Free Audio Series About Teaching Phonics in K-2

When I first started teaching, I found that there were a LOT of things I didn’t learn in college! Can you relate to that?

One of those things was the early literacy process – specifically, how to teach explicit, systematic phonics so kids can become successful spellers, readers, and writers.

After I realized how much I needed to learn about teaching phonics, I decided to read and take training courses. I knew I could do a better job teaching my students, but I needed help.

Fast forward to now…I do feel more confident that I understand how the English language works (and how to share that knowledge in a kid-friendly way).

And I’ve seen how my own knowledge has helped my students grow much stronger in their literacy skills.

So all that learning was well worth it…but it took time, and some of it was not cheap!!

If you feel like I once felt – that you want to learn more about teaching phonics effectively – then I have something special to share with you!

I’m offering a FREE phonics audio mini-course!

This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about effective phonics instruction. It won’t take a lot of time out of your day, and you’ll be better prepared to help your kids become proficient readers and writers!

And did I mention that it’s FREE? 😁

If you’re ready to sign up, you can do so HERE – or keep reading to find out more about what the mini-course includes!

Learn about teaching phonics in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. We'll cover best practices for teaching phonics, meaningful instructional activities, and how to differentiate your phonics instruction. You can listen to the teaching podcast episodes anywhere you want!

What will I learn?

Lesson 1 – What does effective phonics instruction look like, and why have so many school fallen short?

Here’s what you’ll learn…

  • The impact of NOT teaching phonics and phonological awareness effectively
  • Best practices (based in research and science)

Lesson 2 – What activities are best for teaching phonics in K-2?

Here’s what you’ll learn…

  • Fun, effective activities for phonics or word study
  • How to choose decodable or phonics-controlled texts that are appropriate and enjoyable
  • Multi-sensory, engaging ideas you can implement in your own classroom

Lesson 3 – How can I differentiate my phonics instruction?

Here’s what you’ll learn…

  • How to organize your instructional time to meet students’ specific needs
  • What to do if you have to teach phonics in a whole group setting

You’ll also learn a little about my *new* phonics program From Sounds to Spelling, launching in September 2020!

How is the phonics audio mini-course delivered?

You’ll receive the first episode via email, right after you subscribe.

Two days later, you’ll get the next episode. And two days after that, you’ll receive the final episode!

You can listen to these lessons whenever and wherever it’s convenient for you!

How do I sign up?

Signing up is easy. Click on the registration link below, complete the form so I know where to send the episodes, and get ready to learn about phonics instruction!

Registration Link

ALT TEXT: Learn about teaching phonics in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. We'll cover best practices for teaching phonics, meaningful instructional activities, and how to differentiate your phonics instruction. You can listen to the teaching podcast episodes anywhere you want!
Photo Credits: fizkes, Shutterstock

I hope you take advantage of this opportunity!!

In September, I’ll also be hosting some FREE webinars about phonics instruction. These webinars will be even more detailed, and I’ll be able to share visuals and live demonstrations.

Happy learning!




What is the “Science of Reading?”

Have you heard people talking about the “science of reading”?

What’s that all about? 

You might know that it has something to do with phonics.

But this conversation can get a little murky. So in today’s post, I’m going to explain what people usually mean when they talk about the “science of reading,” what excites me and concerns me about this conversation, and the best, science-based practices you can take away and use in your classroom.

Here's an in-depth look at the reading wars and the science of reading you keep hearing about. How did these "wars" start and what does research say about how kids learn to read? This blog post will fill you in on what you need to know and provide some best practices you can take away and use in Kindergarten, first grade and second grade.
Photo Credits: Monkey Business Images, Shutterstock

The Reading Wars

To understand the “science of reading” and this whole controversy, it’s important to have some background info about the Reading Wars. 

The Reading Wars refer to a long-running controversy over the “best” way to teach reading. It’s a debate about whether phonics or whole language is best. You probably already know what phonics is, but maybe not whole language.

Whole language, if you’re not familiar, is a philosophy that focuses on making meaning from real reading and writing experiences. In a true whole language classroom, phonics are only taught “in context” – so for example, you might only teach the “ea” spelling pattern if you’re helping a child read the word “speak.”

Side note – I don’t think we should polarize reading instruction like this – I’m just presenting the history here.

Anyway, the Reading Wars have been going on for decades. But in 2019, several major news outlets ran stories about how most teachers in the U.S. are teaching reading the “wrong” way. This poured fuel on the fire, and the reading wars were re-ignited.

So what IS the “science of reading”?

As you can imagine, there have been many, many scientific studies done about how children learn to read, reading in the brain, etc.

In reality, the “science of reading” term should be used to refer to a wide body of research that encompasses many, many things – decoding, comprehension, fluency, etc. There is so much more to the science behind reading than just phonics.

But when many people refer to the “science of reading,” they’re often talking about the importance of teaching phonics systematically and explicitly. Many say that teachers aren’t providing strong enough phonics instruction, and that’s the reason why we have so many students reading below grade level in the U.S.

Some proponents of the “science of reading” also state that guided reading and leveled texts should not be used. Instead, students should read decodable (phonics-controlled) texts to practice the phonics patterns they’re learning.

A decodable text typically includes only A) words that students have learned as high frequency / sight words and B) words that students should be able to decode, because they only include phonics patterns that the students have been taught.

This is an example of a decodable or phonics-controlled text. This blog post explains what a decodable text is and discusses the science of reading!

(This is an example of a decodable text from my phonics program, From Sounds to Spelling.)

Some also argue that children should not be prompted to decode words by considering what makes sense or what fits grammatically in a sentence (you may have seen the 3 cueing systems discussed as part of this conversation).

If you’re not familiar with the 3 cueing systems, here’s what they are:

M (Meaning) – Does the word you read make sense in the sentence?

S (Syntax) – Does the word you read fit grammatically in the sentence?

V (Visual) – Does the word you read match the letters/phonics patterns?

So that’s what this whole “science of reading” thing is mostly about! And yes, I know there are more nuances and I’m sure I’ve missed some of them, but I hope that this explanation was at least a little bit helpful.

What excites me about this conversation:

  • I think this movement is a great wake-up call for many. In the U.S., we need to do a better job of teaching phonics to ALL our students! AND we need to do a better job of educating teachers on how to do that. Personally, I had to do a lot of reading and pay for training in this area because I didn’t feel prepared by my college courses.

  • I hope this movement will bring better reading instruction to our students with dyslexia and other special needs! I’ve worked with so many students who have dyslexia or were struggling with reading for a variety of reasons. These students really need explicit, systematic, multi-sensory reading instruction. I hope this conversation results in education better meeting their needs. (And by the way – your non-dyslexic students benefit from systematic, explicit phonics instruction, too!)

