Tag Archives: reading

Encouraging a Love of Reading

Encouraging a Love of Reading

I am often asked by parents how to get their children hooked on books – how to encourage reading at home. I love it when I am asked this question! Reading is such a gift & I welcome any and every opportunity to encourage my students to see the value & pleasure that comes with reading.

… & so, if you were a fly on my classroom wall you would see and hear me sharing he following ideas with parents.


(A) AT Home & At School

  • Model reading – “show them” that reading is both entertaining & informative
  • Interest “Surveys” – find out what children want to read –  what interests them – what’s “hot”
  • Easy Access – have reading materials everywhere around the house, in the car, in the classroom
  • Variety is the Spice – provide options/choice e.g. novels, picture books, graphic novels, magazines, fiction, non-fiction (e.g. biographies, sports, geography, science, poetry, etc.)
  • Read alouds – Read aloud to your children. Even older kids often love being read to.
  • Talk-Talk-Talk – talk about what’s being read – make it social as well
  • Play with Books
  • Time – set aside enough time for reading – give them the time & the place/space
  • Re-read – give children permission to re-read old favourites

(B) At Home
A Special Place – create a special place for children to read (e.g. fill the corner of a room with pillows, build a reading-fort under a table, pitch a tent in the garden, etc.)

(C) At School

  • Read alouds – do this a lot, talk a lot, stop along the way …& don’t forget that there are many amazing picture books out there for older students
  • Author visits
  • Provide alternatives/choices to the traditional book report
  • Skpye with authors
  • Exploring: “Free Time” – scatter books (novels, picture books, graphic novels, magazines, fiction, non-fiction) on the carpet & allow students to read/explore them along or with a buddy(s)
  • Exploring: “Speed Dating” with Books – Students are given a few minutes with each book & then they switch to the next

Initial Reading Assessments in the Classroom

Initial Reading Assessments in the Classroom

At the beginning of ever school year we spend a great deal of time getting to know our students … as they get to know one another, as well as their teachers and new surroundings!

It’s a balance of:

a) Learning from day 1(!)
b) Ice Breakers & Getting-to-Know-You-Activities
c) Establishing Routines, Expectations & Rules

d) Organizing our space, materials, day, etc. 
e) Carrying out both Formal & Informal Assessments
f) & so much more 😉

In thinking about September I sent a “Tweet Out” the other day looking for suggestions regarding reading assessments in the classroom.
I was looking for something authentic, practical, efficient and “free”.  I was looking for something just to use as a “springboard” … to help me get me feet wet …. because as we all know assessments (both informal and formal) are ongoing and organic.

I love Twitter & was fortunate enough to have received many responses. …  So now I want to share with you what some of my Tweeter Friends have shared with me (with a special thanks to @mitcheta3477 among others)!
(I would love to see any additional resources as well!)

& .. of course, if you are a fly on my classroom wall in September you will see me carrying out several initial assessments – including reading assessments.


For Your Consideration: Reading Assessments:

Support Your Child’s Learning Over the Summer Months

Summer Learning Opportunities for Kids

This week I was approached by a mum who asked what she could do to support her child’s learning over the summer months. She wanted to build upon all of the incredible gains made by her daughter this year. Needless to say I was really excited to hear this. All I could think was that this mum clearly knows her child. She wants to support (not push) her learning. She wants to work as a team to help “Jaymie” develop her skills in safe, supportive environments.
… & so, if you had been a fly on my classroom wall you would have seen us discussing a number of summer learning activities and opportunities.
Here’s what we came up with! Hope you find some of what’s below helpful!

(A) Reading & Writing
  • Mail – Make plans to write and receive letters all summer long (… model this for your child as well!)
  • Read, Read, Read – continue to read and discuss books, comics, magazines, menus, etc. over the summer months (… model this for your child as well!)
  • Travels: When on vacation keep a diary/scrapbook of sorts
(B) Organization / Spatial Skills:
  • Create a summer scrapbook
  • Read, draw & create maps (e.g. of vacation spots, parks, gardens, rooms in the house, etc.)
  • Graphing: graph the weather (e.g. sunny, cloudy, etc.), daily temperature,  etc.
  • Grocery shopping – Read flyers & find specials. Estimate the cost of a trip to the grocery store. Calculate the savings if coupons are used.
(C) Following Directions:
  • Build a model
  • Bake cookies, cakes, squares, etc. (measurement & following directions)
  • Cook dinner … follow recipes closely
  • Grocery shopping : allow you child to take the lead when looking for the right aisles to go down and items
(D) Critical Thinking Skills:
  • Discuss books, newspaper & magazine articles, the news, movies, etc.
  • Evaluate nutritional values listed on food packaging
  • Teach your child to play chess, checkers, battleship, dominos, boggle, etc.

(E) Math

  • Add, subtract or multiply numbers on car license plates when on the road
  • Calculating mileage & ETA when heading out in the car
  • Garage Sale – organizing the event, as well as selling/making change
  • Lemonade stand – making change
  • Restaurant – estimate the bill & calculate tip
  • Walk : identify shapes and solids in the environment
  • Note: Sites for free math games to play on the computer:
  1. http://www.coolmath4kids.com
  2. http://www.coolmath-games.com
  3. http://www.mathplayground.com
(F) Science:
  • Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt
  • Engage in gardening activities
  • Note: Find fun, easy science experiments to do at home over the summer:
  1. http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/index.php
  2. http://www.kids-science-experiments.com/
  3. http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/homeexpts/homeexpts.html

How We Answer Comprehension Questions in Grade 5

How We Answer Comprehension Questions in Grade 5

If you were a fly on my classroom wall you would “see” that this is how we address comprehension questions in Grade 5.
We are very methodical, & yet flexible & organic in our approach.

This process becomes second nature to
my students quite quickly … it becomes automatic … & in fact, should I ever miss a step they are quick to remind me.

Just thought I’d share.


Our Method:

•    Review the previous chapter. Discuss “seeds”. Ask questions … share ideas … wonder why … make predictions. Note: As with the other “steps” (& anything worth doing) it is very important to take one’s time … never rush … savour contributions, ideas & moments shared.

•    Turn to the questions. Read the questions prior to reading the chapter. Ensure that they are properly understood. Discuss any new vocabulary. Make predictions.

•    Highlight any words that will most likely appear in the answer. Take an educated guess. Doing this helps to set yet another purpose for reading, direct questions and also “helps” with spelling.

•    Should students come across answers to questions during our read aloud they mark the page with a post it.This is helpful as they can then move on quickly – and find the answer & page number easily when the time comes. As we stop to discuss readings frequently along the way students are use to reflecting and then returning to text seemingly without skipping a beat.

Boys & Reading: Ready? Set? Go!

“Boys & Reading”: A Few Sites to Consider Along the Road:

As I begin this journey I would certain welcome any suggested strategies/sites/etc.
Let the games begin! 
Sincerely,  Ally
1. “Mentoring Boys: Boys and Literacy” @http://www.mentoringboys.com/literacy.html
2. “Lets ge Boys Reading” @ http://www.oup.com/oxed/info/LetsGetBoysReading/
3. “Let’s Get Boys Reading –  Top Tips” @ http://www.oup.com/oxed/info/LetsGetBoysReading/top_tips/
4. “Tips for encouraging your boy to read” @  http://www.talestoldtall.com/BoyParents.htm