Reading CAFE Board


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.

Picture Books to Teach Reading CAFE Strategies

I am in a constant search for picture books to use during my Reading CAFE strategy lessons. I have found a couple of websites over the weekend that have lists of books that for each of the strategies. You can find the websites that I have found so far on the Reading CAFE page of this blog. I will be continuing to add more websites as I find them. I am also making a Google document with a list of books I have used this year with my 2nd graders.

I Need My Monster Mini Lesson Monday

Today’s mini lesson uses the book “I Need My Monster” written by Amanda Noll and illustrated by Howard McWilliam.

Image from Amazon.

Image from Amazon.

The lesson plan comes from Chelsea Sandstrom of Upper Iowa University. You can find the complete lesson here.

The basis of this lesson comes from the Two Sisters’Reading CAFE (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expand Vocabulary) strategies for reading. Sandstrom gave ideas for using 6 strategies with this book.

For the goal of comprehension, the strategy of “predict what will happen, use text to confirm”

* Read pages 1-3 and ask the students what do they predict will happen next. Model going back in the text to confirm what happened.

* Ask the students what they think the monster looks like or have them draw the monster (this could also work for the strategy “make a picture”).

* Read pages 4 and 5 and ask students if their guess was right. How do they know? Have students provide evidence from the text.

* Continue reading each page and asking students if the monster was what they thought it would look like.

This is just one of Chelsea Sandstrom’s straegies to use with this book. Her lesson includes other strategies.

The book image is from Amazon.

Mini Lesson Monday

Through my years of teaching Google has become my best friend. During the course of the school day I find myself searching many times for teaching strategies, ideas, or answers to the questions my kids ask that I have no idea what the answer is. On one of my various Google searches I came across the Denver Public School’s Instructional Planning Guides for Grade 3. This website is loaded with lessons plans, complete with resources such as graphic organizers, and the books for the mini lesson. In other words, it was a gold mine!

I needed a mentor text for a mini lesson on story elements. In the Grade 3 Unit 5 Instructional Guide is a lesson plan for using the book Brave Irene by William Steig.

Brave Irene

In this story, Irene must take a dress her mother has sewn to the duchess. On her venture through the snow, Irene must brave the weather to make it to the palace.

After reading the story aloud, we complete a story map anchor chart together as a class. My main focus of this lesson is identifying story elements: characters, setting, events (beginning, middle, and end), problem, and solution. I model going back in the text to complete the graphic organizer. We also discuss why the setting is important to the events and how the story would be different if the setting would be in the summer instead of the winter. This book is also a good example to use if you would like to discuss character traits with your students. Irene is obviously brave, but she can also be described as persevering and determined.

After the mini lesson, I give each student a story map graphic organizer to put in their reading notebook. They will need to complete this graphic organizer after reading a book on their level during their read to self time. I will get into more detail of what Daily 5 and the Reading CAFE look like in my classroom in future posts. Please be patient with me as I get this blog up and going! 🙂

Here is a link to Mrs. Sanchez’s Class Reading Graphic Organizers website. She has many, many different graphic organizers to use in the classroom.

You can find the original lesson plan for this mini lesson from the Denver Public School’s Instructional Guides by clicking here.

Getting ready for next year

It’s June 23 and I’m already thinking about the next school year which I think might be the earliest I have started planning things out since I started teaching. This is the first summer I have taught summer school in while. I’ve been using my students as “testers” for different Daily 5 choices that I’m planning on using next year with my second graders. They are loving being testers and letting me know what they a liking and what they think could use some work. A few of these kids are students of mine that were in my class for the last two years so they know they can be honest with me and know I will not get upset with them.

Anyways…as far as planning for next year goes I’m going to again implement Daily 5 and the Reading CAFE as my reading instruction. The growth I observed in my kids this past school year is something I have never seen before, not to mention to love of reading that was developed in my kids. They would beg me for another round of Daily 5.



If you are not familiar with the Daily 5 and Reading CAFE I urge you to check out the Two Sisters website. They have lots of ideas and strategies. They have written books to help in the implementation of these two wonderful reading structures. Here is the link to their website…