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“Watch Out for Tricky T!” – FREEBIE for Teacher Appreciation Week!

3 May


Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Are you feeling appreciated this week?! I know I sure am! The wonderful parents and students at my school have been pampering us this week with gifts, delicious snacks, yummy lunches, and so much more. I hope you’re feeling just as appreciated¬†and special as I am! ūüôā

As a THANK YOU to all the teachers that influence, support, and inspire me¬†(yes, that’s you!), and a small token of my gratitude, I’m sharing¬†a FREE poem from my newest resource packet.¬†This poem will be a “forever freebie” and can be downloaded from my TpT store.

So, what’s “Tricky T,”¬†you ask? My RTI students often have a hard time with blends, specifically R-blends like tr- and dr- where the beginning consonants change their sounds. To help them with tr- blends, I created a poem and activity packet to help reinforce the sound¬†T makes inside the blend. Students can read (and reread!) the poem and highlight the tricky blends¬†inside of the poem. The corresponding activities and games will help build automaticity with the “Tricky T” sound inside the consonant blend.

Download this FREE poem for teaching or reviewing the sound of the tr- consonant blend by clicking HERE or the image below.


If you’re interested in the complete phonics packet, check it out HERE! This packet includes word lists, assessments, practice word cards, and fluency activities/games.


Looking for new resources to try out in your classroom? Be sure to check out my other phonics and fluency products.

How are you celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week?


Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

msjordanreads signature

Reading in a Winter Wonderland

27 Nov

winter blog hop image

Unpack¬†your scarves and boots… winter is fast-approaching! To help you prepare for the long winter season,¬†The Reading Crew has teamed up to share wonderful winter¬†mentor texts and resources to use with your students this snowy¬†season.


We have divided our blog posts into primary and upper elementary link-ups. Select the category that is most appropriate for the grade you teach, or explore both if you wish. Each blog post will feature a mentor text along with a corresponding skill freebie to use with the book.

Some of the freebies in this blog hop will be “forever freebies,” and some will be “limited-time freebies,” available only for a short time! Please take note so that you make sure you grab those limited freebies before they turned back to paid products!


(Part of the Grades K-2 Link-Up)

Last November, I had the privilege of attending the NYS Reading Association conference where Salina Yoon was presented with the 2014 Charlotte Award for her book Penguin and Pinecone. She talked about her inspiration for writing this beautiful book and the message about friendship she hoped to share with her readers. It was very inspiring to listen to her speak and share her story, and I just knew I needed to share this story with YOU!


book description

“When penguin finds a lost pinecone one day, an unlikely friendship blooms.”

Penguin and Pinecone (MsJordanReads)

In the¬†heart-warming¬†story,¬†Penguin and Pinecone,¬†a little penguin becomes friends with a pinecone;¬†however, he finds out that his friend pinecone¬†can’t live in the snow, so he takes the pinecone back to his home in¬†woods with the hope of being reunited again. Later, he visits his friend pinecone in the woods and discovers that “love only grows over time.”¬†(Read the full summary at¬†


Lesson introduction

So how do I use this story in my classroom? Well… I actually use this grades 2-5 with all the students I work with, since it’s a great mentor text for all ages, but for this specific¬†lesson, I used it to teach author’s message to my RTI 2nd & 3rd graders.

First, to get my students thinking about the story, I show them the book trailer created by Salina Yoon.


I have them activate their schema, thinking about what¬†friendship¬†means, and then I ask them to¬†think deeply about why this book is labeled as “a friendship story.” I share that friendship and love are the two themes of the story, and I ask¬†the students¬†to¬†make predictions about what the author’s message might be¬†(connected to themes).¬†Students¬†record their¬†predictions on¬†a sticky note to revisit after we finish reading.

NOTE: If your students need a review of what “author’s message” is, you may wish¬†to use the poster below (it’s a forever freebie!) or create an anchor chart for your classroom.


