Reading CAFE Board

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I couldn’t be more pleased with how my reading CAFE board turned out. Thanks to a fellow teacher for giving me the large pockets, I have a place to keep my strategies until I need to add them to the board. I purchased my menu and strategy printables from Teachers Pay Teachers. I’ll have more pictures up soon of the rest of my classroom. Only a few more days until students and parents come for Open House.

Reading A to Z Summer School Theme Pack

Teaching summer school gives me the opportunity to try out some new things I’m wanting to incorporate in my classroom next year. I’m using Reading A to Z’s Summer School Theme Pack. It’s broken down by 1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, and 4th-5th. You are provided with a whole unit of study broken down into lessons spanning 5 days. All of the materials are provided too, such as the leveled readers and graphic organizers. You’ll need a subscription to print the materials. I would highly recommend talking to some fellow teachers and splitting the cost. I’ve done this with my grade level techers and a few others in the building.

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Book Leveling

My classroom library continues to grow with each book order I place with Scholastic. Anytime I add more books, I try to locate the DRA (Developmental Reading Level), GRL (Guided Reading Level), and Lexile reading level. I then add these levels to the front cover of the book to help my kids identify if the book that looks interesting to them is a just right book based on their reading level. I have found two website to help with this task, that at times can be tedious: Scholastic Book Wizard and Lexile Framework for Reading.

The Scholastic Book Wizard allows you to search by title, author, keyword, reading level, or help you to find similar books.

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I search for Fancy Nancy. All books with a similar title show in the results. I selected the first one to show the levels given and information about the book. I found my kids being able to use this site easily, and they actually wanted to find the levels of their books often. 🙂

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There is also a Book Wizard app to use. I have it on my iPad and iPhone. It comes in handy when conferencing with kids. Also, the app features a bar code scanner to quickly find the book’s reading level.

The second website I use is the Lexile Framework for Reading. Like the Book Wizard, it allows you to search by title and author, but also by the book’s ISBN. You can also search by Lexile range which is particularly helpful if your trying to place more complex text in your students’ hands.

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I searched for Fancy Nancy again and was given results for titles containing these words. If you select a particulate book you are provided with the Lexile, along with – summary and more books like this one.

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This website also allows you to enter in a child’s Lexile to determine his or her’s expected comprehension of this book. This is a pretty handy feature.

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These are two websites I find helpful in my classroom. What do you use in your classroom?

Brain POP Jr.

I am lucky enought to teach in a district who provides a subscription to the Brain POP Jr websites. If you are not familiar with this site, it offers educational videos featuring Annie and Moby. Together, they teach about many different topics covering reading and writing, math, science, social studies, health, arts, and technology. There are also quizzes and teacher lesson resources. FOr older students, there is a Brain POP.

I used the Nonfiction Text video today to remind my 2nd graders of the informational text features. My kids love Brain POP videos because they are funny. I don’t think the realize they are learning as they are laughing.

Great reading website

My year has been saved by this website. Readworks.org is full of of reading lessons for kindergarten to 6th grade. There are materials, a list of more books for each strategy and skill lesson, and it is aligned with Common Core State Standards. There are also novel study units and leveled reading passages. The best part of this website is that it is free! 🙂
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Handout for Building a Better Reader

As teachers we often have parents asking us for advice and ideas for helping their child to become a better reader. While searching Pinterest, which is my way of relaxing after a school day, I found this handout on Primary Junction.

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This would be helpful to handout to give parents at conferences since that’s when the conversation of what can be done at home comes up. I’m sending this home with my newsletter this week.

Sight Word Superstars

My 2nd graders have become really motivated to learn their sight words thanks to the Sight Word Superstars motivational program I downloaded from Finally in First.

In this program kids must read a list of 20 words from the Fry’s Word List in 20 seconds or less. For each list of 20 words a kid earns a sticker for their star. Once they have mastered all 5 lists, they receive a Sight Word Superstar Award.

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This program allows for individualized instruction. My kids are excited to master a list and move on to the next one. I send home the word cards to be used at home as practice. I also have the kids read their list during Word Work before they practice their spelling words.

Read to Self, Read with Someone, and Listen to Reading

I’m slowly getting around to adding pictures of what Daily 5 looks like in my 2nd grade classroom.

Read to Self

Read to Self


My comfy black chair is a favorite of my kid’s to sit in during Read to Self. My kids can sit anywhere in the room as long as they are not right by someone to prevent disturbing a classmate. They have a book box that they fill in the mornings with “jut fit books”. We’ve been working on this a lot in the last week. The five finger rule has helped with this.

Read to Someone

Read to Someone


With this choice, they can sit anywhere in the classroom. These two have picked under the easel. They are to sit side by side, with the book in the middle. Once student reads, and the other is the coach if the reader gets stuck on a word. The coach will ask the reader, “do you need time or coaching?” This strategy is from the 2 Sisters.

Listen to Reading

Listen to Reading


My kids use the laptops to listen to stories read online. I have links on our class website that the kids can go to. They brought headphones/earbuds to use.

I’ll add Word Work and Writing soon.

Running Records

School is in full swing and I feel like I never sit down at school, let alone use the bathroom! Since the first full week at school I’ve been using running records to help me get an idea of my kids’ reading levels. One teacher in my building has paid for a subscription to Reading A to Z level readers which I am greatly thankful for.

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This website has leveled books that you can print. There are also running records with comprehension questions to ask students. These are a quick way to identify the kids’ independent reading level.

Back to work

imageIt’s August, which is hard to believe, and I’m back in my classroom. I’ve been working the last couple of days on cleaning out my cabinet and unpacking books that didn’t have homes in book boxes. After two straight days of sitting on the floor going through books they are all in a book box. My book boxes are organized by author, topic, or genre. I’m going back through and putting new labels on the tut side of the boxes. On each label I write a box number and I also write the number of the back of the book. This helps the kids get the books back in the right place. I still have a lot more work to do like behavior card board, lunch choices, and reading CAFE check in. I’ll post more pictures as I get things up.