Preventing Misguided Reading

Feel like you could teach a guiding reading group in your sleep? Or do you feel completely overwhelmed with the massive amount of planning your guided reading groups take?
Ready to go deeper with your guided reading instruction? Take a fresh look with Preventing Misguided Reading.

Ready to go deeper with your guided reading instruction? Take a fresh look with Preventing Misguided Reading.

This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit!

Why?

For many teachers, guided reading is how we spend the majority of our reading instruction with our students.  When something is that big of an instructional focus, it deserves a second, third, fourth look at how we're spending that time to make sure we're getting as much out of it as we can.  Preventing Misguided Reading by Jan Miller Burkins and Melody M. Croft gives us that.

Aha Moment

I love this quote.  "Guided reading is not about teaching 'little books.' It is not about prompting for strategies or about leveling texts or students. It is first and foremost about developing in students reading processes that are efficient, or what Clay refers to as 'a smoothly operating reading system.'"

I'll be honest here.  While my big picture guided reading has always been meeting the needs of readers, sometimes in the day to day drudgery of teaching, guided reading becomes more about getting through levels and books instead of the readers integrating those processes.

Don't Miss

The 27 strategies for teachers in this book.  So many books focus on strategies for our students, this book instead focuses on strategies for teachers to use when taking a look at our guided reading lessons.

I Wish

I wish there was a concise list of the strategies with brief descriptions to have at my fingertips.  I'll type one up, but I love to have it directly from the authors' "mouth".

Good For . . .

Any teacher who is a guided reading teacher or reading specialist who supports teachers in their literacy growth.  Preventing Misguided Reading is guide for anyone who wants to look at guided reading with a fresh set of eyes.

Wise Words

Ready to go deeper with your guided reading instruction? Take a fresh look with Preventing Misguided Reading.

Ready to go deeper with your guided reading instruction? Take a fresh look with Preventing Misguided Reading.

Ready to go deeper with your guided reading instruction? Take a fresh look with Preventing Misguided Reading.

Ready to go deeper with your guided reading instruction? Take a fresh look with Preventing Misguided Reading.

I hope you'll take time to read Preventing Misguided Reading.  If you do, let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear from you.

December Desktop

Happy December! I love Christmas time.  I am ditching the crazy this year and simplifying things, so I can actually enjoy the holiday instead of being stressed the whole time.  I'm going with simpler decorations this year and all gifts were purchased over Thanksgiving break.

• December 2017 • Computer Desktop Calendar Background and matching iPhone Backgrounds

This happy little set of winter clipart stole my heart as soon as I saw it! These fun graphics are from Eve Farb.  You can grab the calendar here or by clicking the image below.

• December 2017 • Computer Desktop Calendar Background and matching iPhone Backgrounds
Grab the matching iPhone backgrounds, too!  Grab the calendar background here and the plain one here.

• December 2017 • Computer Desktop Calendar Background and matching iPhone Backgrounds

While I love the graphics for this month, I realize not everyone celebrates Christmas.  I updated last December's background {graphics from White Heart Design} to give you an alternative.  You can download it here or by clicking on the image below.
• December 2017 • Computer Desktop Calendar Background and matching iPhone Backgrounds

And to keep you completely coordinated, there are iPhone backgrounds for this one, too.  Grab the calendar background here and the plain one here.

• December 2017 • Computer Desktop Calendar Background and matching iPhone Backgrounds

I hope you have a wonderful December!

Not This But That: Reading Differentiation

It's no secret that I'm a BIG fan of Heinemann's Not This, But That series.  It's top notch PD learning presented precisely and concisely (code for short and to the point.)  These books may be small, but they pack a big punch.

Each book follows a predictable layout:

Not This: This section is an overview of a common instruction practice.

Why Not? What Works?: The second section of the book focuses on what we know about best practice for the topic.

But That: And the final section focuses on implementation of these ideas in our classrooms.

Here are some of the titles available:
This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit!

You can see a full list from Heinemann here and here's an Amazon list if you like getting books in 2 days.  #primespoiledmeforlife

This month I read No More Reading Instruction Without Differentiation by Lynn Geronemus Bigelman and Debra S. Peterson.  It was a clear cut look at reading differentiation-what it is/isn't, why it works, and what it looks like in real classrooms.
No More Reading Instruction Without Differentiation: Reading differentiation what, why, and how in one small book.

