This Week in Intervention: Posters and a Spanish Syllable Reading Game

So, I bet you’re wondering, what does vanilla pudding have to do with reading interventions?  And the answer is…

Absolutely nothing!  Instead of teaching my intervention groups today, I have been home eating more vanilla pudding than is normal or healthy.  I had a little oral surgery this morning and my mouth is currently out of commission.  Not my favorite way to spend the weekend!

Anyway, back to what this post is REALLY supposed to be about.  This week my 1st and 2nd grade groups were working on breaking down words into their syllables to read (decoding) and inferring (comprehension).  For guided reading or intervention groups, I like to post a decoding strategy and a comprehension strategy on the board behind me for easy reference.

Spanish is a syllabic language.  If kids can read syllables correctly, they can decode just about anything…even a college textbook!  Notice that I said “decode,” not “read,” because reading involves comprehension.  ūüôā  Naturally, then, getting kids to attend to syllables in their reading is of utmost importance!  The majority of the kids in my groups, however, are still at the stage where they rely heavily on the pattern of the text, pictures, and sometimes random guesswork to figure out what a new word says.  It’s great that their concept of reading centers around making meaning, but I’m trying to get them to take the next step to more fully make use of visual cues (the syllables).

To help them do this, I encourage the kids to use a finger to cover up all the syllables in a word except for the syllable they’re focusing on.  I also made up this very simple game to help them focus on one syllable at a time:

I wrote one syllable on each sticky note and placed both sticky notes so the kids could read them.  Then, I showed them just one syllable at a time before showing them the entire word.  My second grade boys like a little competition, so I turned it into a game (the first one to call out the word correctly earned a point).  They really liked the game, and I hope that it will help them learn to focus on individual syllables so that they can transfer this skill to their reading.

Time to go eat some more vanilla pudding!  Happy weekend!

This Week in Intervention: Spanish Letter Sounds Practice

I teach reading interventions in Spanish to Kinders, 1st graders, and 2nd graders, and I finally feel like we are in somewhat of a routine! We (the other reading specialists and I) spent the first few weeks of school assessing kids, working on schedules for our teaching assistants, and getting everything in order.  Now that things are finally up and running, I’m going to *try* to do a quick weekly post with what we’ve been doing during the week.  Even though my interventions are in Spanish, much of what I do could also be done in English.  So…here’s what we’ve been up to this week!

– I introduced our letter sound sheet routines to my Kinder groups.  Every other day, I use one of these sheets to introduce a new letter.

We practice the letter sound, name words that start with the letter (“abeja,” /a/, “√°rbol,” /a/, ara√Īa, /a/, etc.), circle examples of the letter, practice writing the letter, circle examples of words that start with the letter, and circle pictures that start with that letter sound.  It’s phonics, phonemic awareness, beginning decoding skills, concepts about print, and handwriting all wrapped up in one!  It takes a while to teach the kids how to do the sheets, but eventually they should be able to do them pretty independently.  You can grab the sheets here (and here’s a look at the back of the sheet):

– I also introduced word sorts to my Kinder groups.  After we do a letter sound sheet one day, the next day we do a letter sound sort.  To do the sort, I laminated a large piece of heavy construction paper with a t-chart on it as a work mat for the kiddos.  Eventually, I will have them write the name of each picture under it (using a dry erase marker), but for now they are just mimicking the sort that I model first.  This sort is words that start with the /a/ sound vs. words that do not.

I don’t have anything too exciting to share from my 1st and 2nd grade groups.  Honestly I am still really trying to figure out what I want my lessons to look like on a daily basis.  The 2nd graders are currently reading a Level A, so I’m trying to figure out how to accelerate their progress because we have a lot of ground to cover!

My 1st and 2nd graders come to the reading intervention room for our small groups, but I have to go to a different room for Kinder.  I recently ordered this Scout bag from Amazon to be my “go bag” for Kinder interventions and am really thrilled with it!  

Right now I have two cases of magnetic letters, a folder, and a binder in it, and it all fits nicely.  Plus, the outside has 6 different pockets so I can keep pens, pencils, and hand sanitizer handy.  This makes a great teacher bag for going between home and school, too!  Click on the picture below to check it out on Amazon (they have lots of different color options, too).

Happy weekend!

Using Songs as Shared Reading

¬°Hola!  The other day, I got a question from a reader regarding my Spanish folk song lyrics freebie.

She was wondering about where I found the tunes to the songs, since she didn’t know them all.  I thought I’d post the links in case anyone else was wondering, too.  The links are to Amazon, but you can also buy them on iTunes.



Going back through these and listening to some again made me miss teaching Kindergarten!  My kiddos loved these songs and never got tired of singing them.  I used them as shared reading at the beginning of the year, but they can really be used in Kinder or 1st at anytime throughout the year. 

