Posts tagged reading Revisited

Early in the year, I posted a link to .   I have been using it with several groups of my students in grades 4-8.   I included this site in my list of helpful learning resources that I sent to my co-workers as their “Christmas present” and in a letter home to parents during parent-teacher conference time.   I know a few families have used it at home, even in subjects that they do not see me for  (particularly science vocabulary).

For my 4th graders that struggle with reading comprehension and fluency, I use vocabulary units from Ed Helper to create “vocabulary jars” and do various activities with them from analogies to reading the words in context, to challenging them to use it in conversation at home.    When I introduce new words, we look them up on   Often the options to see the words used in an article gets them interested in the word, and helps them use the word in a sentence of their own.

I also encourage them to use this when they come across a word in their reading at home that they do not know or cannot figure out how to pronounce.   This site will say the word for them, and since they already like the site, they are more likely to use it to look up a word instead of continuing to read without understanding.

By building their vocabulary, I have noticed that their ability to use context cues along with decoding skills when they try to read an unknown word has improved.  With more words to pull from, their accuracy improves.

How do you / would you use this site with your students?

Special Education Book List.


Inspired by the article “Students with Disabilities Underrepresented in Literature” recommended by positivelypersistantteach, here is a list of children’s books that feature students with disabilities.

1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians - Rick Riordan

2. My Brother Charlie - Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete

3. Eagle Eyes: A Child’s Guide to Paying Attention - Jeanne Gehret

4. Freak the Mighty - Rodman Philbrick

5. Tic Talk: Living with Tourette Syndrome: A 9-Year-Old Boy’s Story in His Own Words - Dylan Peters

6. A Very Special Critter - Gina and Mercer Mayer

7. Amelia Lends a Hand - Marissa Moss

8. What It’s Like To Be Me - Edited by Helen Exley; Written by children with disabilities

9. Taking Cerebral Palsy To School - Mary Elizabeth Anderson

10. Taking Down Syndrome To School - Jenna Glatzer

11. Taking Speech Disorders To School - John E. Bryant

12. Adam and the Magic Marble - Adam Buehrens

13. Whoa, Nellie! - Hope Benton

14. Kathy’s Hats: A Story of Hope - Trudy Krisher

I did a whole grad project on literature with characters that have disabilities.  I’ll have to see if I can dig it up.

Mother Reader: Ways to give a Picture Book

From the same Blogger who wrote ways to give a book.   I love these ideas!


  1. ABC, Baby Me! board book with letter links.
  2. Art and Max or Bridget’s Beret with a paint set.
  3. April and Esme, Tooth Fairies with a make-your-own tooth fairy box.
  4. Bats at the Ballgame with a bat and ball.
  5. A Bedtime for Bear with a personalized pillowcase.
  6. Big Red Lollipop with a big lollipop from the candy store.
  7. Brontorina or Miss Tutu’s Star with fancy tutu or two… two.
  8. Chalk with 3-D sidewalk chalk.
  9. The Cow Loves Cookies with a cookie counting game.
  10. Dancing Feet with Fisher Price: Disco Dance Party CD.
  11. Disappearing Desmond with a Look & Find Puzzle.
  12. Dog Loves Books with a bookstore gift card.
  13. Drum City with an old-time tin drum.
  14. Elephant and Piggie: We Are in a Book with the stuffed animals.
  15. Elsie’s Bird with a singing bird music box.
  16. Farm with Lace and Trace Farm Set.
  17. Feeding the Sheep with a wool sweater.
  18. Goal! with a soccer ball and a donation to Project Play.
  19. Goodnight, Little Monster with an Ugly Doll.
  20. Hot Rod Hamster with a Zhu Zhu pet hamster.
  21. I Don’t Want a Cool Cat with cat card game.
  22. Instructions with a book of classic fairy tales.
  23. Jackie’s Gift with both Hanukah gelt and chocolate Santas.
  24. Kindergarten Diary with fun school supplies.
  25. Ladybug Girl book with wings and antennae.
  26. Maneki Neko: the Tale of the Beckoning Cat with a lucky cat bank.
  27. A Night on the Range with a cowboy hat.
  28. The Nutcracker with tickets to a local performance.
  29. Oscar and the Very Hungry Dragon with a cooking set.
  30. Pigs to the Rescue with the Pass the Pigs game.
  31. Pink Me Up! with pink clothes, headbands, or jewelry.
  32. The Pirate’s Guide to First Grade with pirate gear.
  33. The Quiet Book with homemade coupons for some quiet time together — coloring, snuggling, or making a wish.
  34. How Rocket Learned to Read with beginning reader books.
  35. Somewhere So Sleepy board book with Safari Security blankets (three of the animals are pictured in the book).
  36. Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale or Moon Dreams with glow-in-the-dark moon and stars — or go high tech with this Moon in my Room.
  37. The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale with Classic Tinkertoy Construction set.
  38. The Tree House with Littlest Pet Shop brown bear and polar bear.
  39. Bear in Underwear with underwear.
  40. The Village Garage with toy trucks.
  41. Water, Weed, and Wait with gardening tools.
  42. What If? with a beach ball.
  43. An Xmas book — maybe a personal favorite — with a special ornament.
  44. Yuck! That’s Not a Monster! with the Moody Monsters Memory Game.
  45. Zero with magnetic numbers.

