April 11, 2018


Focus Headline of the Week:  We must live the belief that students get better at reading by reading.

Best Practice of the Week – Keeping Stamina Goals Front and Center!

After April Vacation is a great time to reset and re-invest students in your grade level stamina goals for independent reading.  

End of Year Goals for Independent Reading:

K- 20 minutes

1st- 30 minutes

2nd- 40 minutes

3rd- 50 minutes


Resources of the Week – Read, Baby, Read! That’s what students need to do in order to improve their fluency.


K-1st Grade: Fluency Reading Passages (with targeted Phonetic Sounds!):

Each of the  passages focuses on a particular sound. Increased reading practice with these targeted sounds can help students decode more swiftly and smoothly, ultimately helping students become more fluent readers! As a bonus, each of these passages also includes comprehension questions which can allow you to see if students truly understood what they read.

2nd-3rd Grade: Play Scripts to Build Fluency

As students progress as readers, what they are asked to read and how they are asked to read it becomes more complex. A critical part of fluency in the upper elementary levels is the ability to read with expression, or prosody. Give students ample opportunities to read with expression with these scripted plays. Students can express their creativity, while also practicing their expression! As a bonus, each of these scripts is designed to be used in partnerships of two. This eliminates the need for full class practice and allows this resource to be easily used a small group or small pair intervention.



Focus Headline of the Week: Feedback + revision + practice = major growth in writing!

2nd Grade KALE Writing

Using many of the strategies mentioned above, Chyna, Anna, and Nicole helped their students grow significantly in the quality of their Scientific writing.  The percentages are the number of kids meeting grade-level expectations.

Check it out!

October Explanation Task:

51% (Baseline)

December Argument Task:

72%   (+21%)

March Explanation Task:

83%   (+11%)

Awesome growth!  Hard work!

Next steps:

Students have improve in their ability to use evidence to support their writing, but many students continue to struggle to explain the evidence, or the “why” and “how,” thoroughly.



Strategies to Support Writing

“I don’t have time to give everyone feedback!”


Feedback strategy #1:

1 whole class push,

1 small group push

Day 1 of a two-day writing assignment: quickly look through student work and identify 2 pieces of feedback: 1 that everyone could use, and 1 that a smaller group of students could use.

Example whole class: “improve your language by reading your work out loud to yourself”

Example small group: “explain the ‘why’ of your idea”


Day 2: show-call the feedback for the whole class, and model how to fix it.

Then, while the whole class is working on that, pull the small group and give them the feedback.  Work with the small group to help them revise their writing.

The student work on the right needs a “why” or “how” push to better explain why one part of the Earth is in daytime while the other part is in nighttime

“Kids have so many small errors in their writing!”


Feedback strategy #2:

Have a partner read it to you

Sometimes, reading their own work out loud would help a student identify and fix their language mistakes, and you keep telling them to do this, but they aren’t doing it on their own!

To fix that, pair strong writers with emerging writers, and have them read each other’s writing out loud.  The person who wrote the work should be listening and stopping the reader when they hear a mistake they need to fix, and circling the spot on their paper.

Then, they switch.

Finally, they go back and revise the mistakes, using their partner for support if necessary.

The student work on the left has errors that the writer could easily identify and fix if someone read it out loud back to them.