What concerns me about this conversation:

  • In education, the pendulum tends to swing to extremes. I would hate to see the “baby tossed out with the bath water,” so to speak. There are many reading practices going on in classrooms that ARE good. Let’s not view this movement as completely overhauling our reading instruction – but rather, as making shifts and changes to better serve our kids.

  • In education, initiatives sometimes become oversimplified (see previous paragraph about the swinging pendulum!). Busy administrators or school leaders, who don’t fully have time to dig into research or understand context (they have a million other things to worry about!) may fail to see the nuances of this conversation. Or their school is struggling, and they believe that one single change (i.e. implementing more phonics instruction) will fix everything. This could lead to schools completely throwing out successful initiatives and focusing too much on rote phonics drills. I’m not saying that this will necessarily happen…but we need to keep a close eye on this.

  • People are attacking each other in this debate. Not cool! It’s one thing to bring awareness and another thing to shame others. No one person has all the answers!! Scientists are still learning how reading and the brain work. When we talk about the science behind reading, the science doesn’t just have to do with phonics! I do not personally use the term “science of reading” in the way that it is often used (to refer to phonics instruction) because the body of scientific studies about reading covers way more than just phonics. Regardless, I think it’s important to realize that we are ALL still learning about teaching reading; no one knows it all. We do NOT need to be attacking each other.

Here's an in-depth look at the reading wars and the science of reading you keep hearing about. How did these "wars" start and what does research say about how kids learn to read? This blog post will fill you in on what you need to know and provide some best practices you can take away and use in Kindergarten, first grade and second grade.
Photo Credits: ucchie79: Shutterstock

 What you can do:

  • Although the science of reading encompasses far more than just phonics (it also includes comprehension, vocabulary, etc.), learning more about teaching phonics is a great place to start. If you don’t know much about teaching phonics or feel deficient in this area, please follow along with me. In the next few months, there are several opportunities for you to learn more.
    • I have a brand new FREE mini audio course on teaching phonics! You can sign up to get that HERE.
    • In September 2020, I’ll be doing some live webinars all about teaching phonics.
    • Join my FREE Facebook group that’s all about teaching phonics in K-2.
    • Last but not least, I’m releasing a brand-new phonics program, complete with videos and resources to help you better understand effective phonics instruction. From Sounds to Spelling will launch in September!

  • Remember that you are likely doing MANY things right in your classroom when it comes to teaching reading. Make whatever changes you need to make, but don’t throw away everything you’re doing to focus solely on phonics instruction.

  • Pay attention to your language when you’re prompting readers. Encourage them to use the print – the letter sounds – when decoding. But when they monitor for meaning or self-correct because something didn’t sound right, praise that! Proficient readers DO naturally pay attention to more than just the letters on the page – they notice when something doesn’t sound right or doesn’t make sense, and then they go back and fix it (hopefully using phonics!).

  • Be the voice of reason at your school. If you notice the pendulum swinging too far in one direction…speak up!

I hope this post was helpful to you in understanding this debate. Stay tuned for more blog posts and resources for teaching phonics!




3 Summer Tips for Teachers: How To Enjoy Your Break and Still Have a Smooth Start in Fall

Teaching is (in my opinion!) one of the best jobs in the world.

But it can also be draining. Our to-do lists truly never end.

And there are always those “to dos” that I end up saving to become a summer project. But then my SUMMER to-do list fills up!

Sometimes it feels like I have to make a choice between enjoying my summer or doing everything I can to have a smooth start in fall. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

In this post, I’ll share my three Rs for summer vacation — Relax, Reflect, and Renew! You’ll find some tips for tackling your “to do” list and ideas for creating a better work-life balance. You’ll learn how to enjoy your summer and be ready for the new school year too!

3 Summer Tips for Teachers! Enjoy your summer and be ready for a smooth start to the new school year too!
Photo Credits: Shift Drive, Shutterstock

Relax

Summer vacation is a beautiful thing. It’s an opportunity to relax and recharge the batteries. And let’s face it…those batteries are pretty much depleted by the end of the school year!

So I make self-care my biggest priority during our days off. You deserve to be healthy — physically and mentally. For that to happen, you need to take care of yourself!

There are many ways to practice self-care. Think of things you enjoy doing – and actually DO them! Find a good beach read. Take a walk. Meditate. Work in your garden. Spend time with your family. Get a massage. Catch up on sleep. Cook a healthy meal. Go to a movie. Take a yoga class. Meet a friend for lunch. The possibilities are endless! (As I’m writing this, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. So be safe, whatever activities you choose!)

3 Summer Tips for Teachers! Enjoy your summer and be ready for a smooth start to the new school year too!

It doesn’t matter what you do, but it matters that you take the time to do it. You can’t fill up someone else’s cup if your own pitcher is empty, and summer is one time when we can fill our “pitchers” to the brim.

If you’re having trouble truly relaxing and letting go of prep for next year, try giving yourself a specific number of weeks where you will NOT think about school (other than any required trainings / events). Set a date on your calendar when you’ll start prepping again, and until that date…enjoy yourself!

Or, here’s another option: Maybe you have scheduled professional development sessions throughout the summer or want to participate in activities like my free summer webinars (dates announced at the beginning of each June). If that’s the case, set specific days throughout the summer when you’re “allowed” to think about next year, and certain days when you’re totally “off duty!”

Reflect

Once I have a chance to unplug from school and recharge my batteries, I take some time to reflect on the past year. First, I identify and celebrate all the great things that happened during the previous school year.

  • What was a huge success?
  • What other things went well?
  • Why did those things go well?
  • Which students blossomed? Why?

Making a list of all the positives and the reasons for those positives helps me identify the “whats” and “whys” of success. I can also turn to this list for inspiration and guidance when I’m planning my summer work.

After I make a list of the positives, I focus on what didn’t go so well.

  • What did I struggle with?
  • What did my students struggle with?
  • Why didn’t some things work well?
  • What should change for next year?

Once I have my two lists, I’m able to better chart a course for my work over the summer. Focusing on one or two things helps me strike a balance between relaxing and taking care of myself, and working on things that will help with a smooth start to the new school year.

Renew

This last R really encompasses a lot of different Rs – refresh, revamp, restock, replace, restart, reset, reaffirm. You get the idea! One of the great things about teaching is being able to start fresh every school year.

I do try to be realistic and not take on too much. If you set out to completely change what you do for word work, revamp all your learning centers, and get all the learning materials organized for that new math curriculum your district adopted, you’re probably doing too much!

