Friday, May 19, 2017

8 Great Books for Summer Reading - Summer Reading Log

Let's read this summer!  Here are 8 books to get your beginner reader started!  Some of my favorites!

I would choose this one because I LOVE the characters!

 ... lesson today... often times, children choose books by the cover, as we do, they wonder what might happen inside...authors spend time and careful consideration choosing artwork for their books...the author is calling your attention to the story... it is an invitation to read!  Often times, titles of books and cover art present you with key questions of what you might read and learn. 

 Take your little reader to the library this summer.   Children begin to learn that reading is a rewarding activity. Allow your child to take out 2-3 books and you do the same.  Books can open doorways to discovery. You can make story connections to personal life, family and activities; after all, that's what reading is...making connections.  Talk, read, listen, write and sing about the stories you read.  Most libraries have a story time for little ones; your child might enjoy this more than TV!
 Library time is quiet time.  It is full of curiosity and adventure...
 ...rain or shine... lots of books ....
just waiting for your child to choose one!  Your child will learn about sharing and when you take the book back, it creates another opportunity to find the next book to read.  Ask your librarian if they give children a library card because it is a perfect real-life experience to teach responsibility. 

Here are some questions you might pose to your beginning reader about these books. 
Why do you think his tail is all sparkly?  Hmmm...

           Can Pete the Cat surf?
Do you think Mother Bear will like her present? Why?

Discovering Nature... this book title already asks the question.

What kinds of things do you think this girl might do at the beach?

Do you like watermelon? Why do you think it is so refreshing?
Who is eating watermelon? Is he eating the seeds too?

Grab Your Summer Reading Log HERE
And here is a freebie for your summer reading.... each time you read a book with your child, color in a sunshine!  Happy Reading!  

Please note that keeping a log can be a fun activity, but more important is enjoying the stories.  One by one...two by two... the true reward is the STORY!  
Sometimes we forget that the story is the best reward so reading logs, stickers and rewards can direct our beginning readers in the wrong direction. Readers should have the option and opportunity to choose the way they would like to respond to a book.  

Enjoy those summer days!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Over 100 Teaching Resources for Literacy, Math, Science and Social Studies

  Here are just a few teaching resources that you will find  at my TPT store... and many more...browse now and come back often as I create new teaching resources all the time. 

Cloze activity using sight words... great way to practice sight words and fluency at the same time... printables... no prep for you!

End of School Year
Memory Book
Authentic Writing Prompts
and a keepsake!

All About Birds
for the Primary Learner
Read and Write and 
Math Activities

Find these and many other teaching resources  at MrsQuimbyReads TPT store 

... teaching literacy with Children's Literature, Authentic Writing Prompts, Word Work, Science Pages, Primary Learners, Social Studies, Classroom Management ... over 100 teaching resources to help you take back your weekends.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

End of School Year Memory Book On Sale

End of School Year Memory Book 2016-1017

Writing Prompts and Pages for Your Students 
to Remember their School Year 

This teacher resource is an End of School Year Memory book for your students. Twenty-five pages for your students to write about this school year in your classroom.   Writing prompts, picture pages, fill in short answer, write about favorite books, favorite subjects, best friends, when I followed the golden rule, why I liked my teacher, my favorite thing to do at recess, what I learned, field trips, special school activities, summer reading list, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, school vacations, autographs and more... and the best part ...

this end of year school Memory book is an easy  download, print and assemble the pages. Simple easy-to-follow directions for assembling these books. Pages are standard size 8.5"x11".  Covers are for Grades 1-5 and one cover just reads "My School Year" Memory book so you can use for multi-age classes.  You can download and use as many or as few pages as you wish.  

 Provide about 2 weeks time before end of School Year to start using these memory booklets. 20-30 minute sessions with the booklets are enough time to interest and engage your students to write about their school year. A great independent seat work assignment while you complete one of those many end-of-school year administrative tasks. Your students and parents will love these End of School Year Memory booklets. A keepsake to look back on as they grow older at school.  

Thank you followers!  

Friday, April 14, 2017

5 Ways to Improve Listening Skills in the Classroom

Teaching your students to listen can be challenging at best.  School is a very social place and children want to be with their friends in a very interactive way which in turn leads to conversations and sometimes just chit chat; even when you are teaching.  Here are some tips to minimize distractions and improve listening.

