Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Common Core State Standards Literacy eHandbook

Don't waste another minute enjoying your summer! Why lounge by the pool when you could be creating a long term literacy plan for the coming school year?

As you dive into literacy planning this summer, use the following link as a resource:

McGraw-Hill Education

In the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Literacy eHandbook, you'll find teaching resources arranged by anchor standards for grades K-6. Resources include sample texts for each standard, as well as practice questions.

In addition to the eHandbook, be sure to check out Appendices A, B, and C through the CCSS website. A link to the website is provided on the homepage of the Literacy Curriculum Guides.
  • Appendix A includes research supporting key elements of the standards, and a glossary of key terms.
  • Appendix B includes text exemplars and sample performance tasks
  • Appendix C includes student writing samples
Happy planning!
-TC Literacy Curriculum Guides Planning Team

Monday, March 4, 2013

Why Move Away From Round Robin Reading?

Experts in the literacy field unanimously agree that round robin reading is not a good tool for teaching reading – it’s an easy tool, but not a good tool.

       “Round-robin reading in itself does not increase fluency. This may be because students only read small amounts of text, and they usually read this small portion only once” (Fluency instruction).
       No repeated reading – students need to practice the same passages over and over. Would you ever expect a student to learn the 4 times tables once and then be able to repeat them without practice? Yet this is what we do when we expect students to read without practice.
       “Is listed as a major reason why fragile students continue to read below grade level (Tatum, 2004, p. 29)
       No modeling for our struggling student to hear – they hear other struggling readers with bad habits, or they ignore what is being read aloud while they fumble to find where they will be expected to read.
       “Has the potential to develop negative attitudes to reading through the anxiety developed over performance reading when it is "your turn" to read. Consider how you feel when asked to read aloud in a public place!” (Limbrick, 2001).
       Remember the read aloud – read alouds are vital for students to be able to hear good oral reading – the teacher is the best model for showing how to use inflection, where to pause for thinking, and how readers go back and fix mistakes automatically when meaning breaks down.
       It provides students with an inaccurate view of everyday reading
       In everyday life, we are rarely expected to read aloud in front of a group before we have prepared.
       It can potentially cause faulty reading habits and slower reading rates
       As a good reader, you listen to the struggling readers over and over – you start to follow along the way they read and you can short-circuit and develop those bad reading habits
       It can cause inattentive behaviors leading to discipline problems
       Although students are expected to follow along, they rarely do even though they look as if they are. Instead they are reading ahead because they are faster readers than the one reading or they are practicing the part they think they will be expected to read or they aren’t paying attention at all and are poking and whispering to other children. When you reprimand them, they develop an unfavorable view of reading and you’ve lost the meaning of the reading and flow of the class.
       It can work against all children developing to their full potential (Opitz and Rasinski, 1998, pp. 6-7).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Finding THEME

Theme is something that was part of the Literacy Curriculum Guide beginning last year. Many teachers and ourselves struggled with How? How do we teach theme? How do we get our students to identify theme? Theme can be elusive and can be determined differently based on the set of eyes interpreting it.

Entering our second year of teaching theme is exciting! Many of you have shared your successes and struggles to help make this a powerful unit. Here are some great resources for teaching theme:

Finding THE MEssage: Grasping Themes in Literature

Also, add YOUR resources to the comment section!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Assessment in Reading Workshop

There are many wonderful resources available to support assessment in Reading Workshop. One such resource uncovered recently is located on the Scholastic Webpage. It has many exciting resources that can be adapted to fit your needs. Please take some time to preview.

Who else knows of some fabulous resources? Please add them to the comment section of this post.

Best of Success,
Erin Grant

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hello Literacy Teachers!

As Unit 1 winds down, we hope things are beginning to fall into place for you.  We’ve seen routines for Reading & Writing Workshops being established in many of the classrooms we’ve visited thus far.  We know this can be tiresome work, but the long term benefits will be great!  You will see engaged, independent readers and writers emerging.  And that is cause for celebration!

We are looking forward to the upcoming September Literacy Labs.  Both labs are focusing on Unit Planning.  On the 13th we’ll work collaboratively on planning Unit 2 in reading and on the 27th we’ll focus on planning the writing portion of the unit.  We have lots of seating and we’re hoping there’s not an empty chair.  Sign up at the bottom of this Literacy Curriculum Guide landing page soon!

As Literacy Coaches we’ve been pretty busy!  We are in the middle of the first rotation, so if we haven’t been to your school yet, you’ll be seeing us soon.  Please be sure to give us a call or email if you have any questions or needs.  Even if it’s not our day to visit your school, we’ll do our best to help you out!

Also, remember that the DRA2 and QRI5 scores should be entered in Mastery Manager by Friday, September 14th. If you need assistance setting up guiding reading and strategy groups based on the results, please contact your literacy coach.

Food for Thought from the Todd County School District’s Framework for Professional Practice (Section 8):

Literacy is the foundation for learning.
It is reading, writing, speaking and listening
to, with and by children.

Patty Tinant

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Welcome to the first literacy blog of the 2012-13 school year! 

What an exciting (and at times overwhelming) time of year. To assist you with getting started and resources throughout the year, all KA-12 ELA teachers are provided with a subscription to The site has tons of fabulous ideas, video, podcast to help incorporate balanced literacy in your classroom. Please watch your email for a username and password from the sender:
Also, KA-5 ELA teachers receive a subscription to This site provides resources for implementing the Daily 5 (and Math) as well as tons of literacy resources. Please watch your email for a username and password from the sender:

Login and get started exploring these AWESOME resources TODAY!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reflecting and Goal Setting

I apologize for the Lit Coach Recommends absence in the last couple weeks.  I think we've all been a little busy winding down the school year.

Preparing for Summer

Many teachers are gearing students up for summer break.  While we all know that summer is time to decompress and enjoy the time off, we don't want students to neglect the good reading behaviors you've been nurturing all year! 

Some teachers are asking students how they plan to continue their learning over the summer, while some are reflecting on all the learning they accomplished this year!  Here are some other ideas:
  • Send each student home with a summer writing journal 
  • Discuss places they can get books (Sinte Gleska Library, Valentine Public Library)
  • Have students set summer reading goals (read 5 books over the summer, read something everyday)
  • Model letter writing and write letters to each of your students over the summer and ask them to write you back!
  • Share Caine's Arcade and discuss ways your students can get creative this summer.

Personal Professional Development Plans

Your literacy coaches have asked you to begin reflecting on the school year.  Many teachers have participated in the Pinnacles and Pits exercise with their grade level teams.  By identifying these big moments of the school year, teachers are able to determine some qualities of their professional practices that they may want to keep (or discard!). 

For example, many teams shared pinnacles of units of study that were successful due to the collaborative planning and preparation that took place before the teaching.  This reveals, that when teams operate as a true professional learning community, we can see success for all students. 

After reflecting and determining highs and lows, teachers begin constructing their Personal Professional Development Plan (PPDP).  This document will guide the work of literacy coaches next year.  The PPDP allows teachers to set individual goals and for coaches to support them through improving their skill sets and knowledge of the particular goal. 

If you have any questions about writing your PPDP don't hesitate to reach out to your literacy coach.