Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pumpkin Book Reports - Last Year's Pumpkins!

Pumpkin Book Reports are one of my favorite family projects each year!  And they are a free download so be sure to read to the end so you too can do this project with your students! 

Here's a sampling of the actual pumpkins I got last year!

I loved this one because it was the first time I ever got a tutu on a pumpkin!  So creative and such a great way to use resources you already have at home!  

 One of my favorite series of books ever! I was so excited to get a pumpkin for the book More Parts!  This pumpkin is like the typical pumpkins I get because it uses construction paper!

I just love this one as well!  This student of course read Cinderella and they did her pumpkin more as a family project.  Some teachers don't like when parents control the creative process but it does not bother me as long as they work together and the student is super excited about their project in the end!  
Green Eggs and Ham - a classic pumpkin.  I seem to always get 1 or 2 Dr. Seuss books every year!  I loved the toothpick with the little saying which was very creative!  

 This pumpkin was wrapped in tissue paper and then sprinkled with glitter!  Skippy was made out of foam pieces for durability!  Super creative and very cute in real person!
Last year I got lots of books that were not as well known which was fun.  We enjoyed reading those books together so we could understand the pumpkin character.  

I don't always read every book especially if it's a classic.  We just don't have time to read each and every book that day and so ones that I will most likely read during the year sometimes are not read.   
 This one was a little bit of an issue for this student because the parent used the marker as the medium.  The marker was rubbing off and so he was a little upset. If you are making these with your children, be sure to think of that.  To fix we presented his first and then at recess we traced it with my Marks-A-Lot marker.  
I love that this student did a Christmas book!  But I have to be honest, it made me wonder how many books this child has at home.   Knowing her though, I think she just really loved this book!  I love that it has a handwritten element on it as well.

Another book that was not as well known to the students in our class.  We read this book because we were intrigued by why the pumpkin had a whale on what appeared to be a bib.  So it was a great pumpkin to springboard into a good book!

Where The Wild Things Are.  Love every bit of the this pumpkin!  The wig, the bumps on his face, and the frown are all so perfect to add character to his pumpkin!   

I love this one because it was a nonfiction book report!  All kids love nonfiction books so it was a great way for him to share what he knew about sharks in a creative, artful manner!  

This pumpkin was a pre-made pumpkin character set I got at Walmart the year before.  In the Halloween section they sell kits you can stick right on the pumpkin.  So each year I buy a few for students who I know will not be able to afford to do a pumpkin or if the parents have some sort of circumstance that the parents are not able to do the pumpkin with them.  This particular pumpkin was made because the dad was in the hospital and I figured me doing it with the child would take a little stress of the family and the child would still have one to present!  

I like to give my families about 2 weeks to prep these and bring them in to class.  So now is the time to be planning this pumpkin project!  Letters and book reports are free in my Simply Kinder TpT store below:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Planting Pumpkins in Kindergarten

It's that time of year... time to plant pumpkins in kindergarten!  Here are some tips, tricks, and lessons I have learned over the years to make this as easy as possible for all!

Let's start with what you need:  

You will need:  
- a medium size bag of potting soil  (one of those large bags is just too much soil)
- a medium sized pumpkin
- clear plastic cups (I like the half size cups because they are more stable)
- pumpkin cutting stuff
- Ziploc bags
- chart paper and/or cover from the chart paper tablet or newspaper or butcher paper

Two things to do ahead of time... write the names on the cups (I like to use Marks-A-Lot markers because they never smear and I am just snobby about my markers) AND put potting soil into the ziplock bags so it's easier to distribute them.  

I always have a hard time with the soil because how do I "entertain" the other kids while I am helping the kids at my soil bag.  Dirts flying everywhere... kids are getting restless... just not a good plan.  Finally I got smart and I pre-measured the soil for the kiddos and they get their bag ready to go!  

I usually still like to do this activity outside because it can get messy but either way I use chart paper and the cover from a chart tablet because it's free, I didn't have to remember to bring it to school, and it's sturdy enough to roll up and throw away when we are done without breaking!  

So now we are ready to open our pumpkin!  Cut like normal and pull off the lid.  I usually cut ahead of time.. but don't pull it open until I am with the kids because they LOVE the "ooooh" and "ahhhh" that comes with the mystery of opening a pumpkin!

I like to sit in a circle to do this.  We pass the pumpkin around 2 times:  once to just look (so they can record their findings) and a second time to get some seeds.   (A picture from when I did it at my desk which is effective but sitting in a circle is how I like to do it now.)

