scared of me (at first).

Now I need to answer the questions that the Applicious Teacher asked:

1. How long have you been blogging?
Hmmmm. 1 month?

2. Why did you start your blog?
I would like to share my ideas with teachers.

3. Are you an educator? If so, what grades do you teach, or did you teach?
Yep! Currently I am a literacy coach. I have taught for 10 years mainly in middle school (6th grade, 8th grade, 4th grade.)

4.What teaching resource could you NOT LIVE without?
"When Kids Can't Read, What Teachers Can Do" by Kyleen Beers. Best. Book. Ever.

5. How would you describe your classroom teaching style?
When I was teaching in the classroom I took a more of a facilitator role. We did a lot of group work and inquiry.

6. What is your favorite thing to teach? Why?
Novels because I love to read them.

7. What blog are you obsessed with right now?
Right Down the Middle

8. Do you Facebook or Twitter? Or both?
I do not understand Twitter. I've tried- it is confusing. I'm a facebook person.

9. Hobbies? (Besides being an AWESOME teacher?)
Reading Young Adult Lit, trying to play golf, blogging and making stuff for teachers pay teachers.

10. Are you a dog or a cat person?
Both. Right now I just have one yorkie-poo named Bentley who is my BABY.

11. How would your students describe you?
Funny, crazy, geek- I do a lot of self-deprecating humor- anything to get a laugh.

Now I need to find some blogs to nominate! Fun! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What Writing Research Says

What does the writing research say about writing in the reading classroom?

In the "Writing to Read" research by Carnegie Corporation of New York, there have been some recommendations on how writing can help students read.

Here are some of the recommendations for strengthening reading through writing:

1. Have students write about the texts they read.(moderate effect based on 11 studies).
- have students writing personal reactions, interpreting the text( Significant effect on reading comprehension based on 9 studies)
- write summaries (Moderate effect based on 11 studies).
- take notes (Moderate effect based on 22 studies).

2. Increase the time in which students write. ( Low effect based on 6 studies).
-daily writing is recommended

3. Teach students the skills needed to write.
-teach text structures, sentence construction skills (Low effect based on 17 studies).
-teach spelling skills (Very high effect based on 9 studies).

According to the research, the most effective activities that increase reading comprehension are writing personal reactions to text. Examples of this would be open-ended journal entries where students make connections to the text, make predictions, tell why they think characters acted the way they did, and where students write about what they would do in a similar situation.

The second most effective activity is teaching spelling skills. According to the research, this helps with fluency and word recognition. These spelling skills should be taught through word work and learning word families.

So, what do you think? Do these findings surprise you? Will you change your teaching or do you already do these activities? Discuss in the comments below.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Stop N Say!

Stop N Say (AKA- Say Something) is my favorite reading strategy. This strategy is an active reading strategy- meaning students DO something while they read. This active reading helps in comprehension, especially with the upper grades when phonics no longer work.

 This is how it works: Teach and model: Connections, Questioning, Clarifying and Predicting. Make an anchor chart to remind students what to "say" when they stop reading.

Pair off students and have them reading a text in predetermined sections (every two paragraphs, every page, every other page). When one student is reading, the other student is responsible for listening and following along, and they also need to "Say Something" either make a connection, ask a question, clarify or predict. They can do this on a sticky note, notebook paper, or graphic organizer.

Students alternate roles- for example if Sue and Sandy are partners, Sue reads a page in the assigned text, Sandy "says something" when Sue is finished. Sandy reads the text, Sue "says something". They keep alternating roles until the text is read. At any point, if a student can't "say something" they need to re-read the text! (This is a great way to teach students to monitor their own comprehension).

So, what do you think? Is this something you can use in your own classroom? Answer in the comments below.

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