And a FREE Balanced Literacy resource to help you get STARTED
2019 is the Year of BALANCED LITERACY!
But wait! THIS IS 2020!
Did I miss it??? NO!
2020 is a new decade!
We get another DO-OVER because 2020 was SOOOOOOO BAD!
We get a BALANCED LITERACY “do-Over”!
Ready to UPDATE your literacy block?
Balanced Literacy: Here is your NEW YEAR PLAN!
The Why? The What? and The How?
Balanced literacy has been defined as “an approach designed to help individual students learn how to process a variety of increasingly challenging texts with understanding and fluency.” (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001)
Fountas & Pinnell have been the guiding resource for Balanced Literacy. Today we listen.
It is an approach to teaching. NOT a curriculum. It is HOW we teach our students to be independent readers and writers. It is NOT what books we use to teach them.
Balanced Literacy has been defined in “components” or “pieces” of literacy instruction.
This 8-week series will focus on the components of a complete BALANCED LITERACY program. We will focus on clear and concise definitions. Definitions that educators can discuss in collaboration.
A “common language” where we can learn from each other and with each other.
The 8 components we will focus on are:
- Read Alouds
- Shared Reading
- Guided Reading
- Independent Reading
- Modeled / Interactive Writing
- Shared Writing
- Guided Writing / Writer’s Workshop
- Word Work
Each week we will focus on one area of Balanced Literacy and share experiences, teacher tips, and resources to support and expand our Balanced Literacy repertoire. Start 2019 with the plans to implement BALANCED LITERACY!
This week: Shared Reading.
Last week we discussed Read Alouds. Week 2 is about Shared Reading.
How is shared reading different from a read-aloud?
Shared reading, involves quite a bit of pausing to teach or engage kids in practicing a skill. When doing a read-aloud, go through the book a bit more quickly, stopping less frequently.
The other most important difference between shared reading and a read-aloud is that during shared reading, kids have their eyes on the print. During a read-aloud, you may show the pictures to students, but they are not usually able to see the words clearly. Since students can see the text during shared reading, you are able to teach things like decoding more easily.
Shared reading is a part of the balanced reading model (read aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading).
It is a 15ish minute block of time within that model that should be practiced daily. Simply stated it’s the “We do.” part of the gradual release model. This element is crucial. It’s time for the teacher and students to practice together.
The READ ALOUD is done BY the teacher FOR the students.
Shared Reading is done WITH the students.
A Poem, a Big Book, A chart. Any text where the teacher and the students can see the text, and read it together.
It is important to teach what “really matters” connected to a shared text. “We always want students to leave each reading experience enriched by the language and the text because of the shared approach, so we shouldn’t find hundreds of vocabulary words and instructional opportunities in a single text.
Some of the many benefits of shared reading
- building vocabulary
- developing understandings of story structure
- demonstrating reading strategies
- entire class reads a common text
- all read the large text
- high engagement
There are many types of print for Shared Reading. Big books, charts, and poetry are some resources for teachers to read WITH students.
Here some great educators share their resources.
The main goal of shared reading is to engage students with the text. It is to share a reading experience. Everyone can read together and then participate in a rich discussion, writing, or response to the text.
In summary, a Shared Reading is a reading experience where both teacher and students read a large text, together. A chart, a poem on a smartboard, or any other BIG text, where the teacher reads WITH the students using self-question and think aloud reading strategies. The goal is to model fluent and expressive reading. The students INTERACT with the text while reading WITH the teacher and then through discussions, writing, and/or thinking for themselves.
These literacy posts may help in YOUR Balanced Literacy journey.
These resource books for TEACHERS may be helpful for YOUR reading.
I hope YOU are prepared to practice DAILY Shared Reading in YOUR classroom!
Stay tuned for next week… Week 2 Guided Reading.
Please share with friends.
Leave me a comment…How do YOU use Shared Reading in YOUR classroom?
Close Reading for LITTLE ONES!
Long Vowel Picture Puzzles for Phonics Centers.
Most centers are my nemesis.
My nemesis. Setting them up. Making sure they are running CORRECTLY. And then storing them for another year! UGH!
But. What if you had a PHONICS center that was SELF CHECKING, kids enjoyed so they did it OFTEN, and it could stay out for a longer time because KIDS WANT TO PLAY WITH IT!
How about a LONG VOWEL picture PUZZLES for Phonics centers!
The Puzzles are of one picture.
The kids have to build a word AND make a picture.
It is self-checking because if the picture is not put together correctly,
they are not done. The kids can use the completed words in
journal writing, word lists, or word family word walls.