Now that we have our seeds we are ready to plant them.  My students always use my Let's Plant Pumpkins Interactive Reader and so they are fully versed in the directions before they get to this stage.  They follow the directions... fill have the cup, drop in seeds, and then fill up the other half of the cup.  
Let's talk about seeds.  I used to be the teacher that gave everyone one seed to each child.  A few years ago I thought to myself.... why?  So we plant multiple seed AND we make sure there are few seeds near the edge so we can really see them grow!  I don't have pictures of this year but I will add them as the plants we planted this year grow!  

Once you plant the seed you put them into containers so you can easily take them outside for sun.  I like to do this into several bins so each day 4-5 kids will get to take them outside and feel apart of the experience.  I really like to use my paper tray baskets - they are just the perfect size so during this week I will often move whatever I am storing in them.  The goal is to put them in so they don't move around.   For this reason I don't do them by table because if they can move in the basket they will tip and spill.   

I use extra cups if they don't fit into the baskets snuggly... you don't want them to spill when moving them outside each day.  And you of course want to plan extra plants too so if you get a new student or if any don't grow you can replace them after school.   

Once you have them all in the basket... then you water them.  I feel like watering them is something that needs to be taught and it's too chaotic at that time to allow students to do that part just yet!  

Everyday we take the plants outside to get sun.  We look at them only in the morning and in the afternoon.  My classrooms never had any natural light so this is a step you may not need to take.  

We let the plants grow until they sprout big stems and need to be transplanted.  That usually takes a full week and one weekend. Sometimes we just find a safe place for them over that weekend.. but sometimes I take them home depending on how sensitive they have been to grow for us.  

Planting pumpkins in my class is done along side our Let's Plant Pumpkins Interactive Readers!  This  is a great little download that walks you through each step of the process and concepts that planting pumpkins teaches!  

You can of course pick up this little treasure to assist you in your pumpkin planting experience!

I have done a few things I wanted to share with you that have not worked so well! They are my planting pumpkins Pinterest FAILS!  They get a 404 stamp from Simply Kinder! 

We have all seen that pumpkin with the hundreds of sprouts sticking out.  "Just throw in some soil and the pumpkin will start sprouting right in your pumpkin."  Yeah... did that.  Pumpkin was smelly and rotting and most likely a health concern for a classroom!  We had to throw it away and move on! It became an lesson in what a pumpkin does when it rots instead of what a sprouting pumpkin plants! Oh and it smelled!!!  No bueno.  Am I alone here?  Has anyone got it to work?

The other Pinterest Fail for me.  Saw in Pinterest is where they planted seeds in these little cups.  The seeds began to sprout and the kids took the seeds out and dissected them.  Yeah that never happened in our class either.  The soil got dry and old from watering... how much do you water a tiny tiny plant?  Maybe I did not do it right?  I don't know but that lesson got trashed and we moved on!  

So there you have it!  Planting pumpkins in kindergarten can be easy and fun when planned and executed correctly!  This is what has worked for me.. but by all means do what works for you!  

Tell us about it!  What tips do you have to share with us?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Custom Class Shirts You Will Love!

I am so excited to share with you some amazing custom class t-shirts that I know you will adore!!!   

Aren't they adorable? The kids draw their little faces, you send them in, and they print the shirts!  

And guess what... I have teamed up with my Freebielicious friends for an exclusive offer and a HUGE giveaway for our readers!  Isn't that great!  We were so excited we had one of our resident artists Nikki from Melonheadz Illustrating sketch our little faces so we could have a group shirt!

Why I Love These Shirts

Ok.. I am not a t-shirt gal... I never have been.  There is just something about the shape of my body that they make me feel so uncomfortable!!!   I discovered this company about 4 years when I was lured into the cuteness of the shirts at the national teaching conferences in Vegas.  BOY was I pleasantly surprised!  There is something about the fit of these shirts... I don't feel like they are stiff or stuffy or like I am drowning in a shirt like I do in most other t-shirts I have tried to wear.  Just being honest here... I LOVE THESE SHIRTS and I know you will too!  I have several kindergarten shirts (and a cool night shirt) from them and I love every one of them!

Exclusive Discount

All Freebielicious fans who order a class set of t-shirts can save $1 on each tshirt and receive ONE FREE  teacher t-shirt with their order using promo code FREEBIE14. Orders must include 15 or more paid shirts to qualify and must be postmarked by December 31, 2014.

