Category Archives: reading

Summer Reading Program

Don’t forget to take part in the Summer Reading Program at the Public Library. The activities sound great, the prizes and rewards are exciting, but the benefits outweigh all those tangibles.

When I was little, my mother signed all four of us girls up for the library’s summer program every year. We had a limit of 5 books each, so we read each other’s books. Twenty books a week, all summer long. We’d climb trees and read books, taking turns being the one to climb down to make trades.

I’m sure there were activities, maybe even prizes; all I can remember is winning a pin each year. I still know where a few of these are… Right now, sticking in the wooden bookshelves in my library.


The thing I cherish most is a love of reading and the wonderful memories of reading with my sisters. Each one of us was and still is a voracious reader- thanks to our mother and the Ouachita Parish Public Library in West Monroe, LA.

Sign up now! The benefits last a lifetime, even if you don’t remember the prize you won!

Listening to Reading

IMG_5790 IMG_5789 IMG_5793 IMG_5791One thing we really enjoy is using our iPods for Listening to Reading. We have four folders of great stories on our iPod to listen to every day.

We have learned to wind up and store our ear buds properly to prevent tangles. We have learned how to listen safely, with the volume down. And we have learned how to place our hands on our throats when we’re singing along with our stories to check for vibrations. If our throat is vibrating, we might be disturbing our friends! It’s hard to tell when we’re wearing our ear buds!

Here are some of the 40 stories that we have on our iPods.

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First graders and flags

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Our class was the recipient of a collection of flags from the travels of Dr. J. Norstedt. He very generously donated the flags and these first graders put them to use!

First they used atlases to identify their chosen flags, then used the index to locate the country’s information in the atlas.


They studied the maps to identify the region of the world and the capital.

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They read for interesting facts and developed a greater sense of place value as they worked to understand the population and the area of their countries.


Then they prepared to give their presentation to their classmates – and to be published on the blog. We hope you’ll leave a comment about their accomplishments.

Thank you Dr. Norstedt!

Relaxing with a good book

Sometimes, when we have a few minutes – we like to just grab a good book, maybe grab a friend and read.

What could be better than that?

We practice Read to Someone


Read to Someone, Buddy Reading, Read with a Buddy… we call it many different things, but it is all good! We love to sit EEKK… Elbow to Elbow, Knee to Knee and share a good book with a friend.

If we keep our eyes on text and read the whole time, we really will become better readers. If we are quiet and stay in one spot, others around us will become better readers, too.


We think it is important to get started right away because we have no time to waste and we want to grow as readers and writers. We learn about working together, taking turns, giving support without telling all the words, and getting along.

We practice Listening to Reading

Did you know that Listening to Reading is a way to become a better reader and writer? When we listen to a fluent reader, we learn how to read more fluently ourselves!

We keep our eyes on text while we Listen to Reading and try to match the words we see with the words that we are hearing. This helps us learn and it is fun!

We get to use a lot of technology with Listen to Reading. We have our iPods that are filled with fun books to read. We also have about 100  books on CDs that have been put on our iPods as music files. We keep the books that go with those in the Tiger basket.

We can also use our desktop computers or the mini computers for Listening to Reading. We have a Sqworl that holds all our favorite sites. Check it out!

We practice Word Work

We had a lot to learn about Word Work! We know it is fun and that it helps us become better spellers, readers, and writers.

We have a lot of materials for Word Work. First, we always use our iPods to listen to the podcast video of our word wall words. If we know all of the ones for this six weeks, we get to practice on the one that is just right for us!

On some days we work on our iPod in the Word Work folders. There are many games for us to play that help us learn about sounds and building words.

Other days we will work in the Word Study Case. It has so many fun things to do to build words! We write on the mirror, stamp, stencil, work with clay and wiki sticks and more.

We always try to keep our eyes on text the whole time and even if we have to move around the room a little, we go quietly so others can still learn. If we get started right away, we will have more time to learn!


We practice Read to Self

We have been training Read to Self since the first day of school! We have learned that practicing reading makes us a better reader and writer. It is also fun!

We have many cozy and comfortable places to sit for Read to Self. We get our Just Right Reading bags, find a quiet spot and get started right away. If we keep our eyes on text the whole time, we will learn to be better readers. If we are reading quietly, others around us will get to be better readers, too.


Lined up and ready to go!


We have finished our first week of school! First graders are practicing all kinds of things in school. Here we are practicing how to line up to go somewhere. We have to face forward, stand quietly, and be still. This helps us stay peaceful and respectful in the hall.

There is something new on the blog today! I have added a page for our Google Calendar. Look at the top of the blog and you will see it. When you click on that page, you will find special dates for our school such as PSA meetings, school pictures, and our special activities scheduled for the week.

We have worked hard this week on learning the expectations for Read to Self, Work on Writing, and Listen to Reading. We even got three Daily 5 practice rounds in on Friday.


Sqworl for math

Sqworl for math

We have a few favorite sqworls in our classroom already: our sqworl for listening to reading, and our sqworl for exploration and fun.

I am working to build a math sqworl that would give some practice on some essential skills for math if you are a new first grader, or a former Wonderful One looking to practice your skills.

Try out some of the activities by clicking on the squirrel… he will take you there!

My Heart is…

This week we read My Heart is Like a Zoo. Click here for a peek at the book trailer.

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It is a beautifully illustrated poem that we enjoyed over and over again.

We studied the pictures and thought we would try to make animals out of hearts. We tried to choose clever descriptions for our animals. Our efforts ended up in a photostory – uploaded into youtube.

So, please take a look at our innovation of Michael Hall’s book My Heart is Like a Zoo.