Today, while on a flight to Florida en route to give a FreeReading presentation, I spent some time going through emails and resources I bookmarked over the last few months. While doing so, I came across an email from my friend Cynthia recommending that I look at Steck-Vaughn’s Professional Development Resources. Once I arrived at my hotel this evening, I took a look at the site and was quite impressed by the number of free and high quality research articles and classroom resources in the areas of phonics/phonological awareness, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency.
For example, take a look at:
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Readers Theater, found in the fluency section of the site)
- The story map chart (found in the comprehension resources)
- The Frayer Model worksheet (found in the vocabulary section of the site)
- The Amazing Alliteration worksheet (found in the phonological awareness resources)
This is definitely a resource to bookmark for use during summer school or next fall!
Signing off from Ft. Lauderdale, FL!
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Today my colleague Alexa mentioned to me that she showed FreeReading to her son’s preschool teacher. In response, I asked her what website the school has used in the past to find literacy activities and she responded, “BeginningReading.com“. Naturally, I was curious, so this evening I checked out the site.
Beginning Reading is a phonics program for young children just being exposed to print for the first time. Similar to FreeReading, it contains dozens of free printable materials. So, if you are in the market for a short vowel poster, alphabet writing worksheets, or fun book titled Lively Butterfies, this site is definitely worth a browse and slot on your phonics favorites list! Feel free to pass the site along to your Pre-K and K teacher friends. I also think Beginning Reading is useful for parents and grandparent of preschoolers.
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Yesterday, my colleague Cher introduced me to ABCTeach. If you are looking for a place to get high quality printables for free, ABCTeach is not a site to be ignored! Below are links to a few things you might find of interest:
1) Sample rebus worksheet: A Picnic is Fun. Find more rebus worksheets here.
2) Henry and Mudge vocabulary worksheet
3) Literature Circle Planner
See you on ABCTeach!
I was looking over Larry Ferlzo’s Website of the Day… and I came across I Know That. This is an interactive website for students in PreK – 6th. There are tons of games, covering both reading and math.
I clicked on first grade games and I found Word Match. Select a specific sound to practice, such as /oo/ or r blends, and the game begins. If you don’t want to register, simply click on Maybe Later to bypass. Students are given a series of pictures to match with the correct words. The math games are great too! There is a cute series of games for reinforcing money. – Melissa
We are beginning to add illustrations to the decodable readers on FreeReading.
Click here to look at the decodable fiction texts.
Click here to look at the decodable non-ficiton texts.
There are still many stories on FreeReading that do not have illustrations. Please feel free to send the FreeReading Development Team your own illustrated versions so that we may add them to the list. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today EdWeek posted the following article:
Florida Approves Free, Web-Based Program for Struggling Readers.
As a member of the FreeReading.net team, this is very exciting news! For Literacy is Priceless Readers that want to learn more about FreeReading.net, click here.
At FreeReading.net, educators everywhere can access a free, high-quality, sequential, research-based reading intervention program for grades K-1. Open source and Web 2.0 technology enable educators to adapt FreeReading content to their needs, add their own lessons within the 40 week scope and sequence and participate in discussions about early literacy and best practices in the classroom. -Anna
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Mary Anne Zehr recently had a very interesting post on her blog, Learning the Language. She reported on Larry Ferlazzo’s best educational websites of 2007.
His pick for the number one online game is Wordmaster from BBC. This vocabulary game gives students a sentence with a blank in it. They need to use context clues to figure out the missing words. The game is played like hangman. But watch out – there is a timer!
Literacy Connections is a great place to go for general literacy resources.
Literacy Connections provides a wealth of information on reading, teaching, and tutoring techniques, ESL literacy, an adult literacy. We recommend resources that are useful for teachers, volunteers, and directors of literacy programs. Topics include the language experience approach, phonics, word study, and the best in children’s literature.
As a teacher on a small budget, I found the article, Books on a Budget particularly useful. I also took notice of their collection of writing prompts. I hope you find this site as useful as I have.