Enter to WIN a Class Set of Custom Classroom Faces T-Shirts

Now that you have seen how ADORABLE these t-shirts are, it's your chance to try and win a set for your classroom. The wonderful people at ClassroomFaces are graciously giving away a class set* of custom t-shirts to 3 lucky Freebielicious fans! Each set is valued at over $250. Stop by the Freebielicious blog for your chance to WIN! 

*  Some Fine Print- A class set of shirts is defined as up to 24 tshirts will be included for each prize pack. Winner can choose to order a class set of traditional single-color tshirts or t-shirts will full-color illustrations. Additional t-shirts can be purchased for $11 or $13 (depending on t-shirt size and style). Shipping is free for winners that live in the US. If a winner requires shipping outside of the US, the winner is responsible for shipping costs. (Shipping to Canada costs between $5-$20 depending on weight and location). 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Brain Breaks Old School & Kindergarten Style!

Teachers have been doing brain breaks since.... well... forever!  Developmentally younger kids need movement as a part of their every day instruction but many teachers have eliminated the traditional movements songs because of the lack of academics.  

Brain breaks are so important for our students.  Movement gets the blood flowing, following the directions gets the brain strategizing, and singing and dancing adds an element of fun most kids will love!  Students are also using several senses which is great for those struggling learners!

Ideas seem to be popping up all over the place these days and it has had me thinking... wait a minute... we kindergarten teachers have been doing this stuff forever!  

So I posed the question on the Simply Kinder Fanpage about what old school songs we used to do in kinder that add movement to your instruction and the list grew, grew, and grew!  Fingerplays and songs and nursery rhymes galore!  It was exciting to remember these from my earlier teaching days and childhood that I had forgot all about!  There was way too many for one post so this is the first in a series all about brain breaks you can do in the classroom using the music we have available to us on YouTube!  

So topic number one is...

This is the topic that started it all for me.  After some reflection, I realized I used to use a lot more music in my kindergarten classroom.  Eight years ago every transition had a song, every calendar element had it's own song (and in Spanish), and I worked in songs throughout the day to help the students focus.  As our world shifted more towards a more academic environment, we eliminated many of these songs out of our days because they weren't seen as being "academic enough."  If not directly told, guilted into eliminating them for the lack of reading, writing, and math tied directly to them.  

So here are some great little songs from the 'old school' kindergarten days that will get kids up, moving, and exercising their brains to be ready to learn!  (More than 10 because I will add to this list as I find them so we have one place with all the amazing videos!)

Shake Your Sillies Out

Listen and Move


Icky Sticky Bubble Gum

I'm Going on a Bear Hunt (nonfiction style)

Tap Your Sticks

We Are The Dinosaurs

Slippery Fish

Banana Song

If You Are Happy And You Know It

Hokey Pokey

Put Your Hands Up In the Air

BONUS:  Greg & Steve Concert Clip with lots of them!  (This is just great!)

All of these songs have either dances or motions to them.  In lieu of posting random videos of peoples' children I went with the songs that were edited and more commercial looking.  You can search these songs on YouTube and find tons of children doing the movements that go along!

Let us know... what "old school" songs do you remember from your earlier years teaching OR do you remember doing from your childhood?  Can't remember the name... sing it in the comments and we promise to sing them aloud when we read them!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Collecting Data In Kindergarten - Making It Work!

Data collection for kindergarten!  We are ready for this!  Kids learning at a nice pace and they are ready to take some ownership in learning and ready to see those gains.

So let's start with the why. This may seem like a very basic question but sometimes we need to really go back to the root of things and realize we are required to complete tasks in the classroom because they serve a purpose.  That purpose is student growth in this situation!

Data collection can be daunting, time consuming, "a waste of instructional time", and so many other things.  We can't go there because in today's day and age it is a requirement so we must make it work for us!  It is important because it leads you directly to your next teaching points and provides proof your students are learning!  So it is extremely valuable to you as a teacher and is something you should embrace with open arms because it will make your job easier!

Schools often dictate to use what testing resources we have to use.  So I encourage you to embrace those assessments, look for the positive in them and use that data to drive your instruction.  The easiest way for me to do that is through a simple Excel Spreadsheet!  That's it.  Type the students names down the column, add the row titles for dates or specific content, and begin to see the trends almost instantly with a pencil and a clipboard!  A little time consuming upfront but in the end it will payoff immensely!  That's tip number and it's so simple you just need to start.