The possibilities are ENDLESS!
The best part…they LOVE IT!
Kids LOVE putting together puzzles!
Most have SILENT E, but a few ( ee/ea/oa ) are included.
All of the WINTER-themed picture puzzles are ready to be
printed, laminated, and cut for easy center prep!
Extension product included:
FREE Valentine Long Vowel Picture Puzzle ($2.00 value)
YOU WILL WANT THIS! 🙂
You bring 1-2 dozen cookies.
You take home a variety of cookies…
as many cookies as you brought.
Here are some of the cookies made from years past:
those of you who know me…
I don’t bake…
well, I have..
I just don’t ENJOY it!
* I made a batch of persimmon cookies last weekend.
I felt I had to before the perimmons rotted.
I gave them to the chickens!
And so… What to take to the family cookie exchange?
Make it…..don’t BAKE it!
NUTTER BUTTER REINDEER!
Check out my COOKIE Pinterest board for MORE ideas!
Will it be a Pinterest SUCCESS?
A Pinterest FAIL?
Here we go!
Lay out the Nutter Butters.
Break the pretzels into antlers.
Mix powdered sugar into
(It dries like CEMENT…it holds everything!)
I think ..Pinterest SUCCESS!
The grandkids LOVE them!
So was I a COOKIE EXCHANGE cheater?
Maybe. But you know what?
The smiles & hugs made it ALL worth while!
Not, an ELF ON THE SHELF!
A REAL HELPER ELF!
It’s the MOST, WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!
SANTA CLAUS is COMIN’ TO TOWN!
First of all…
I work at a low socioeconomic, Title 1 school.
This time of year can be very hard for some kids.
Some families DON’T celebrate Christmas.
Some families can’t afford gifts.
Some are VERY proud and won’t accept donations.
This means…Santa & his elves don’t come to EVERY house.
So today..we had THE TALK.
THE talk about what December, Christmas, and Santa
are REALLY about.
GIVING & HELPING!
Today, we became HELPER ELVES!
We talked about
HOW we can HELP at HOME,
and help our FRIENDS!
The kids talked about giving from the “heart”.
Our class meeting was SO enlightening!
My kids were SO engaged.
The conversation was NOT about “ME..ME..ME”.
They were SO excited to brainstorm “What can I do for OTHERS?”
Sniff..sniff..made tears of joy come to my eyes!
IT WAS AWESOME!
Santa, you can come to ROOM 3.
(I have a feeling…he will)
Here are some suggestions for YOU!
But for now..
WE WILL BE HELPING YOU, SANTA!
WE ARE HELPER ELVES!
To help YOU out in this BUSY month..
Here are some
from my TPT store.
Here is a FREEBIE
from my store!
I know…BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!
Folks..LIFE IS BUSY! Christmas time is BUSY!
Sorry to be the one to tell you that.
30 days …from TODAY (11.25.18) 4 SUNDAYS! YES, 4 SUNDAYS…
Christmas will be here!
I LOVE CHRISTMAS!
How to get ready??
Where to start?
(I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE LISTS! )
List ALL ( YES ALL ) of the people you
WOULD LIKE to give gifts to.
PUT A STAR next to the people you MUST give a gift to.
(I know that sounds weird..but..I would LOVE to give gifts to
EVERYONE…but…my bank account says I must prioritize).
It doesn’t mean I won’t give a gift…
just might be a “thoughtful”… not-as-costly gift.
If money grew on trees…
#2…..DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN DEBT FOR THE NEW YEAR!
So…there is officially 1 more PAYCHECK until Christmas.
( Or figure out HOW many PAYCHECKS YOU have until DEC. 24 )
Take the number of gifts YOU MUST purchase
and divide by EXTRA $$.
***If you have been SAVING for Christmas, which you WILL DO for NEXT year, add that too!
That tells you HOW many GIFTS you MUST purchase and the amount you have to spend.
That’s important because
now you can begin looking for a gift
for the PERSON…not just a checkoff on a list.
SLOW DOWN! Not ready to buy yet!
Now….start talking, texting, asking others…
#3…..DO YOUR RESEARCH PEOPLE!
What items do the people on your list WANT…NEED…LOVE?????
Add this to your LIST!
( If for kids…ASK THEIR PARENTS…sizes, likes, ages,etc )
online? Look for FREE shipping!
(AMAZON PRIME ..I am speed dial!)
Friends & Family …FAR AWAY??? ( Sorry )
SHIP TO THEM!
Don’t ship to YOU & then pay to ship to them!
SHIP DIRECTLY! FREE!
YOU HAVE NOT MADE A BUDGET YET!