With their individual predictions in mind, students¬†now have a personal¬†purpose for reading — to see if their author message predictions¬†are¬†correct!

using my freebie

For my 2nd and 3rd grade groups, I read the story aloud to the students. In my small groups, the students follow along in their copies of the text. (NOTE: You could easily share it as a read aloud on your reading rug, or even using a projector screen using an AverMedia player with your whole class.)

After reading the story, we talk about the story events¬†and complete a shared graphic organizer for author message.¬†Students hunt for text-evidence to support their understanding of the author’s message (CCSS RL2.1, RL3.1). They use this evidence in their written responses and visualizations.

Penguin and Pinecone Graphic Organizers (MsJordanReads)

There are many discussion questions connected to theme and author’s message you can use during your instruction. These can also be used as writing prompts.

Possible Discussion Questions: 

  • What is the author’s message for FRIENDSHIP? (How do you know?)
  • What is the author’s message for LOVE? (How do you know?)
  • What does Penguin learn about friendship and love from his friendship¬†with Pinecone?
  • What did YOU learn from the story about Penguin and Pinecone?
  • What evidence from the text supports the author’s message that “Love only grows over time”?
  • What evidence from the text supports the author’s message that “Friendship lasts forever, even if¬†you’re miles¬†apart”?
  • Why do you think the author chose these themes for her book?
  • Why do you think the author chose these specific messages for her book?


Would you like try out this¬†resource in your classroom? Download my LIMITED TIME freebie¬†by clicking here¬†or the cover image below.¬†(The “Author’s Message” poster will remain a forever freebie here.)

You can use this resource as a shared lesson, similar to how I explained it above, to model author’s message using a think-aloud process. You can¬†also use it for students to apply¬†their knowledge of the skills independently.

(This resource will be free from 11/27/15 Р12/4/15)


lesson extension

There are SO many lesson extensions for Penguin and Pinecone. I could make it a blog post in itself, but below are a few resources and ideas for you to try out and explore for yourself!


Salina Yoon¬†shares¬†a wonderful CCSS-aligned educator’s guide on her website¬†to use with your students. This resource (created by¬†includes text-based activities for sensory language, making predictions, compare/contrast, sequence of events, and author’s message. You can download it for FREE here!

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 1.14.50 PM


Apparently, penguin has his own blog! It’s a cute photo journal from penguin’s point of view, sharing what he’s been¬†up to. It hasn’t been updated since 2013, though, so this could be a fun writing extension activity¬†to use¬†with your students. Students have to think beyond the text to come up with what they think penguin is doing now in 2015. Have students create a picture/photo journal, or even their own blog from penguin’s point of view. As an extension to the mentor text lesson, students could try to incorporate their own “author’s message” into their journal/blog entries. (They could use one of the penguin crafts below to document their penguin’s journey in photos!)

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 1.32.29 PM



The author created three coloring pages you can use for your K-2 fast finishers. Check them out here!



I came across a wonderful interview¬†on the Charlotte Award blog that I thought would be fun to share with students. It could lead nicely into an author study, after using it as a mentor text. Students can even compare/contrast the author’s messages in each book!


Check out the other books in Salina Yoon’s series:


Collect the¬†mystery words, shown in blue,¬†from each post¬†and record them¬†on the recording sheet¬†(my mystery word is pinecone). After you’ve visited all the blog posts, you will use these words to enter our K-2¬†raffle. One lucky person will win¬†the 12 books shared by all the blogs¬†you visited! (Winners will be chosen¬†December 4th, so make sure to enter soon!)
winter blog hop K-2 books
After you’ve explore the Grades K-2 link-up, you may go¬†through¬†the Grades 3-up¬†blog link-up¬†to collect words and enter for a chance to win their¬†Reading in Winter Wonderland books, too!
Grades K-2 Link-Up
Click HERE or the image below to access all the blog posts in the K-2 link-up!


Grades 3 & Up Link-Up
Click HERE or the image below to access all the blog posts in the Grades 3 and up link-up!

Happy Winter!