Another thing I do in my classroom that makes huge impact is building those skills into my instruction.  Today's game is fluency and automaticity.  For kindergarten right now that means practicing letter fluency with these Free Letter Naming Fluency practice pages!  You can easily add into your daily or weekly routine and see result fairly quickly.  (There is also a free nonsense word fluency freebie as well for our first grade friends or those ready for blending!)

I don't post this without opening myself up to some debate... "practicing for the test is not appropriate" and all those arguments we all know.  I am not practicing for the test.   Letter naming fluency - the ability to recall letters quickly shows automaticity.  This is not a test... it is the test but it is not the test!  Does that make sense?  

For me... I relate it to riding a bike.  I don't teach a child to ride bike by giving them 100 activities that include a bike, are about a bike, or in the bike family of activities.  I teach a child to ride a bike by putting them on a bike.  So simple right?  Same thing... if my goal is automaticity... and I want kids to read without processing what they are seeing.. then I am going to teach them and have them practice how to do this.  We do this with letters, we do this with shapes, we do this with numbers, and we pretty practice the theory of automaticity with everything at our age range!  Just because the official letter test is in this form does not mean it is not a valuable instructional tool as well.  Teaching is a passion... go with what you think is right and with what you are required to in your school!

Kindergarteners are also ready to track what they learn!  We do this within reason and with lots of support with my Free Monster Data Book!   Posted for free with tips and tricks because I understand how difficult this is to accomplish in a kindergarten classroom!  I have lived, I was required to do it, and to be honest... I was required to do other things that rocked my beliefs as a teacher!  (I eventually quit that district and followed what was in my heart but that's a whole other blog post!)

So these are easy to use graphs the kids can manage to help track their data on a level they understand.  They don't have to be perfect, they will not always be the most accurate, but they build accountability with students for learning and show growth on an individual level that cannot be matched by any other program IMO.

Above picture is tacking how many letters they know specifically.  I check the letters they gained, they go back and color only those in... support them with that at first.  This allows them and you to focus on the next best letters to do in small groups because it is so clear!  (In the above picture I would probably do z (because most kids know that letter already and it's easy.)  What would you do?

We also track our DIBELS progress monitoring.  We do one a month as needed.  Students who don't need this graph, we just leave it blank in their book!  If bringing the data to the forefront for a student is not going to help them... then why do it?  (Although it does make a great parent resource.)  

Again... free Monster Data Book!  With tips and tricks... you can't go wrong!

Last resource I use for data tracking is Checklist Assessments.  This is an organized list of the standards that I personally track in my classroom.  They are spreadsheets by concept that and I literally with have a pencil and clipboard and check off when I see a child knows the letter or number or whatever on that list.  

Look at the above checklist that are a part of my Kindergarten Checklist Assessments... I can see exactly what children to call to my small group table to work on writing the letter B!  It's amazing!  I do pencil so that I can circle and erase if I need to call attention to a certain cell on the spreadsheet!  Beginning of the year kinder... useful data to collect is letter sounds, letter names, shape names, letter identification, counting to number, and colors.  (Click the link to see those.)

Checklist Assessments for Kindergarten

And then after students accomplish a whole line of data... I highlight their name so that visually I can let go of that child for that particular skills set.  (You can see that in the picture below.)  

I know this topic can create some frustration on our part because we just want to teach. I would love to hear your concerns, what you do, and any comments of encouragement you have if you use data in your classrooms!  Comment below!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Working with Struggling Readers in the Early Years

By now you have identified there are some students in your class who either don't do well at reading or just don't like it!  As teachers... we want to inspire them to like and love books because "reading opens so many doors" but what do we do for these kids to get them there?  Is our approach to teaching these kids helping or harming?  Just some food for thought from this teacher (and parent of a struggling reader!)

Don't let your relationship with the child be defined by their reading skills!
Often times we put so much pressure on reading that the students really feel it!  Whether you philosophically believe reading is the be all end all or not... you are teaching the whole child.  Constant criticizing, constant pressure to do more, the feeling of not being able to meet an expectation of such an important person in your life is a very heavy thing on kids!  Often times we mean well.. "that does not say the silly... that says me" can be playful and yet very embarrassing and hurtful to a child who is really risking reading in front of others.