I have found that one of the best ways to improve fluency is have my kids do Reader’s Theater. Not only is great for them, but they also have a blast doing it. We usually just do it for fun in the classroom. Occasionally, I’ll invite the first grade class from next door over to see what we have been doing. My students really enjoy performing for an audience!
Once a year, however, we do a big reader’s theater production for all of the first grade parents. Each first grade classroom performs their own play, complete with props and costumes. I just found some really great FREE scripts at Teaching Heart that I wanted to pass along.
This morning while browsing through the Bering Strait School District Open Content Initiative link that Melissa sent me to, I discovered a link to Starfall–Starfall is a website that provides interactive phonics-focused content aimed at helping young children learn how to read. It was created by a team of educators, artists, designers, animators, musicians, and engineers and made possible by the Polis-Schutz family (founders of Blue Mountain Arts publishing).
If your children need help practicing their letter sounds, click here!
For animations that help children learn how to decode, click here!
The Starfall video on chunking is hilarious!
USA Today just published a great article by Greg Toppo about Free-Reading (a site that provides free K-1 literacy curricula as well as opportunities for teachers to share lessons and ideas regarding early literacy).
As a contributor to and fan of the site, I just have to share the link: Free online materials could save schools billions
I love the illustrations in Julia Donaldson’s early reader Bob Bug. If you are doing a reading center on bugs, this would be a fun book to print out and share with your students. Bob the Bug’s Teddy Bear is SO cute! -Anna
This past summer, I spent some time with my colleagues producing videos of educators teaching reading for Free-Reading. Watch the video below to get ideas for teaching word families. For additional videos click here. I hope you enjoy these clips. We had a great time producing them! -Anna
Reading Groups is the hot topic in my school right now. We are all stuck in the same boat… we know exactly what we are supposed to do. However, running reading groups with 33-35 kids is a classroom management nightmare. I was lucky enough to have a fantastic Reading Specialist in my school my first year of teaching. She went out of her way to spend time with me and teach me a management method that makes it possible to do groups in such an overcrowded classroom.
To start with, I divide my kids into 3 groups. Yes, just 3 groups. Each day, the groups do 1 of 3 things: Work with the Teacher, Seatwork, or Centers. The “Work with the Teacher” group is pretty self explanatory. I do a guided reading of a leveled reader with the group. The “Seatwork” group stays at their own desks, and I have a phonics page or a comprehension page ready for them to work on. It is very important that the page is leveled to the group – don’t make it too hard for them to do on their own. The “Centers” group is subdivided into three groups. Currently, I have a listening center, a game board center, and a library center. Again, it is very important that these centers have activities that are at the kids’ level so they can work independently.
The first few weeks of centers is always challenging. I am constantly reinforcing the importance of independence. After a few weeks of practice, my kids understand that I am busy with my group and they are not allowed to ask me questions. In other words, they must stay in their own groups and do their work! It takes a great deal of patience to get your kids to that point… but it will happen! I am always looking for good center games. Here are a few of my favorites….Letter Sound Spin, Rhyming Memory, Word War, Bam!, Go Word! and Take a Roll.-Melissa
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Since this is my second official post, I suppose I should introduce myself as well!
My name is Anna and I work at Wireless Generation, a New York-based education technology company that focuses on developing early literacy and math instructional tools and curricula. As a developer of early literacy products, I spend a lot of time in K-3 classrooms across the United States observing teachers working with budding readers. I then take ideas and feedback from teachers back to my office where I work with a team of developers to create useful products that help teachers teach young children how to read. Before becoming a product developer, I taught early literacy classes to children and English conversation classes to adults in Osaka, Japan.
I would like to share with you a web site that is near and dear to my heart, as I have been working on it for the past year with my colleagues, as well as with many teachers across the States, but particularly in New York…
www.Free-Reading.net is a free online early literacy program that helps educators teach early literacy skills—in particular phonics and phonological awareness. The activities and sequences can be used to support a typical core or basal program or as part of word study time for teachers using a balanced literacy curricula. In addition, the site provides an opportunity for teachers to share their great ideas and activities.
Here are a few links on the site that I think literacy teachers will find particularly useful:
I hope you enjoy the site!