Monday, July 30, 2012

My First Monday Made It!

I have been reading through other blogger's Monday Made It's all summer and have been wishing I could join in...well, now I finally can! Head on over to 4th Grade Frolics to check out all the amazing talent.

I think I have mentioned it before but I am a knitter. I took it up while I was on mat leave in order to have some fun projects to work on. And I fell in love with it. I have made quite a few baby blankets for friends, scarves and cowls for family and it was time to make something for me!!

I found this fabulous hand-painted yarn that I just loved and had to buy....Koigu! I purchased the yarn I used from Art of Yarn in British Columbia but it is available at many retailers. This is the colourway that I chose for my project.

I have been in love with purple for some time now. Beautiful right?

I found a great pattern called the "Reunion Cowl" from Natalie Selles at and I really liked it but I wanted a little more of a "lace affect" so I used Natalie's pattern as the inspiration and changed it a little for me. Here's what I came up with...

If you are a knitter and are interested in how I made the cowl here is the "pattern" I created as I went.


- 2 skeins of Koigu yarn (KPPPM 809D)

- 3mm 16" circular needles

CO: 170 stitches, join in the round being careful not to twist the stitches

Row 1- 10: knit all the way around each row (*note: the edges of your cowl will roll up when using this stitch, if you do not want this to happen knit every even row and purl every odd row) You can see how the edges of my cowl roll in the pictures.

Row 11:* k2tog, yo* (*repeat until the end of the row)

Row 12-15: knit

Row 16: * k2tog, yo* (*repeat until the end of the row)

Repeat rows 1-16 until cowl measures the length you want. I knit 5 repeats of rows 11-16 so that I had 5 "lace" repeats.

End with 10 rows of knitting. Bind off and weave in the ends.

Since I made this cowl in the two weeks I was at the cottage with my family I think I shall name it "The Cottage Cowl"! I also see a lot more lace knitting in my future. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Classroom Routines- Printable

Have you started thinking about next year yet? I's hard not to, I find! 

So every once in awhile I start doing a little planning...nothing huge! I just make some lists, look at my planning from last year and make notes about what I want to tweak. That's when I came across this activity that I loved doing with my class.

I fully believe that students, of any age, should have a had in the creation of the rules and routines of their classroom. I think it leads to more engagement and more positive student interactions. So at the beginning of the year I write out the routines I want to have in place in my classroom as well as any super important rules. Then the fun begins!

Classroom Routines Activity
1. Divide your students into groups of 3-4.
2. Give each group a packet of the classroom routines and rules that you think are especially important. (You can see an example and print slips I use here

3. Make sure you also give the students some blank slips to write their own rules/routines they think you might have missed.

4. Instruct the groups to look through the slips you have provided and to write down any rules/routines they think are missing on the blank slips (10-15 minutes).

5. Once this is done give each group a large piece of paper (chart paper, etc) have ask them to sort their slips in order from the most important rule/routine to a little less important- I never say least important because they are all important! (15-20 minutes- depending on the age of your students)
This is a good time to observe right away which students may struggle with group work and which communication skills your students have already mastered.)

6. When the groups have finished this I tell them that they are now going to present their list to the rest of the class and I give them 5 or so minutes to prepare. I also make sure they know that I expect each group member to participate in some part of the presentation.

7. Present! Now the class gets to see how the other groups sorted their slips, they get to hear the rules/routines numerous times, they have had some input into the structure of their class setting, they have already made a presentation in front of the class (in the first week!) and you are ready to start modelling and practicing these rules/routines many, many, many times in the weeks to come.

I am excited to hear your thoughts on this activity and perhaps other possible ways you think it could be used?!?! 

Leave your wonderful comments below!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guided Reading Products and Freebies Blog Hop

In celebration of the end of our Guiding Readers: Making the Most of the 18-Minute Guided Reading Lesson by Lori Jamison Rog I thought it would be super fun to have a guided reading blog hop! I know that many of you have posted about freebies or products that you have created. This is the opportunity to share your great ideas and to gain some new ones from our amazing blogging community.

