Appy Monday Readers!

I just love that saying..."Don't Worry...Be Appy!"  Seems like there should be some music playing in the background, doesn't it?  After Daylight Savings Time, I kind of need a little music to keep my eyelids open, but I wanted to share a post a did for Adventures in Literacy Land last week on my blog in case some of my readers missed it. When it was my turn to post for Lit Land, we'd missed so much school that I honestly hit writer's block.  Then it hit me that I'd shared a few tricks recently with some of my colleagues on Reading A-Z that I'd found helpful, especially for kindergarten, so I decided to write up a post walking teachers through the ideas. If you happened to catch it on Literacy Land, I apologize for duplicating.  I know you'll quickly find another post to read over on Tech with Jen as I'm a little late to the linky party. There are eight wonderful posts there to check out. So, here we go...

Hello Literacy Lovers!  I hope your part of the world is looking better than mine! Virginia is looking rather dreary with rain, ice, and snow in the forecast today. However, sunny days are coming outside and hopefully, this post will brighten your day too!

The Learning A to Z company has put together some phenomenal programs to help our students with literacy learning, and I thought I'd share a few ways that I've used Reading A to Z with my students. The projectable books work so well for modeling reading skills, and hopefully, these ideas will help you make use of the little tools that they've included. If you do, I think you will find that the subscription is well worth the price.

Emergent Readers
The projectable feature is fantastic for modeling Concept of Word, practicing letter recognition and sounds, modeling strategies such as using picture clues and decoding, and comprehension.  

My favorite thing to do with Kinders is to work on developing concept of word with the stampers. The kids love dragging the stamps in place, and we practice touching them as we read. In the picture above, I placed them under each word, but you can also use a different stamp to signal the beginning of each word for the student to "Get their Mouth Ready".
The tool kit also includes a pen (with different colors), highlighters, a cover box, and a text box tool. In this image, I matched the picture clue with the word in the text. You could also add the text box to the side to brainstorm rhyming words for sun, pop, and up.

Beginning Readers
With beginning readers, we focus on building decoding skills and fluency, so teachers can use the projectable feature to record student thinking and observations. With guiding questions and think aloud, students will work to apply Word Study into their work with running text.
In this screenshot, I listed words from the -an word family (and the teacher would record them in the text box). The follow up questions demonstrate that the long o sound can be formed with more than one spelling pattern and can also be used to review patterns. I used the arrow tool for the first question and switched stamps for the second question. Through this application, students are analyzing each word and making comparisons to find the words that fit the criteria.  
In addition to working on decoding and word study skills, teachers can use the tools for many comprehension skills. In this example, I asked what students visualize when they read this paragraph, and I'd have students pair/share or draw what they picture.  Then, as a group, we'd highlight the text evidence that helps us make that mental picture. Can you think of other options for the text box, cover tool, and highlight? Maybe cause and effect relationships in fiction or perhaps using context clues for vocabulary. If you cover the picture, then students would have to rely more on the text to determine the word meaning.

Transitional Readers
Students at the transitional level are building fluency. The projectable feature can be used for modeling phrasing and observation of punctuation. There are multiple highlight colors, so I have marked the phrases with different colors or used the drawing tool to add slashes where each phrase ends. There is a stop sign that can be stamped on for punctuation, but the highlighter may be preferred due to the size of the stamp in comparison to the size of the font. Reading A-Z also has poetry available that can be projected for the same purpose.

The cover tool can be used to cover up or select key information for vocabulary discussion or for challenging words that need decoding.  
In this image, students could use the frame tool to show the white part of the bulb or the small green shoots that are coming up to the sides of the flower.  

Finally, transitional readers are ready for Close Reading. This text is actually at a higher level, but you can see how the star stamp is used to mark the main idea, and the arrow tool is used to mark an important detail. Students can annotate in the margins as well as use the highlighter tool to locate text evidence to support thinking with group discussion.*Note that the projectable feature can only be used for modeling. Teachers can use the printable books for students to practice on their own with all levels.

Instructional Readers
By fourth grade, most students have moved to the instructional reader stage, but the use of the projectable feature is not limited to comprehension only. Students at this stage need work with vocabulary development and writing. The Reading A-Z program includes graphic organizers that can be used by students in teams for group projects or to prepare for writing assignments related to the content.

In this image, I used Close Reading strategies again and spotlighted the diagram modeling the word, atmosphere. Again, all of the tools and uses mentioned can be applied to work with strong readers too, especially with content area reading.

Reading A to Z offers a long list of nonfiction titles that can work very well for science and social studies instruction. All of the books can be projected, but teachers can also project graphic organizers, poetry, discussion questions, phonics posters, and more. If you have not explored the program and would like to give these ideas a try, you can sign up for a two week trial membership for free. Just click the Reading A-Z logo below which will take you to their enrollment page.  
I think this program is a bargain and probably one of the most versatile tools available to use right now. I hope you find this little tutorial helpful, and if you have come up with any teaching tricks you'd like to share with it, by all means, email me or comment. I love to learn new things too.  

Until next time, I'm sending warm thoughts your way! I think we're all ready for a little spring time weather here in the U.S.  ***Update...It is sunny and 65 degrees here today...Yeehaw!!!***

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  1. Replies
    1. I do too. It is just what I wanted...I love the bright color scheme and it just makes me want to buy a plane ticket somewhere. :-)

  2. Great post, Carla. I love your new design! I've used these.

  3. A very informative post, Carla! This gives me some ideas for the nonfiction unit we're working on.
    P.S. I LOVE your new blog design!
    One Lucky Teacher

  4. Carla, I just came across your blog from the Be Appy Linky Party...I teach 2nd grade in Virginia too! I LOVE Reading A-Z...I agree with you, they have really come a long way! Thanks for sharing!

    1. There are so many great tools to use, and I'm sure there are some I don't know too. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting!


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