Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Scavenger Hunt

Hello! Two years ago I made a little Easter investigation for parents to use with their kids on Easter morning. There were clue cards that led to a special Easter surprise: a book. At the time we were studying inference, so it fit in perfectly. Well, this year my son is starting to read, but not quite at that level. He knows some sight sight words and can sound out CVC words. I really wanted to do something like this for him, but I wanted him to read all of the clues. So, I made a very basic set of clues and he LOVED it! We did it with his best buddy and they were squealing with delight as Shawn read the clues and they ran all around the house. The clues led them to the basement where there were eggs hidden all around. Anyway, I decided to share those with you all, hoping that at least one of you will have a son or daughter who will enjoy it as much as Shawn did. I also updated my old cards a bit.

Here are the clues for 1st/2nd grade students:


Here are the clues I used with Shawn (for pre-k or kinder readers):

You can get them here


Happy Easter everyone! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let's Get Crackin'

How many ways can you use a plastic egg? With Easter coming up, I've been using these plastic eggs at home with my son and at school with my students. They do not get tired of these eggs! 

Sight word Scrambler: Place the letters of a sight word in an egg. Have your students put the letters together to make the sight word. You could have them try to unscramble it on their own or have them look at the word to build and rebuild. 
You can write the word inside the egg or put a small piece of paper with the correct spelling inside.

Sight Word Game: 
You can also write the sight words on the outside of the eggs. 

Place a colored dot on a cube. 


Roll the cube. If you land on blue, read a blue egg. Continue until all eggs are out of the basket. 

Going on a sight word egg hunt:

Hide your eggs all around your house or classroom. When they find the egg, they will read the word on the egg. If they cannot read the egg, hide it again. If they can, they get to put it in their basket.

Matching up parts of the egg:

You can match up onset and rime or lowercase and uppercase letters. 

Last, I have a little freebie for you! This is an initial sound sort activity:

Put a picture card in each egg.  Set out two baskets and the bunny/rabbit cards. Students will find the eggs and look at the picture inside. Then, they will decide if the word begins with b or r and place it in the correct basket. You can download these picture cards here. 

If I'm missing anything, please comment! I'd love to hear what you do with these little plastic eggs. :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Build a Sentence Mega Pack

I am SO excited about this new pack. I've been using this all year long with my kinders and they love it so much, I decided to make it into an entire pack. I originally made this for my kinder centers. Then I started using it with my guided reading groups and I was hooked! I found myself making more each week. I've been slowly adding to it each week for my students. I plugged away at it so I could complete the set for the year and beyond.

Over 70 sight words are included plus about 180 picture/word cards (see pictures below)

I started using this more and more because my students were not quite ready to dive into books, but I still wanted to give them opportunities to learn words in context.

Time to introduce questions? No problem! I have another board for that.

Please note: The colors are intended to be a guide to help students build sentences. They are not meant to represent parts of speech.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fun tips for Teaching Reading Strategies

I'm so excited to be a part of this blog hop! The best thing about blogging is that we all have tons of amazing ideas and tips at our fingertips. This huge blog hop feels like a professional development workshop where I get tips and tricks to make my students more successful, make my classroom run more smoothly, or just to make teaching more fun for me. ;) 

If you want to find all the ideas in one spot, check out this Pinterest board.

I spent forever thinking about a "bright" idea that was worthy of sharing for this blog hop. I came up with a few "snippets" to share with you. 

My first snippet: Highlighting strips for showing text evidence. 
You've all seen them and probably use them with some of your students who may need help with tracking. I recently started using them for close reading. I love the concept of close reading, although I still feel like I am doggy paddling my way through it. One thing that I love about it is having your students use text evidence to support an answer. If we are reading a text on piece of paper, they love to use highlighters to highlight that evidence. But sometimes I don't want them to be highlighting in a book or writing marks in the book. So I started using highlighter strips. I'll ask them a question and have them reread the text to find the answer. When they find it, they put their highlighter strip over the sentence that shows their evidence for their answer. This was they were all responsible for finding their own evidence and they all had the opportunity to share their answers. (No need to shout out or raise wave your hand in the air.)

