Showing posts with label readers' workshop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label readers' workshop. Show all posts

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Ideas: Setting Up for Success on a Cold Read - Warming Up Before Reading

I'm so in love with this Bright Ideas Linky I can hardly stand it! It motivates me to come up with extra, EXTRA meaningful content so that I can be "chin up" around my sooooooo amazing blogging peers.

My topic today is all about having readers set themselves up for word-solving and comprehension success when picking up an unfamiliar book.
Warm up for non-fiction text successfully
During Private Reading (aka Independent Reading) in my Reading Workshop, readers have a selection of 8-12 books that they have shopped for from my leveled classroom library. (My district uses Fountas/Pinnell lettering for our leveling system.)

While students are doing Private Reading I'm conferring and pulling guided reading or strategy groups, so students are truly on their own to read the books cold...and in order to build their reading stamina, I want to equip them to be successful.

So here's a little demo via's my first one so I feel kind of shy about it...if you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment! :-)

Feel free to ask questions in the comments. I took and re-took the video maybe 647.38 times and this was the one that I flaked out the least.

When I'm initially teaching this idea, I demonstrate just like I did in the video under the document camera.

I'll also sometimes have students help me come up with words they'll expect in a book I'm holding up. Here's what they came up with for a book about some silly characters in race car driver outfits (I'm sorry I don't have a picture of the book!)...
Vocabulary-driven book warm up

I am planning to do more videos like this...if there's a topic you'd like me to demo in a future post, I'd LOVE to hear it!

Thanks for stopping by today!!! I hope you found this helpful!!!

If you did enjoy this post, please consider following me on FacebookTeachers pay Teachers, and/or Pinterest!

There are LOTS of other Bright Ideas for you to read about from bloggers...make sure to check them out below!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Building a Fluency Continuum

All year long we have worked very hard to build fluency in our first grade class!

We’ve worked on it by, through and during...


shared reading 

repeated reading



independent level books read during Private Reading

See, our school district switched over to the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project for our Reading (and Writing) Workshop this year and we’ve been deep in the throes of learning and implementing all kinds of strategies.

I'm still learning and tweaking and refining but can overall say that I am enjoying the change.

One reason is the increased amount of time we've been able to spend on building fluency.

Recently, I decided we should "put it all together" and take what we've learned about how fluent readers sound and build a continuum.

If you have any posts on fluency that you'd like to link up, please feel free to do so! See more info at the end of the post.

Here's how we built our continuum...

Over the course of the year we have had all kinds of lessons and practice on elements of fluent reading.

On our continuum, each element has its own color (selected randomly).

Phrasing - Red

Expression - Orange

Pace - Yellow

Punctuation - Green

Self-Monitoring - Blue

I tried to break each element down into a range of 4 levels...AND make it kid-friendly & succinct enough to fit on the 10 x 2.75 pieces of Astrobright paper I had pre-cut. (And I really didn't want to have to go to the paper cutter a few rooms down to re-cut.)

Do I think my wording is perfect? No.

Do my students know what it means? Absolutely.

So I'm stickin' with it.


So, the wording was already written when I started the lesson.

Sidebar: Could I have spent time with my class generating the qualities of each level instead of writing them out ahead of the lesson? Yep. But I was limited on time and I chose to do it this way, this year.

Since there were five categories, I put the kids randomly into five groups and sent them to their work areas, delivered the cards and the kids got to work, putting the cards from their category in order from 1 to 4 (least to most fluent).

Once the groups had laid them out in order, we traveled around as a whole group to agree and tweak each group's findings.

And there you have it - our fluency continuum.

Instructionally speaking, we have LOTS of fun building our fluency!

What do I use for instruction?


Here are some products I really love! (Stick with me,'ll be thrilled to see what's coming up...)

Katie Knight is passionate about building fluency and she has an amazing new pack that is FUN and so helpful! You don't want to miss it!

The image below is from Katie's blog post about her {here} or on the pic to get to the post.
Jennifer Jones has a new pack that I am swooning to use with my top firsties...

Jen is sooooo on-spot with current best practices AND keeps things motivating! She has a great balance of playful, yet rigorous! Love her!

Here's a peek at the components...I can't wait to start using it!