I went the other night to hear Ben Foss speak... he is the author of The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan and his whole philosophy is just this.  (Although 1 in 5 people are dyslexia.. I am by no means saying this post is only for your identified or unidentified dyslexia learners... it's just good stuff for all kids!)  Don't let these kids define themselves by their learning difference.. each child in your class has strengths and you need to work with what-cha-got!  And that's exactly what struggling readers have.. is a LEARNING DIFFERENCE... they just learn differently.  My favorite quote of Ben Foss that night night from him was "Spelling.. it's a cool party trick."  I am not saying it is not important... but it is surely not the only important thing we teach kids in school!

Below this this video is a little dated but holds some great value to watch.  We no longer say "Earth to Carole... answer the questions" but I have had people tell my son who is a struggling reader "just sound it out" when he is not intellectually able to do so.  If he is not ready to sound out he is not going to no matter how many times you ask him to and no matter how many other activities he misses because he has not been instructed in a way he understands or is just not academically ready to do so even though the rest of the class is.  I have also had a teacher tell my struggling reader when he tells her that his mom tells him to do something differently that she "does not care what her mom told her to do."  My child left felling like his teacher did not care.  I get what she was saying... but then I don't because if my reader knows a different way that makes sense... so be it... run with it... listen to them and be open to your method is not the only method!  These experiences with my own struggling reader made me really think about my own practice and making changes for the subtle things I may unknowingly do myself.    The video points out the implications of these interactions with kids and it's worth a watch!

Consider there may be a learning disability.  
This is hard for us as kindergarten teachers because we are often told to wait... are they ready for school, are they ready for reading, are they ready to learn in general.  What's the cost of waiting?  Cost of waiting is loss of a valuable instruction time... if we were showing movies all day and having recess 4 times a day it would be an issue right?  So why is allowing a student to sit in your class and struggle and not learn ok just because they are not ready?  Not OK.  Often times we wait until 2-3rd grade to assess and then the kids are diagnosed with a learning disability... what happened to grades K-2 at that point... lost learning time and very sad IMO.  Things to look out for... lack of phonemic awareness, inability to remember letters taught, and just overall aversion to learning.  These are all signs of a learning disability that CAN be identified and remediated in the early year no matter what your school says!  Parents have rights and it's just sad that many times when we go to advocate for our little learners we can't quote the laws for them without losing rapport in our school.  We went through this in my family... read about it by clicking below:

Check out this brain scan... on the left is a scan of a typical learner reading and the right is the brain of a person with dyslexia reading.  We have to recognize that brains work differently with kids with learning differences and that these kids learn differently!  General education classroom teachers often don't have the resources or time to work with these kids and so you need the support and you are legally entitled to help with students with special needs.  (Easier said than done right!)  

Also consider this... do you think the person on the right wants to learn any less than the person on the left?  Absolutely not!  We all want to learn but we all have different levels of frustration and shutting down is a part of that frustration!  Again don't let that frustration define their reading road!

And I am not implying that all kids who struggle to read have dyslexia... but there are a whole series of issues it could be that are what you are seeing in your classroom!

Ask and give them the sounds if they don't know them before they read... every time... even if you think they have it! 
 If a child is going to not be able to read a word because they can't remember if it's a d or a b or if it is a m or a n... just tell them upfront so they can be successful.  Remembering 26 letters can be hard and overwhelming for some readers and in order to build confidence you have to give them as many opportunities as you can for them to be successful!  If they struggle on a sound.. just tell them that sound.  Don't make a big deal out of it.  If your goal is to get them to read and blend... don't make it a task of remembering sounds.  Yes it is a part of the process but again.. it's hard for some kids!

Put a time limit on reading.  
Struggling readers should never have to 'suffer' through a book just to get to the end.  They should never be punished for not being able to read... and by that I mean they should never lose recess because they have not finished reading a book in your small group and/or never miss a different because they did not complete a task that involves reading.  Reading does not trump math, science, or even emotional well being!  The way we do this in my classroom is we will switch to I read a line, you read a line OR I read a page, you read a page.  This helps the child feel like they can finish!

Praise, praise, and more praise!
That's right!  You praise them for ever little part of reading they get correct!  They opened the book... "good job getting your book open!"  Check out this great little video on praising that you can really relate to struggling readers and the effects of doing it effectively can have!  This video looks at the effects praise has on children's development... do we praise on effort or intelligence! The impact on how you praise is very powerful knowledge for us as teachers!  And I learned I was doing it all wrong myself!

