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Predictors of Reading Success

Early literacy is the key for students to be successful in reading. Letter recognition, phonological awareness and oral language are the best predictors of reading success.

Research has shown time and time again that students must have exposure to repeated positive

literacy experiences in order to be successful. There are many things that factor into the reading

success of little ones, such as print awareness. They all come to school with their unique 

backgrounds and it is up to us to fill in their deficits. So let's dive into some early predictors of 

reading success. 

Knowledge of Letter Names

Letter Recognition is one of the biggest goals of kindergarten. It is also one of the predictors

of reading success in a student's first year of school. When students enter school and they do 

not have a frame of reference when it comes to letters, some of them can have a steep learning

curve ahead. In this case, accuracy is not always king. A student can be accurate in naming the

letters, but it is the ease with which they name the letters that we should be looking at. 

Early literacy is the key for students to be successful in reading. Letter recognition, phonological awareness and oral language are the best predictors of reading success.

When a student can name the letters of the alphabet with fluency, then they will have an easier

time learning all about the sounds that letters make because they already have a frame of

reference. If a student spends most of their time figuring out what each letter is, they will have

less time and effort available to use other strategies to decode print.

Phonological Awareness

We know that most children begin to develop their sense of phonological awareness as  

preschoolers, but what is it exactly? It is the ability to think about the sounds in a word, an

understanding that words are made up of syllables, sounds, and rhymes. They begin to recognize

that words are their own thing (asking what the word bright means), that words can sound the

same (pet and wet), and they also become aware of individual sounds and can manipulate them.

Early literacy is the key for students to be successful in reading. Letter recognition, phonological awareness and oral language are the best predictors of reading success.


When a student is well-developed in phonological awareness, then they already have a head

start in knowing how sounds and letters work together in print. When they have this ability, then 

they are able to begin using sound-letter knowledge effectively in reading and writing. One of the

strongest predictors of reading success in first grade and beyond is a student's level of 

phonological awareness at the end of kindergarten. If you have students who are struggling in 

this area, then early intervention is key.

Oral Language

Oral language is the foundation of learning literacy and a predictor of reading success. School

provides a language-rich environment, one that is different from the language used at home. It

will range anywhere from informal (used at home) to the more formal communication (used at

school). The development of this oral language is an important part of any successful

kindergarten program. So what is oral language? Initially, you would think that it is just the

spoken word, but it is also listening and thinking, which is all combined together to give you

oral language. The more a student explores language in the classroom, they begin to better

understand how to use language for reading and writing.

Early literacy is the key for students to be successful in reading. Letter recognition, phonological awareness and oral language are the best predictors of reading success.

Another purpose of oral language in the classroom is to learn new information. By the time

they have arrived at school, they have already learned to talk. Once they enter our classrooms,

they have to talk to learn, in order to be successful. They begin to use what they already know

about language to help them make sense of what is written on a page. At this point, they start

to make a connection between oral and written language, which is crucial for emergent readers.


If you find that you have some students who are struggling with learning to read, take a quick

minute to see if they could have a deficit in one of these areas. If they do, then research has shown

that these students need explicit instruction in these areas through early intervention. Don't delay!


Early literacy is the key for students to be successful in reading. Letter recognition, phonological awareness and oral language are the best predictors of reading success.

Black History Read Alouds for the Primary Classroom






Hey guys and dolls, how's it going? February came quickly, and out of nowhere! I feel like we 

barely got back to school, and poof! There went January! February is one of my favorite months, 

not only because of Valentine's Day but also because of Black History Month! It also means that 

spring is on the way! I love to introduce topics by utilizing read alouds, and I want to discuss 

some of them with you today!


I like to begin with books that talk about how even though our skin and hair might be different 

from others, we're still the same! Before we read books that focus on people like Harriet Tubman, 

Coretta Scott King, etc., I like to read books that features the perspective of children. 

I've found that they relate to it more easily! I do not wait until the calendar changes to February.

I start reading these books at the beginning of the school year! When February comes we just



This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that they throw a 

few coins my way to keep this blog running, at no extra cost to you!


The Crayon Box that Talked is a great book that begins with a box of crayons who do not like 

each other. By the end of the story, they realize that their diversity is what makes that so great!

From there, we move on to our next book, which just happens to be one of my faves!





