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Chapter Book Read Alouds in the Primary Classroom

“It will never work,” said Leela, a veteran kindergarten teacher with 25 years of experience. “They love the pictures. They all get up on their knees to see the pictures...

Small Group Instruction: Inferring Focus

In this example of reading instruction with a small group, Gail Boushey of “The Sisters” leads a discussion of inference, using Peter Rabbit as a focus text. All of the...

Shopping With Ana: Expanding Our Definition of “Just Right” Books in Grades K-2

My six-year-old daughter Ana has recently discovered the joy of gift certificates. She received a gift certificate from Borders Bookstore from my parents for Valentine's Day. Ana seemed to grasp...

Noticing Words to Expand Vocabulary: Conferring with Mariah

In this conference with six-year-old Mariah, Joan Moser of “The Sisters” has chosen to focus on expanding vocabulary. Joan uses the charts in the classroom linked to read-alouds to anchor...

Flexible Groups: Moving Beyond Levels to Assess Reading Needs

In the past, flexible groups really weren’t that flexible in our classrooms, especially when we based the groups on students’ reading levels. For years we said, “Yes, of course we...

Whole-Class Vocabulary Lesson, Grades K-2

In this five-minute video, Joan Moser of “The Sisters” teaches a whole-class vocabulary lesson. The focus is on helping students notice interesting words, and make connections between daily read-alouds and...

Inviting Students to Organize Books and Materials

Are you always looking for something in your classroom? Maybe it’s that special pair of scissors, your attendance/grade book, or the long overdue library copy of Cynthia Rylant’s The Journey: Stories...

Introducing Bull’s-Eye and Waves Written Responses in Synthesis Work

My students helped me understand that to synthesize what you are reading, you have to stand in two places at once: in your own shoes and in the shoes of...

Time for Reading

How much time do your students spend actually reading text during the literacy block? This question came up during a meeting of elementary classroom teachers. These teachers are required to...

Concepts of Print: Conferring with a Kindergartner

In this conference with five-year-old Mariano, Joan Moser (of “The Sisters”) assesses his understanding of reading, print, and books at the start of the school year. After the conference, Joan...

Minilessons to Start Conversations with Students About Books

In my work as a curricular support teacher, I find myself thinking about people who have been important to me in my role as classroom teacher. When I think about...

Noticing Interesting Words: Small-Group Vocabulary Lesson

In this five-minute video, Gail Boushey (of “The Sisters”) leads a short small-group lesson on vocabulary. In the debrief following the lesson, Gail talks with Joan Moser about vocabulary instruction,...

What Are the Seven Reading Comprehension Strategies?

A “strategy” is a plan developed by a reader to assist in comprehending and thinking about texts, when reading the words alone does not give the reader a sense of...

Planning for a Year of Author Studies (TEMPLATE)

I plan author studies for my students at the start of the year. I think about the range of authors we might study, what authors work best at different times...

Just Because They Can Doesn’t Mean They Should: Choosing Age-Appropriate Books for Literature Circles

“Whatever you are doing tomorrow, cancel it! You have got to come and see Jan’s literature circles.” That was the message that Patty, a literacy coach, left on my voicemail....

Digging Deep: The Power of Rereading

It is the first day of school; the classroom crackles with whisper voices as a new group of fifth graders investigate my classroom library. I stand back, giving my students...

Let’s Get Some Attitude

"All our attitudes come out in language," says English maven Robert MacNeil. Not just thoughts. Not just ideas. Not just imaginings. Attitudes. Maybe that's part of what's missing in those...

Boys’ Book Club in Second Grade

    “The girls started it.” That’s how Linda remembers book clubs were born in second grade. Two girls had become interested in the Warriors series by Erin Hunter and...

Common Core Conversations: Increasing Argumentative Writing

“Let’s argue more often!” Does this exclamation bring up some feelings for you? Are they positive? Maybe . . . if you won debates in high school. Perhaps the word...

“I Am the Book”: Helping Emergent Bilingual Learners Connect with Books

Too often in school, emergent bilingual students have trouble connecting with the book.  This fall, I planned to change that.  I wanted to help my English language learners read with...

Important Book, Important Notes: Guiding Young Students Through Notetaking

For about six weeks last winter, my daughter Lindsay was doing research on dogs during her self-directed learning time in kindergarten. She checked out a pile of Eyewitness books about...