These books came from

What's that Word?
To teach the strategy of skip and go back and think about what makes sense, I play a little game with them. I use (surprise, surprise) a sticky note to cover a word. I choose a word that is not phonetic. I  make sure that the word has some good context too. Together, we read the sentence with the covered word. I model skipping the word and reading the rest of the sentence. Then I ask for suggestions about what would make sense.

In this example, the word climbed, crawled, jumped, swung, laid, sat might be predictions from kids.

I write the suggestions down. Then we reread our sentence substituting the suggested words in the covered word's spot. For each we ask, "Did that sound right in the sentence?" If a student were to guess the word, "sat", you would read the sentence, "She sat onto the rocks". That doesn't quite sound right so you could cross that one off.

Next, we reveal the first letter (or letters if its a digraph). We talk about which word it couldn't be based on the first few letters. We check to see if any of our words work or if we need to think of another.
In this case, we could cross all the words off except climbed and crawled (based on the first letter).

Finally we reveal the word. After revealing the word, have students look at the word to make sure it matches their guess. One last time, we read our sentence with the correct word and ask ourselves, "Does it make sense? Does it sound right?"

For this example, they may guess gives or feeds. After revealing the word, they can see that although both makes sense in the sentence, only the word feeds visual matches. 

Each time I play this, I point out my strategy posters so the kids see all the strategies we are using. They love this game! You can make up your own sentences or use sentences from a book you are reading. I used to enlarge a page from a book so I could have something big enough to show my group.

Magnifying words
I use a mini magnifying glass to search the text for words. We might be searching for short a words. We might also go on a sight word search in the book. I'll call out a word and they find it and magnify it.

I hope one of these ideas will be helpful to you in your classroom. :) If you have any ideas related to these, I'd love to hear from you. The more bright ideas, the better!

For more bright ideas, please visit the blogs below. Don't have time to go through every blog post? That's okay! Browse through the topics to find something that interests you. They are labeled below.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reading Passages for Beginning Readers

Yesterday I posted this new pack:

I am so excited to be done with this one! It has been such a labor of love. It's a modified version of this pack:

(Click on the picture to see more of this pack.)

Both packs have 400 pages of reading passages...

and comprehension pages...

To give you a little background, I created the first set of reading passages when I sat down to bundle every little story I had written for other various seasonal packs. 400 pages later, I had myself quite a collection! I had used those stories over the past couple years with my first grade students. I used them for homework, seat work, fluency and comprehension practice, and in my guided reading groups. Then this year I started working as a reading teacher with beginning readers and struggling readers. These kids wanted to do the same comprehension activities and wanted to read those stories, but did not have the skills to read at grade level. So I slowly started modifying every story. My goal was to bring every story to a level that my students could successfully read. 

More reading= improved fluency, greater confidence, and ability to apply comprehension strategies without being bogged down by every word. 

I didn't want to lower the comprehension standard for these kids, just the actual texts to help them be successful.

Don't get me wrong! I know these kids need to hear LOTS of quality literature. This pack doesn't contain quality literature, but my first goal is to get these kids reading and ENJOYING the process. This will never take the place of reading aloud quality children's literature. This is a tool to help get your kiddos to a place where they can be reading that quality literature on their own someday very soon. :)

This pack will be on MEGA sale for the next week. I did this for those of you who already bought the original pack. I wanted to give you a fair price (since the graphic organizers are the same). 

I also made a combo with both sets of reading passages:

Head on over to my Facebook page for a little giveaway:)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Sale!

I don't think much of spring cleaning, but I know I'll be loving this spring cleaning sale!

Look who else is participating: 

I'll be cleaning out my wish list and sorting through my pins to add to my shopping cart this weekend! Hope you enjoy the sale too!

Anytime literacy packs:


Literacy all year long:




Phonics Sets:








Science/ S.S.