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Big Table Writing

Max Brand uses the “big table” in his kindergarten classroom as a communal spot for writing. You can see how he interrupts students naturally to make quick suggestions, and allows some interruptions of his own writing as he works with his students.

Drawing and Learning in Kindergarten

Max Brand demonstrates basic drawing strategies early in the year, and then has his kindergartners attempt similar pictures. He explains how the exercise builds basic skills both in literacy and hand/eye coordination.

Managing Take-Home Books

Sending books home with young readers is essential. Cathy Mere gives lots of practical tips for designing a take-home books program and communicating with families about what young readers need.

Growing Toward Stories

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use prompts and aids to help their youngest learners tell stories and find a writing voice.

Secret Reader

Suzy Kaback marvels at a very young learner who is a “secret reader,” and this leads her to reassess the value of constantly celebrating new skills in school communities.

Word Walls in Preschool? Yes, You Can!

A word wall in preschool?! Shari Frost helps a teacher meet this impossible edict, and has a lot of fun in the process thinking about how our youngest learners acquire word knowledge.

Authentic Reading in Kindergarten

Dana Murphy realizes the best way to introduce students to reading in kindergarten is to apply the principles that work at home with her own children.

A Community Reads “Wonder”

Katherine Sokolowski had a dream — her whole community reading and celebrating the same book. She explains how she helped coordinate, organize, and purchase hundreds of books for a community-wide reading of Wonder.

Visual Expectations in the Classroom

Heather Fisher finds the key to independence for many first graders is lots of visual reminders in classrooms.

Using Paired Texts with Beginning Readers

Shari Frost explains how teachers can use paired texts to help young readers build their skills, starting with books they already know and love.

Mentors for Process and Habits

Ruth Ayres shares some of her favorite mentors and mentor texts for developing good writing processes and habits.

Helping Young Readers Focus on Print

Shari Frost observes a teacher conferring with a first grader who is mystified at the advice to "get your mouth ready," and it leads her to consider what works best in helping 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.

Fostering Thinking Through Play

Katie DiCesare repurposes materials for her first graders to play with, and finds that encouraging play early in the year is a great tool for building reflection skills.

Culturally Responsive Texts

Katrina Edwards is horrified when a student response reveals cultural gaps in her first-grade classroom library.  She researches possibilities for expanding the diversity of texts, and shares an annotated bibliography to download linking different cultures and curricular possibilities.

Kindergarten Reading Conference: Building Confidence

Mandy Robek finds that kindergartner Mikey is lost in knowing how to use his time well during reading workshop. Her conference moves him from deflated to inspired.

Jumping into Just-Right Apps

We spend a lot of time in elementary classrooms matching students to “just-right” books. Katrina Edwards uses similar principles to help her first-grade students pick just-right apps. The essay includes a downloadable chart of appropriate literacy apps for young learners.

Conferring with Jeri in Kindergarten

Mandy Robek demonstrates the strategies of teach, prompt, and reinforce when conferring with kindergartner Jeri.

Little Levels, Big Thinking

Katie DiCesare moves beyond levels to consider her first-grade readers’ needs.

Reorganizing Primary Information Texts

Katie DiCesare thinks about the needs of her first-grade students, and spends some time reorganizing primary information texts, considering both physical texts for the library and online resources.

Like Teacher, Like Student: Finding Emotional Support in Schools

Andie Cunningham and one of her kindergarten students share something in common at the start of the school year — tears as they struggle to find their place in a new community.

Potato the Crow: Blurring the Lines Between Reality, Fantasy, and Play with Young Learners

Leslie Woodhouse discovers a dollar store find takes on a life of its own in her preschool classroom in this delightful essay.

Words with Friends

Melissa Kolb explores what needs to be in place for our youngest students to learn how to converse kindly.

Quick Take: Starting an Anchor Chart in Kindergarten

Mandy Robek begins an anchor chart with her kindergartners and explains the value of shared writing for creating charts about reading strategies and behaviors.

Supporting Readers with Nonfiction Text

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

Using Picture Books to Foster Resilience

Gigi McAllister uses picture books to strengthen her fourth grade classroom community.

Shared Writing in Kindergarten

Mandy Robek leads a shared writing session in kindergarten.

Teaching Search Skill Basics to Students

Bill Bass has advice for teaching web-based search skills to students.

Small-Group Writing: Steps for Success

Cathy Mere provides grouping guidelines for primary teachers.

Frog and Toad and Tina and Maya: A Precocious Kindergarten Reading Group

Suzy Kaback ponders the precociousness of two kindergarten readers.

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