Dr. Seuss Book Report Project

Here is a super fun project to celebrate Dr. Seuss books. These unique Dr. Seuss book reports are made from paper cups. First students choose their favorite Dr. Seuss book. Next students draw, cut out and glue a character from the story on the back of the front cover. Then they can write about the book, tell why they like it and draw pictures about the story on the inside pages. Click here for the directions.


5 Ways to Make Reading Aloud Amazing

Readiread-aloud-quoteng aloud to students is probably the most important activity to instill love of literature and also increase listening, comprehension and vocabulary skills. It is important to read aloud every day to all ages of  students. Here are some guidelines to make your read aloud time engaging and amazing for yourself and your students.

1. Choose books you love. Your enthusiasm for a book will spread to the students.  I love reading books I have just discovered and also favorite classics from my childhood. Some of my favorite books were the Little House Series. I tell them how I would cuddle under my quilt  and read until my parents made me go to bed. Often my favorite books are also some of my students’ favorite books. Click here for a list of some of my favorite read aloud books.

2. Choose high interest books that will capture the attention of the students. If a book is not working, it is okay to stop reading it and get another book. You can tell students are loving a picture book when they want you to read it again and again, or a chapter book when they don’t want you to stop reading. High interest books are the greatest advertisement for reading. It teaches children to associate reading with pleasure.

3. Read from a variety of genres and expose students to different types of literature.  I like to read aloud a different literature genre each month and teach students the characteristics of the genre. Here are the nine literature genres we did: fairy tales, folktales, mysteries, classics, historical fiction, poetry, realistic fiction, fantasies, science fiction. Reading aloud from a variety of informative text should be sprinkled in often.

4. Talk about what you are reading. Children listen at a higher reading level than they can read independently. This is a good way to teach critical comprehension skills. It is important to allow time for class discussion during or after a read aloud. It is also important to share your own connections, opinions, inferences and predictions about the story.

5. Read with expression. It is essential to use a lot of emotion and voice changes when reading a book. Don’t be afraid to be dramatic! One day a substitute teacher in my fifth grade class read from the chapter book I had been reading to the students. When I returned to class the next day, my students were upset and asked me to reread the chapter, because the substitute did not read it the right way. This showed me how much students become accustomed to your voice and your read aloud style. In my class, read aloud time is a bonding experience.

Effective Guided Reading Lessons

guided-reading-groupI believe effective guided reading lessons are the most powerful way to increase reading enjoyment and achievement. I’m super excited to present at the National Guided Reading Train-the-Trainers Institute this summer.

Click here for a Guided Reading Lesson Plan frame and Response Guides for literature and informational text to greatly enhance guided reading lessons and discussions.

A guided reading group consists of 2-6 students with similar reading skills or needs. The teacher decides what concepts or skills to focus on during a guided reading lesson. Each student has a copy of the instructional-level text to read with the support and coaching of the guided reading teacher.

There are three basic components of an effective guided reading lesson:

Before Reading – The teacher introduces the focus skill and the text. Here are some ideas:

  • Build background knowledge about the topic
  • Talk about the title and front cover of the text
  • Generate predictions or questions about what will be in the text
  • Word study: phonics, sight or vocabulary
  • Talk about a reading strategy
  • Picture or text feature walk through the book

During Reading – Students all read a section of the text either out loud or silently depending on the reading level of the students. During the lesson the teacher listens and coaches each individual child as they read aloud, while the rest of the students are reading at their own pace.

After Reading  – Return to the focus skill and encourage deeper level thinking and discussion about the text. Here are some ideas:

  • Ask and answer questions about the text
  • Reread parts of text to confirm thoughts and ideas
  • Discuss use of reading strategies
  • Share favorite passages
  • Discuss the author’s purpose
  • Reread sections that caused confusion
  • Review words: phonics, sight, vocabulary


Free Classroom Game for February

feb-game-imageHere is a free February Days board game you can differentiate for your students by creating cards with the problems, words or questions the students need to practice.

Click here to download the game.

How to Play the Game

  1. Stack the cards in a pile.
  2. Place your moving markers on the groundhog at the top of the game board.
  3. Take turns drawing a card and answering the question on the card. If you answer correctly, you may move your marker to the next picture that matches the picture on your card.
  4. Play continues in this manner. The first player to get his or her marker to the groundhog by the burrow is the winner.

Class Reward System: Credit Cards

class credit cards.jpgI have used these credit cards successfully in 2nd through 5th grades. It is a very motivating
reward system which also gives students real life math practice. The cards are only good for the
owner, so stealing is discouraged. Click here to download the cards.


1. Make copies of the credit cards on card stock.
2. Get small ink stamps and three colors of ink pads.
3. Give each student a credit card and have them write their name on
the front with a pen and divide the back of the card into 1, 5 and 10
boxes as shown. (You may add a 25 box, if you wish.)
4. Students earn credit on their card for good behavior, returned
homework, extra credit projects, etc. To receive credits, the class
bankers stamp the appropriate number of credits on the back of the
students’ cards.
5. Once a week students may go to the class store and purchase items
or they may save their credits for larger purchases. Class store
keepers set up and run the store and the bankers cross off the credits
with a black marker when items or privileges are purchased.

1. When the credit card is full, students may get another card.
2. The card is only good for the owner of the card.
3. If there is any cheating by the bankers or the card carriers, their cards
will be revoked for an amount of time determined by the teacher.
They will also lose all credits accumulated.
4. Class bankers and store keepers must be responsible and honest.
We change classroom jobs every two months and students have to
apply for the jobs.
5. Students must keep cards in a safe place. If they lose their cards,
they lose their credits, but may receive a new card.