Instead, try to focus on one or two things. My goal for summer work is to do a few things really well and still have time for taking care of myself. This is where my notes from reflecting on the past year come in handy, and help me focus on what’s most important.

If there are items on your “to do” list that just won’t fit this summer, consider making a “brain dump” list for the school year on your phone or computer. Add all your items that you’d like to do, but will not be able to do over the summer, and you can start tackling that list as you have time.

Don’t Forget About Your Personal Life!

I know how busy life can be during the school year. Summer is a great time to apply the three Rs to your personal life, too! Teaching is crazy and stress-inducing enough all on its own. Add in meal planning, child care arrangements, cleaning, laundry and squeezing in a workout, and it’s easy to end up with brain overload.

Putting systems in place to deal with the day-to-day realities of life helps, especially during the school year. Even simple things like coming up with a meal prep plan or a schedule for child care pick up can bring your day-to-day stress level way down.

For example, my husband and I have a system in place for prepping the week’s lunches. Every Sunday, he cooks enough chicken for the week, so we have it to grab for wraps, salads, etc. It’s a small, easy thing to do but it makes life so much easier and I eat much healthier lunches too – a year-round, self-care bonus!

3 Summer Tips for Teachers! Set up systems to keep your personal life running smoothly all year long!

(Please note: This is not my food and mine never looks this pretty. 😂)

So take a bit of time to reflect on and renew your personal life too. Summer gives you some extra mental bandwidth to put a new system in place and work out the kinks while life moves at a slower pace.

By the time school rolls around again, you can have your system down and eliminate a source of stress. Every little bit helps!

Hooray for you!

If the end of the school year is in sight for you, it’s time to celebrate! Think about all the things you have done for your students and their families this year and all the ways that your students have grown!

Now, it’s time to take some time for you!!

3 Summer Tips for Teachers! Enjoy your summer and be ready for a smooth start to the new school year too!
Photo Credits: Atener007, Pixabay

Looking to learn something new?

During the summer – and sometimes during the school year – I teach free online workshops (webinars) about various literacy topics.

Sign up here to receive notifications for upcoming events and never miss an opportunity to grow your teaching knowledge!

Free Workshops from Learning at the Primary Pond




How To Get Started With Literacy Centers For The Very First Time

Getting started with literacy centers for the very first time can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

If you’ve never tried literacy centers before, or you tried and quickly gave up because things just weren’t working, you’re in the right spot.

In this post, I’ll share why literacy centers are an important part of literacy instruction and give you some ideas and tips for taking that first step. I’ll also share a a great freebie to get you started!

Setting up literacy centers for the very first time can seem overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are some tips for getting started with literacy centers in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
Photo Credits: spass; Shutterstock

Why should I use literacy centers?

Literacy centers provide independent practice, which is an essential part of literacy instruction! Centers give students opportunities to practice the skills and concepts that are next on their paths to becoming better readers and writers. 

Literacy centers also give students many chances to learn independent work skills, take risks in a low-stakes environment, and build their confidence. 

Best of all, literacy centers give students choice. Choice is so important; it motivates kids, increases their engagement, and lets them take ownership of their learning. 

What literacy centers are easiest to start with?

Before we go any further, I want you to repeat after me, “There is no ONE right way to do literacy centers!” 😊

If you want to climb the ladder to literacy center success, start small and try a few! Give your students opportunities to work on their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, and you absolutely can NOT go wrong.

Instead of worrying about doing it the “right” way, focus on making the bottom rungs of your ladder easy to climb. I mean REALLY easy. Just like you scaffold your students’ learning, you want to scaffold yourself to success with literacy centers.

Start with the things that are easy, don’t require a lot of prep and supplies, and have a high chance of success. If you’ve never done centers before, I recommend making the first three rungs Independent Reading, Partner Reading, and Word Work. 

Setting up literacy centers for the very first time can seem overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are some tips for getting started with literacy centers in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
Photo Credits: anaterate; Pixabay

And if you are thinking to yourself that any of those options won’t work for your students, ask yourself, “What are my kids already doing successfully that they could do independently in a center?” Then choose two or three and make those your bottom rungs.

As you start, choose things that are easy to implement and will be immediately successful. Build your students’ understanding of how centers work while building your own confidence in making centers work for your classroom!

For a more in-depth explanation of these centers, or if you’re ready to dive in a little deeper, you can find more information here:

Everything you want to know about literacy centers and how to make them work for you.

How do I get started with centers?

Successful centers don’t magically happen!

Once you choose your centers, there are some things you absolutely have to consider before you introduce the centers to you students.

I like to think through my centers in great detail before teaching my kids how to work in the centers. I make sure I am crystal-clear on the purpose and function of the center. Asking myself a few focused questions really helps me with that.

Here are three questions to help you get started…

What exactly is going on in the center?

Be specific here! For example, in the Independent Reading center in Kindergarten, I expect my students to set a timer and choose new books, choose a spot to read, and read quietly.

When you are just getting started, remember your goal is for students to be able to work in the center independently and successfully! You can add more choices and skills once the center is running well, but at the beginning, keep it simple!

Visual aids, like this one from my Literacy Centers for Kindergarten bundle, are great for showing students the expectations of the center. I display one like this in my Independent Reading Center to reinforce my expectations.

Setting up literacy centers for the very first time can seem overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are some tips for getting started with literacy centers in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.

What will students do when they get “stuck”?

One big challenge with centers is when students get stuck on something and don’t know what to do. Identifying common problems ahead of time and teaching kids how to solve those problems on their own helps a lot! 

Visual aids are important tools for this particular challenge. This one, from my Literacy Centers for Second Grade bundle, shows students the procedure for partner reading.

Setting up literacy centers for the very first time can seem overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are some tips for getting started with literacy centers in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.

A poster like this clearly illustrates the expectations and helps students problem solve. Instead of asking you for help or getting off-task, they continue to work independently!

Do students have everything they need to complete the activity?

Check and double-check to ensure that everything students need is in the center. I always do the activity myself, just to be sure! Supplies at the ready mean students can continue to focus on their work, instead of asking you for a pencil or the magnetic letters right in the middle of your guided-reading lesson!

Your Next Steps

Feeling a little less anxious about using literacy centers in your classroom? I hope so! Remember that there is no ONE right way to do centers. Your students are unique, their learning needs are unique, and you know best what you need to do for them.

To help you get started, I’m sharing my FREE Literacy Center Toolkit with you. You’ll get 10 ideas for literacy center activities, and some tools and printables to keep you organized!