Jodi Southard has a wonnnnderful Comprehension Notebook that has passages we use for Shared Reading every day...(we also do the comprehension task for each day.)

We read each passage each morning during Shared Reading and I have a variety of teaching points that I use for each passage, choosing one main teaching point per day. You can see two examples of teaching points above. We read it chorally and then the kids also read it at their table spots with their partner or on their own twice before doing the comprehension task of the day. To read Jodi's blog post about this product, click {here}.

Now for some SUPER exciting news!!!

These bloggy friends are so generous and kind that they're offering to give their packs away to a lucky winner! Woot Woot!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you'd like to link up a new or old post, please do the following two easy-peasy things...
1.) Add this image to your post:
2.) Make sure the post content is specific to teaching fluency.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Partner Reading Tip...Bright Ideas Linky Party

Welcome back to the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!
Where you'll find ONLY tips! No product promotions!

It is an honor to participate again!

My tips for you this time around are related to Partner Talk during Partner Reading...

My firsties have built their Private Reading stamina up to 37 mn at this point in the year...we'll get to 45 before our mid-April Spring Break. I'm so proud of them!

During this time, students are reading books that they've shopped for from our classroom library that are at their independent reading level. (The one or two levels just below their instructional level.)

After Private Reading is over, students have Partner Reading time with their reading partner who is reading at a similar-ish reading level. Personality and work ethic are also weighed while developing partnerships.

Grouping by similar-ish reading level is NOT the only way to partner kiddos up. I found that at the beginning of the year, when students had fairly vast differences in their levels, it made choral reading a lot easier if readers were working in similar levels.

Currently, there's a bit more similarISHness to the partnerships...meaning, kids are tackling more difficult text at this stage of the year, so partnerships involve a wider range of reading levels.

I use my conferring notes to figure out the example right now is a student working in level J who tends to have a speedy pace, which doesn't allow for using his "narrator voice." He is partnered up with a more expressive reader who is reading several levels below him. It has been working really well and they actually COACH one another on their specific goals. LOVE!

Building quality into our Partner Reading has taken time and effort, on my part and the students! And there is ALWAYS room for tweaking and improvement!

Before I get to each specific tip, I want to share the absolute number one foundational tip for successful partner reading...

I can't say enough about this.


That said...please know that I am NEVER coming from a place that I am better than ANYone else!!! I sincerely appreciate variety and differences and would LOVE to hear your suggestions, ideas and tips!

I'm also always open to questions...sometimes I answer them directly below your comment using that Reply feature...other times they lead me to new post topics.

Thank you SO much for your visit today!!

Here are some tips I've learned along the way...

This menu has changed over the course of the year. This is what it looks like currently:

When I haven't provided an element of structure, the conversation has been of lower quality.

Some of the great things I've heard recently, using the first menu suggestion...

"This is the most hilarious part..."

"Here is the most thrilling part..."

LOVE hearing them use their Precise Words!!!

At the beginning of the year, Partner Reading was 3-4 mn. Now, it's 5-7 mn. The longer they have, the more tangential the conversations become. Common Core wants readers to stay within the four corners of the text, so I tend to keep it brief, with a bit of accountability.

We have a big visual timer in our room and I set it each day.

At least two times a week, I make a point of roaming around and listening carefully to the conversations (while trying not to make it appear too obvious to the pair (or trio) that I'm eavesdropping on.

The days that I don't roam it's because I'm finishing up with (or squeezing in one more) individual conference, guided reading or strategy group.

When I have roamed to eavesdrop on conversations, when the timer beeps, I share the quality snippets that I've heard with the rest of the class.

Partners ADORE their shout outs!!! And I love their beaming faces...or even the sweet face that is beaming but a little self-conscious about it and trying a wee bit to contain it. What sweethearts!

The bulletin board below is made using 5x7 sized Post-It Notes so that I can change them out to match our current Reading Workshop Unit.

This is what our sentence stem ideas are currently...

When I read aloud, I use these stems to share my thinking and have students ask me questions from the board so we can practice having a conversation similar to what they should be doing in Partner Reading.

The kids LOVE being the one who asks...they especially love asking, "And what is your evidence, Mrs. Mattes?" Cuties.