#4…..Figure out what you can spend..
AFTER PAYING YOUR BILLS & feeding your family.
They always come first…don’t forget to add them to your MUST list!
Your kids COME FIRST!
And NOT going into SEVERE debt!
Only charge what YOU can pay off the next month!
NO DEBT AFTER JANUARY!
OK..then..start listing whom you will purchase for.
After you purchase…keep the receipt!
I write the name of the person I purchased it for on the back..
RETURNS? Easy Peasy!
After you purchase…
or it arrives from SANTA’S HELPER
IN THE BROWN UPS TRUCK… 🙂
WRAP IT AND ATTACH A NAME TAG!
( This from a Santa’s Helper…who has forgotten and was wrapping WAY TOO LATE INTO CHRISTMAS EVE! )
#5…..I begin to look at my
LIST of ” WANT to purchase for”
but NOT necessarily,
“Must Purchase For”
on my list!
( Yes I keep it in a little book in my purse! )
Now I have a better idea of “extras”…
Do I need to do “homemade”….
What kinds of gifts can you give for NO MONEY?
How about a picnic
Gifts of “ONE TO ONE” time…ARE THE BEST!
And you can schedule them AFTER the holidays.
The gift that keeps on giving!
Whatever fits YOU!
Christmas is NOT about who can GUILT YOU the MOST!
It’s about telling the people you care about..
THEY ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU!
Enjoy the season.
Spend time with friends & family!
TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!
And when JANUARY comes around..
(And maybe a mani / pedi for yourself?)
Christmas is from the HEART..not the WALLET!
What do YOU do to get ready for CHRISTMAS????
- Nonfiction about pumpkins, apples, plants
- Biography about Christopher Columbus, Squanto
- Fiction about Fall, Halloween, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving
- “How To”..grow..carve…etc… about pumpkins, apples, plants
- “Informative” about Christopher Columbus, Squanto,Pilgrims
- “Narrative” about Fall, Halloween, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving
- Thank You cards, Invitations, Lists, Etc.
- addition / subtraction
- missing addends
- place value
- story problems
Can First Graders become BETTER WRITERS?
My name is Wendy McCarty.
I am the creator behind…
I create classroom and homeschool materials
that engage young minds and help the teacher to support instruction.
You can see my products in my TPT Store:
Writing in First Grade
Now… I wish I was PERFECT.
I wish my kiddos were PERFECT.
There are NO Perfect PEOPLE!
NO Perfect KIDDOS.
Now that we have gone there…how do we get close?
We get BETTER!
( My Mantra )
We write EVERY DAY.
Usually..more than once.
We write about our day in school
…things we like
…stories we have read
…new words we have learned
…new thoughts we have had
I try to do a mini-lesson on a strategy.
I add new vocabulary. In CONTEXT.
We make connections.
We expand our thinking.
And it can be noisy.
Sometimes LEARNING is messy.
And loud. And busy.
We do writer’s workshop.
My kids write.
AND they LOVE IT!
Give them paper, pencils, markers, colored pencils, etc…
And … LET THEM TALK!
My classroom is NEVER quiet!
and after writing.
TALK, Write, Create!
Are they perfect?
Is that OK?
I have added new
( HOW DO YOU SPELL…..??? )
(LOTS of VISUALS )
See how I use the
For WRITER’S WORKSHOP
If you need a starting point...
Monthly Writing Pages
bottom of EVERY PAGE!
I LOVE TEACHING!
I am currently headed into my 27th year teaching…ALL of them in first grade!
My kiddos ask me “WHY don’t YOU ever GRADUATE to Second Grade?”
I tell them
“First Grade is IN my HEART!”
You can follow me at:
Follow me: TPT FB IG Pinterest
3 steps to sight word fluency.
Not exactly steps..a hop..a skip..and a JUMP!
When teaching my kiddos to read,
I use MANY tools!
Books, whiteboards, markers, pocket charts, flashcards, etc..
But… when teaching sight words
FRY words, Dolch Words etc, etc, etc.
It ALL comes down to this…
IF YOU CANNOT READ SIGHT WORDS,
You WILL NOT read at grade level!
HOW DO WE HELP???
We research. We try. And we try AGAIN!
There are MANY resources on Pinterest
to help you find lists, and lists, and lists of words!
And LOTS of OTHERS!
NOW I know what to teach…
HOW do I Do IT?
Here are your
3 steps to Sight Word FLUENCY!
Each student makes their OWN word cards on colored paper.
(Practice sounding out, spelling, & writing EACH word)
I use 8 – 10 words.
Then they cut them apart.
