Top Teaching: Reading

Helpful reading tips and strategies from Scholastic Top Teaching bloggers.

Top Teaching: Reading

  • 181 Pins

Covering Objectives Across the Curriculum With Owl Moon. As days are short and cold nights seem endless, what better way to add wintery fun to the classroom than Owl Moon? I wanted to replace our basal story with one that would engage students on these cold and dreary days while still covering essential skills, such as cause and effect and compare and contrast. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen was the perfect way to light up our learning. The text is difficult for beginning readers, but as an instructional text it is a compelling story even listeners could understand.

Covering Objectives Across the Curriculum With Owl Moon |

5 Unique Games to Help Teach Rhyming Skills. As rhyming seems to be a hard concept for kinders to grasp, I needed to come up with ways to help my students understand it. Anchor charts were a good start, but not enough. I read some Dr. Seuss favorites to get them used to the sounds of rhymes (he is a rhyming master, and we celebrated his birthday this month), and then looked around for items I could use to teach rhyming words in a creative way. A few things from the dollar store here, a few things from the classroom there, and I soon had ideas for five center games. Check them out and see if they'd work for you!

5 Unique Games to Help Teach Rhyming Skills |

Quick Formative Assessments. I am still on my journey to find quick, simple, easy, and informative ways to assess both student learning and my instruction. In one my previous posts, "Using Exit Tickets as an Assessment Tool," I mentioned that I would share my experience with using quick formative assessments in the classroom.

Quick Formative Assessments |

Close Reading Using The Lorax. The Lorax is perfect for April to help celebrate Earth Day. This timeless story still resonates with the message of taking good care of where you live, and not exploiting your resources. And besides, kids of all ages love this story.

Close Reading Using The Lorax |

Celebrating Dr. King’s Life: Do Something. Looking for ideas to celebrate the life of Dr. King? Go to Scholastic's Martin Luther King Jr.: Everything You Need for activities and lesson plans. Also, follow bloggers Christy Crawford, Brian Smith, and Kriscia Cabral as they share their ideas to celebrate the life Dr. King.

Celebrating Dr. King’s Life: Do Something |

Support Your Guided Reading With Baggy Books | A lot of students bring home baggy books from their classroom, but there is often little knowledge about how they encourage reading in the beginning reader. The baggy book should be read at home. It should be on the student's independent reading level, but right above their instructional reading level. This is where the teacher’s level of knowledge comes into play.

Support Your Guided Reading With Baggy Books |

Shake Up ELA With The Snow Globe Family. Residing in a northern (almost Wisconsin) suburb of Chicago, I often feel like I live inside a snow globe. Just this week, we’ve had blustery snowfall and subzero temperatures. While I don’t actually live inside a snow globe, it’s fun to imagine if I did. Read to find out blizzards of fun applications for one of my favorite frosty books, The Snow Globe Family.

Shake Up ELA With The Snow Globe Family |

A Fancy Nancy Valentine, Part 1: Reading Lesson Plans. When a co-worker thought of a fancy party for Valentine’s Day, it was natural to pick the Nancy books as the read-alouds, but the challenge was to create interesting investigations boys and girls alike would enjoy and learn from. Using a variety of books and topics, we explored author’s purpose, exciting vocabulary, poetry, and more in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. The big surprise? The boys loved Nancy as much as the girls!

A Fancy Nancy Valentine, Part 1: Reading Lesson Plans |

Welcoming the New ESL Student | Reviewing my notes, I realized that some of the techniques that I would use for welcoming a new student are the same as if the new student were non-English speaking. To be sure that I was on the correct path, I decided to confer with the ESL (English as a Second Language) and bilingual teachers in my building. (Thanks Diana Cornwell and Jazmin Espinal!) They confirmed that my intentions were on track, but the process needed a little tweaking.

Welcoming the New ESL Student |

A Fancy Nancy Valentine, Part 2: A Fancy Party. Put a new spin on the same old make-and-trade Valentine cards event with a fancy party that is the culminating event of a week exploring Fancy Nancy books. My students spend days learning reading, science, and even manners through reading Fancy Nancy books. The end of the book study is timed to land on Valentine’s Day so students can put their fancy knowledge to work while they celebrate.

A Fancy Nancy Valentine, Part 2: A Fancy Party |

3 Great Ways to Get Students Communicating | One valuable aspect of the Common Core Standards is the need for more discussion in the classroom. I love to watch powerful communication and collaboration amongst students. Here are three ways that I encourage this in a learning space.

