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Fewer Books and More Options at the End of the Year

Cathy Mere considers the dilemma teachers face when the bookroom, library, and tech departments require books and devices to be returned late in the year . . . but there are still a few weeks of school. She shares many suggestions for fostering literacy and community when there are far fewer books in the room.

They Don’t Read at Home

Cathy Mere suggests strategies for working with struggling students who read very little at home.

Reading Ambassadors

Cathy Mere finds that a Reading Ambassadors program pays big dividends in building confident and conversant young readers.

Thinking About Fluency

Cathy Mere finds that with young learners, not all issues with fluency are created equally — different needs require different strategies.

Building Word Learning Routines

Cathy Mere shares tried-and-true strategies for word learning with struggling young learners.

Growing Toward Independence

Cathy Mere shares what to look for and what to try next with young learners who are easily distracted and struggling to concentrate during independent reading.

Supporting Readers with Nonfiction Text

Cathy Mere finds that criteria for “just-rightness” varies with genre.

Small-Group Writing: Steps for Success

Cathy Mere provides grouping guidelines for primary teachers.

Reader Response: Keeping It Real

Cathy Mere finds many authentic ways for her first graders to share reading insights.

A Closer Look at Engagement

Are the terms stamina and engagement synonymous? Cathy Mere defines the terms by observing her first graders.

Shared Blogging in the Primary Classroom

Shared reading and shared writing are essential instructional techniques in the primary grades. How about shared blogging for teaching children basic blogging skills? Cathy Mere describes how it works.

Mentor Texts for “Versus” Stories

Shark vs. Train! Fork vs. Spoon! Versus stories are incredibly popular in writing workshops these days. Cathy Mere found herself struggling to teach narrative conventions to students writing versus tales, so she created a booklist of mentor texts.

Kidwatching and Connections in the Early Days

Cathy Mere finds the early days of school are all about kidwatching and connecting with her first-grade students during reading and writing workshops. She shares some terrific guiding questions that might also help new teachers hone their observation skills.

Staying Connected with Students All Summer Long

Cathy Mere explains how she uses technology to stay in touch with students and families over the summer.

Formative Assessment: Wall Displays and Conversations in First Grade

Formative assessments are always a priority in classrooms. Cathy Mere explains how she uses a classroom wall display and conversations to highlight strong writing and help her first graders learn to assess improvements in their work.

Capturing Student Learning with Evernote

It can be difficult to move from print to electronic records in the classroom. After using a spiral notebook for 10 years, Cathy Mere did just that.

Guided Reading in Perspective

Cathy Mere puts guided reading in perspective, explaining how it works as one piece of the puzzle when it comes to fostering a lifelong love of reading in students.

Books Struggling Readers Can and Will Want to Read: Building the Classroom Library

Sammy is an avid reader in the classroom, but his teacher Cathy Mere notices he “accidentally” is always leaving the backpack with his intervention books behind.  The challenge for classroom teachers is stocking books with titles that will interest Sammy, but still provide enough challenge and support to move him forward as a reader.

Assessment Beyond Levels: The Reading Grid

Is there a great divide in your classroom between numerical data from assessments and your anecdotal notes? Cathy Mere bridges the gap with her class reading grid, a nifty tool for recording and analyzing a whole classroom’s worth of student assessment data on one page.  A template is included.

Countdown: Keeping Children at the Center of My Plans for the New Year

Cathy Mere reminds us that the excitement of facing new students is always tempered and enriched by the lessons from last year’s students we carry with us.

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