Monday, July 14, 2014

Favorite Books to Teach With: Blogging Challenge Day 14

 My favorites! 

Day 14: Favorite picture books or novels to teach with...

I'm going to veer off topic a tad by discussing books I bring into play when teaching the students in my RtI groups.  These books are not necessarily the typical picture books teachers use, which is why I'm sharing them.  :)

The students I work with are generally a minimum of one and a half years below grade-level in reading.  The focus commonly consists of using "think alouds" to support the reading strategies my students often lack, as well as teaching them to use nonfiction text features to gain a deeper understanding of nonfiction texts.  My focus points have to be modeled, modeled, modeled by me and then practiced, practiced, practiced by the students... over and over again.  Repetition is the key to success!  

The books I often turn to for support are Teaching Reading with Think Aloud Lessons and Introduction to Nonfiction: Write-on/ Wipe-off Flip Chart.  Please click on the title of each book to learn more.  Once the strategies have been taught, the pages of these books become Anchor Charts to serve as reminders for the students.  During guided reading, the students independently apply what they've learned, but also have support from me, when needed.

I love the feature of writing prompts that reinforce the strategies in Teaching Reading with Think Aloud Lessons!  
The pictures below represent a review, prior to the students practicing the strategies independently.  

Examples of Introduction to Nonfiction  from my classroom.

The guided reading books I use with my students  come from the Fountas and Pinnell Intervention System.  My district adopted this system just this past year.  It's superb!  

The books in these kits have wonderful illustrations, text features and story lines.  Each kit provides an assortment of fiction and nonfiction titles, some of which include "series" books, as well as reader's theater-type books for the students to use. 

Title examples from the Blue Kit

Since I am the Reading Specialist for 2nd and 3rd graders, I mainly use the Blue Kit which supports guided reading and writing for Levels C-N.  Below is an example of some titles in the Blue Kit. However, this upcoming school year, I may also be supporting 4th graders due to a change in staff members and the number of students who need support.  If that's the case, I'll be  diving into the Red Kit which supports guided reading and writing levels L-Q., 

The students are using the books for strategy practice and reader's theater in my room.

When I'm taking running records or making general comments about a reader's strategy use in my assessment notebook, I take into account what the reader's strengths are and what areas need to be developed.  Often the weaknesses are paying attention to meaning and fluency.

Many of the struggling readers I assist are English-language learners.  Prior to my students reading any text, I note what skills should be a focus.  For instance, when idioms appear in our guided reading books, I use specific read alouds that will reinforce the meaning of idioms.  English-language learners often do not understand idioms, which then causes a break-down in their comprehension.  However, reading aloud fun stories that pique student motivation, provide necessary background knowledge for deeper comprehension of future stories and allow students to hear what good, fluent reading should sound like can be beneficial.   Since I used idioms as an example, here are some of my favorite titles to support the understanding of them: There's a Frog in My Throat!, Muddy as a Duck Puddle and Other American Similes, and Raining Cats & Dogs

For fluent reading, knowing the use of punctuation is a must!  If my students are reading like monotone robots or ignoring punctuation like speedy race cars, I use the following read alouds as a fun way to address those areas: Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why EVERY Punctuation Mark Counts!, The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why You CAN'T Manage Without Apostrophes! and my favorite Eats, Shoots & Leaves:  Why Commas Really DO Make a Difference!

Well, those are a few books I use with my students.  I hope this post was useful to someone out there.  Thanks for stopping by and a big shout-out to Michelle over at Bigtime Literacy for her Blogging Challenge topic.


  1. Thanks for sharing all of these texts!

  2. Thanks for sharing all of these texts.

  3. My favorites are the idiom books. These can be really difficult for concrete thinkers to get - the illustrations/humor help.


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