Instructify: Strategies for online reading comprehension

If the kind of text our students are encountering in these online travels is embedded with so many links and media, and if those texts are connected to other associated pages (with even more links and media), hosted by who-knows-whom, the act of reading online quickly becomes an act of hunting for treasure, with red herrings all over the place that can easily divert one’s attention. As educators, we need to take a closer look at what online reading is all about and think about how we can help our students not only navigate with comprehension but also understand the underlying structure of this world.

(Click the link for the entire article)

The more we incorporate technology and internet sources in the classroom, the more important it is to teach students how to work with internet articles and websites.

Suite 101: Figurative Language in Maniac Magee: Personification

Maniac Magee is one of my favorite children’s novels.   I have not had the opportunity to teach it, as I generally work with students too young for the book.  However, I did read it and write a paper on it for my undergrad Children’s Lit course.  Then, for my masters, I built a reading unit around it (I was partnered with someone in the intermediate grades, and I agreed to do a book in her grade area).  This book is excellent for teaching about bullies, racism, a sense of family, and fairness.   There is SO SO much that can be done with this book.

Celebrating Cultural Diversity Through Children's Literature

Welcome to the wonderfully diverse world of children’s multicultural literature, “literature that represents any distinct cultural group through accurate portrayal and rich detail” (Yokota, 1993, p. 157). Such literature appears in different genre which together present a multitude of perspectives about the lives, culture, and contributions of each cultural group to American society.

This web site contains links to 
annotated bibliographies of children’s multicultural books appropriate for the elementary grades (kindergarten through grade six). Cultural groups currently listed include: African Americans, Chinese Americans, Latino/Hispanic Americans, Japanese Americans, Jewish Americans,  Native Americans, and Korean Americans.

Books are categorized by genre: realistic fiction, information (non-fiction), traditional literature, biography, historical fiction, poetry, and fantasy.

Each annotation includes an approximate 
grade level designation, e.g., K-3, 4-6.

Each link above contains related links for elementary school teachers.

No attempt has been made to evaluate the literary quality of each work nor its appropriateness in terms of cultural content. It is left to teachers to determine each book’s appropriateness/relevance to his/her children and curriculum.

Many Things

This web site is for people studying English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL). There are quizzes, word games, word puzzles, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams, a random-sentence generator and other computer assisted language learning activities. Even though the primary focus is for ESL, native English speakers may also find some interesting things on this site. This site is non-commercial and has no advertising. TESL/TEFL teachers may want to recommend this site to their students.