We extend our learning from the crayon box book, and we read The Skin You Live In.

This book talks about how all shades of skin are wonderful, from cinnamon spice skin, all 

the way to lemon tart bold skin. I love how it then keeps going, about it's not dumb skin,

or smart skin or I'm lesser than you skin. It's so important that our kiddos hear this message!




The Colors of Us follows Lena as decides to paint herself and people in her neighborhood. 

She thinks that all she has to do is to pick the color brown because brown is brown. As they 

take a walk, Lena's mother shows her that there are many different shades of the color,

and that they are all perfect!




I Love My Hair is all about self-acceptance. I think that I love this book because it reminds me

of myself as a child! I HATED to have my hair done. I kind of tolerated my mom doing my hair,

but my grandmother was RUTHLESS!!! She didn't care if it hurt, she just got it done!

Though it does bring back fond memories!





After we talk about how we all look different on the outside, and the shades of our skin are 

wonderful, we start to get more into The Underground Railroad. I love to introduce this 

movement by reading Henry's Freedom Box. They can't believe people used to own other people,

like a piece of clothing or toy. They're also very interested in the fact that Henry mails himself to 

freedom! This book begins with Henry as a child, and then follows him through adulthood.



Goin' Someplace Special tells the story of 'Tricia Ann, a little girl growing up in the South 

during the 1950s, a time when segregation was legal and enforced. She begs her grandmother 

to go on a trip to Someplace Special, all by herself. With some reluctance, her grandmother 

agrees. While traveling, 'Tricia Ann is always reminded of where she can't go, where she can't sit, 

and more. Then she remembers what her grandmother told her, to always walk with her head 

held high, because she is somebody! And then she finally arrives at Someplace Special,

the library! I love this story because the library was always my favorite place to go as a child, 

and it still is.



I'm not even sure when I ran across this book, but once I read it, I knew that A Taste of Colored 

Water had to have a place in my classroom library. This book is slightly different, as it is from the 

perspective of white children. It's all Abbey Finch's fault! Lulu and Jelly just have to visit town, 

because they want to see the colored fountain! They're imagining all the flavors, cherry, lemon,

orange, apple-you name it! Once they arrive in town, they happen upon a protest, marching singers,

police and their dogs, as well as firemen and their hoses. Their world is turned upside down when

they 


You can find all of these books and more by clicking on each of the pictures, which will take you 

to Amazon. Alright, so those are some of my favorite read-clouds begin learning about black history.

For even more books please visit my Amazon page and click on black history and diversity. If you're

looking for a black history resource, you can find that here.


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Read alouds are a great way to encourage discussions on black history and diversity throughout the year!



Print Awareness - Early Literacy Series

Students who begin their literacy journey with a strong focus on print awareness and a longing to learn about reading and writing are enabled with tools to be successful in reading.

Welcome to the beginning of a series focused on early literacy! We're going to kick this off by

discussing print awareness. Research shows that students will have a higher chance of being

successful in reading when they have strong print awareness skills. Throughout the school day,

teachers must be intentional about building print awareness. We have to provide literacy

experiences which consist of concepts about books and print, as well as attitudes when it comes

to reading and writing. Let's dive in!

Concepts About Books

A part of building print awareness includes children not only understanding books but also how

they should read a book. They know that books are used for reading, they can hold the book 

right side up and they know where they should start reading and which direction they should 

read (front to back). They also read the left page before the right page and they turn the page 

correctly. 

Students who begin their literacy journey with a strong focus on print awareness and a longing to learn about reading and writing are enabled with tools to be successful in reading.
As their print awareness grows, children know what a book title is, that pictures are related to

the print, understand that there are an author and illustrator and understand what their jobs are. 

They will also exhibit comprehension by retelling familiar stories by using pictures, setting,

theme and plot in addition to sequencing stories. They will respond to appropriate questions about 

stories as well.

Concepts About Print

An understanding of concepts of print include everything from letters and words to punctuation,

signs, and symbols. The student will understand directionality, understand the concept of a 

letter and a word by pointing to only one, and they are able to follow along by pointing at words,

beginning to match the spoken word to the printed word. 

Students who begin their literacy journey with a strong focus on print awareness and a longing to learn about reading and writing are enabled with tools to be successful in reading.