Differentiation is one of those words that gets thrown around in education with little to no support for teachers.  There are a lot of people telling teachers to differentiate but not nearly enough support for what that actually looks like.

**If you want to know more about differentiation, Carol Ann Tomlinson is a guru.  This short article written by her for Reading Rockets is a great overview.

Why?

Because one size fits all curriculums are planned for imaginary children, not the children that enter your classroom door.  And because we know differentiation is important, but the path to implementation is foggy.

Aha Moment

I love this quote.  "Studies by Taylor and colleagues found that the more teachers engaged students in higher-level talk and writing about texts, the more growth and achievement they had on standardized reading tests."

1.  Soooo, if you build it (or provide the opportunity and support for it), they will come.  Yes, kids are initially terrible at higher-level talk but encouraging them, modeling talk, and providing opportunities will get them there.  It's worth the time investment.
2.  Let's ditch the test prep worksheets and have more higher-level talk and writing about texts.

I Wish

I really wish I had more technology available in my classroom.  I feel like Seesaw would be an incredible tool to utilize for the gathering and interpreting evidence as well as allowing students to document their progress.  This is a tool I'm going to dig into more this year.

Don't Miss

The sentence scaffolds for talk on page 42 are awesome.  The importance of talk is emphasized over and over throughout the book.  We have to guide students to understand what meaningful talk looks like and sounds like, and this chart is a perfect resource for that.  "Learning floats on a sea of talk," (Douglas Barnes), and this chart will help your students do that.

Good For . . .

Any reading teacher, reading specialist, administrator, or anyone that has a hand in selecting curriculum, designing assessments, or evaluating teachers.  So, everyone that has any connection to kids who read.

Wise Words




I hope you make a little time to squeeze No More Reading Instruction Without Differentiation into your already full life.  I know you're already overloaded but taking time to evaluate what we're doing with our students makes those precious instructional minutes count even more.

November Desktop

Happy November to you! It is finally cooling off, and I even got to sit by the fire last night and read for a little while.  Houston is getting a little tease of fall, and I'm loving every minute of it.

• November 2017 • Computer Desktop Calendar Background and matching iPhone Backgrounds
I'm in love with these fresh fall colors and that sweet little fox.  The graphics are from Little Sisters Studio, and they're beautiful.  You can grab the calendar here or by clicking the image below.
• November 2017 • Computer Desktop Calendar Background and matching iPhone Backgrounds
Grab the matching iPhone backgrounds, too!  Grab the calendar background here and the plain one here.
• November 2017 • Computer Desktop Calendar Background and matching iPhone Backgrounds
Have a wonderful month!

Bulletin Board Quote Hack

I've been in love with the #famousfirstlines that Literacy For Big Kids shares on her Instagram account. (If you're not following her @literacyforbigkids, your literacy teacher life is suffering.)  I found them powerful, and I know students would, too.

She uses one of my favorite apps, WordSwag, to create these images for Instagram.  It's only taken me two years to figure out that WordSwag doesn't have to be just for your phone.  With just a few extra steps (and one extra hack for my fellow OCD teachers), Word Swag can transition from your iPhone screen to your classroom walls.
Quick, colorful, and powerful-add favorite book quotes to your classroom using the WordSwag app.
If you're interested in how my trick for getting pictures of book covers for Book a Day displays, you can read this post: Book Photos in a Snap.

The short version is Word Swag-->Transparent background-->Add text-->Choose your configuration-->Save-->Send to your computer-->Set desired page size in PowerPoint-->Add image-->Print.

For my visual learner friends, here's a video of what I did on my phone:

And what I did on my computer:

If you're super type A need things to match, here's an easy trick to make that happen:

I also printed one out full sized, and it looks great, too.
Quick, colorful, and powerful-add favorite book quotes to your classroom using the WordSwag app.
I love that this is an easy way to make quality literature a visual focus in our classrooms.  If you try this or are already doing it, tag me @iteachwhatsyoursuperpower on Instagram.  I'd love to see how it looks in your classroom!

That Book is Too Hard for You

I can tell you all of the reasons why teaching students how to select their own books is important.  I have taught great whole class lessons on that from The Daily 5.  I can tell you the books that say that, the reasons why it is helpful to readers, and lots of other blah, blah, blah stuff about it.