I am super excited to get started on my own guided reading program planning now that we are finished the book study. I want to send out a HUGE thank you to all the co-hosts and Lori Jamison Rog for their participation during the book study, and of course to all of you. I hope you learned something new, gained the skills and knowledge to be confident in your own guided reading program and are rejuvenated and ready to start back to school (whenever that might be for you!)

Before we get to the Blog Hop I wanted to share some of my idea on Chapter 9- Functional Reading. Although this was a short chapter I believe it is an important one. I am anticipating and planning all of the types of functional text I can bring into my classroom in order to help my students with this valuable reading skill. One area where I think this will be most valuable is in Math, Social Studies and Science. I can see my self integrating the ideas that Lori has shared in my new guided math program, perhaps as a Math Stretch at the beginning of each day. Functional reading would be a great add-on to when we are talking about the math students have used at home. Of course, it would well in Social Studies as we are often looking at maps, charts, signs etc. Perhaps this could be a whole new rotation within my Daily 5 program...Interacting with Everyday Reading? Ohhhh, I like it!

Once again I hope you learned something new and gained something from the book study. Any and all feedback comments are appreciated as this is the second book study I have hosted and I am always looking for ways to improve. Have a great summer break (what's left of yours....!) and happy back to school!

Guided Reading Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Feel free to post to any freebies or products you have created- past or present posts.
2. Link up as many times as you like- to different posts, of course!
3. Please make sure you post directly to your post, not just your blog. Any links that are not linked to a specific post will be deleted.
4. If you have adapted or modified an idea from any professional reading source, please make sure you give credit and cite your source.
5. HAVE FUN!! Visit as many of the other posts as possible and leave a comment.

Grab the Blog Hop Code for your own blog!get the InLinkz code

Chapter 9- Functional Reading

We made it! Congratulations on dedicating so much of your summer break to professional reading and learning something new (hopefully) that will help your students. It's been great to have you all along for the ride!

Mary from Pitner's Potpourri is our last fabulous co-host. Functional reading something that I always knew was important but not really something I had planned to teach too often. However, this year my team and I actually have it in our long range plans!

Please head over to Mary's blog to see what she is saying about this chapter and don't forget (for the last time!) to link up below.

Chapter 9 Study Sheet

I will be posting my own thoughts on Chapter 9 in a little bit along with an exciting celebration linky party for our book study!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Non-Fiction Connection- Chapter 8

Just a quick note before we start talking about today's chapter: Please remember to cite the source of any freebies/products you create as part of our book study of Guiding Readers: Making the Most of the 18 Minute Lesson by Lori Jamison Rog. This should be done on the product as well as your blog. This is an important step in order to give credit to the original author and to set an example for our students in what we expect when they are completing a research assignment. Thanks.


I think that this chapter is going to be one of the most popular. Most people are comfortable teaching with fiction but still shy away from non-fiction, especially in a guided reading setting. As someone who taught the upper grades, a lot of my student's reading came in the form of non-fiction once they reached Grade 7 or 8 so it was an essential skill that many students were lacking. 

Chapter 8 Study Notes

We'd love to hear your ideas!!

My thoughts:

Non-fiction text is one of my favourite things to teach! It grabs the attention of so many readers and allows them to learn new things that they are interested in. It always amazes me how many parents...and teachers...don't consider "it" to be reading unless "it" is a novel. My father is a wonderful example. I have never seen him gold, let alone read, a novel in my entire life. However, he reads about 5 newspapers everyday and countless other business and trades magazines and papers. If that's not reading then I don't know what is!!

I do agree with Lori that it is important to recognize that non-fiction text comes with it's own challenges and supports that are very different than fictional texts. Lori breaks down these ideas very clearly in Chapter 8 and makes it easy for someone who is new to teaching non-fiction to understand and gather ideas for lessons. 

