Many reading specialists and classroom teachers are fans of Reading A to Z. I used it for many years to support content area instruction, for guided reading lessons, and to provide books for students to have at home. When Reading A to Z added on RAZ Kids and all of the projectable features, I was in heaven. I loved using these options for instruction too! How? Well, in this post, I’ll explain ways that I used a few of the features.
The Learning A to Z company has put together some phenomenal programs to help our students with literacy learning through the years, and certainly they add more all the time. In my opinion, it’s well worth the membership price when you consider all that’s included…printable books and poetry, lesson plans and materials, assessment materials, projectable options, and more. I could go on and on. For me, the projectable option is probably one of my favorites since you can use it for modeling reading skills and strategies, and hopefully, these ideas will help you make use of the little tools that they’ve included. If you do, I think you will agree that the membership is well worth the money.
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.
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.
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.
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, comment below so others can use them too.😊