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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Wonders Freebie Blog Hop

Whew! Today was my first day back, and I have to say that I was not ready for an alarm before 7:00… but I got up, got ready, and after enduring some sad faces from my dog and a frozen-shut car door, I got to school.

I was having a hard time getting in the groove, and then the kids came in… and I remembered why I do this!

The winter blahs are tough sometimes, but my friends from the Adventures in Literacy Land blog are here to cheer you up with some Winter Wonders freebies to celebrate our one year blogiversary together!

Today our group of reading specialists, literacy coaches, and Title I teachers are sharing some short posts and free literacy resources for you- so be sure to follow the link at the end of my post to the next one! At the end of our “hop,” you can enter to win a Barnes and Noble gift card!

When a struggling reader is told to go back in the text, you can see their face fall. They JUST pushed themselves, and maybe embarrassed themselves, to make it through the text- and you are asking them to go BACK? Are you kidding?


Telling kids to go back in the text with no extra guidance is a surefire way to make sure that they ONLY do it when you’re watching. Struggling readers need a method to the madness!

Last year as a reading specialist, I worked with so many kids who didn’t want to stop in the middle of the reading, because it slowed them down even more- but without me slowing them down, they were thinking about the next word, and not about how that word fit into a sentence, how that sentence fit into a paragraph, and so on. They couldn’t build meaning as they read.

We practiced stopping after each paragraph to write the topic off to the side. It wasn’t even a summary, really- just a few words to answer, “What was this paragraph about?” By jotting it down, my students had an easy reference- almost like a table of contents for their passage.


Then, when we finished it, we glanced back at the topics. It’s a quick way to recap the text’s main ideas.

By the time we get to the questions, we know what each PART of the text is about- which makes it so much easier for kids to predict where to look for the answers to the questions. Oh, it's talking about where George Washington was born? That's probably in the paragraph about his childhood- and now I know where to look first.

Of course, our predictions aren’t always right- and it’s important to model that for kids- but stopping as students read to really get them thinking about the big ideas of the text helps give them somewhere to start.

When you’re not a strong enough reader to scan and quickly find the answer in a large piece of text, a strategy that gives you somewhere to start drastically increases the likelihood that you’ll even try looking back in the text.

And while this is a great test prep strategy, it’s also fantastic for real-life applications like research that require looking up specific pieces of information and even deciding which Google result to click on in a search.

Want to try it out? I’m sharing a free snow-themed sampler of my Text Detectives series for finding text evidence!


download here }


It’s my students’ favorite way to practice finding answers for “right there” questions in text, because they get to color! I aim for about 3rd grade reading level, although it works well in 2nd –4th. You can read more about how I use them in my classroom here.

Next, hop over to Deniece at This Little Piggy Reads for the next Winter Wonder!

Thanks for stopping by!  Don't forget to hop all the way to Adventures in Literacy Land to enter our giveaway and welcome our new members! Happy Winter!

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  1. You're are right, Jenny! Those struggling readers DO need a method to the madness of locating info. Thank you for such a wonderful resource :)
    The Techie Teacher

  2. You know how much I love Close Reading. Thanks so much. This will be perfect for my tutoring student who needs a shorter passage.

  3. This is an excellent resource and will really help my more able little readers! Thank you so much!
    Growing Little Learners

  4. I love your passages and use thwm with my darlings! I did learn a couple of new things to try out with my darlings! Thanks for the share!!!

  5. I am so excited that you shared this! I love these activities. I use them for my high reading group and we do it together. Thanks!
    Hanging Out in First

  6. What an awesome activity to use with my intervention students. I love that it teaches them how to find textual evidence with a easy-to-follow step-by-step procedure. :)
    Read With Me ABC

  7. Thank you! This is so great and I love how it gives the students guidance!
    Reading and Writing Redhead

  8. You do such a great job of creating these passages!! It is just what our students need. Thank you so much for the resource!


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