Find a friend who has a different colored paper.
Both friends turn their word cards face down.
Rock, paper, scissors…winner goes first.
Choose one of YOUR word cards and one of your friends.
READ BOTH CARDS…friends help if needed.
If they match…keep BOTH cards. If not, turn them over and partner’s turn!
Winner has the most matches at the end of time
( or when ALL cards are turned over)
Great PARTNER work!
for my word study WORD WORK.
I make the letter cards and the word cards.
We pocket chart them ( my kiddos like to play SCHOOL during MAY DO time).
One of the Activities is
After MAKING WORDS
Turn them over & MATCH IT!
We also invented
(NOT SPEED RACER!)
I turn them over & as a class,
we read as FAST AS WE CAN!
Word Wall for Sight Word Fluency
They use their whiteboards
and I call OUT…
“I SPY A WORD ON THE WORD WALL that
starts with a “_____” and RHYMES with “____”.
They find it on the all…and write it on their boards.
Sometimes I will change it up with
“A verb that starts with a “__”, etc. etc.
The main theme here is PRACTICE…PRACTICE PRACTICE!
No matter how many “steps” it takes…
they need practice activities & time
to HOP, SKIP, & JUMP into FLUENCY!
ALWAYS begin with BALANCED LITERACY!
And so we begin.
To help with Sight Word Mastery
CLICK on the links for help!
Ready to TRANSFORM your Classroom
BALANCED LITERACY Classroom?
Here you are!
If you need more help, check out my TPT Store. LOTS of goodies in there!
First and Foremost,
Reading is the #1 predictor of academic success.
Consider this my DISCLAIMER…
I am NOT A College Professor.
I do NOT have a MASTERS ( or above )
I am just a teacher.
A first-grade teacher.
A first-grade reading teacher.
A Veteran (27yrs ), a first-grade teacher,
in a TITLE 1 SCHOOL!
I have seen a LOT! Done a LOT!
Hear me ROAR!!!!!
So, I repeat.
I am a teacher. I teach reading.
(Aren’t they cute????)
I have been through:
Leveled Readers ( DRA, GSP, AR, Lexile)
Words Their Way
High-Interest Reading Books
A MULTITUDE OF PUBLISHER’S CURRICULUM!
New sets every 7 years!
Next, having said this…
1 thing most curriculum’s have in common :
READ A LOT!
And then…READ SOME MORE!
My little sisters…
YES…both of my LITTLE SISTER’S are
We were discussing school.
Yes… we do that!
We are trying to WRAP our minds around the
and they will
“GET IT!” (way of thinking.)
I LOVE reading with kiddos!
See my post here about the
But then my concern is…
When I “release” them to read,
When I want them to become INDEPENDENT readers,
Where do they “learn” the skills to use when they “get stuck”?
Will they use strategies, when they don’t know what’s happening?
When a story isn’t making sense…do they keep reading?
If they keep reading…
At a recent PD, my little sis said she understood the
READ, READ, READ philosophy.
Integrate science, social studies, math, technology
Writing and Reading
COMPLIMENT and Coexist
WITH each other!
You can’t have one without the other!
THEY NEED EACH OTHER!
There needs to be a BALANCE of:
Skills & Strategies
in conjunction with independent reading & writing!
I said IT!
Reading & Writing SKILLS:
etc, etc, etc…
(I sound like my Education College Professors!)
I was listening!
ALL of these “lessons” MUST be taught
IN CONJUNCTION with
Reading & Writing!
Yes…To be a better reader…
YOU MUST READ!
BUT…to be a better reader who UNDERSTANDS…
You must have skills and strategies to use
WHEN you read and write!
Unless you are teaching ADULTS in a COLLEGE CLASS…
A 40-minute LECTURE on diagramming sentences
IS NOT…I REPEAT…
the way to do it!
If you WANT to spend 40 minutes discussing grammar…
Read a little.
Let it soak in.
And do it again. And again. and again!
Do 2-3 MINILESSONS over a few days…
Let it SINK IN!
What it looks like.
Where to find it.
How to use it.
Why we use it.
When to ask for help.
Kinder-Grade 1-Grade 2 teachers…
Mini-Lessons with a WORKSHOP!
Let kiddos have a chance to PRACTICE
what YOU have taught them!
Let it SINK IN!
LET THEM READ!
WRITE…and write, some more!
Skills, Strategies, Reading, Writing
They will become “BETTER”…
and isn’t that what we ALL want to be?
Need some HELP?
My friend, Alison, at
has a great post about
Here are some “HELPERS” for YOU!
Click HERE for more reading & writing products!