Setting up literacy centers for the very first time can seem overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are some tips for getting started with literacy centers in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
Photo Credits: wavebreakmedia; Shutterstock




Help! My Child is Struggling with Reading!

I’m a reading specialist, and my blog (Learning At The Primary Pond) is designed to help K-2 teachers. But I often have parents come to me for help, saying, “My child is struggling with reading! What can I do?”

So that’s exactly what I want to address in this blog post: what to do if your child is struggling with reading. I’ll suggest some action steps AND provide a free guide to support you.

Are you wondering, "How do I help my child with reading?" If you're the parent of child who is struggling with reading, help is here! This post has lots of ideas and a free guide to help you support your child with learning to read. Whether your child is struggling with comprehension or decoding, you'll find answers here!
Photo Credits: triocean; Shutterstock

Know That You’re Not Alone

First of all, before we dig into strategies and action steps….let’s talk about what it feels like to have a child who’s struggling with reading.

You might be feeling worried. Concerned that YOU did something wrong. Your imagination might jump to how this will affect your child’s future and adult life.

You might feel alone or helpless. Confused. Not sure where to turn.

I see you, and I acknowledge ALL of those feelings. Your child means the world to you, and you want the very best for him/her.

And I want to reassure you of a few things:

  1. You’re not alone! At LEAST 20% of children have difficulty learning to read. In reality, that percentage may be even larger. I’m a reading specialist and I’ve worked with tons of kids who have reading difficulties. And guess what? They’ve all learned to read.
  2. Your child is intelligent and capable. Reading difficulties typically have nothing to do with intelligence. Many of the smartest people (who have become scientists, authors, and are incredibly successful today) struggled with reading when they were children!
  3. You didn’t do anything wrong. Human beings are all different, and our brains work differently. If your child is struggling with reading, it does not mean that you did anything wrong. It means that your child is going to learn to read a bit differently than some other kids do – and that’s okay.
  4. You CAN get over this obstacle, and this blog post will help get you started.

Is your child having trouble learning to read? This post has action steps and a free guide to help! It will guide you in what to do at home to support your child, and also how to seek educational testing at school.
Photo Credits: Ruslan Huzau; Shutterstock

Seek Professional Help

Although I’ll give you some tips about working with your child, my #1 recommendation is to seek out professional help. I’m not able to diagnose your child via a blog post, and I don’t recommend that you try to make any diagnoses on your own, either. Even if you happen to be a teacher or educational psychologist…we all have blind spots for the people we know and love, right?

So my first suggestion is to seek help. And the most comprehensive help you can get for your child is to have complete psychoeducational testing done.

The thought of having your little one tested can feel intimidating or scary. But it’s truly the best way to get comprehensive information about your child’s learning needs. If your child does have learning differences, the information provided by testing will help your child get the assistance they deserve! And the people who give these tests are accustomed to helping children feel comfortable in the testing environment.

There are a number of ways to go about getting testing. In theory, your local public school (whether your child attends that school or not), should provide testing. And they should provide it for free.

In the United States, IDEA legislation gives parents the legal right to request testing to identify learning differences and determine the need for specialized instruction. But you may need to ASK for that testing, not wait for the school to suggest it.

In my free parent guide, I include a letter or email template that you can use to request testing.

If you make a request and you don’t hear back, or it doesn’t go anywhere, I urge you to keep asking. Educators are busy, and if your requests go unanswered, it does not mean that you can’t get the testing done. Keep asking, or reach out to someone different…persist!

Even if you have to be a bit of a pest, it’s worth it! Your child deserves it. And the vast majority of educators will absolutely want to help. People don’t work in schools for the incredible paychecks. 🙂 We truly want to help you.

One alternative to testing in public school is to have testing done privately. This can result in testing happening more quickly – but there are typically costs involved.

To find a private testing center near you, just do an internet search for “psychoeducational testing near me” or “psychoeducational evaluation near me” or “learning disabilities testing near me.”

After the testing is done, the assessor should meet with you and go over the results. Those results will help determine if your child is eligible for specialized reading instruction at the public school. If your child is NOT eligible, you can still seek out tutoring on your own. (More information on seeking out tutoring and making the most of tutoring is included in my free parent guide.)

Continue Supporting Your Child At Home

Testing takes time. If your child does have learning differences, it will also take time for specialized reading instruction to start.

In the meantime, there’s lots you can do at home! Here are my top tips for helping your child with reading.

  1. Continue reading aloud to your child, no matter how old he/she is. Read-alouds are fun and make for great bonding time. But there are many more benefits than that, especially for struggling readers. Children who aren’t reading at grade level aren’t exposed to as many vocabulary words or complex concepts in the books they are reading. You can still expose your child to these words and ideas by reading aloud. Talk about the text with your child, too. My free parent guide has a list of questions you can ask your child during and after reading.
  2. Keep reading practice as frustration-free as possible. In addition to having your child listen to you read, keep practicing at home. But you want to avoid creating a situation where reading just stresses your child out. In order to avoid this, A) keep practice chunks short, B) maintain a positive attitude, and C) look for “good fit” books. My free parent guide will show you exactly how to choose books that are the best for your child’s reading level, even if you don’t know their current reading level.
  3. Use audio books when possible. Audio books are great for car trips or while doing chores. If your child is asked to read a book for school, let the teacher know that your child will also be listening at home. (This mostly applies to students in grades 3 or higher – when the class begins reading longer chapter books.) Audio books of any kind are another way to give your child access to complex vocabulary and ideas, without your child having to decode the words themselves.
  4. Ask your child’s teacher or school for suggestions. Your child’s teacher may have materials she can send home, or ideas about how to help your child. Educators are always happy to have parental support and help!
  5. Check out the resources at your local public library. Public libraries have a ton of resources for readers of all ages. And librarians are trained to match readers with “just right” books. Some libraries can even give you access to special reading software programs or games, which are often super motivating for struggling readers. Librarians love to help kids with their reading, and best of all…it’s all FREE!

More Resources

Would you like some more resources for helping your child succeed with reading?

My free parent guide includes:

  • Email / letter templates to use when requesting educational testing
  • Questions to ask your child during / after reading
  • How to find good-fit books for your child to read independently
  • And more!

Additionally, in September 2020, my program From Sounds to Spelling will be available, and this can provide you additional help.

The program will include a quick assessment you can give your child, and that assessment will show you where to begin helping your child. This program was developed for teachers but is also parent-friendly and can be used to help support your struggling reader at home.

Last but not least, if you haven’t downloaded my free parent guide yet, please do so HERE.