The great thing about using song lyrics as shared reading is that you can give EVERY kid in the class a copy to read (or pretend read) the lyrics over and over.  You can have them highlight sight words, letters, syllables, capital letters, punctuation, or whatever you want them to focus on.  The kids can add the lyrics to their book bags or a poetry folder to read and reread throughout the year.  And, as we’re reaching the end of the school year, I always found that singing with my Kinders was a great way to calm them down when they were getting a bit rowdy. ūüôā

I hope you enjoy these songs and lyrics as much as we did!

Community Helpers Unit

I am one happy teacher right now…it’s Sunday night and I don’t¬†have the Sunday night blues! ¬†I’ve got a week of spring break ahead of me!

Before break started, we finished up our unit on Community Helpers. ¬†I’ve taught the unit in both English and Spanish, but this year I taught it entirely in Spanish.

There are so many community helpers that we could study, and I do introduce the kiddos to many of the different jobs in our community.  However, the unit really focuses on firefighters, police officers, and doctors/nurses.  This way, the kids learn vocabulary and more in-depth information.  Better than going a mile wide and an inch deep, right??

Lots of reading¬†and writing activities are included in the unit, and the unit even has leveled books to use during guided reading! ¬†The kids love it when our guided reading books connect to what we’re learning about in social studies. ¬†They also do lots of writing as part of the unit:

Vocabulary is a big part of the unit, too. ¬†I want students to learn the technical terms for the tools, uniforms, and transportation that firefighters, police officers, and doctors use. ¬†Since I teach dual language, it was especially important for my students learning Spanish to have lots of opportunities to practice the vocabulary! ¬†One of our favorite games was “Firefighter Simon Says.” ¬†I had them spread out throughout the room and said things like, “Simon says…climb up a building on a ladder,” and the kids had to act that out. ¬†They loved it! ¬†I guess we were a little too enthusiastic with our “Simon says ‘turn on the fire engine siren!'” because they heard us next door…oops! ūüôā ¬†We also played a 20 Questions sort of game. ¬† One student would pick a community helper and the other students would have to guess who it was. ¬†They would alternate asking yes/no questions “Does she work in a fire station?” and guessing the community helper. ¬†

Vocabulary picture sorts were also helpful.  In this sort, they had to cut, sort, and paste pictures that were related to police officers.  The categories were jobs, uniforms, tools, and transportation.  The kiddos also labeled each picture.

I think the kids’ favorite activity was “Community Helpers Memory.” ¬†This game incorporated all kinds of community helpers – not just police officers,¬†firefighters, and medical workers. ¬†The object was to find matches that had the correct vocabulary word and the corresponding picture. ¬†I made them read each word / name the picture on the card for every¬†single card they turned over, correct or not…and it paid off! ¬†By the end of the unit, they were able to read all of the words and really remembered the vocabulary. ¬†

At the end of the unit, students chose a community helper that they wanted to be when they grew up.  Most of my boys chose police officers!  They drew a portrait of themselves as the community helper and also wrote a little paragraph about what they wanted to do as that community helper.

All in all, a good unit.  Even though the photos show materials in Spanish, the exact same materials can be found in my English version of the unit.  Click {here} for the English version, and {here} for the Spanish version.

Time to go revel in the fact that I don’t have to go to work tomorrow!! ūüôā

Spanish Folk Song Lyrics

Do you use songs in your classroom?  I do, and kids love it!  Here are some folk songs in Spanish that I use as shared reading with young (K-1) bilingual students.

Download the lyrics to these 7 traditional folk songs, and display them for students as you sing together.  You can teach students letters, 1-to-1 matching, fluency, and lots more using these lyrics.  Then, print out copies for students to use as independent reading – they love to read the songs and sing them to themselves again and again!

These songs can also be used in a Spanish as a foreign language classroom.  They can be used to teach vocabulary and grammar, even to slightly older students.

Click HERE for your free download.  Happy teaching!

Community Helpers Unit & A Funny!

Happy Friday, everyone! ¬†So, I definitely wasn’t planning to blog tonight about my community helper unit, but I started it this week with my kiddos, and had something happen that gave me a good laugh.

Some background: ¬†the unit starts off by teaching the kids about the difference between wants and needs (since community helpers are people who help us get our wants and needs). ¬†One of the activities in the unit is a wants vs. needs sort. ¬†My kids worked on that sort today by looking through old magazines, and cutting and pasting pictures that fell under each category. ¬†Most of my kids had things like pictures of food and clothing under “needs,” and toys or video games under “wants.”

