Teaching Reading Strategies When Students or Parents Aren't on Board

Teaching reading strategies is hard enough. But when parents or students aren't on board, it's doubly hard.
My daughter LOVED the Mercer Mayer books when she was little. At age 4, she would "read" them to herself every night in her bed -pointing to the words and repeating the stories to herself from memory. The ENTIRE stack. EVERY night. She literally memorized ALL those words and could apply them anywhere. So she accidentally learned read and that sounds great, RIGHT?!
Here's the PROBLEM with that method. She had NO decoding skills for new words. I had the hardest time teaching her to decode when she had such a large memorized vocabulary and felt she already KNEW how to read just fine. Ugh!
Over the years, I've encountered students like this as well. They've memorized their way into reading but struggle when they encounter unknown words and sometimes don't have any comprehension skills either. But, they [and their parents] feel they can read just fine. Helping...
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Teaching Sight Words: A Quick and Easy Win

Are you struggling with teaching sight words? Is your students' practice transferring into knowledge they can use at the drop of a hat? Here's a question I get a lot. "How do I teach sight words so my students will REMEMBER those sight words when they need them?"

You know how it is... you teach (maybe even test) and students don't seem to know their sight words in context.Sure, they seem to be making progress, and then, it's gone! Maybe you've tried worksheets for sight words or sight words games. But... as soon as your students start reading a book with those same words in it or have to use sight words in a sentence, they act like they've never seen those words before. All you can think is...Really?! After all that work?!

Teaching sight words used to be a "given" in schools. Now, there seems to be some controversy over should we or should we not directly teach sight words. In addition, I know many teachers wonder should they teach sight words vs...

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How to Help Your Students Become Readers

reading Oct 03, 2019

You'd think I was crazy to say those things every night to my kids. Right?! I'm not. This happens regularly in my house. Why? Because my kids are readers.

If reading can be so pleasurable, what is it about teaching reading that is so difficult? Some students seem to just soar and others walk or even limp along. I have taught every grade K-6, and I know from experience that reading truly is one of the hardest things to teach well.

So, what's the magic formula for developing readers? Love. Time. The right books at the right time. Laying a firm foundation of skills and strategies. Sharing books- having a conversation while reading and enjoying books together. Respecting differences- tastes and opinions.


As teachers, we wonder why some teachers' classes seem to soar while ours seem to walk. It's all about the...

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Purposeful Summer Reading: Setting the Stage for the Next Year

reading summer reading May 09, 2019

Summer reading is a requirement at many schools around the country. While I'm not a fan of checklists and reading logs, I am fan of reading.

So many students have wonderful teachers who've matched them with books and made reading purposeful and exciting. Their students have learned to search for good books and to love books. You've have caught their hearts, and they will be readers for life. 

 Let’s see if we can catch some more hearts this summer.

Here's a few ideas for making summer reading purposeful for students and have it flow right into lessons for the first weeks of school. 

 Entering Kindergarten

Order caterpillars for September. Perhaps the summer read for incoming kindergarteners is the Very Hungry Caterpillar and as many Eric Carle books as they can get their hands on over the summer (parents can read to them aloud). Then, you can start September with these and an author study on Eric Carle. Read a bunch of his books, talk about...

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3 Creative Ways to Get Students Excited About Books and Reading

reading teaching Feb 13, 2019

If you struggle to get some of your students interested in books, here’s a few fun strategies. They work beautifully with both picture books and chapter books.

Book Tastings

Book tasting have become a mini-fad in schools around the country. It’s a brilliant idea! Decorate your classroom like a restaurant, create place settings and a menu of books (with a short synopsis), have a set of books for each table and let students “try out” several books.

It’s fun, creative and very effective. Student LOVE doing this. It makes reading not only fun but desirable. I’d call that a win.

Blind Dating Books or “Mystery” Books

This is another way to get your students to try something new in their reading. I especially love this when a bunch of new books are coming into the classroom library or school library. Books are wrapped up in wrapped up in plain, brown paper. You can get some at Michaels or use butcher paper, if you have it.

Now you have...

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