Are you wondering, "How do I help my child with reading?" If you're the parent of child who is struggling with reading, help is here! This post has lots of ideas and a free guide to help you support your child with learning to read. Whether your child is struggling with comprehension or decoding, you'll find answers here!

Good luck! You’ve got this!

Are you wondering, "How do I help my child with reading?" If you're the parent of child who is struggling with reading, help is here! This post has lots of ideas and a free guide to help you support your child with learning to read. Whether your child is struggling with comprehension or decoding, you'll find answers here!
Photo Credits: Shyamalamuralnath; Shutterstock




Five Fun Activities for Teaching Prepositions in the Primary Grades

Do you teach preposition words like above, around, beneath, etc. to your students?

There is SO much to cover in English / language arts, so sometimes we forget concepts like these!

But they’re still important! So in this post, I’ve got some low-prep and no-prep activities to help you squeeze in this important instruction! 🙂

Do you need some low-prep or no-prep activities for teaching prepositions? Here are 5 fun easy activities for you to use!
Photo Credits: SergioVas, Shutterstock

Activity #1: Hands-On Practice

This hands-on activity from my First Grade Grammar Alive program introduces students to prepositions.

Each student needs a counting bear (or other small toy) and a paper cup. Once each student has their bear and cup, give them directions to follow with their bears. 

Tell your students to put their bears on top of the cup, inside the cup, beneath the cup, etc.

Continue with other phrases you want to focus on, like: under, next to, beside, above, below, around. 

After a few rounds of giving directions yourself, let your students take over and practice giving the class directions with prepositions.

Do you need some low-prep or no-prep activities for teaching prepositions in Kindergarten, 1st grade, or 2nd grade? Here are 5 fun easy activities to use!

Activity #2: Find the Missing Object Modeled Writing

I really like modeled writing because I get to show my students how to do something new, instead of just telling them! 

Once my students know about prepositions, this activity is a perfect way to show them how to use prepositions in their writing.

You’ll need a stuffed animal or other object to hide and a list of prepositions that tell when and where. My Second Grade Grammar Alive program has a great list to use, or you can use your own list for the activity.

After reviewing the list of prepositions, have one student step out of the classroom. The rest of the class should decide where to hide the stuffed animal. 

Model how to use prepositions in a sentence to describe the general location of the hidden object without giving it away. (Example: The teddy bear is across from our coat hooks.) Write two clues using prepositions from the list.

Now, have the student waiting in the hall return and use the clues to find the hidden object.

Do you need some low-prep or no-prep activities for teaching prepositions. Find the Missing Object is a really fun activity to play with your class to show them how to add prepositions to their writing.

Activity #3: Preposition Class Book

My kids love making class books – what about yours?

You can create a class book to practice prepositions!

Students choose one object in the classroom and draw it with at least one other item near it to show its position.

After drawing, the students can write a sentence using the following format: The _____ is _____ the _____.  

For example, “The ball is in the basket.”

or “The pencil is next to the paper.”

Collect everyone’s finished work and make it into a book. Read the book aloud to the class, and then put it in the classroom library!

This book cover and templates for student pages are included in my First Grade Grammar Alive program.

Do you need some low-prep or no-prep activities for teaching prepositions in Kindergarten, first grade, or second grade? Class books are a fun option!

Activity #4: Finding Prepositions “In the Wild” in Mentor Texts

I’m a big fan of having kids connect grammar concepts to real books!

It anchors their learning in the authentic texts they’re already reading each day.

During your regular reading lessons, keep an eye out for prepositions in the books you’re reading to and with students. When you come across a great example, rewrite the sentence on the board. 

Then, take out the preposition and ask students, “What is this sentence like without the word/phrase ________?

“Why do you think the author included the word/phrase _____?”

Activity #5: Expand a Sentence Game

The Expand a Sentence game is a perfect small group activity for students to practice using prepositions – AND adjectives and adverbs, if you’ve already taught those concepts!

To play, students read sentences (which are written on small cards), and then expand those sentences by adding adjectives, adverbs or prepositions.

All the materials to make this game are included in my Second Grade Grammar Alive program.  

Do you need some low-prep or no-prep activities for teaching prepositions in Kindergarten, first grade, or second grade? Learning games like Expand a Sentence are great additions to your lesson plan.

Do you need some low-prep or no-prep activities for teaching prepositions? Here are 5 fun easy activities for you to use!

Need more materials for teaching grammar?

I hope these activities help make teaching prepositions fun and stress-free!

For complete grammar lesson plans and many more grammar activities (including the ones featured in this blog post), check out my Grammar Alive! bundles for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.

Happy teaching!




5 Fun Activities for Teaching Adverbs in the Primary Grades

Are you looking for some activities to teach your students about adverbs?

This post has 5 activities to make teaching adverbs FUN! Some of these activities will also help students learn to use adverbs in their writing.

Are you looking for some fun grammar activities for teaching adverbs? Use these 5 activities and games to introduce adverbs and give your students opportunities to practice using adverbs in their own writing!

Activity #1 – Act it out!

Learning “sticks” when we engage students’ brains AND bodies!

So I often give my students opportunities to act out new concepts – like adverbs!

Once my students know what an adverb is, I have them “act it out” and perform different actions in different ways — like walking quietly or cutting carefully.

To prepare for this activity, first make a list of 10-12 adverbs that students can act out, like this one from Second Grade Grammar Alive.

Use these adverbs in a game of Act It Out! with second grade students. This activity helps bring grammar alive through active learning!

With your students, carefully go over each adverb on the poster, one at a time. Have students brainstorm a verb to go with each adverb. (i.e., “What’s an action that we can do QUICKLY?”)

Then, ask the students to physically act out the verb/adverb combination.

Your students will likely have even more adverbs to add to the list!

You can also turn the list into an anchor chart for future reference – students can refer to it as they write.

Activity #2 – Partner Writing

The whole point of teaching grammar is so that your students can apply it to their writing…right?!

So when you teach adverbs, make sure to give students opportunities to apply what they’re learning by adding adverbs to their writing.

After a modeled writing mini-lesson, partner writing is a great activity to keep the learning going!

For this activity, have students choose an adverb from a list (or brainstorm their own). Then, have students share their adverb with a partner.

Next, tell students to choose a verb to go with their adverb, and share that verb with their partner.

Once students have shared their adverb/verb pair, have each student write a sentence using their words (example: The kids walked quietly during the fire drill).

Students can write their sentences on a white board, scrap paper, or in a notebook.

Activity #3 – Team Adjective or Team Adverb Game

Playing games is my favorite way to practice a skill!

