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When unfamiliar vocabulary gets in the way of word solving – Tip #2

What do you do when emergent-early stage readers can’t decode a word because it’s not in their vocabulary? In a previous entry, I wrote about holding emergent and early stage readers accountable for word-solving (as much as possible) before offering¬† support including telling providing an unfamiliar vocabulary word. For example, one student figured out “off” …Read more

Do you have high-reading kinders you need to challenge?

Some our of kindergarten students read above grade level. How do we keep them challenged? A colleague of mine, Lisa, engaged a small group in close reading of an informational text about energy with great success. Here are some photos and tips she shared with me. Just some background. These nine students were reading at …Read more

Supporting Emergent & Early Readers/Writers with Read Alouds

Emergent and early reader texts are frequently about animals and include action words like swim, hop, and jump. The trade books we choose to read aloud to students can serve to build, reinforce, and expand this type of vocabulary. For example, in Nic Bishop’s Frogs (2008), frogs wriggle, grip, burrow, climb, catch, swallow, blink and …Read more

New K-2 Read Aloud with Lots of Potential!

Book review and instructional suggestions for Tooling Around: Crafty Creatures and the Tools They Use (Jackson, 2014). This is one of those books you could read aloud to k-2 students multiple times – in multiple ways for multiple purposes. There is a short rhyming text on each page that names an animal’s tool and its …Read more

Nonfiction series for kindergarten-first grade read alouds

LOVE the layout and design, the size and spacing of the print, the just-right-amount of content, and the supporting photographs chosen for the Seedlings series by the publisher Creative Education. (Go to this link and you can “look inside” these books.) These books are perfect for reading aloud to kindergarten and first grade students – …Read more

Reading Aloud Rigorous Informational Texts to Kindergarten Students

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of reading aloud Nic Bishop’s Frogs to kindergarten students on the south side of Chicago. When I visited the school initially, I engaged in an informal reading conversation with three of the students, reading aloud sections of a book about penguins to them and assessing what they …Read more

Flaw in CCSS Lexile Levels for 2-3rd Grade

Caution: If you are using the Common Core “stretch band” Lexile levels to determine what 2nd & 3rd graders should be reading, there is no empirical evidence to support these levels for these grades. Read Upping the Ante of Text Complexity in the Common Core Standards: Examining Its Potential Impact on Young Readers (Hiebert & …Read more

PreK-Kinder Read Alouds – Observing the World Around Us

As you start the school year, consider making half of the texts you read aloud to preK-Kinder (and even 1st grade) students informational texts. One new text I’d recommend is Step Gently Out by Frost & Lieder (2013). Frost’s lyrical text invites our youngest learners to slow down and watch and listen. Lieder’s photographs are …Read more

Nonfiction Author Study – Moving preK-1 Towards Close Reading

¬† Last year I had the honor of working with two kindergarten teachers who immersed their students in nonfiction author studies. Late in the spring they led a two week author study – week one on Steve Jenkins’ books and week two on Nic Bishop’s books. Monday-Wednesday or Thursday, they read aloud a book and …Read more

Flood Your Classroom with Nonfiction

Anybody have squirrelly, ready-for-summer students? Suggestion – these last few weeks, flood your classroom with fascinating nonfiction books. Books they might check out at the public library this summer. Books they might talk about at home. Books they will definitely want to read again and again with friends – through the last day of class. …Read more