The reality is when I was juggling 44 kids, I would just try to quickly and kindly redirect a student to a new book when I could tell they were way in over their heads.  But let me tell you about the time I finally didn't do that.

Why I finally quit saying, "That book is too hard for you." How to stop telling students they don't understand a book and start showing them instead.
This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit!

I was working on character traits with a small group of third graders, and their teacher mentioned that one of the students was reading a book that was too hard.  As I listened to each student read and asked a few questions about characters to connect to the strategy we were discussing, it quickly became clear to me that "Emma" was way in over her head.  I went into teacher freakout mode.  It sounded like this in my head:

•She's not sure if the character is an animal or a person?
•How has she gotten 100 pages into this book?
•This child needs a new book stat.


But, I was trying to channel my inner Jennifer Seravallo.  I knew I could redirect Emma to a new book, but that would not address the fact that she didn't know she wasn't making meaning as she read.  If the most basic concept of reading is making meaning, then that was the most important lesson I could teach her.  So I didn't send Emma to choose a new book.

Over the next few meetings, we continued to discuss strategies for understanding characters.  Students shared actions or dialogue or descriptions that helped them understand their characters.  Emma had little to contribute.

I was hoping she would catch on that if she didn't have anything to say that maybe she didn't understand the book.  That didn't happen.

The next time we met, I started our group by talking about what it sounds like in your head when you are making meaning, and the types of things our thinking voice says to us as we read.  We talked about if we're not making meaning, we're not really reading.  I asked them to notice those things and jot a few down as they read.

When I checked in with Emma, her thinking voice hadn't said any of those things.  I asked her what she thought that meant, and she told me it probably meant that she wasn't making meaning from the book.  I held my breath and asked what she thought that might mean.  Emma told me she thought she didn't really understand what was happening in the book and that she was going to choose a new one.


And a rainbow appeared in the sky and happy instrumental music started playing in the background.  Not really, but it was a moment of realization for me.  It is really scary to think that a child can choose a book and not realize that they don't understand it.  We need to do something about that other than snatch it out of their hand.


So this year, take the time.  Make the time.  Throw out whatever else you need to to create time to support students.  If we are limiting students to guided reading level or AR level selections, it is saving time at the moment but not teaching them a thing.

If you're not sure where to start, The Comprehension Toolkit is an AMAZING resource to give students a common language to talk about meaning.  The Reading Strategies Book is a perfect year long resource to help you support students one on one, in small groups, or whole class as you teach about reading strategies.


And finally, it's easy to look at students and see what's "wrong" with their reading.  But there were so many things that were right with Emma's reading.

•She was reading multi syllable words accurately and reading fluently.

•She showed dedication in continuing to read a book even when she wasn't making meaning.  That girl got 100 pages in.  What would happen when she learned to select a text that matched her decoding ability with comprehension?  Nothing would hold her back.

•She was coachable.  Emma was trying to do the work and able to speak honestly about what was and was not happening as she read.


This year students will come to you with a complete inability to choose a text they can read accurately and comprehend.  If you do nothing else, send them on to the next grade able to do this.   I'm sure your principal will expect more from you, but y'all can work that out.

A MONSTROUS Collection of Monster Books

Your students will love this monstrously good collection of monster books.  Being a little scared is a lot more fun when you're enjoying a good book.
Your students will love this MONSTROUS collection of monster books.  They're a whole lot of fun and just a little bit scary.
This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit!

Maurice the Unbeastly

Maurice isn't like the other monsters-he likes kale, is polite, and even has a lovely singing voice.  His concerned parents send him to the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts to learn how to be a proper monster.  Can he show them that being different is a good thing?


Monster Trouble

Winifred Schnitzel isn't frightened, but she is tired when the neighborhood monsters won't leave her be!  The monsters won't give up trying to scare Winifred, so what's a girl to do?  Your little monsters will love how Winifred turns the tables on the monsters when she finally learns what monsters hate the most.


Leonardo, the Terrible Monster 

Leonardo is terrible monster.  As in, he's terrible at being a monster.  He just can't seem to frighten anyone despite his best efforts.  He finally finds success when he meets Sam, a nervous little boy that even he can scare.  Success turns out not to be as sweet as he'd imagined.  Leonardo learns that he may be a terrible monster, but he can be a really good friend.