This game, from Second Grade Grammar Alive, helps students compare and contrast adverbs and adjectives.

Are you looking for some fun grammar activities for teaching adverbs? Use these 5 activities and games to introduce adverbs and give your students opportunities to practice using adverbs in their own writing!

First, prepare word cards ahead of time. Make 9 cards for each part of speech: noun, verb, adjective, and adverb (36 cards total).

To play the game, divide your class into two teams (Team Adjective and Team Adverb). Each team will need a team leader, and the team leader stands in front of their team.

Give the Team Adjective leader the set of adjective cards and the Team Adverb leader the set of adverb cards. Keep the noun and verb cards for yourself.

Tell the students, “I’m going to hold up a noun or verb card. The Team Adjective leader is going to hold up an adjective card and the Team Adverb leader is going to hold up an adverb card. We’ll see which one describes the word I hold up. The team whose word fits will get a point.”

Hold up your first card (“bag,” for example) and have each team leader hold up their team’s card. Have students help you read aloud both words (for example, Team Adjective might hold up the word “brown” and team Adverb might hold up the word “slowly”).

Ask the students, “Whose word can describe ‘bag’?” Students should identify the adjective.

Then say, “Right! Bag is a noun so we can describe it with an adjective. Team Adjective gets a point!”

Continue playing until you have a winner.

Activity #4 – Adjective/Adverb Scavenger Hunt

One way to make grammar instruction more useful to students is to have them connect grammar concepts with real texts.

Having them search for adjectives and adverbs “in the wild” is the perfect way to make this connection!

Students can make their own sorting chart on a piece of paper to record the words they find, or you can use a pre-made chart like this one from Second Grade Grammar Alive!

Have students look for adverbs "in the wild" in their own texts. This activity helps bring grammar alive through active learning!

Students could also write their words on sticky notes or address labels and contribute to a class sort on a large piece of chart paper.

Activity #5 – Sentence Grab Bag

For this activity, prepare small word cards with a variety of nouns, verbs and adverbs. Put the cards in three separate bags labeled, “Nouns,” “Verbs,” and “Adverbs.” You might also want to print the cards on different colored paper, as shown here:

In this game, students use nouns, adjectives, and adverbs to build sentences. The materials come from my second grade Grammar Alive program.

Tell your students, “Today we are going to play Sentence Grab Bag. Let me show you how to do it. First, you need to pick a noun, a verb, and an adverb.”

Pull out one word from each bag and read them to your students.

“Now I need to make a sentence with these words. Do you have any ideas?”

Have your students share some of their own ideas. Then, model writing a sentence that uses all 3 of the words (example: Dad quickly washed the stack of dishes.) Point out how you had to add some additional words to make an interesting sentence!

Have the students identify the noun, the verb, and the adverb in the sentence. Then, give them the opportunity to play the game by having each child pull a noun, verb, and adverb card.

“Read your words to your partner and work with your partner to plan a sentence. Your sentence can be silly – that’s okay. Just remember that you need to use all 3 words.”

Have students turn and talk with their partner, then write their sentences down on a half-sheet of paper.

Are you looking for some fun grammar activities for teaching adverbs? Use these 5 activities and games to introduce adverbs and give your students opportunities to practice using adverbs in their own writing!

Need more materials for teaching grammar?

I hope you and your students enjoy these adverb activities!!

For complete grammar lesson plans and many more grammar activities (including the ones featured in this blog post), check out my Grammar Alive! bundles for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.

Grammar ALIVE! Engaging grammar lessons and activities for Kindergarten that are easy to fit into your busy schedule.

Grammar ALIVE! Engaging grammar lessons and activities for first grade that are easy to fit into your busy schedule.

Grammar ALIVE! Engaging grammar lessons and activities for second grade that are easy to fit into your busy schedule.




5 Fun Activities for Teaching Adjectives in the Primary Grades

Need some fun ideas for teaching adjectives to your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students? 

Keep reading for some engaging activities!

Looking for some fun ways to teach adjectives to your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students? These adjectives activities (including opposites and shades of meaning) are perfect for primary grammar lessons!

Activity #1: Have students use adjectives to describe a real object.

When I first begin teaching about adjectives, I like to point out that kids already know a lot of describing words!

I have them practice describing an interesting object (preferably, something related to a science or social studies unit).

Sometimes I give them a checklist for help (like this one from my Kindergarten Grammar Alive pack):

Looking for some fun ways to teach adjectives to your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students? These adjectives activities (including opposites and shades of meaning) are perfect for primary grammar lessons!

Partners or small groups can share their describing words with the class, and we make a big chart of adjectives that we add onto during future lessons.

Activity #2: Have younger students explore opposite adjectives and what they mean.

With my Kindergarteners, I don’t go too far in-depth with teaching about adjectives.

But I do teach them about describing words that are opposites! We think of real-life examples of things that can be described as hot or cold, large or small, etc.

Looking for some fun ways to teach adjectives to your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students? These adjectives activities (including opposites and shades of meaning) are perfect for primary grammar lessons!

I also read aloud this “opposites” book to them to reinforce the opposites vocabulary:

Looking for some fun ways to teach adjectives to your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students? These adjectives activities (including opposites and shades of meaning) are perfect for primary grammar lessons!

Activity #3: Have students sort adjectives vs. non-adjectives.

Once students are beginning to understand the concept of adjectives, I have them practice differentiating between words that are adjectives and words that are not adjectives.

A simple word sort is a great way to practice this:

Looking for some fun ways to teach adjectives to your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students? These adjectives activities (including opposites and shades of meaning) are perfect for primary grammar lessons!

(An adjectives vs. non-adjectives sort is included in my First Grade Grammar Alive resource.)

Activity #4: Work with adjective shades of meaning.

Once students understand adjectives, we begin to explore shades of meaning. In this ice pops activity, students put together puzzles by looking for adjectives that mean something similar:

This shades of meaning activity has students put together ice pops with adjectives that go together! I do this grammar activity when teaching adjectives to my second grade students.

This ice pops adjectives activity comes from my Second Grade Grammar Alive resource!

Activity #5: Have students add adjectives to their writing!

One of the main reasons we teach students about adjectives is so that they can use them to add details to their writing!

Once students understand what adjectives are and can come up with some examples, I model how to use describing words in writing.

If we’re writing narratives, I model how to add adjectives to describe…

  • A character
  • The setting
  • An important object in the story

If we’re writing informational / nonfiction pieces, I model how to add adjectives to describe…

  • An animal or plant’s appearance
  • Ingredients or materials needed for a how-to piece

If we’re writing opinion pieces, I model how to add adjectives to…

  • Convey an opinion
  • Describe a food, toy, restaurant, movie, etc. that I’m writing about

Once I’ve modeled, I ask the kids to take a piece of writing that’s finished or nearly finished. With a partner, they try to add at least 2 adjectives.

