Sunday, September 21, 2014

Have you seen Oxford Owl ~ They are offering over 250 free eBooks!

I have been searching for sites that offer high quality eBooks that students can read both in the classroom and at home. 

I recently came across Oxford Owl.  Have you seen this site? It currently offers 250 eBooks on a wide variety of topics. These books range from early emergent texts to books at the second grade level. There's a great mix of literary and informational texts.  

Here are a couple samples pages from an emergent text:

Here are some sample pages from a higher level informational book:

This collection of 250 tablet-friendly books is completely free!  All you have to do is go to the site and register.  To get started, click here

Some of these books would be great to project on a SmartBoard and share as read alouds. I'm also thinking this is an amazing collection of texts for independent reading, both at home and at school. 

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do.  Thanks for stopping by!

:) Anne

Planning for RtI Groups in the Primary Grades

I hope your school year is off to a super start! I've been thinking over how to format my plans for First Grade RtI groups. I am lucky to have a Leveled Literacy Intervention Kit (from Fountas and Pinnell), so I have plenty of great books to work with. 

The Leveled Literacy program provides a really solid lesson structure. Even when I'm not using these materials, I like to keep the lesson structure in mind. 

Here's a quick summary.  Lessons are divided into Odd and Even days. 

During each Odd Lesson:
*Students reread text from previous lessons while the teacher supports fluency, comprehension and accuracy. (5 minutes)
*The teacher states a phonics principle and leads the group in an activity that supports students' understanding of the principle. (5 minutes)
*A new book is introduced. This book is "at the cutting edge" of the child's instructional level. Teacher problem solves any parts that would likely be tricky for students - and then supports students as they independently whisper read the text. The group discusses the text. (10 - 15 minutes)
*If time allows, the teacher reinforces a needed phonics or word work skill. (5 minutes)

During each Even Lesson:
*Students reread text from previous lessons. As they read, the teacher takes a running record of one of the students' reading.  (5 minutes)
*The teacher states a phonics principle and leads the group in an activity that supports students' understanding of the principle. (5 minutes)
*The group writes about the text from the prior lesson. Depending on the goal for the day, this can include dictated writing, interactive writing and/or independent writing. (10 minutes)
*A new book is introduced. This text will generally be one level below the text from the Odd  Lesson.  Students should experience success fluently reading this new text. (5 - 10 minutes)
*If time allows, a phonics skill is reinforced. (5 minutes)

I just created a lesson plan format for the two day sequence of lessons.  I included a space for 3 students' names and left room to jot notes about each students' strengths and needs.  If you would like to download this form as a PDF, click here


I'm thinking this form will make it easier for me to mentally connect the two lessons, which are based on the text from the odd lesson.  Even if I didn't have the LLI kit, I thought this format might provide "food for thought" so I decided to post it here.  (If you have any trouble downloading this, feel free to email me at and I'll be happy to send you a copy.)

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.  :) Anne 

    Sunday, September 14, 2014

    Fry Word Lists

    This year, our school is systematically working with the Fry Words. We decided to break the words into lists of 25 words each and number the lists sequentially. This gave us 40 lists of 25 words each. They are presented 100 words per page.

    I just finished typing these up and thought other teachers might find them handy too. So - here they are. You can download these free lists clicking here


    As many of you know, the Fry words are ranked according to how often they appear in print. The words are not necessarily more difficult as the lists progress. 

    According to Fry's research, completed in 1996:
    • The first 25 words make up about 1/3 of all items published.
    • The first 100 words make up about 1/2 of all the words found in publications.
    • The first 300 words make up about 2/3 of all written materials.

    I hope you find these lists useful and that your year is off to a super start!

    :) Anne Gardner (NBCT, Literacy)

    (P.S. - If you have any trouble downloading the file, please let me know.  My email address is

    Friday, June 27, 2014

    Parent Letter ~ How to help a child learn to write his/her name

    A child's name is one of the first and most important words he/she will learn to read and write.  Here's a simple parent letter sharing some ideas for helping a child learn to write his/her name.  

    It was created in Word and is fully editable, so you can switch it up as you'd like.  You can download this for free on Google docs by clicking here.  You can also find it at my Teachers pay Teachers shop by clicking on the picture.   

    If you have any trouble downloading the file, email me at and I'll be happy to send it directly to you. 

    Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you find this handy!  
    :) Anne Gardner (NBCT, Literacy)

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Free Sight Word Riddles

    Hi,  It's Spring break here in Upstate New York.  The weather was beautiful the first couple days ~ I got to enjoy the sunshine and go hiking with my family!  But, now we have snow again.  (What?)

    On the bright side, it was a great day to create some Sight Word Riddles . . . 

    Quite a few of my 1st grade RTI students need more practice reading the following sight words: 

    In the classrooms, I notice that many students who are able to read these words still need practice writing them. 

    So ~ I just created a set of Sight Word Riddles for these words.  They can be used for Scoot games, for partner work and for individual work.  Here are some images from the file:

    If you'd like to try them out, you can download the file for free at my Teachers pay Teachers shop.  Click here or on any of the pictures.  

    If you have any trouble accessing this file, send me an email at and I will be happy to send it directly to you. 

    Hope your Spring break brings plenty of sunshine!  It looks like the weather will be improving here soon, so we'll be back out on the trails. 

    Thanks so much for stopping by!
    Anne Gardner  (NBCT, Literacy)

    Saturday, April 12, 2014

    Review 3D Shapes and Give Kids a Quick Brain Break ~ All in Less than Two Minutes

    Hi,  Thanks for stopping by!  I wanted to share my favorite way to review 3D shapes and also give kids a quick brain break ~ all in less than 2 minutes. 

    This video features images of dancing people created from 3D blocks. Kids absolutely love to watch and chorally whisper the name of each shape as it appears while the people are being composed.

    For a quick brain break, they can then mimic the calming dance movements of their favorite character for about 30 seconds. 

    Finally, the blocks are sorted by shape.  We quickly point at each set and name the shape once again.  So simple ~ and relaxing.  I love that combination!  

    Hope your kids enjoy this.   :) Anne

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

    Should we be teaching fact families with 8 facts?

    Hi,  Did you ever have an idea you just had to throw out there and see what people think? 

    I have been noticing that it is really hard for kids to complete equations such as: 

    8 = 12 - ___.

    To complete these equations, they really have to understand the equal sign. 

    Then, I got to thinking ~ what do we usually teach them regarding fact families and/or related facts? 
    Four basic facts, such as:

    2 + 3 = 5
    3 + 2 = 5
    5 - 3 = 2
    5 - 2 + 3

    Is it time to introduce a new fact family? A family with 8 facts? Here's what I'm thinking: 

    I'm thinking of creating a series of activities based on this idea and thought I'd ask what you think of it first.

    I know I'd have to build in lots of support to get kids started. If you have a moment, I'd really love to hear your thoughts . . . . 

    Many thanks for stopping by!  :) Anne Gardner