And then there was Travis (not his real name). ¬†He brings me his sort and says, “I’m done!” ¬†I took a look at it and just about burst out laughing. ¬†Here is what he had under the “wants” category (look closely – the guy in the middle with the sunglasses on is what caught my eye):

Little did I know that a chorus line (?!) of men was on the top of Travis’ wish list!! ¬†Am I the only one who thinks this is hilarious? ¬†(To be fair – I teach this unit in English and I teach bilingual kindergarten, so Travis was clearly more than a little confused about the definition of “wants”!!)
Anyway, on to more useful things, I guess.  This activity is from my Community Helpers unit, available in both English & Spanish!
After the kids learn about wants and needs, we move on to learning about police officers, firefighters, and doctors/nurses.  I focus on teaching them what each of these community helpers does, what tools they use, and what transportation they use.
The unit includes lots of printable writing paper and graphic organizers,
8 different printable books about Community Helpers (different levels available for each topic that are appropriate for PreK, Kindergarten, or 1st grade readers),
materials and ideas for for centers,
as well as detailed lesson plans that will last for 22 days, a list of suggested books, and vocabulary printables.
If you purchase this pack, I certainly hope the wants/needs sort goes better for you than it did for me!! ūüôā
Happy teaching!


Spanish Letter Sounds Intervention Kit

Happy Friday!  Today was a good day…I was offered a new job for next year in the area that my husband and I are moving to, and I finally finished my Spanish letter sounds intervention pack!  I have one kiddo who still isn’t remembering all of his letter sounds, and I’ve been doing interventions with him for RTI.  Flashcards get old fast, so I designed this pack to really engage him.

For each letter of the Spanish alphabet, I’ve designed three pages of practice activities.  You print each page, stick it in a page protector, and place all the pages in a binder.  Voila!  Instant intervention binder.

Here are some examples of what the pages look like for the letter e:

On this page, you and the child say the name of each picture and the letter sound, pointing as you go (“elefante, /e/, estrella /e/, escuela, /e/”). Below, the child circles the letter e, and then traces the letter e.  You could also very easily do the letter name instead of the sound, if that’s what your student needs help with.

On this page, the child practices writing the letter e.  Then, you read aloud the printed words to the child, and he circles the words that start with “e.”  Then, you and the child practice saying the vocabulary words to match the pictures below, and the child circles the pictures that start with the letter “e.”

Finally, on this page, you read each sentence aloud to the child, pointing as you go.  He then re-reads the sentence, pointing, and circles the word that starts with the letter e.

In addition to all these intervention pages, the pack also includes specific directions for how to use the kit.  There are different scaffolds described in the directions that allow you to gradually release responsibility to the student and make the activities more challenging.  The activities are also excellent for developing print concepts (1:1 matching, directionality, first letter in a word, etc.), vocabulary knowledge, letter formation skills, and phonemic awareness.  And, like I mentioned, you can easily focus on letter names if that’s where your little one is struggling.  Click here to grab it!

Spanish sight words

I’ve read in multiple places that there’s no need to teach sight words in Spanish like we do to English beginning readers.  Spanish is much more consistent in its letter-sound relationships, whereas to read English, we need to have a large sight word vocabulary in order to deal with the language’s letter sound inconsistencies.

However, particularly with my struggling readers (who are learning to read in Spanish), I’ve noticed that it is still useful for them to memorize some sight words.  Even if a Spanish word is very simple to sound out, reading becomes even easier if the chid can automatically recognize some high-frequency words.

That’s why I created these!  They’re simple sheets that can be printed out to help kids memorize sight words in Spanish.  Each sheet is the same, so that the kids (and parents, if you send them home as homework) quickly know what to do.

The kids trace the word (notice how the middle word is capitalized, so they aren’t confused if they see the word at the beginning of a sentence in a book they’re reading), find the word, and then write the word.  I can’t wait to send a few of these sheets home with my kiddos over Christmas break!

Using Songs For Shared Reading

This year, I began my shared reading instruction by teaching my kindergarteners some traditional songs.  Before school started, I downloaded six different songs, typed up the lyrics, and put them on colorful PowerPoint slides.  On the first day of school and over the next few weeks, I taught the kids those 6 songs with the music and the PowerPoint slides, pointing to the words as we sang.  The kids loved singing songs for shared reading, and they learned the lyrics super quickly!  

Then, last week, I printed out copies of the slides, laminated them, and made them available to my kids for their independent reading time. ¬†They ate them up! ¬†Several of the kids who had been halfheartedly paging through books during independent reading time suddenly transformed into engaged readers, quietly singing the songs to themselves as they pointed to the words. ¬†I’ve never had so many kids “pretend reading” so early in the year. ¬†Success!

We used these Spanish folk songs as shared reading in my Kindergarten classroom!
We used these Spanish folk songs as shared reading in my Kindergarten classroom!

I teach bilingual kindergarten, so the songs I chose are in Spanish: ¬†“Los pollitos,” “Cucu cantaba la rana,” “En el agua clara,” “Aserrin aserran,” “Al animo,” and “Que llueva.” ¬†Click here¬†for a free copy of the PowerPoint I created, so you can use the same songs with your kiddos.¬† I found these songs in a book of traditional Spanish songs, but I really need to look for more songs¬†so the kids don’t get bored.

To follow along with our shared reading and other classroom activities, follow me here on Instagram.  Happy teaching!