Then, in future writing lessons where we talk about adding more details, I remind them that they can use adjectives to add more detail to their writing.

More Adjectives Activities and Other Grammar Resources for K-2

For these and other adjectives activities (and lots of other grammar materials!), check out my Grammar Alive! bundles for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.

I designed these resources to follow best practices for grammar instruction – but also be full of fun, active learning experiences for my kids!

Happy teaching!




5 Fun Activities for Teaching Verbs in the Primary Grades

Looking for some activities for teaching verbs to your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students? 

Whether your students are just starting to learn about the parts of speech or are well on their way to being grammar gurus, these five activities will make learning about verbs a ton of fun!

Looking for some fun ways to teach verbs to your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students? Whether your students are just starting to learn about the parts of speech or are well on their way to being grammar gurus, these five fun activities will help you teach verbs.

Activity #1: Play Simon Says with action words. 

Introduce the concept of verbs as action words with a game of “Simon Says!”

First, brainstorm a list of action words with your students to use for the game.

You can also use these ready-made word cards from my Kindergarten Grammar Alive curriculum – just cut them out and make a stack or stick them on a binder ring for easy access:

Use these verb cards in a Simon Says game for Kindergarten or first grade students! This activity helps bring grammar alive through active learning!

This activity works well as part of a mini-lesson about verbs, and you can also play again during transitions.

Activity #2: Have students look for verbs “in the wild.”

In order for grammar to be meaningful, students need to make connections between grammar concepts and actual text.

As a class, we practice identifying verbs in sentences (and acting out the sentences, too!):

Students can also search for verbs in the books they read:

Both of these activities come from my First Grade Grammar Alive program.

Activity #3: Build Verb Vocabulary with Games

Building students’ verb vocabulary is important – both for helping them learn verb shades of meaning (see Activity #4 for more on that) AND for helping them learn to use a variety of verbs in their writing.

One easy way to build their vocabulary is to play charades. You or a student acts out a verb, and the class guesses what verb they’re trying to show.

Here’s another verb vocabulary game, where students move around the board and have to name the depicted verbs that they land on:

Play this verb board game to have students in Kindergarten, first grade, or second grade practice their verb vocabulary!

Activity #4: Put Verbs in Order to Practice Shades of Meaning

To teach students how to choose just the right verb for their writing, work on verb shades of meaning!

First, model how to put the verbs “jog,” “run,” and “sprint” in order from slowest to fastest.

Then, divide students up into small groups. Give each group their own set of cards to put in order.

Use this small group activity to have students practice putting verbs in order. This is a great way to start discussing verb shades of meaning!

Once students have ordered the verbs, they can present their work to the class and get feedback.

Finally, you can glue the groups of verbs to chart paper. This creates an anchor chart that students can refer back to during writing time!

Activity #5: Play “Parts of Speech 4 Corners

Once your students have learned about verbs and other parts of speech, get them up and moving with a few rounds of 4 Corners! 

To play, label the corners of your classroom as:

Nouns

Verbs

Adjectives

“WILD CARD!”

Give each child a word card. The words on the cards should be a mix of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Several of them should say “WILD CARD.”

Play this game with your first or second grade students to practice nouns, verbs, and adjectives! This is an active, engaging activity for practicing parts of speech.

Students should read the word on their card and then go to the corresponding corner of the classroom.

You or a student leader should stand in the middle of the classroom, eyes closed. The leader calls out a corner (nouns, verbs, adjectives, or wild card) and all the students who were standing in that corner are out of the game and must sit down.

The remaining players trade cards and go to the corresponding corner. Again, the leader calls out “nouns,” “verbs,” “adjectives,” or “wild card,” and the game continues.

Keep playing until only one student is left – that student becomes the leader next!

All the materials to play this game are included in my First Grade Grammar Alive curriculum.

Need more ideas and materials for teaching grammar? 

I hope you got a few new ideas for teaching verbs!

For complete grammar lesson plans and many more grammar activities (including the ones featured in this blog post), check out my Grammar Alive programs for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade:

Happy teaching!




5 Fun Activities for Teaching Nouns in the Primary Grades

Need some fun activities to teach nouns to your 1st or 2nd grade students?

These activities and ideas are great for teaching common nouns and/or proper nouns!

They’ll help students make connections to real reading and writing AND have fun learning about nouns.

Need some fun activities to teach nouns to your 1st or 2nd grade students? These activities and ideas are great for teaching common nouns and/or proper nouns! They'll help students make connections to real reading and writing AND have fun learning about nouns.

Activity #1: Have students identify examples of nouns in real sentences.

Effective grammar instruction involves having students making connections to real reading and writing!

Once my students know what a noun is, I always have them practice finding examples of nouns in sentences.

Activity #2: Have students sort common nouns into the categories of people, places, and things.

To reinforce the idea that nouns name people (and animals), places, and things, I like to have my students do a picture sort, like this one from First Grade Grammar Alive curriculum.

Activity #3: Have students do a “noun hunt” in the books they’re reading.

I like to have my students search for nouns “in the wild!” Again, this is a great way to help them connect grammar concepts to real texts.

Students can search for proper nouns, common nouns, or both. This half-sheet scavenger hunt list comes from my Second Grade Grammar Alive curriculum.

Activity #4: Have students sort common and proper nouns (and categories of proper nouns).

Once my students understand what common and proper nouns are, I have them complete a simple sort, like this one from First Grade Grammar Alive:

I also like to do proper noun sorts, where students sort names of people, names of days of the week, names of places, etc. (like in this “cookie jar sort” from Second Grade Grammar Alive):

First Grade Grammar Alive has its own variation, with a “crayon box” theme:

Activity #5: Have students brainstorm matching pairs of common nouns and proper nouns.

As a class, we’ll brainstorm matching pairs:

Or, in this board game from First Grade Grammar Alive, students give a proper noun example to match a common noun.

For example, if they land on “cereal,” they might say “Cheerios” or “Fruit Loops.”

Need more materials for teaching grammar?

I hope these noun activities are helpful!

For complete grammar lesson plans and many more grammar activities (including the ones featured in this blog post), check out my Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade Grammar Alive programs:

Happy teaching!




Guided Reading Assessments: 2 Simple Ways to Track How Students Are Doing

Guided reading time goes by SO quickly. If you’re like me, you want to make the most of that time – but also monitor how students are doing!

