Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fluency in the "Fry"ing Pan

Fluency in reading is such an important skill.  There are so many wonderful games and ideas online for using Fry words and phrases.  One way that I have found to practice fluency is using these games to have students practice reading words and phrases in a fun format.

I found that I needed sets of the words and phrases to use in many of the games that I have found online. Unique Teaching Resources  had sets of the cards available free online so I downloaded sets of those.  I wanted larger strips with the phrases, so I created sets of cards for the phrases.

The First 100 Fry Phrase Cards

The Second 100 Fry Phrase Cards

 The Third 100 Fry Phrase Cards

Since I wanted my students to be able to practice these words at home, I created lists with all of the Fry Words and Phrases on them.  I simply copied the sheets and placed them in page protectors in the students "Take-Home" binders (Moose books, etc.)  The students would work on them at home and would use the games and cards to practice in class.

I hope that you can get some use out of these items.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Focus on GENRE

I think it is very important for students to understand different types or genres of the books that they are reading.  Several years ago I discovered Beth Newingham's wonderful Reading Genre materials.  I loved how she posted the signs to help her students learn more about each genre.

Ms. Newingham did not have signs for every genre that our curriculum covers.  Since I wanted my students to learn about the genres for the Book Club books that are found with our SUPERKIDS curriculum, I created posters that have  "our books" pictured and that have the genres that "our books" cover.  As I introduced each book, I introduced the genre.  We talked about what would make a book fall into that genre.  If we had already read a book from that genre, we would review that.  By the later part of the year, my students would sometimes bring their own personal library books to me and tell me about the genre.    Often when we would go to the library, they would also try to find library books from a genre that they especially enjoyed.

These posters can also be used by any teacher because these are books that students could encounter in any classroom or library. 

I hope that you can use these posters in your classroom to help your students "Focus on Genre"!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Our SUPER Reading Program!!!!

Our school uses the most wonderful reading curriculum in grades K - 2!  It is called the SUPERKIDS Reading Program.  If you are not familiar with it, you should check it out.  

Hopefully, even those of you with a "mandatory" curriculum, can get some ideas on ways to structure your reading time from the way the SUPERKIDS program is set up!

This curriculum was created by the Rowland Reading Foundation.  Pleasant Rowland, the creator of the American Girl Collection, established this foundation after she retired from American Girl.  As a former primary teacher, she dedicated herself to improving reading in the primary grades.  She is still VERY active in the foundation today! 

I have taught 2 of the 3 levels of this curriculum and it is the BEST!!!!  The characters are introduced in Kinder and they grow up each year.  The students LOVE them!  They talk about them as if they are classmates.  


The day starts with an editing exercise.  Students are given a sentence to edit and correct. This is a set of editing mark reminders that I post on a small pocket chart in my classroom. At the beginning of the year as I teach each mark, I post it on the chart.  By the end of the year, they know how to use all of these marks.

After they edit their sentence, they are then given a short journaling topic to write on. At this point, they have practice with their memory words.  We practice 6 - 8 of their current and past memory words.  They then have 2 - 3 dictation sentences to use for practicing memory and pattern words. I usually have them try to do this like a "test" and then go over them together to help them focus on patterns and mistakes that they have made.  I teach them "tricks" during this review.

The 2nd grade teacher in the SUPERKIDS is named Ms. Blossom and she teaches the students "tricks". These "tricks" are taught using the Word Work Book.  The students learn the tricks and then practice them on the Work Book pages.  My students seemed to really pay attention when Ms. Blossom told them about "tricks" for remembering their words and grammar.

The students then read their decodable reader.  In this decodable reader are stories about the SUPERKIDS, a group of children that are their age and go through the same day to day experiences that they might face.  The SUPERKIDS have daily experiences both positive and negative that the students can relate to.  Character education is also taught using the experiences that the characters face.  The students read two pages each day and practice fluency as well as comprehension with these stories.

At the 2nd grade level, Nonfiction is taught through SUPER magazines.  Each magazine has a variety of different articles and stories about a given topic. The students spend two weeks on each "magazine".  The students not only learn to read nonfiction, but are also introduced to poetry and graphic novels in each issue.  I created Info cards for my focus board about each of the SUPER magazine issues so that the students would know what we are focusing on during that two weeks. 

After spending two weeks reading nonfiction in the SUPER magazines, the students spend two weeks reading quality literature.  They read BOOK CLUB books.  My students were so excited each time a new book was introduced.  They could not wait to get their hands on these books!  Again I created Info cards for our FOCUS board for the titles of the Book Club books.  

All of these books are AR books, so my students test each week that they are reading book club books.  I created a sign to hang near the computers so that they would know the test number for each book.  If your school has AR Universal, then these posters should work for you also.

This curriculum also has a complete writing component.

My students made tremendous gains in their Reading levels due in great part to this wonderful curriculum.  

Any time we have had questions about anything regarding this curriculum, the support has been there immediately.  I cannot tell you how easy this foundation is to work with.  I know that they are open to any and all suggestions and each year they add new and more wonderful additions.

Unfortunately, many teachers do not have a choice in the curriculums that they are expected to teach.  If you do, I would highly recommend looking at this SUPER curriculum!


First, I truly want to apologize!  I am extremely sorry about going missing for so long. It was not intentional, but it was due to the many needs of my own class this year. Unfortunately I did not even get to visit other people's blogs with any consistency.  I feel like I missed so many wonderful things. I just never felt like I had the time to add things to my new blog.  For that, I am TRULY sorry!!

This year has been one of the most hectic of my entire career.  Last summer, I was reassigned to 2nd grade from Kindergarten.  If learning all new curriculum  was not enough, I then had 26 students in a small classroom. (Here in Texas the class limit in grades K - 4 is supposed to be 22, but due to statewide funding issues, the state is giving waivers left and right!)  The kids were also VERY sociable. :)  It seemed I spent every moment just trying to create things that I would need for my own classroom and trying to keep up with the goings on of MY class. 

Now that school is out, hopefully I can take a few breaths and get back to creating a few new things to share. I now know what I still need to create for my own classroom, and I also know better what 2nd grade teachers can use in their classrooms. Now that 2nd grade is "home", I want to create things that will help my students meet the standards while still having fun. 

So watch out!  I will try to post a few things that I created for my own classroom and maybe someone out there can use them too.  If you have an idea about something that I could help you develop, just let me know!

Whew!  I feel a little like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz!

There truly is "No place like home!" .......even if it is just my "blog home"!