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Goodbye October… Hello November! — Scarecrow Poem & Activities

1 Nov Scarecrow Poem & Activities

As many of you know… I. Love. Fall. ūüôā I love fall foods (pumpkin muffins, apple pie, butternut squash soup… Mmmm!) and pretty much everything related to fall. I would be ecstatic¬†if we could stretch-out the autumn fun to¬†last another month. Unfortunately, winter usually comes too early in WNY,¬†and¬†my hopes for a long autumn season¬†get buried under a pile of snow. (Sigh.)

Since I probably¬†have a few more weeks¬†before I¬†have to say¬†“Goodbye Fall… Hello Winter!,” I wrote¬†a new fall-themed poem about a scarecrow to share with all of YOU!¬†Not only is it fun for fluency, but I’ve also added some word work and comprehension activity pages to go along with it.

Scarecrow Poetry Resource

Students can use the descriptive language in the poem to visualize the scarecrow. They can hunt for text evidence that helps them create a mind-picture and can record the picture on the page provided.

Scarecrow Visualization

This poem provides plenty of word work opportunities! Students can hunt for rhyming words, compound words, word endings, and specific phonics patterns. I always create a coding key for my students to follow. For this poem, I had them underline rhyming words, box compound words, and squiggle underline adjectives.

Scarecrow Poem Word Hunt

The scarecrow adjectives are great for a parts of speech mini-lesson! I always have my students circle or highlight the adjectives in the poem before recording the words on the graphic organizer. (As an alternative, the scarecrow patches on the graphic organizer can be used to visualize the adjectives, almost acting as picture frames, for students to show they understand the meaning of each word!)

Scarecrow Adjectives

Are you looking for some picture books to add to your classroom library? I’ve listed a few of my favorites below. They are perfect for building-up your students’ background knowledge and scarecrow vocabulary!

Download the free poem by clicking HERE or the image below!

Scarecrow Poem & Activities

Happy November! 


**This post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to learn what that means!

Summer Blog Party Kick Off Hop!

19 Jun

Summer Blog Party Post Header

Welcome to 2nd Stop of the Summer Blog Party Kick Off Hop! 

First, I want to shout out a HUGE thank you to Carla at Comprehension Connection for organizing this¬†wonderful summer blog hop! I’m always amazed at how she brings together¬†such a diverse group of¬†literacy specialists to collaborate on blogging events such as this one. (Thanks, Carla!)

Our goal with this blog hop is to bring you tips and resources for avoiding the dreaded “summer slide.” Whether¬†you’re a parent or a teacher, this blog hop¬†is for you! Be sure to hop¬†through all the way to the end because we¬†will be raffling off¬†TWO $25 gift certificates to¬†Teachers Pay Teachers.

This is¬†the 2nd stop, so if you’re just joining us, you may want to¬†hop back to the Carla’s¬†post¬†HERE¬†so you can¬†start at the very beginning.

As you may have read in Carla’s earlier post, this blog hop is¬†the official “kick-off” event for a¬†fabulous, summer-long blogging series. Every Wednesday, throughout the summer, bloggers from “The Reading Crew” will be linking-up their blog posts, focusing on specific literacy-related topics. (Read more about the blog topics and schedule HERE.)


Prevent the Summer Slide with Fluency

My focus for this blog hop is FLUENCY! Practicing oral reading fluency throughout the summer is a great way for children to further develop reading skills and prevent summer regression.

Fluency is the glue that holds together oral reading and comprehension. Without fluency, your child may have a difficult time understanding the text they are reading. It is the path to comprehension and is a key foundational skill for children who are learning to read.

There are many resources and activities you can use to develop fluency skills. Many of the activities are free¬†and just require books or texts at your child’s “independent level.” The goal is not to challenge your child¬†with complex phonics patterns or unknown words, but to have¬†them interact with texts that are on the easier side. This transfers the focus from “word reading” to “reading for meaning.”

Over the past few years, I’ve shared many fluency activities for teachers to use in the¬†classroom; however, many of these activities can be used at home, as well.