I love the ideas that Lori has shared for guided reading lessons and I have used a lot of these lessons (or similar) in my class before. I believe that non-fiction guided reading has a place in our social studies and science classrooms which would actually give our students a double-dose of reading instruction during the day. Plus, it would model for our students that reading isn't just something that we do in Language Arts class but that happens in other subjects as well. How fun would a guided math lesson be structured like a guided reading lesson using a non-fiction text heavy on numbers, graphs, and data! Go integration!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Struggling Readers- Upper Grades

Alison from Toad-ally Exceptional Learners is joining us to host Chapter 7- Struggling Readers in the Upper Grades. 

I wish had read this chapter back when I taught the upper grades...sigh. Isn't it hard to look back and think about all the things you could have done to help if only you'd had the time to read more, learn more, teach more. I think all teachers feel like this at some point. It's what makes us good teachers, that desire to be better. 

Chapter 7 Note Sheet

My AHA Moments-

Lori writes about teaching students how to read in the primary grades and teaching students to read to learn in the upper grades and this is how I have always thought of it. Now that I am looking back on my years as a Grade 7/8 teacher and am teaching primary I totally agree that all students still need to be taught how to read.

I also like how Lori mentioned several times (in both this chapter and the previous one) that guided reading can be done in the form of literature circles or independent reading. That really gives teacher sin the upper grades a lot of flexibility as to how they want to structure their program. On page 117, Lori talks about how everyone is a struggling reader at some point in their lives, depending on the material they are reading. I loved this because it is a point I often discussed with my students in the upper grades. There are texts that they could read fluently....text messages written in their "code" that I would have no idea what they were trying to say! They always liked that.

Once again I think Lori has provided a lot of food for thought with this chapter and I am really hoping that some UPPER GRADE TEACHERS  chime in on the discussion. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Don't forget to link up!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Teacher Planning Binder Extras

You asked for it and I delivered!

All of the clip art used is from Scrappin Doodles, and the frames are from From the Pond


And don't forget to visit the original post for even more Teacher Binder Freebies.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Classroom Theme Linky

Surfin' Through Second

Corinna over at Surfin' Through Second is having a super fun linky party! A classroom theme linky...I've never done a classroom theme before, probably because I always taught the upper grades but now that I am moving to Grade 3 I have decided that I want to do one. 

The teacher who is leaving the room I am going into for next year is going to Kindergarten so she left me all sorts of great stuff to start my year off in grade 3. She had red paper on the bulletin boards and black and white borders, very cute. But I am hoping to do something a little different while still using the materials she left for me....reuse, right!

The red paper is going to be perfect for my chosen theme of...

Dr. Suess!!

I have always liked Dr. Suess and all his crazy books but since I have had my daughter and have been reading them more often my like has grown to LOVE and I want that to spill over into my classroom. Here are some of the ideas I have found that I want for my room.

I am not sure which border I like better? Do I want just one through my whole room? Both? Decisions!!

Aren't these super fun! I am also hoping to go to my nearest thrift store and find some old Dr. Suess books that I can repurpose into classroom decorations...DIY, here I come!

This one I LOVE...

How fun is that??

Some places where I have found inspiration-

Clutter-Free Classroom has a whole post on Suess-inspired classrooms! Pinned that!

I will make this the first week with my amazing!

Oh, I can't wait to get into my classroom and get it all put together. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Guiding Readers- Chapter 6

This chapter will be hosted by Sabra and her blog, Teaching with a Touch of Twang. Sabra has been following along and posting throughout the entire book study and I have really learned a lot from her posts. I am glad that we were amble to meet through the book study and I hope that you can all jump on over to her blog and see what she is saying about Chapter 6- Guiding Fluent Readers. 


Lori has emailed her answers to the last few questions I sent her from the survey at the beginning of the book study. I am loving that she is so dedicated to helping us learn through the process of this book study. 

Me: Is it always best to group by ability, or should we try to sometimes have groups of "mixed ability"?

Lori: In small group, aka guided, reading, we generally group by common need rather than ability. That seems like a bit of a fine distinction, but there may be variations in the abilities of students who have the same learning goals. That said, unless we're working with students one-on-one, we're always going to have a range of abilities in a group.

