Sharing my LOVE of Literacy!

If you can read this, thank a teacher !!

December 31, 2009

Here is to a happy and healthy 2010 !!

(with lots of reading!!!)

December 21, 2009

May everyone have a blessed holiday!
May everyone have a safe and happy Christmas!
Happy winter break teachers, students, and parents!

See ya next year!
Happy Reading!

December 17, 2009

Reading During the Holiday Break

Here are some ideas I have used in the past when my students have their winter break.

1. Send home a fun packet with a variety of activities. I had five journal entries, some math pages, word searches related to the holiday, crossword puzzles, and some coloring pages. Then I add a letter from me on the last page telling them how proud I was that they worked on their packet during the break and to make sure they bring it back for a special surprise in January.

2. Send home a reading calendar. I usually make seven pages, but request the child try to fill out five. Ask your students to read every night with someone different (This is great for all those visits your child may have during the holiday!) Ask the child to have their reading partner write two sentences about the book sharing time they had. Then have the child write something about the book, too. I take every name of the children who return the packet to me in January and have a raffle. I choose three winners and give out small prizes, like a small marker set, a homework pass, or a lunch with the teacher pass!

3. Make a list together in their reading journal. Tell them to come up with different ways they can READ, READ, READ, during the holidays. Then make a grid in their reading journals so they can track the activity and the amount of time spent reading. Students never realize how much they are reading!

For example:
Reading Activity
1. Reading on the Internet
2. Reading the comics
3. "Reading" a game

4. Ask your class to choose a favorite picture book and read it over their break. Then have them do a creative book review on it. There are SO MANY ideas for responding to literature that involve art, music, or even using a PC! Think outside the Box!

Dont' forget to tell your students to have a wonderful break and HAPPY READING!!!!!!!!!!

December 15, 2009

Holiday Read Aloud !

Classes are preparing for holiday parties. Students are too excited to learn. Here is one more installment of two wonderful read alouds before you all head off to winter break! Enjoy!

The Gingerbread Girl

Story: The old woman is lonely because her gingerbread boy ran away and was eaten by the fox, so she makes a gingerbread girl hopping she will no longer be lonely. Well, the gingerbread girl runs away. People and animals begin to chase her. Once again that tricky fox shows up. Will the gingerbread girl escape the same fate as the gingerbread boy?

Ideas: Compare to The Gingerbread Man or The Gingerbread Baby. I like using a Venn diagram for this activity! I also love taking this story and making it into a Reader’s Theater for grades 2-4.

Who Will Pull Santa’s Sleigh Tonight?

Story: Santa goes to check on the reindeer and they are all sick. He needs a plan to find some helpers for his sleigh ride on Christmas Eve. He holds reindeer auditions and all these animals show up. When that doesn’t work, he comes up with a new idea. But will it work?

Ideas: A great read aloud for grade K-3!

This is a great story for predicting with second and third graders! I read the beginning of the book to the class. Then they take out their journals and make predictions. We share and discuss as a class. Next, (This can be during the same lesson or the following day). Then I read up to how Santa has a new plan and the kidos make a second prediction in their journals. We share and discuss predictions. I then read the rest of the story and we talk about how Santa and Mrs. Claus save the day.

Hope you get a chance to share these stories!

Happy Holidays !

December 13, 2009

Hanukkah Read Aloud!

In honor of Hanukkah, I wanted to post two holiday books to share with your class. Enjoy!
This is the perfect story for a primary classroom. I love the Biscuit books and how curious he is in the stories. This is a nice way to introduce Hanukkah and some of the traditions that are related to this special holiday!

Story: Come along with Biscuit as he helps his owner make a beautiful menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. It's a great time for stories, songs, food and friends! The story explains how eight candles are used during the Hanukkah celebration.

This is a nice way to introduce Hanukkah and some of the traditions that are related to this special holiday! A nice class discussion comparing this story to their own holiday traditions is the perfect way to share this book! Then have your students draw their family holiday tradition. Don't forget to have your kidos share with the class!

I love this story because it intertwines a holiday story with a lesson. This story would lend itself to a comparison of family traditions. This could be a 2nd or 3rd grade lesson!

Story: It's the last night of Hanukkah and there are only three little potatoes left. This is just not enough to make latkes for the relatives. Rachel has the solution and she will borrow some potatoes from Mrs. Greenberg. Then she will invite Mrs. Greenberg, who is all alone, to share Hanukkah with them. But though Mrs. Greenberg has a heart of gold, she is a stubborn as an ox--she doesn't want to be a bother.

Have your students fold a large piece of construction paper in half. They can then draw and describe their own holiday tradition on one side. On the opposite side have them write a summary of the story and draw their favorite scene from the book. When finished, share with the class.

Happy Hanukkah !

December 11, 2009

Holiday Read Aloud !

I LOVE holiday Books! Here is another wonderful read aloud!

The Wild Christmas Reindeer by: Jan Brett

I have read this in grade 2 and grade 4... the kidos always love it. There are a few fun things I have done with it too!

Story: Teeka has to fetch the reindeer for Santa's big ride and she wants everything to be perfect. She has trouble training the reindeer and becomes very bossy. Teeka realizes she needs a new approach.


1. While reading I stop and ask "Do you have any text to text connections?" Kidos usually talk about how the reindeer have names different than the Rudolf song. I also ask, " Is there any text to self connections?"

2. With my fourth graders I give them copies of the Rudolf story and with a partner they make a venn diagram to compare the two stories.

3. With my second graders we make a T-chart and discuss Teeka and her character traits in the beginning of the story and at the end of the story.

4. I also have both classes write a response in the reading journals about the story.

Happy Reading !

December 9, 2009

Holiday Read Aloud !

SO Many Holiday Books.... so little time!!

Santa's Noisy Night by Julie Sykes

I love this cute story of Santa being so jolly, he needs to be reminded by his reindeer, the family dog and cat, and even a snowman that he needs the be quiet so he doesn't wake the children on Christmas Eve.

This is a great story to rewrite as a reader's theater. The repetitive text is also great for choral reading.

I read this book aloud to my fourth graders one year. We then wrote our own Noisy Santa stories where elves, moms, talking parrots, and little goldfish told Santa, " SHHH! Don't wake the children!"


December 1, 2009

Word Pattern Practice with a Holiday Twist !

Countdown to Christmas with Reading!

The little girl I tutor asked if we could make a tree to countdown to Christmas. I said it had to be related to reading, so I thought about it for a few days and this is the concept!

1. Make a large Christmas tree with enough room to place 24 round ornaments on it.

2. Create a booklet with 24 pages. (You could also use a writing journal that your kidos may already have in the classroom). The booklet will have a rime at the top of each page. There are 37 common rimes used in reading. Use for this list if you do not know the rimes!

3. Cut out 24 round ornaments and write the rimes you chose for the booklet.
For example: If you have – ack on the first page of your booklet, also put it on ornament number 24

4. On December 1st, have a student find ornament number 24 and place it on the large cut out Christmas tree.

5. Have the students take out their books and try to come up with 24 words that end in that rime.
For example:
Tack rack, black, snack, track, etc

6. Do this daily as a morning activity. Each day the number of words kidos come up with will get smaller and smaller. Save the shorter lists for the last days of the countdown!

7. Talk about the lists the class generates. If you have younger kidos they can work on the lists with a partner.

8. This is also a great send home activity for the month of December!

**** If rimes are a concept that is too high for your kidos, this can be done as a circle time activity. You can use a letter a day, or easier word patterns such as –at !! ***

Happy Reading!