Here are a few fluency activities that you can try at home:


Rereading texts is one of the best ways to improve oral reading fluency (and comprehension!).¬†After the first read-through, students are¬†more familiar with the words and can focus on grouping words together, adding expression, and stopping at punctuation. They can also try to improve their reading pace. Although reading speed is not the¬†biggest¬†focus of fluency, an improved pace¬†will¬†subsequently improve your child’s comprehension of texts. The pace should¬†increase¬†naturally as your child completes multiple readings of the same text!


Poetry is a great way for children¬†to practice fluency! Typically, poems are short enough that they can complete multiple readings in one sitting. If your child¬†needs fluency practice, he/she would benefit from listening to someone read each¬†poem with “good fluency” first before practicing¬†it.¬†As a parent, you can model the poem and then have your child “echo read” each line to build up accuracy and phrasing. It takes away the “unknown word barrier” and allows your child¬†to¬†focus¬†on changing his/her¬†voice to sound like you! Poetry¬†is an effective¬†resource that¬†allows children¬†to practice¬†all the components of fluency at once.

Audio Recording

Having children¬†record themselves reading is an extremely powerful fluency tool! There are many free programs out there¬†that are easy to use and allow kids¬†to record their¬†reading (i.e., Audacity for computers, iTalk for Apple devices, etc.). The playback feature of these recordings is the key to fluency development and can build¬†self-awareness for kids regarding¬†HOW they sound as readers. Many children¬†don’t even realize how disfluent they actually are! With the playback feature, your child¬†can listen to his/her¬†recordings and reflect on the different parts of fluency. Encourage your child to answer¬†the following questions: Did I read with appropriate pace? Did I read with phrasing? Did I read with expression? Did I attend to punctuation? Through reflections, your child¬†can set goals and try to make changes. He/she¬†can later compare repeated readings and listen for improvements.

Audio Books

Audio books are wonderful¬†for summer break! With these “books-on-tape,”¬†kids¬†can follow along in a text as someone else reads to them. The power of modeled fluency is HUGE. Your child¬†can listen to how fluent readers group their words together into phrases, change their voices to match character emotions and punctuation, pause appropriately after phrasing and punctuation, and apply intonation.

As our world becomes more digital, there are¬†websites popping up everywhere that offer “Read to Me” books, such as Reading A-Z, Epic!, Farfaria, MeeGenius and more! Hundreds¬†of books-on-CD¬†and audio books are also available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble,¬†and¬†iTunes.

If you’re looking for a few free audio books¬†to start with,¬†NOOK Read to Me Books¬†are fabulous and can be used on any device you can download the¬†app to. (My students¬†listen and read the free NOOK “Read to Me” books¬†I’ve downloaded through the NOOK app on our iPads.) Also, if your local¬†library is like mine, you can download audio books¬†to your personal¬†device¬†via¬†their website, using software such as¬†Overdrive. This is a great way to bring new audio books into your home or classroom each week.¬†If you have a long car trip coming up, audio books are an extremely valuable¬†way to fill the time!

“Fluency Fun” Picture Books

If you are already reading with your child, why not pick some fun fluency books? These picture books will be sure to bring out your best phrasing and expression. Be silly. Have fun. Show off your fluency!

The books listed below are my favorite for modeling and practicing fluency, especially expression. Use them for read-alouds, partner reading, and choral reading (reading at the same time). You can even read them at bedtime!

Daily¬†Fluency Task Cards — Summer FREEBIE!

For my blog hop freebie, I’m sharing¬†my SUMMER¬†set of seasonal Daily Fluency¬†task cards. This resource¬†is perfect for parents looking to further develop their child’s fluency skills. The resource is also great for teachers who are tutoring or teaching summer school during the summer months!

The fluency task cards in this set are geared toward grades 2/3 and focus on the four major components of fluency: Pace, Phrasing, Expression, and Attention to Punctuation.¬†(Want to learn more about each of the fluency¬†components? Download my free “What is Fluency?” Reference Sheet HERE,¬†or read more about fluency¬†HERE!)

Daily Fluency Task Cards SUMMER

(Download this free resource HERE or by clicking the image above!)