Listening is one of the big 5 in literacy!  The other four being reading, writing, thinking and speaking.  You can incorporate many activities that involve listening in an enjoyable way. Many educational games require listening and most times, most kids will want to do well in a game with their peers.  The famous "I Have, Who Has?"  can be used in many grade levels while reinforcing many skills in literacy, math, science and social studies.  

I Have, Who Has? for Multiplication

 the game rules require that children listen to each other in order to know when it is their turn.  Example:  I have  6.  Who has 10 x 7?  The person who has the card reading :  "I have 70. "  would be next to call out his/her card. So listening is required.   As the children read their cards,  voices pop up all around the room.  They like the game AND the room is quiet with students listening for it to go well.  Students are motivated and engaged... they like having the cards in their hands and waiting for their cue.  

Recording Sheets Available HERE
Listening to large numbers and recording them is a great listening activity for those students who are learning about place value.  When students start to understand and make large numbers; they need practice.  Students listen to the number you say and write the number paying attention to the correct place value order.  You can use this quick and easy recording sheet for this listening activity.  It is recommended to place this sheet in a protective sleeve so you can reuse the recording sheets over and over.   

You say:  "twenty-three thousand, five hundred and seventy-two"
Your students write:  23,572
The top space is for writing the number; and the second space is to write it once more or make a correction if needed.  Students write numbers fairly large so you can quickly assess if they are understanding how to write large numbers. 

And some  listening activities for younger students:

This I Have... Who has ...?  is created to use after reading Eve Bunting's wonderful book,   Hurry, Hurry!    This I Have...Who Has? would be appropriate for Kindergarten and First Graders. 
And I will add quickly, this is a great read aloud for Spring!
Perfect for Kindergarten and First Grade... and yes, they love playing this game....and they will ask if they can play it again!  You will like it because they are focused, they are reading words, their faces show visibly enjoyment of the reading-listening experience.  

Following directions throughout the day can also be opportunities for teaching better listening.  You can create a secret password and use that through out the week.  Children listen for the secret password when you give directions.  It goes like this:  When I say the secret password, please close your math books and line up for lunch.  You determine when you say the secret password and only give it when you want them to follow the direction.  

This tip and other tips in more detail are in my Teacher Tips To Use Right Now Pack
They are tested, tried and true and improve classroom behaviors and listening alike.  


Have you ever played the "Quiet Game"  with your Kindergarteners or 

First Graders.  Oh my, it is the best.  You start, choose the quietest person in the room.  They all try to be very quiet and they soon realize this means hardly any movement.  You choose the quietest child; that child comes to the room and then they choose the next quietest person.  That person comes to the front, and the other child goes back to his/her seat.  They love this game.  No materials required and they will all start to listen to the very smallest noises they can from each other.  A giggle or two happens but that makes it fun.  Don't play this too long or too often, that's the secret.  But when you need about 5 minutes of quiet, this works better than you can imagine.

Here is a FREE  listening page for a Book Talk to help you provide a listening lessons in your literacy teaching.  

Remember listening is a very important part of literacy.  
The obvious would be speakers need listeners and listeners need speakers.  Have your students do some quick "book talks" using this page below:

Get this page for your Book Talks HERE

and now for a quick "brain break" ... from Readeez  ...

Listen and Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Poetry for Kids, for April, for Every Month!

You deserve a Poetry Break Today!

Poetry is a fantastic way to practice fluency and reading aloud to an audience.  April is the month we say is National Poetry Month; however a classroom bin of books clearly marked Poetry is delightful to have all year long.  

My class has a list of favorite poets and they love when I whisper walk over to the poetry bin. Smiling faces see me flip around the pages for the perfect poem for today.  This one is a favorite and it's perfect for Spring.

Quack, Quack!
We have two ducks.  One blue.  One black.
And when our blue duck goes "Quack-Quack"
our black duck quickly quack-quacks back.
The quacks Blue quacks make her quite a quacker
but Black is a quicker quacker-backer. 

And yes, you guessed right!  It's by our famous Dr. Seuss.  The kids try to remember this one to recite aloud and we have done many activities with just this one poem. Choral read, boys read, one line, girls the next line or alternate with rows.   Students learn to read for meaning and reading poetry is a great way to improve reading fluency.  