The common need that brings a small group together may be based on the difficulty (e.g., level) of a text or it may be based on a specific reading strategy . Sometimes teachers like to work with students at a range of reading levels that have the same specific need - reading with expression and fluency, for example, or drawing inferences.  

But it's been my experience that students at roughly the same reading level often have the same strategic needs, especially in early grades. At higher grades, we might see more diversity within the same level, and choose to sometimes broaden the range of the group in order to focus on a particular strategy or skill.  Let's not forget also, that one of the advantages of working with small groups of only four or six students is that it's possible to assess and attend to specific individual issues as well as those of the group.  
An effective classoom will always incorporate a variety of grouping structures. Some groups are large, some are groups of four or two, depending on the purpose. We sometimes group by interest, sometimes by student choice, sometimes by teacher selection and sometimes totally randomly, depending on the purpose and function of the group. I find that I can differentiate reading instruction most effectively and efficiently, when my groups are structured around common needs or learning goals. When students experience many different grouping structures, needs-based reading instruction for a short 18-minutes at a time is just one more classroom experience.

Me: What did you find the hardest part if using GR in your classroom the first year you used it? 

Management!   I didn't have any systems in place so I felt I was always running around in circles.  I spent so much time organizing centers and other independent learning activities (which the kids often completed in less time than it took me to prepare them!) that my lessons were pretty much off the cuff.  When I first read of the management system in Daily 5, it was a light bulb going off in my head!  Of course, I've simplified my system even more - in independent learning, the students are reading, writing or completing the "must-do" follow-up from their lesson.  But I love the D5 steps to muscle memory.

In addition to simplifying the independent learning component, I've simplified my grouping schedule into a two day cycle.  That way, if we miss a day of guided reading, or I choose not to schedule GR every day, I simply use the Day 1-Day 2 schedule.  I haven't really discussed this in my book, because I wanted to focus on the teaching piece, but here are some examples:

Four groups (A-D, weakest to strongest), three GR cycles a day.  If I have two cycles a day, I adapt accordingly.  There's method in my madness of which groups are scheduled when (e.g., I try to see the weakest group every day and always in the middle slot), but I can go into that another time.

Four Groups: this has been updated as there was a mistake!! (July 10th)

Me: If you could only give one piece of advice to a teacher just starting to use guided reading, what would it be?
Lori: Get your independent learning structures in place before trying to start small group instruction.  It may take 6-8 weeks, but it's worth the time spent.  During that time, you are still teaching and assessing, but more through large group and individual instruction.  Then start with one group - usually the most needy (except in Kindergarten, where I suggest to start with the most advanced). 

And then, make the best use of your own time by "frontloading" your small group reading plans, using a planner such as the three day cycle in my book.

NEWS!! Lori has agreed to answer any more questions people may have at this point if the book study. So if something has come up please leave a comment below or email me at

I will be emailing the questions off to Lori on July 12th so make sure you get your questions in while you can!
(Not all questions will be able to be answered, so I apologize if advance if yours is not.)

I have been seeing all sorts of great guided reading freebies and products on TPT and Teacher's Notebook that my fellow bloggers have created. Would people be interested is having a linky party to share your guided reading freebies and products for sale?  Please leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Guiding Readers...Need to Catch up?

Wow o wow!!! Do I ever love Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files! Awhile back I read about her plan to organize her blog and use thumbnail images for her freebies and printables and I thought, "Man, I wish I could do that!"

Well....I did!! I used the tutorial that Kristen posted about here and away I went. 

So just what did I organize? Well, I'm glad you asked. I created a thumbnail gallery of all the posts that pertain to our Guiding Readers book study. I will be adding the other chapters as we go along and you will be able to find it above under the header for the book study. But, just because I can't resist here's what it looks like so far...

Can you imagine the possibilities!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Follow The Road to Freebies

I have been seeing so many great examples of teacher organization/planning binders around the blog-o-sphere that I decided I wanted to make one for myself this year! Plus, it is was International Blog Hopping Day!

