Free Resource! Research Building Blocks for Teaching Students to Read

Great comprehensive resource for the skills needed to teach students to read!

Includes strategies for…

Phonemic Awareness Instruction

Phonics Instruction

Fluency Instruction

Vocabulary Instruction

Text Comprehension Instruction


Click the pic to get the PDF!




Brain Break Foodie Friday! Spinach Artichoke Bubble Bake!!

Yummmm……another great one from one of my besties…

My new bestie!

My new bestie!

SPINACH ARTICHOKE BUBBLE BAKE!!  Click here for the recipe and instructions!





More Guided Reading Goodies! For you AND your students!

Free reference sheets for you and the kiddies!

Found these and TONS more (including videos!) on the site below…click the logo to visit!


Here is a great reference clarifying the distinction between guided reading groups and traditional reading groups…click the link to get the pdf



Here is a reference for the students describing what good readers do…click the link to get a copy…



Check back soon for more!!!


Guided Reading Goodie! Prompts for Analyzing and Synthesizing Texts!!

Free resource for any grade!! Check it out…

Prompts for developing your students’ higher order thinking skills…analyzing and synthesizing fiction & nonfiction texts.  Perfect as a tabletop reference during guided reading groups!

Click the link below to download and print!

Analyzing & Synthesizing Texts



Blog for book suggestions made FOR students BY students!!! Love this!!

What is My Next Book?  Bloguntitledrobot

Great site where students can go to tell a little about what kind of reader they are and what kinds of books they like, and then get suggestions from Ms. Scheele’s 5th graders on what they should read next.  The site even allows for visitors to also respond with suggestions to letters sent requesting good reads.  Although these students are in the 5th grade, students from all grade levels can use the site.  The class will conduct research to find the next great book for anyone!  This is a WINNER!!

Click here to visit the site!

Here is a sample from the site…

Dear Next Great Book,
I like fantasy books a lot.  I am really into the Sister’s Grimm series.  I am hoping that you will help me find a really good book.  Thank you 🙂
Fantasy Lover
Dear Fantasy Lover,
We really think that you will like The Grimm Legacy.  It is so good!  It is fantasy, mystery and it is about magic objects and The Grimm brothers.  We think it would be right up your alley.  It is at the book fair now!
We also think you might like Peter Nimble.  We think it is a good book and it is filled you adventure and fantasy.  Everyone who has read it has LOVED it!
Lastly, you might want to try Bigger Than a Bread Box.  We have LOVED it and many of us have not been able to put it down.  It is a story of a girl growing up and dealing with some tricky issues and it is FILLED WITH MAGIC!
Next Great Book
What a great idea to get students excited about reading!  Then, why not start your own suggestion sharing in the classroom??  Check this one out…
Enjoy, J.

Assessing Reading Progress: Setting Goals and Monitoring Progress

Guided Reading instruction is critical in students’ reading progress.  Accurate levels, appropriate goals, and consistent monitoring will bolster that progress!

Guided Reading picture Cartoon

I consider Fountas and Pinnell to be the experts on guided reading and if you need to know why, check out my earlier posts which discuss their Continuum of Literacy and guided reading resources.

In order to get the most bang for your buck in guided reading, you must make sure your students are leveled appropriately and you are consistent in monitoring their progess towards an appropriate goal.  Let’s look at these a little more closely.

Assess your students’ instructional levels

  • Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System:  this assessment will most accurately align with guided reading levels.

assessClick pic for more info

  • DRA2 assessment is acceptable, however be aware this assessment is set up to find independent- not instructional level.  The manual does give instructions on finding instructional level so find that information before testing students!

untitledClick pic for more info

  • If you do not have access to an assessment product, you can still assess your students levels as long as you have leveled books and know how to conduct a running record.  Click here for info on taking and scoring running records.  A Google search is also full of running record information.  After taking he running record, the following information will help you determine whether the level is independent, instructional, or hard for the student.


To determine appropriate levels and set goals

  • First know the guided reading levels for your grade level. 


  • Compare their levels to the grade level expectations


This will inform you of how to proceed…students who are “Approaching Expectations” are your Tier 2 students and should be seen at least 2-3 times a week for guided reading…and those in “Does Not Meet Expectations” are your Tier 3 students who you need to see daily for guided reading.  The heading at the top will help you set goals for each group of students.

Monitor students monthly progress

  • Use this resource to track students’ monthly progress towards their guided reading goals


Keeping track of this information is critical to maximize your students’ growth during your guided reading lessons.  You MUST take constant running records to ensure students are in the correct group.  Be prepared to use the running record information to move students to higher- or lower level groups.  Need instructions on running records- click here.  Each student will move at their own pace and this is why groups need to be flexible.  Don’t impede students progress by having them in incorrect level groups.   This is about the only way you can really mess up guided reading!! 

So move ahead- but with appropriate knowledge of where your students are, and where you need them to be.


Are your assessments being used to their fullest potential?

Consider how your approach measures up to the Seven Purposes of Assessment!

Take the pulse on your current assessment practices…make sure you are not just assessing student learning…but your teaching practices also!

Here are the Seven Purposes of Assessment as defined by Kellough and Kellough (1999):

  1. To assist student learning
  2. To identify students’ strengths and weaknesses
  3. To assess the effectiveness of an instructional strategy
  4. To assess and improve the effectiveness of curricular programs
  5. To assess and improve teaching effectiveness
  6. To provide data that assists in decision making
  7. To communicate and involve parents

As you can see, only 2 of the purposes above refer to students.  Five of the seven refer to systems of education that support student learning.  To maximize student learning, our testing must result in realsitic  measures of both learning AND teaching.  Unfortunately, we sometimes put too much emphasis on how well our students did, without considering the teaching part in the learning process.

As the saying goes, “When you know better, you do better”.  Now you know better- student assessment should not just be an ending point in learning, rather it should be a starting point in informing future learning for the student and informing future teaching practices for the teacher!image

After all, teaching without learning is just TALK.

Food for thought!


“How do I know they’re getting it??” Quick & Easy Checks for Understandings!

Great teachers use a wide variety of assessment systems to know whether or not their instructional methods and procedures are working (Fisher   & Frey, 2007). Long gone are the days where we could say “I taught that”.

If they haven’t LEARNED it, you haven’t TAUGHT it! 

One type of informal  assessment is to check for understanding. Various ways to check for understanding provides teachers with important information to ensure that students are “getting it”.  The more you do this, the more your students will become aware of how to monitor their own understanding, which is vital in them becoming life-long learners.

It has been said that teachers need to informally check for students’ understanding every 10 minutes.  What does that look like??  Below I have complied some awesome ideas that can be used during whole group, small group, or independent time to help you do it…



Happy Checking!!!