A big shift in understanding occurs when the student realizes that print is speech written down,

can fluently identify letters by name, associate sounds with letters, start to use pictures to help

them identify words, use meaning and syntax to identify words and even predict the story. They

begin to copy letters and words, write their own name, hear and record sounds in words, and write

down a few high-frequency words.

Student Attitudes Toward Reading and Writing

We have a great responsibility in helping to shape student attitudes toward reading and writing.

How they feel toward reading and writing has a direct correlation to their literacy growth. As 

children are exposed to reading and writing, it is important that we make the experiences both

meaningful and enjoyable. 

Students who begin their literacy journey with a strong focus on print awareness and a longing to learn about reading and writing are enabled with tools to be successful in reading.

During this time assessments can be conducted to see if the student enjoys being read to, if they 

choose to look at books when they have a bit of free choice time, if they want to share books with 

their classmates, and if they show interest in writing. These assessments can be conducted formally

or informally. 

Students who begin their literacy journey with a strong focus on print awareness and a longing to learn about reading and writing are enabled with tools to be successful in reading.

Observing children daily and taking anecdotal notes as they respond to your literacy block is

the best way to determine their level of understanding when it comes to books and print. 

Sometimes you need the information at your fingertips as you plan for mini-lessons during

the week. I created these for a quick informal assessment so that you can have a snapshot of 

where your students are in regards to print awareness. You can grab these freebies by clicking 

here or on the picture above. Stay tuned for the next blog post in our early literacy series!

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Students who begin their literacy journey with a strong focus on print awareness and a longing to learn about reading and writing are enabled with tools to be successful in reading.

Using Wordless Books in a Primary Classroom

Wordless books are perfect for integrating into your classroom. They can be used to building confidence, comprehension skills and writing!

Books, books and more books! For every topic that you want to learn about, you can find a book

on it. I love to introduce and review concepts with any books that I can get my hands on! Every year

when I introduced new books into our day, I never gave wordless books much thought. It wasn't until

later on in my career that I realized how powerful they were. Now I'm on a hunt to add even more of

them to my library! They lend themselves to multiple skills. So why should you include them in your

classroom? Keep reading on to find out!


This post contains affiliate links, which means that I'll get a few cents thrown my way at no 

cost to you. This'll help me keep this old blog running!

Building Confidence

Entering school for the first time can be a vivid experience. Once you add in everything that we 

ask students to do these days it can be completely overwhelming. I have found that wordless books

can build up the confidence in each and every student in so many ways. A lot of times emergent

readers will shut down when they encounter words, and I always hear "I don't know how to read".


Wordless books are perfect for integrating into your classroom. They can be used to building confidence, comprehension skills and writing!


Luckily, wordless books do not have the added pressure of words. We take a ton of picture walks

through the books, and we discuss that reading the pictures is one way to read. Their face lights

up when they realize that not only can they identify the pictures, they can also discuss what is

happening in the pictures as well. From that moment on they know that they can read any book that

is in our library. I love to introduce wordless books by not saying a single word! It's so tempting

to start explaining what's happening on each page, but I use a lot of awesome facial expressions!

It's always interesting to see and hear their reactions when we reach the end of the book!

Comprehension

Comprehension skills are extremely important and every reader needs the chance to practice their

skills. Wordless books give students the opportunity to do this. They can actually focus on

the story that is unfolding, as opposed to focusing on the words. This is what students need when

we are beginning to teach comprehension. Students can sequence the events of a story, recall what

has already happened and they can practice their inferring skills.


Wordless books are perfect for integrating into your classroom. They can be used to building confidence, comprehension skills and writing!


Children can also practice their storytelling skills, because we all know that they have active

imaginations! Predictions can be made and they can learn to be on the lookout for visual clues.

With wordless books, students can be an active participant in the story discussions. This ensures

that no one gets left out of the conversation!

Writing

I know what you're thinking. How can wordless books be great for writing? There are no words!

I promise that it IS great for writing as well! Before we begin writer's workshop, I have discovered

that I must awaken their appetite for storytelling and introduce tons of vocabulary through picture

walks. It is only through modeling and exposure will they begin to include these in their writing.

Wordless books are perfect for integrating into your classroom. They can be used to building confidence, comprehension skills and writing!