Follow for Freebies

I've started with just the cover pages for each of the sections I think I might use...and I made a couple extra just for you all that I know won't apply to me. Each file is a separate download so you can pick the ones that you want, or get them all!

I use a single assessment page for each of my students so that I can see all of their progress in one place. 

I love being able to see ahead to where I am going with my instruction.

Blank!! Totally customizable...BUT, if you have an idea for a cover page that you don't see here but would really like, please leave me a comment below and I can whip one up for you

For my American friends!
 (we don't have Common Core here in Canada)

To go along with our fun book studies...anyone else's mind totally reeling with ideas? Mine is whirling and smoking all the time.

I don't keep my lesson plans in my organization binder but I know that a lot of people this one's for you.

Now everything can be stored in one place...PLUS, I am working on some super cute note sheets to go into this section so make sure you check back soon. 

Super necessary!

All of the clip art used is from Scrappin Doodles, and the frames are from From the Pond

Well, I hope you enjoyed your trip down the road for some freebies! I'm glad that you came by. Don't forget to leave me a message if you would like any additional cover pages created.  Once I have my teacher binder all up and running I'll be sure to post pictures for everyone to see.

Freebie Fridays

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Guiding Developing Readers: Chapter 5 is brought to you by...


We've had a slight schedule change and y'all are just going to have to make do with me as this chapter's host!

Here is the schedule (updated) and for those of you who are new to the book study.

Click on the image above to be taken to a pdf of the schedule with hyperlinks to each of the co-hosts.

Click here to download the Chapter 5 Note Sheet. 

This is the stuff I've been waiting for! I'm not sure how many of you noticed but I mentioned a few posts back that I am going to be moving to GRADE 3 next year (and the amazing Leslie, from Kindergarten Works has already moved my button on the TBA page!). 

So that we are talking about developing readers (and the next chapter on fluent readers) we are talking my language. I am a little nervous to move to Grade 3 because I have only been in Grade 4 for 1 1/2 years after 7  in Grade 7/8...that was a big jump. Am I ready for my friends to be even smaller? Again, this was the driving force behind choosing this book for a book study. 

Some things to remember about developing readers:
- they are transitioning between oral and silent reading, between tracking and fluency, between word-level and text-level comprehension
- they have a large personal word bank and use a variety of strategies for figuring out new words
- they can now pay attention to higher-level text comprehension
- this is the time to reinforce comprehension strategies
- are beginning to know and understand the difference between fiction and non-fiction, and how to use informational texts to locate the information that they want

Developing readers need:
- be reminded to listen to the voice in their head
- read aloud if they need more oral practice
- given opportunities to read silently as well
- start tracking their thinking using sticky notes

Texts for Developing Readers
This is an area that I am most concerned do I find texts suitable for my readers without always having to rely on literacy programs designed by people who aren't in the room with my students.


I also love that Lori includes list of what texts for this stage will look like, or the characteristics they contain but I am worried that I will have to spend sooooo much of my time trying to find texts for my students.

The Guided Reading Lesson 

- remember that concepts and topics may be beyond the schema of your readers
- have students do their own picture walk
- talk about the purpose for reading
- decide if you want to pre-teach the vocabulary found in the text **

- if students struggle with fluency they should still be reading aloud
- read only a short chunk at a time, choose a pause point, place a sticky note Stop-sign
- 1st reading is to process print, pause to discuss, and then repeat the process by moving the stop sign to a new pause point
- discuss a new purpose for the 2nd reading of the text** Very important as so many students are still working to make sense of the text the first time they read it**
- address a comprehension goal first before any word-level goals

- discuss, evaluate, interpret
- encourage students to support their opinions using the references to the text
- must-do activities should reinforce comprehension strategies or written response to reading
- fluency is a goal for readers at this stage so that they don't lose meaning of the longer and more complex sentences found in the text

Must-Do & the Reading-Writing Connection:
The more I read through Guiding Readers the more impressed I am by the breadth of knowledge and information that Lori has provided to her readers. The must-do's in each chapter are fantastic and I think they will become my favourite part of guided reading. When I taught grades 7 and 8, my students wrote a letter in the their literacy log to me once a week. These letters contained a short retell of the independent reading book they were currently reading, and prompts based on the comprehension strategy we were studying. I enjoyed reading my students' letters each week because I really got to know them as people. We had full discussions about literature in these letters. Many of my students would ask me about my reading and over time the letters became less about doing an assignment and more about talking about something we loved- reading.

