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Digging for Deeper Meaning

Do your students struggle with "stretch texts"? Need help in knowing how to scaffold the learning to avoid frustration? Check out this post to learn a few tips.

Do your students struggle with stretched texts? These are texts that are beyond your readers. Stretching them doesn't have to mean frustrating them.  With scaffolding, we can walk kids through texts that are slightly beyond them. Stretch texts are texts that are a half a year to a year above there current reading level, and for many of our struggling readers, this could simply include working with grade level texts. The key is scaffolding your instruction, but how? Today, I'd like to share with you a few ways that you can help your kids tackle texts that are beyond them without having them shut down or break down in tears.

Celebrating the Work of Kevin Henkes

Celebrate the work of Kevin Henkes by using these wonderful books as mentor texts. Kevin Henkes' wonderful characters will ignite reading in your room. Check out the details in this blog post about this each unit.

Which of Kevin Henkes' characters have you met? Lilly? Chester? Owen? or maybe it's that guy, Wendell? No matter which you met first, you are sure to agree that they make reading fun. Today, I'd like to share what I love most about Kevin Henkes books and how I've used them in my classroom for teaching specific skills.

Using Book Conversations to Motivate Independent Reading

Conversations between teachers and students are critical in motivating students, but how can we use them to motivate independent reading? Check out this post for ideas you can use in your classroom to make book conversations more meaningful.

How powerful are the conversations you have one-on-one with your students? You know the ones...in the hallway as you're waiting for your resource teacher to begin class, in the lunch line, or as you're waiting for buses to be called in the afternoon? Those moments in time are what our students remember, and they are VERY motivating.

Expanding Vocabulary with Word Study at the Derivational Relations Level

Are you an upper elementary or middle school teacher? This post explains what word study looks like for students at your level. It explains the Derivational Relations stage and how it works. Check it out!

Have you ever wondered why spelling seems so boring to teach and for students, so boring to learn? Well, if you think about it, learning how to spell words in and of itself isn't that exciting if all you're doing is memorizing the words, looking them up in the dictionary, and putting them in sentences. Why is it that these practices are still used in many classrooms when we know that they lead to low engagement and only short term effectiveness?  Motivation is the secret ingredient to long term learning, and if we keep learning active and fun, students have increased motivation. Word study instruction can and should be active, and as we teach students to analyze words, we build a natural curiosity for learning more.

Word Study for Syllable Juncture

This post includes setting up and organizing word study for the syllable juncture speller. It includes organizational tips, teaching sequences, what's taught, and how it fits with the other reading components.(FREEBIES)

Your students are fluent readers, and they're writing in paragraphs. They understand spelling patterns, but they're using but confusing those patterns in multiple syllable words. If this describes your reality, then guess what? You are teaching students at the Syllable Juncture Spelling Stage. Congratulations! You are in the right space, and I hope you'll read on to check out what you're in for this year.


This policy is valid from April 25, 2015
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. I share what has worked in my classroom and what I've learned through my reading program and from my experience. I will only endorse products or services that I have used and found beneficial, based on my expertise, which I feel are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

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