We also use wordless books when we are learning about labeling our illustrations. I like to

use sticky notes and they help me to tap out our words, write the letters for the sounds and then we

label the pictures in the book.

Wordless books are perfect for integrating into your classroom. They can be used to building confidence, comprehension skills and writing!

When they are ready, another mini-lesson includes writing a sentence for what's happening on the

page.  Once you model new skills during writer's workshop, then pretty soon you'll have students

who are trying to incorporate it into their own writing!

Wordless books are perfect for integrating into your classroom. They can be used to building confidence, comprehension skills and writing!


If you haven't given wordless books a chance, I hope that you'll try to introduce them into your 

classroom! I've gathered a selection of a few great titles to begin with, you can check them out

right here. If you know of any other great uses for wordless books, please sound off below!



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Wordless books are perfect for integrating into your classroom. They can be used to building confidence, comprehension skills and writing!

6 of the Best Fine Motor Activities Part 2

Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!

Fine motor activities seem to only be thought of at the beginning of the year, but it is something

that students need practice with all year long! It doesn't take up a lot of extra time, just a few

materials and they are ready to go! Awhile ago we discussed six great fine motor activities, so

stay tuned for the next round of activities that you can quickly implement in your classroom.

1. Screws and Washers

Who knew screws and washers would hold a child's attention? I like to put them in the iris photo

boxes that you can grab from Michael's. Depending on how long they are, you can even put them

in the little crayon boxes that you can find at the Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart. They are super cheap

and perfect for little hands. Be careful, because they will end up all over the floor! One year I had

a custodian who asked if my desks were somehow falling apart, because he kept picking them

up off of the floor! I had to show him our boxes! Haha!

Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!

2. Cutting Practice

We all know that the only way children will get better at cutting is to practice. They're always

itching to cut random bits of paper so I let them! Children need to practice cutting straight lines,

curved lines, zig zag lines, moving on toward cutting shapes and other pictures out!

Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!

I know that it can be a tad bit annoying for them to have paper everywhere, but I promise the

engagement is totally worth it! The practice that they will get is priceless! Let them cut!

Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!

3. Geoboards

Geoboards as a fine motor activity used to definitely make me nervous. I mean, children with

rubber bands and spikey boards were enough to make my blood pressure rise. Once I got over that,

and had plenty of talks about do's and don't's with the rubber bands, they did surprisingly well

with them! And yes, a few of my friends had to have another talking to and consequences for

launching a few rubber bands across the room. Don't worry, just correct, re-direct and move on.

Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!

4. Pattern Blocks

Pattern blocks get a bad rap sometimes it seems. They get relegated to math time but they

are good for multiple uses! I use them for literacy practice as well!

Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!


And wouldn't you know it, your little ones are practicing fine motor skills at the same time.

Maneuvering the blocks into their appropriate place and in between other blocks definitely takes

some fine motor skills!

Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!

5. Sticker Lines

Stickers lines are almost the same as cutting lines. It's exactly as it sounds! Add some lines to a piece

of paper, and let them follow the lines with stickers! If you find that your students are unable to

work with the smaller stickers, start them out with the larger ones, and then gradually move them to

the smaller ones.

Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!

As you can see, it doesn't have to be anything fancy! You do not need clip art, or dotted lines.

All you need is paper and a few markers, and you can make any type of sticker line that you want.

I like to use leftover stickers that I have completely forgot about. When I come across them,

I add them to the sticker line pile!

Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!

6. Fine Motor Maze

Now we're at our last fine motor activity for this post, the fine motor maze. I promise, it's not as

complicated as it sounds! You fill up a ziplock bag with cotton balls, and then add a colored

pom-pom to the bag, then you zip it up! The students would then try to move the colored pom-pom

from the outside of the bag. They would push the colored pom-pom from the bottom of the bag

to the top. You can even do thematic mazes, for halloween put a ton of black pom-poms and then

add an orange one, for Christmas you can do green pom-poms and add a red one! Easy-peasy!

Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!

Aren't these activities so easy? I bet that you already have a ton of these material laying around!

Don't forget to read part 1 of fine motor activities! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate

to reach out!



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Fine motor skills can be practiced throughout the day in your learning activities! It is definitely something that should not be overlooked! Read on for great activities that you can easily implement in your classroom!