I tried a similar program with my grade 4's this year and sadly discovered that they just weren't old enough for the way I had run things in my previous classrooms. I am excited to see if I can incorporate some of my old program with Lori's must- do's and gain back that feeling of "discussing" books with my students, not only in our guided reading sessions but in their responses to reading. 

Do you have your students complete a MUST-DO after guided reading? Do you write letters or other literature responses? How has Lori's book changed your thinking in this area?

Plus, don't forget to link up your own posts here!!

Lori Jamison Rog Answers Our Questions

Lori has emailed back a few more answers to the questions I sent her from our survey at the beginning of the book study. It's obvious that she really took some time and gave some thoughtful answers to our questions. Thanks, Lori!!

Me: Many educators have a stance against guided reading it seems, what would you say to them?

Lori: I think small group reading instruction, aka "guided" reading is an essential component of a balanced literacy program.  It's the "we do" in the gradual release of responsibility model of teaching and learning.  Read-alouds and shared reading enable us to introduce challenging texts and model reading strategies.  But, for most students, there's a big gap between the texts that are read aloud to them and the texts they can (and want to) read on their own.  Guided reading helps bridge that gap by gently nudging, supporting and scaffolding students as they negotiate print themselves.  Ideally, that print keeps readers "on their tiptoes", stretching them just beyond where they are right now and continuously extending their reach.

Guided reading is just one slice of the whole literacy pie.  Our students also need to hear complex texts read aloud, to participate in teacher-led shared reading, to read independently, and to have a range of opportunities to write.  Guided reading is the structure that enables us to provide the "just-in-time-teaching" that meets the differing needs of different groups of students.

In my book, I've encouraged readers to take a broader view of "guided reading" than we've traditionally done, which is why I chose to entitle the book Guiding Readers. I think "guiding readers" can involve different forms of groupings.  It might use leveled texts, trade books, text books or even functional texts such as websites, brochures or menus.  And it should focus on specific goals ranging from word-solving skills to comprehension strategies to literary elements and text structures.   We've got to stop arguing about what guided reading is or is not; the important thing is to take advantage of small group instruction to provide a bridge between what students can do with support today and what they will be able to do on their own tomorrow.

Me: How do you work with the one or two kids who are so much slower than any group in the classroom and cannot finish even a small section of reading in a time frame that is close to any group?

Lori: When working with needs-based groupings, I don't find this is as much of an issue as it is with heterogeneous groupings.  Often, children are slow or distracted if the texts are too hard.  When the texts are at an accessible reading level and we read only short chunks of text at a time, most students can keep up with the group. 

My problem is more likely to be the ones who finish much more quickly than the others.   I always tell the students to go back and reread.  (For little guys, I make it a game, "See how many times you can read the book before I tell you to stop."  For older students, I may send them back into the text with a specific task - e.g., tab the part that tells...)  This buys a little more time for the ones who take a little longer.

Me: Where can we find short reading texts to use during guided reading?

Lori: I've often found that there are more resources in the school than most teachers realize. You may be surprised at what's been gathering dust in classrooms simply because they aren't needed for that particular grade level.  I always recommend that schools bring the leveled reading resources in particular out of the classrooms and into a common book area.  While this may seem like an inconvenience at first, the access to a much wider range of materials makes it well worth the effort.  

As I say in my book, while leveled book collections are a convenience, they are not a necessity.  Go back into old basals and anthologies to use individual selections and choose individual chapters or excerpts from novels and trade books.  (Reading one chapter in guided reading may provide enough background support for the students to read the rest of the novel on their own.)  Magazines and websites are good sources of nonfiction reading.  And then there's the whole world of functional text all around us - recipes, instructions for games, television schedules, and even Mapquest maps. 