Guided reading assessments can be difficult to implement…but they don’t have to be!

In this blog post, I’ll share two simple ways to track how students are doing during guided reading.

These assessments will give you plenty of useful data to guide your instruction!

Guided reading time goes by SO quickly. Use these 2 strategies to help you track students' progress! These guided reading assessments for Kindergarten, first grade, or second grade are easy to build into your routine!

Method #1: Running Records

At the beginning of each guided reading group, I take a running record of one student’s reading. (If you’re not sure how to take a running record, please read this post.)

Meanwhile, the other students quietly re-read familiar texts. This is awesome for fluency!!

I have one student sit next to me while the others are reading. I hand them the book that we read during the previous guided reading lesson.

I have the student read all of the book to me (for lower level books only) or some of the book (about 150 words).

I then ask the child to retell. I try and ask one inferential (higher level) comprehension question, too.

I record the child’s fluency on a scale from 1-3 (1 being disfluent, 3 being fluent).

And that’s it! This whole process only takes about 5 minutes.

I stick the running record form in my binder, and get started with the rest of the students.

Later, on Thursdays, when I plan for the following week of guided reading, I review the running records.

If I haven’t had a chance to calculate accuracy and self-correction rates, I do it then.

I may not have a running record for every single student from that week, but I’ll have a couple of running records from each group. (I rotate through students, so I get a running record for each student about every 2-3 weeks.)

From my running records, I can make decisions about:

  • What books to choose for upcoming lessons
  • Phonics patterns that students need to work on
  • Which strategies to focus on
  • Whether or not any students need to change reading groups (read this blog post to help you figure out when to move students up a guided reading level)

Method #2: Level-Specific Checklists

In addition to taking that running record toward the beginning of my guided reading lesson, I like to take notes and make observations during the rest of the group time.

However…I’ve often found that REALLY HARD to do! Even with the best intentions, I don’t end up taking many notes. I’m busy supporting students in the group!

So I ended up creating my guided reading checklists.

These guided reading checklists make assessment MUCH quicker and easier! Small group time passes by so quickly, but these checklists allow you to take guided reading notes while still remaining involved with your group. These checklists are designed for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade guided reading.

These checklists list out skills that students are focusing on at each individual level. Rather than having to write out complete sentences, I simply make checkmarks or ratings

I usually work on 1-2 checklists per group each time we meet. In other words, I’m not trying to fill out a complete checklist for all 5 students! Sometimes I don’t even complete a full checklist for one student.

These guided reading checklists make assessment MUCH quicker and easier! Small group time passes by so quickly, but these checklists allow you to take guided reading notes while still remaining involved with your group. These checklists are designed for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade guided reading.

Just like the running records, these checklists can help you make instructional planning decisions and adjustments to your groups.

Download Assessment Forms

If you’d like to use the same guided reading checklists that I do, you can grab my Kindergarten, first grade, or second grade set here:

And if you’d like to download a free running record form (and other guided reading goodies), click HERE.

Happy teaching!




How to Make a Guided Reading Schedule

Wondering how to make a guided reading schedule for your Kindergarten, 1st grade, or 2nd grade classroom?

You’re in the right place!

In this post, I’ll walk you through my step-by-step process. I have example schedules and freebies for you too!

Wondering how to make a guided reading schedule? This blog post walks you through it, step by step! There are example schedules and freebies for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade guided reading, too! You'll learn how to set your daily guided reading schedule and weekly guided reading schedule.

Step 1: Form your guided reading groups.

First, of course, you’ll need to determine how you want to group your students.

For guided reading (not all small group instruction – just guided reading), I group students by reading level.

If you need some help forming your groups, check out this blog post! In it, I explain what to do if your students’ levels and group sizes aren’t coming out to be nice and neat. 🙂

Step 2: Set your daily and weekly schedules.

Next, answer the question, “How long will my guided reading block last?”

Sometimes schools determine this time block for you, but sometimes not.

If you’re setting your own time block, here are some things to take into consideration:

  • Length of each group (I recommend 10 mins for Kinder, maybe 15 by the end of the year; 15 mins for 1st grade; 15-20 mins for 2nd grade)
  • Number of groups you want to see (I recommend 2-3 per day)
  • Transition time (2-3 mins for clean-up and rotation)

Write out your daily schedule, like this:

Rotation 1: 9:30-9:45

Rotation 2: 9:47-10:02

Rotation 3: 10:04-10:20

(Yes, I know the last rotation contains an extra minute! This is just in case anything gets pushed back during the first 2 rotations. :))

Then consider your weekly schedule. Will you follow this same schedule, 5 days per week?

Or will you incorporate other types of small group instruction a few days each week?

For example, you might want to incorporate strategy groups, which you can read about in this post.

Create a grid to represent your weekly schedule (a simple spreadsheet works great for this). Here’s an example:

This guided reading schedule template will help you build your daily schedule! This blog post is full of examples that work well for guided reading in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade

Step 3: Determine how often you want to see your lowest 1-2 groups. Set aside those slots in your schedule.

If possible, see your lowest group every day. Fill that into your weekly schedule template (I labeled my lowest group as “Group #1).

This guided reading schedule template will help you build your daily schedule! This blog post is full of examples that work well for guided reading in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.

In this example, I chose to see my lowest group 4 times per week, because they were also receiving extra support during an intervention block.

Step 4: Count the number of slots remaining in your schedule. Divide them up evenly among your other groups, perhaps making an exception for your highest group.

This guided reading schedule template will help you build your daily schedule! This blog post is full of examples that work well for guided reading in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.

In this example, I saw my lowest group 4 times per week. That left 11 spots for other groups.

This wasn’t an evenly divisible number, so that’s why my highest group (Group 5) is only seen twice a week.

However, some weeks I did see them 3 times per week! I replaced Group #4 with Group #5, or just tacked on a bonus group at another time of the day.

You can also adjust this schedule by seeing your two lowest groups 4 times per week. This means that you’d have 7 slots for other groups. Those 7 slots can be for Group #3 (3 times per week), Group #4 (2 times per week), and Group #5 (2 times per week).

But you know your students best; adjust this example as needed!

Step 5: Try it out! Make adjustments as necessary.

Once you’ve set a schedule, don’t spend too much time worrying about whether it’s perfect or not! Just try it out and see how it feels! You can always make changes later. 🙂

Guided Reading Freebies

Want some free schedule examples and lots of other guided reading freebies?

Download my free guided reading toolkit by clicking on the image below!

Get free guided reading lesson plan templates, guided reading schedules, guided reading materials, and more! These freebies are great for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.

Happy teaching!!