Our poetry bin is full of Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Mary Ann Hoberman, Douglas Florian, Aileen Fisher, Arnold Lobel, Lewis Carroll, Lillian Moore, Eve Merriam, Christina Rossetti, Marchette Chute, Charlotte Zolotow and many more!  Who are your favorite poets?  Having this poetry book bin always at hand allows us to enjoy a poem whenever we really need to... students love when you announce "Time for a Poem".  I have observed some students preparing their poems and tucking the poetry book inside their desk. They want to be ready to read and they want to be the ONE to be called on!    And you know it's working when poetry books come in from home!  and they start reading their OWN poetry!

Poetry Idea for Sharing:  Have your students make a sign that reads:

Poetry Break 
or you can download the one I made below  

Poetry Break Sign for Your Sharing Activity HERE
Alert your teacher colleagues and friends that 1 or 2 students may be coming into their classrooms to read aloud one favorite poem from a book.  
It's quick! only 1 or 2 minutes and the students love it!  and they are reading AND listening!  
 It's best if you set this activity up with your colleagues beforehand, asking permission.... if they would mind this brief, but very rewarding,    
  brain break!    and I found this activity works best if teachers  put in a time frame when the poetry readers can come in....
You can even include your Principal, Secretaries, Lunch Personnel and Custodians because everyone loves to listen to children read aloud, especially poetry.  I always have my students practice the poem a few times before sending them off with the sign.  Only two students would leave your room at one time, possibly four but no more than that. Everyone will have a turn as the year goes on. 


Reading for Meaning  
Comprehension Checks
with Poetry
for Grades K-1      
You can find it  HERE

Read a poem to someone today!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Why You Should Read Charlotte's Web to Your Class

Why?  Is Charlotte's Web a Good Book Choice for Read Aloud At School and At Home

 Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, is  a universal story.  It has entertained hundreds of readers and children for decades. The book  teaches kindness and love.  Charlotte's Web is and has been a 
best-selling children's paperback of all time.  E.B. White describes his book as a story of friendship and life on a farm.  E. B. White himself was a true friend to animals and writes from his own experiences. 

As every writer knows, research, research and more research is very important to even fiction writers. You must get the right moon in the night sky.   White researched every detail for his three books for children.  Stuart Little was written in 1945, Charlotte's Web in 1952 and The Trumpet of the Swan was written in 1970.  For Charlotte's Web, his research was close to home as in lived on a farm in Maine.  His experience and farm color shows on every page.  The habits of the animals are characteristic and believable.  Charlotte, the heroic spider girl, is quite sophisticated.  This is a great opportunity for White to teach new words to children.  Gaining an extensive vocabulary benefits the child learning to read.  As you read, Charlotte's Web, or any book of children's literature, you are giving opportunity for children to understand story elements and grow their vocabulary.

Wilbur is our friend throughout the story. He expresses deep emotions, but he is still a pig and he likes to lie around in manure.   And his immediate and very dangerous plight is ...pigs go to slaughter. And thus, Charlotte and Wilbur become friends.  White tried in real life to save a pig, but he failed. This experience gives power to his writing as  he shows so much compassion for Wilbur.  White tells his mixed feelings about pigs destined for the butcher in his story.  The children can feel the sadness and quickly become involved in this story of friendship and love.
And Charlotte, the heroine of this book, was also born in White's barn.  His many observations of spiders in the barn impressed him.  He found them weaving.  He found them clever.... and even clever enough to weave words!  and a writer for children would absolutely know this would grab their attention.   And he was right, because it certainly does.  This is a favorite part every time I read this book aloud.  
Thank You, E.B. White, for your wonderful books.  You wrote a masterpiece!  I learned from my research that White wrote his novels on an old typewriter in his boathouse.  When he was not writing or doing chores on his farm; he liked to ride his bike long distances, even in bad weather.   When reading aloud to your class, tell them all you know about the author.  This makes the right connection between readers and writers.  Many times readers choose the next book to read by the same author as they find they know something about the writer as this is a happening in the reading community. 