Monster's New Undies

Need new undies? Monster doesn't think so . . . until his fall apart.  When his mom takes him shopping for a new pair, none of them seem just right because,  "Those undies aren't worthy of dressing these buns."  This hysterical story of a monster and his rump will have your kids in stitches.


Quit Calling Me a Monster!

Floyd Peterson may have sharp claws, giant teeth, and shaggy purple fur, but he's no monster.  Why can people never get past the screaming to really get to know him?  Floyd will have your students talking about how we treat others and what it means to be "different".
PS-This is a perfect story to share when teaching students to label their illustrations to add more detail in writing!


Monster Trucks

Turns out scaring people is just a monster's part-time job.  What do they do to keep busy the rest of the time?  They get to work with their monster trucks doing things like digging holes, paving roads, and clearing snow.


There's a Monster in Your Book 

This interactive read aloud will have kids tickling, tilting, shaking, and wiggling to get the monster of the book.  When they finally succeed, they'll wish they hadn't and call him back to the safety of the pages.  Your students will love this book, and you'll love sharing it with them.


My Teacher is a Monster (No, I Am Not.)

Bobby's teacher is loud, yells, and takes away recess (when you throw paper airplanes).  She's an absolute monster. Bobby's trip to the park is ruined when he runs into Mrs. Kirby.  The day doesn't quite turn out the way Bobby expects, and he learns that monsters aren't always as bad as they seem.


What Makes a Monster

This nonfiction book takes a closer look at an aye aye, vampire bat, honey badger, and more monstrous looking creatures.  The creep factor will grab their interest but the fascinating facts will keep your students hooked.


Goodnight Goon

This spooky take on a classic book will be a favorite for any kiddo looking for a fun fright.  And how fun is the title for teaching alliteration?

Got any monstrous favorites that I missed?

October Desktop

Happy October to you! I love October.  I can pretend the blazing hot weather is going to end (it's not) and start dreaming of cozy sweaters and fall.  That may be months away, but the pumpkin spice lattes are not.  Say what you want-those things are good.

• October 2017 • Computer Desktop Calendar Background and matching iPhone Backgrounds

These falling leaves are about as close to fall as I'm getting this month, but I love them.  The graphics are from Beer Junk (no junk there!), and they're beautiful.  You can grab the calendar here or by clicking the image below.

• October 2017 • Computer Desktop Calendar Background and matching iPhone Backgrounds

Grab the matching iPhone backgrounds, too!  Grab the calendar background here and the plain one here.

I happy you have a wonderful October!

September Favorites

And that's a wrap on September! September has been much kinder to our family than August was.  We're ready to head into October and for things to cool down at least a little bit.  Maybe the low 80's at least?
Cork earrings? Yes, please!  Plus a Outlander, new shelves, and more September favorites.
Here are a few of my favorites from this month.

Y'allllll. These cork earrings from Nickel and Suede are going to be my fall BFF's.  I love the darker fall colors, but they kind of get lost in my dark hair.  These are perfectly fallish AND don't get lost on me.

Season 3 of Outlander is here, and I canna handle it.  Who else can't wait for episode 6 to hurry up and get here???  I read the series originally and am so happy with how they've managed the tv version.  I'm officially off duty every Sunday night from 7 to 8 o'clock!

This wall has been the bane of my existence since we moved in.  There was a cut out which would have been nice except it wasn't center and went weirdly low.  We've gotten it filled in, and I'm finally figuring out what I want to go there.

I finally went to Half Price Books for the first time in years.  There's not one super close to me, but y'all-it was well worth the trip.  I got tons of hard back books for mostly $5.99 each.  Totally worth the drive.

I have been on the hunt for bookshelves for my office that weren't too big or too small.  I find these, and I'm in love.
I spent hours online searching.  It was interesting to see that most of the sites I was shopping (Joss and Main, Overstock, Wayfair) had the same items, but the prices varied significantly.  It's worth grabbing the image of a piece of furniture you like and doing a Google image search of it.  The different sites showed the bookshelves with different names and brands, but they were all the same thing.  That's how I these from Hayneedle for much less than the other sites I was looking on!

Hope you had a great September!