I'll also have them CONTINUE the conversation by adding and building on what I have said. Sometimes these conversations have lots of "volleys" where a student (or students) and I have had several exchanges to build upon the topic.

We re-visit and update these as needed...this set is what we're currently working from...
Again, we're especially looking for kiddos to stay within the text and BUILD on the conversation with their partner rather than veer away from it. I realllly look for those types of conversations to highlight and shout out!

Another way to help readers be accountable to this is to utilize the iPad. We are blessed to have 8 iPads in our classroom, which means that many partnerships can record their conversations if they're taught how to set up and record their conversation using the video feature.

Students that feel they've conducted a model conversation can request that their conversation be mirrored to the Smartboard for the class to see and provide feedback.

Powerful stuff.

When kids plan ahead, they use mini sticky notes to mark their work in their Reading Notebook and to mark the specific pages in their books that they'd like to discuss.

Thanks for stopping by today on your trail through the... you know this is a WONDERFUL Hop!!

If you're hopping through from one blog to the next, the next stop on the hop is Natalie over at Teachery Tidbits.

She is going to share how to organize books for teaching!

You can get to her by clicking the picture below.

In case you're hopping around based on the tips that are currently relevant in your world, check out the wealth of knowledge shared below...We tried to make it easy for you to know what tips you'll read about on each of the blogs, so instead of listing our blog name under our picture, it tells you the topic. :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Reading Workshop with a STAR Reader Lens

What have we been up to in Reading Workshop??

A WHOLE lotta thinking!

Our current Reading Workshop unit is on Characters, so some of our recent targets have been...

I truly love incorporating STAR Readers habits into every raises the bar of our reading and I do oodles of modeling so that they can see me apply the habits of STAR Readers in all kinds of texts...fiction, non-fiction/informational, poetry, wordless picture books, magazines, fluency passages...

Right now my "Read" board looks like this:

What I love most about it, is how invested the kids are in it. Every piece on there has been something we've worked really hard on...during all of our Reading Workshop units!

The kids actively use the contents every day.

I consistently refer to it every day and feel very strongly about...
I do love my Silhouette experiment, too...I used MTF Jumpin' Jack font to cut "Read like a..." I just love that font so it makes me happy to see it each day.

I'm also passionate about...

Kids have mini-versions of the STAR poster in their Book Boxes and Reading Notebooks for close up stay-in-your-seat reference. Hehehehe.

As the year progressed here, I decided to give Building STAR Readers a mini-update...

The update is reflected in the image of the bulletin board above. It includes these posters...

And bookmarks that can also be stapled to some kids foreheads.

Well, maybe that wouldn't be the best idea.

But, having mini-versions is nice for those that benefit from having it RIGHTINFRONTOFTHEM.

My class is invested in being STAR Readers and it is sooo much fun for me to hear them cuing and conversing with their partners using the terminology...since I came up with the idea in the shower one day...having been tired of STAR as Stop Think And Read.

I added all the above to the end of the pack. In case you're not familiar with it, here's what it includes...

Sidebar Alert...this pack is available on its own.

Or you can snag it in a Bundle along with its companion pack...

Click either cover to get to it on TpT...

Here's a blog post on Finding Proof in case you'd like to learn more about it...

Here's a Table of Contents-ish...
 Several pages worth of mini-lesson ideas in the following format...

Lots of Notes for the Teacher sprinkled throughout...placed at the beginning of each section...

Super STAR Reader Friends with original poems...created where else but my shower? :)
I print this one two to a page so that the kids have a half-page size to glue in their Reading Notebooks.

Individual posters for introduction purposes...

Another poster version of each letter that includes each friend...

A compilation page that I send home to parents via the Take Home Book Envelope...I laminate them after printing them two to a page and they stay in the Envelope.

More teacher notes...this one is about the Habits of STAR Readers posters...

 Here's a closer view of all the posters on one page...another great print-two-to-a-page option!

Each of the Habits posters has a little commentary from me on pages that look like this, too.

There are some parent communication letters included, as well...

There are also a bunch of generic type recording pages that have the STAR logo at the top...some of them are blank for students (or you) to add categories in...others have been pre-filled.

I love having the STAR logo on these's a continual visual reminder for the kiddos and also to parents.