Obviously, if we're going to use material that hasn't been formally "leveled" - and even if we are - it's important for teachers to have a sense of what makes a text challenging or easy for a reader, so we can make informed matches between the students and the text.  That match doesn't need to be scientific - just enough to ensure that students can read most of the text on their own, but have to stretch a little for some of it.

Thanks again to Lori, this is definitely some things to think about. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Introducing our Chapter 4 Co-host...

...Brenda from Primary Inspired!

Brenda is the fabulous organizer behind the current Guided Math Book Study and she is so awesome that she is joining in for our study of Guiding Readers as well. If you haven't already done so, please head over to her blog to check out the Guided Math book study. I have learned so much from reading this book...I can hardly wait until school starts again to try out all my ideas! (Okay, so that might not be exactly is after all, only my first day of summer vacation, but the book is still a spectacular read. It will change how you think about your math instruction.)

But we are here to talk about guided reading, right? 

Chapter 4 is all about Guiding Early Readers and Brenda will be posting her thoughts on the chapter as the co-host. 


So What Did I Think?

Well, I am in a similar situation as with Chapter 3. I have never had the opportunity to work with students that are this young and new to reading. However, the more I reflected on what I read I realized that this type of knowledge would have been very handy when working with a lot of the English Language Learners I have had in my class over the years. I do think one of the flaws of my teacher training was that since I was going through to be certified to teach students in the upper grades none of the information about how to teach a child to read was taught to me, or my classmates. And, as we all know, just because a student is in Grade 7 or 8 doesn't always mean they can read!

Looking back I have some guilt about how much more I could have helped my students if only I had known more about guided reading and the stages of reading development.

What I have come to love about Lori's writing and this book is the consistent nature in which she delivers information to her readers. It does not feel as though she is preaching to me but rather a colleague mentoring me through this learning journey. I do feel better equipped to work with younger students, which is a good thing because.....NEXT YEAR I AM TEACHING GRADE 3!! 

I can imagine that at the beginning of the year I will definitely still have some (or many) of my students working as early readers. The tips and lesson ideas offered by Lori is this chapter will really come in handy. 

Some "aha" Moments

- I didn't realize that early readers are unable to read silently
- the type of texts early readers will develop an interest in (multiple characters but with a familiar topic)
- meaning is sacrificed to visual features of a word **It's all supposed to make sense!"**
- the three main cueing systems- semantic, syntactic, phonetic (this is the stuff that makes me feel....dumb?...I have no idea how to tell if a student is using these cueing systems)

Standout Highlights

* texts for early readers (page 47)- this is a great help to me as a teacher new to teaching younger students, I can imagine that I will keep this list some place nearby and handy for reference

* the guided reading lesson sequence and sample areas of focus- this is unbelievably helpful, I think it will be a useful scaffolding tool until I feel comfortable enough to create my own guided reading lessons and everything is so clearly laid out that i can start to align Lori's lessons to my long range plans

- teach students how to do a picture walk
- texts will contain mostly high-frequency and decodable words, carefully consider whether to pre-teach vocabulary

- self-monitoring comprehension strategies are key
- readers must develop the habit of using all three cueing systems (need to learn more about these)
- stagger start reading and work towards encouraging phrased reading

- revisit trouble spots and discuss, share own experiences
- retelling is important at this stage, good time to provide practice
- still need to stimulate big ideas using questions and prompts
- encourage re-reading of the same text

* lesson routines- love love love!

* the reading- writing connection- I was very happy to see that Lori spends time talking about writing in her book. Each year, when I reflect back on my program, I always feel that either my reading or writing program was stronger. I have yet to feel that they were equally good! Hopefully, I can devote more attention to the connection between the two and this will be the year I think they are both great.

Whew..that's a long post!

Don't forget to link up with your own posts and let us all know what you are thinking about the book!

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