How to Use Fluency Task Cards at Home

After modeling and going over the directions listed for each task, your child should be able to use these fluency task cards independently. You can put the cards on a key ring, organize them in an index card box, or even put them in a dollar store photo book. Each day, have your child complete 1-2 task cards and record the completed task cards on the task card log. There are four sets for your child to rotate through.

You child should practice each task card aloud a few times. (Repeated readings are built into each task.) You can even create a DIY whisper phone using PVC pipes so they can monitor their fluency and hear themselves read! Every task has a specific fluency focus (i.e., pace, phrasing, expression, punctuation), but you will find that students will need to combine fluency skills to complete each card.

Tips for Promoting Summer Fluency Development

Obviously, fluency is not a skill that develops overnight. Like most reading skills, it takes consistent practice and requires your child to read EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Here is a review of a few tips and suggestions I shared in this post to help you promote fluency development at home this summer:

  • Encourage repeated reading (reading a text multiple times)
  • Read lots of poetry
  • Choose books that are at easier levels
  • Build in time everyday for¬†your child to practice reading
  • Read to¬†your child to model appropriate fluency
  • Encourage your child to read along with¬†audio books
  • Have your child record their voice while reading to reflect and set goals
  • Switch it up — echo read, choral read, and partner read
  • Complete fluency task cards! ūüôā

Hop on over to the next stop, and check out¬†Jessica’s post from¬†Literacy Spark!¬†

Next Stop

Happy Summer & Happy Hopping!


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{FREE} Fluency Task Cards for Spring!

25 Apr

Spring is finally showing its colors around here. I see daffodils in my garden and tulips about to bloom. I’m going to¬†ignore the fact that they had snow on them two days ago (really, Mother Nature?!), as the weather went back down into the 30’s. I guess that’s “spring” in WNY¬†though.

To celebrate the sprinkling of spring days that we’ve had, I created a FREE spring version of my Daily Fluency Task Cards!

FREE Spring Fluency Task Cards from @MsJordanReads -- Perfect for Literacy Centers, Daily 5, Guided Reading, or sending home with students!

DailyFluencyTaskCards_SpringFreebie 4:20:2015

(Grab this free download by clicking HERE or the image above!)

Students can complete these as a fluency warm-up or for take-home fluency practice. There’s a¬†task card log included for student accountability. Enjoy!

Happy Teaching!


A Lil Bit O’ St. Patrick’s Day Fun!

17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Each year,¬†I try to bring¬†a little bit of St. Patrick’s Day fun¬†into my RTI program, and my goal is to incorporate¬†holiday-themed¬†activities with¬†interventions that are already in place.¬†This week, I planned¬†a variety of¬†poetry, language, and phonics activities appropriate for each of my groups. Here’s a quick snapshot of a few of our activities! ūüôā

A Lil Bit O’¬†Figurative Language

My fifth graders have been focusing on figurative language and analyzing poetry. I’ve been trying break down the different figurative language elements and terms throughout the week, while providing them with a variety of practice opportunities.¬†Today, as a warm up, I had my group¬†complete¬†a fun practice St. Patrick’s Day writing task on the iPads (Read more about how to “go paperless” here!). Students had to brainstorm sentences for each of the different examples of figurative language. You can grab this for FREE below!


Download HERE or by clicking the image above!

A Lil Bit O’¬†Word Work

This page is part of my Daily Phonics program. I don’t use Daily Phonics with all of my decoding students, but today my second grade groups¬†worked through a page together! This is always a great assessment for me, to see where their phonics skills are. (NOTE: Most of my students completed these on the iPads, but for the classrooms I push-into I had paper copies for them to complete. Daily Phonics is a great paperless warm-up for students!)


A Lot Bit O’¬†Poetry

I love, love, LOVE using poetry to celebrate the holidays! So many of my students need fluency practice, so poetry is a wonderful intervention for reinforcing these skills.

Here are a few of my own that I used this week:



How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

I would love to hear about St. Patrick’s Day interventions and activities you used with your students today! Please share in the comments below!

Happy Teaching! 


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