3 Great Ways to Get Students Communicating |

Build Reading Excitement With an Author Visit | One way to make reading come alive for our students is with author visits. Authors will often make school visits, but are we as educators prepared to make the most of these opportunities? Here are some tricks to help make the most of these awesome educational events.

Build Reading Excitement With an Author Visit |

Complex Tasks With Henry’s Freedom Box | Reading instruction has been framed with a need for rigorous learning tasks. Read on to grab ideas on ways to create a range of depth for every learner using Ellen Levine's, Henry's Freedom Box.

Complex Tasks With Henry’s Freedom Box |

My students loved the Geronimo Stilton book and are already checking out more from the series. Throughout our work we enjoyed Geronimo games, activities, and resources found online. We even watched a short Geronimo cartoon. Newspaper creation is an easy way to tie realism into the fantasy world of the Stilton’s, but it isn’t the only way to use the series. Consider some of these options for teaching with Geronimo:

Geronimo Stilton, Class Newspapers, and Series Teaching |

Top 10 Read Across America Ideas for Upper Elementary | I LOVE the plethora of Seuss-tastic ideas for celebrating reading and the birthday of Dr. Seuss, but for upper elementary students, a red and white striped top hat may not always be the best “fit.” Keep reading to find out my top 10 instant, easy Read Across America ideas for students in intermediate elementary grades.

Top 10 Read Across America Ideas for Upper Elementary |

Reading Response Book Quilts. This project is easy to complete, eye-catching, and connects to literacy standards. It is also a great way to highlight the books that my students have been reading throughout the year. My plan is to get the quilt up and running and continue to display it until mid-June. This project feels like the perfect match of teaching and fun.

Reading Response Book Quilts |

Dr. Seuss Exploration | On March 2 we celebrate Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, the bestselling author of children’s books. Dr. Seuss changed the world of children’s literature while introducing a new form of artistic style. The idea of this lesson is for students to learn about Dr. Seuss, study his artistic style from his stories, and then create their own Seuss interpretations.

Dr. Seuss Exploration |

Why Wordless Picture Books Work. They say silence is golden. I say wordless picture books are priceless. A good wordless picture book is worth a thousand words. When used with thoughtfulness and intention, wordless picture books are powerful tools that can teach skills that are more difficult to teach with standard literature. Plus, students love them! These are just some of the many reasons why wordless picture books should be highlighted in your classroom library.

Why Wordless Picture Books Work |

How to Create Excitement for Reluctant Readers. To tackle the number of male reluctant readers in my area, I started an All Boys’ Book Club. You could create a book club for any grade level or reading level.

How to Create Excitement for Reluctant Readers |

Vocabulary Games: Easy, Quick, and Fun. Use these vocabulary games to motivate students, pique their interest, and allow for vocabulary review in an exciting way.

Vocabulary Games: Easy, Quick, and Fun |

Close Reading Using How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Here's a quick, easy, and fun way to tie close reading with the winter season. Try this idea using Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas as the shared reading text for close reading.

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A Gift for You: Reading Strategy Sticky Notes. In reading workshop, students are able to jot their thinking in their notebooks or on sticky notes. DeAnna’s templates help guide the student during their reading using different strategies, such as predicting, visualizing, inferring, making connections, etc. They can be easily placed in a student’s notebook or even used as an exit ticket at the end of a lesson.

A Gift for You: Reading Strategy Sticky Notes |

Fantasy and Reality: Character Book Reports Two Ways. One skill we focus on in first grade is distinguishing between fiction and nonfiction writing. Students have to apply what they know about fantasy and reality to fiction and nonfiction texts, and learn that realistic fiction is not quite the same as fantasy. To drive home the differences, and explore the idea of character, students complete two book reports during the year.

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We Challenge You: The Book Reading Challenge. These simple, ten-second videos have boosted reading in our classroom. Everyone wants to read a book so they can create a video to share. I’ve sent the videos to parents so that they can post them on their social media sites if they choose. If you want to join in the challenge, show our video to your class and challenge your students to start reading.

We Challenge You: The Book Reading Challenge |

Sharing a Reading Moment: Connecting Reading Personally. I have been looking for ways to encourage and promote a positive reading environment for my students, so I started by signing up for the exclusive Scholastic Taylor Swift video and the live Usher webcast. Seeing how famous people relate to real life is always a hit. When starstruck kids hear about pop icons doing the things that they do — like reading — they go crazy!

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