Recognize they are trying and know there limits.
You may have a child who shuts down or flat out refuse to read.  This is tricky because we want to teach accountability but we also have to know when we have pushed a child too far and into a state of frustration.  If they are frustrated.. they are not learning and it just becomes a task of completion instead of learning.  Start smaller next time if they frustrate out... praise a lot... let go when it's time to let go because you are also developing their love of reading while you develop their actual skills!

Give them a word window.  
Take an index card and cut a hole in the middle so the child can only see a limited amount of text.  This will help them to focus on what they are working on and not feel overwhelmed when reading.  In the picture it shows a decodable.. but this trick can easily be done with a page with nothing but letters on it too!

Teach the kids tricks!
Who does not love learning a good trick to figure something out!  "Let me show you a little trick to help you remember that" works wonders!  The kids begin to feel as if they are ahead of the game because they remember some special little trick to help!  B and D... teach them the bed trick with their hands... stuff like that.  Just by calling a trick you have instant engagement and buy in!  It's crazy!

Play brain games.
Have you ever heard anyone say your brain is like a muscle?  In order to make your muscles stronger you of course have to exercise them!  Your brain is the same way.  Now let's apply this to reading.  If we warm up with a flashcard review or quiet reading... are we engaging these kiddos who hate reading?  No.  Are we exercising their brain?   No.

So at the teacher stores there is usually a whole section of brain games we ignore because they are not reading, writing, or math.  But I encourage you pick up a game or two and play them before you work with your struggling readers!  Below are two of my favorites!  When I purchased these games... I started to notice them in our resource classrooms!  I was like... wow... what is the this hidden treasure that has not been shared with us!!!

Spot it... a fun game of matching where kids quickly have to identify what 2 items are the same on the cards!  Your brain will get confused even as an adult!  It's a fun game kids will love that they won't even realize they are exercising their brain!  At kinder age you just have to watch that the match is not word to picture (you can stack the deck ahead of time to ensure that does not happen by matching pairs you see.)

Nada... another fun game!  You roll the dice and have to find an orange and a white dice with the same picture.  When you can't find anymore... you roll the dice again until all the dice are gone!  Another thinking game that kids will love that will challenge their brains to work before reading!

Seriously try these before reading groups and see how those challenged readers open up!

No red pen and limit homework!
Struggling readers work so hard and put in so much more effort than many in their class!  Don't do the dreaded red pen and mark up their papers IN ANY COLOR!  It's heartbreaking for the child and the parents!  As a parent and a teacher.. when I got the below papers home last school year from my own son... the impression I got was not that my child did not know how to do the skill... but that the teacher did not know what skills my child was ready for!  Unfortunatlly a reflection on the teacher and not on my child.  And the effects are a frustrated child and an extremely mad parent!  Just don't don't do it.

Homework as well... is it realistic to give a child 3 decodables each evening?  No.  Come on - no child should have 3 decodables let alone a struggling reader.  Let's get successful at one book at a time with these kids.  The typical packet homework as well... it most likely takes students who struggle to read much longer to complete tasks... put a time limit on homework and allow the parents to sign off.  Allow the child and parent time to bond in a positive way over homework...  it will payoff I promise.

Build phonemic awareness.
Phonemic awareness is just one of those things you just don't get until you make sense of it in your head.  In kindergarten we do phonemic awareness pretty much all year but we have to remember to provide them with appropriate small group activities with this every day at their level.  For example.. by March we are on ending sounds but are we going back every day still and doing initial sounds with these kids?  We as teachers feel like we are beating a dead horse and they just don't get it... but they will and the order in which they obtain is remains the same!  Go back... every day with these kids because they need it!

Give them technology and support items.
Just adding the technology piece to reading makes it so much more fun for struggling readers.  I don't quite understand why or how but it does and when these kids get older they will probably be given iPads as part of their general tools for the classroom.  If you enter into the world of children with learning differences and start talking to parents... overwhelmingly technology is the best tool we have for struggling readers!  So anytime you can put them on a piece of technology it's a good thing.  Technology could be a listening center as well which many of us have!

Two of my favorite apps are Sight Word Ninja which is free and so engaging and Farfaria which allows you to download a free book everyday!  (Click the images to see my full reviews.)


Other support items you could give your struggling readers are strong mnemonics support, picture cards, word walls, and picture dictionaries.  And guess what.. these are all great tips for all kids not just your struggling readers!

I would love to hear what you do with your struggling readers!  Comment below!

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