And to answer the question I started with, Why Charlotte's Web?  Because it:
  • teaches friendship, kindness and love
  • the author writes masterpieces, every time!
  • theme is universal and it has lasted decades
  • a great springboard for class discussion
  • poses real-life problems in an imaginary setting
  • because your children will listen from page one to the end
  • reading aloud in school should be back in your lesson plans
  • children will learn new vocabulary
  • children will sympathize with the characters
  • it's a GREAT book!! 

Life of Imagination

In a letter to a young reader, White wrote:
"in real life, a spider doesn't spin words in her web ... But real life is only one kind of life --there is also the life of the imagination.  And although my stories are imaginary, I like to think that there is some truth in them, too -- truth about the way people and animals feel and think and act. " 

Find Reader Pages for Charlotte's Web HERE

 Here are some reader response pages for the emergent reader.  Appropriate for Grades K-1 and Homeschoolers. 

Download Your Printables  HERE

And You Might want to read Trumpet of the Swan.  It is very entertaining and E.B. White writes another masterpiece for children.

Download Your Printables for Trumpet of the Swan HERE

Thank you for stopping by...until next time... enjoy your teaching day!

Monday, March 20, 2017

5 Tips When Reading Aloud to Preschoolers

Five Tips for You When Reading Aloud to Preschoolers

1.  First and Foremost, find a book you love!  If you love the book, the child will hear that love in your voice.  I happen to love Gossie, Gertie and Ollie!  by Olivier Dunrea.  These are great books  for Spring! for young readers! for young listeners!  Above is the cover of Ollie by Olivier Dunrea.  Choosing this book and just viewing the cover starts the reading experience..... so many questions just start to happen... Who is Ollie?  Who are those ducks?  What are they looking at? What is hiding in the grass?  What do you think will happen? and below is the cover of, Gossie and Gertie
now don't you just want to open this book!
2.  Sit side-by-side with your listener.  Open the book and show how the book opens.  Point to the title as you read it.  Don't overdo... remember the book experience should be enjoyable.  Your child will value this book experience if it is a time where you break from all those plug-ins and other rippity-rap the day is filled with.... and reading should be relaxing, meaningful and fun!.  Sit side-by-side with your listener.  Open the book and show how the book opens.  Point to the title as you read it.  Don't overdo... remember the book experience should be enjoyable.  Your child will value this book experience if it is a time where you break from all those plug-ins and other rippity-rap the day is filled with.... and reading should be relaxing, meaningful and fun!

3.  Model how books work.  As you read, turn pages slowly and give a pause here and there for your child to think about the story.  Point out the illustrations to show that story, words and pictures match. It may be as simple as pointing to a character and telling your child the name of that character. Then move onto the rest of the story.  If your child has something to say, listen and move on when he/she is ready.  This practice shows 'how books work', looking, reading, listening, turning pages, words arranged from left to right :)  reading, in my opinion, is relaxing and calm and not hurry-up noisy!

4.  Talk about the story and the characters.  Ask questions.  This practice shows your child that reading is interactive.  It shows that the author wrote and illustrated his/her thoughts and ideas and the reader can add to the story.  What character do you like the most?  Do you like this book?
What does this book make you think about?  Then, sit back and, talk talk!
Sometimes your child might want to draw a picture after reading a book, entirely up to them! Your job is having crayons and paper on hand. 

5.  Create space, time and love around your book reading habits with your preschooler.  It is important that you value books and reading in your home and your child sees that you do.  You can have your parent books, too.  If your child has a book space or shelf, he will learn that books are a part of the day. If you make time for books and reading, he will engage.  If you enjoy the reading activity together, your child will benefit in the reading sense and the family sense.  Love books!  This does not have to be an expensive adventure, libraries still have cards that allows your child to choose and pick out books.  If you cannot afford a book shelf, you can purchase a small tub for $2.49 ( I just bought one)  and place books for your child to access easily. 

Here are three inexpensive ways to make books available for the young readers in your home. 
Wire racks attached to wall at
appropriate height for child access

Simple dish drainer holds books and crayons!and a paper pad in the back

Books in your home is the best
beginning to your child learning to read!

Never too young to start.  Cloth books for baby...Little board
books and nursery rhymes for chubby little hands
Rhyme and repetition and predictable books for preschoolers 

Home is Where the
Reading Starts !

Until Next Time!
Welcome Spring! ... and where might you find this can bet, he has a story to tell!