Kinder Tribe Linky Party: All About This Kinder Teacher

I am SO excited to participate in this linky party from my friends at Kinder Tribe! If you are a kindergarten teacher that is still looking for your tribe, please visit our blog and Facebook page!


 Normally, I would go through and explain each part, but I am currently in Charleston, SC (YAY), and my husband is waiting patiently for me to finish so that we can go to the aquarium! I will explain these a little further when I get back to Tennessee!!

Remember to look for your tribe!

Kinder Tribe

Spotlight Saturday: The Organized Teacher Notebook

Good morning!! I would like to begin this busy Saturday with a Spotlight! This is a fantastic linky party hosted by the fabulous Kindergarten Dragons!

Today, I am SUPER excited about spotlighting this incredible product! I love all the great organizational teacher notebooks that are on TPT, but after I looked through my friend Chandra's Organized Teacher Notebook, I knew I had to have it!

There are SO many pages that are included in this notebook! One of the things I love about it is that she has each section grouped into its own file so that you can create a notebook that works for YOU!! This product includes:
  • Monthly Calendars
  • Monthly Planning Lists
  • Weekly Planning Guides
  • Meeting Notes Pages
  • Blog and Product Organizer
  • Student Information Pages
  • Lesson Plan Pages
  • Summer Planning Lists
  • Cover Pages and Spine Labels
  • Substitute Notebook 

My favorite part of this product was the blog/social media packet that was included! I can now keep my blog, TPT, and social media stuff organized, too!! I am so excited to start using it!

Did I also mention that she continually makes additions to this product! So, you buy it once, but she keeps adding to it! Ten dollars is an absolute STEAL for this product!
Like I said, if you are looking for a teacher binder that includes everything (literally...EVERYTHING), you have to get this great binder from Chandra over at Teaching with Crayons and Curls! Here is the link to this FANTASTIC product!

If you would like to join up with this linky party, head on over to Erin's blog! Make sure to read what other teachers have spotlighted!


The Science Behind Reading- Part 1 {Word Recognition}

WOW! I feel like I haven't blogged in a really long time! I have been VERY busy trying to produce pals! I am glad that I decided to take a day to get back to the core of teaching!

Several weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a training offered by the state of Tennessee. The leaders of the early literacy group were phenomenal, and I learned so much about the the skills needed in order to become a strong and skilled reader. This information was great for me (since I am teaching a majority of my kiddos these skills), but it is also great for those looking for what skills to focus on during reading intervention.

I want to begin by showing an illustration of what skills are needed in order to become a skilled reader.

In order to become a skilled reader, a student needs all of these parts of the rope. If any one part of the rope is missing, the rope becomes weaker. Our leader explained the seriousness of having each skill like a multiplication problem. Let's take a look at the word recognition part of the rope:

Let's pretend we are using a rubric of 3 for each one of the skills in word recognition. A 3 means you have mastered the skill, a 0 means you have no mastery of the skill. Let's look at what you would score if you had reached mastery in all 3 skill areas:


(You received a 3 in phonological awareness, a 3 in decoding, and a 3 in sight recognition)
A 27 is a perfect score. Now let's see what would happen if you had a problem recognizing sight words. So, instead of a 3, you scored a 1.


Whoa! So, the fact that you could not recall sight words diminished your over all word recognition score from a 27 to a 9! I can NOT stress the importance of having each of these skills when learning to read.

In this post, we are going to be solely focusing on WORD RECOGNITION.

First. lets take a look at each of the parts of the word recognition portion of the reading rope.

  1. Phonological awareness- Can the students HEAR the sounds in a word? Can your students hear rhyme, syllables, and phonemes? This is the important step that needs to be taken before decoding can be effectively taught.
  2. Decoding- Do the students understand that there is a relationship between the written word and the spoken word? Do they understand that each letter corresponds to a specific sound? We spend A LOT of time on this in kindergarten!
  3. Sight recognition- Can the students recall sight words quickly or do they try to sound out all their words? If you want a game that helps students work on sight word recognition, take a look at this fun way to work on quick recall here.
As you can see in the picture above, these pieces of the rope are braided. They are braided because you need EACH part in order to build firm word recognition skills. If you only have 2 pieces of the rope, can the rope be braided?

Knowing all of these parts of the word recognition rope, I now have a plan of how I am going to teach reading come the fall. Last year, many of my kiddos struggled with hearing all the sounds in a word. I would often see students' written work where they skipped over entire syllables. I have decided that this year, I am going to spend the first SEVERAL weeks just working on phonological awareness. That means I am going to teach letter sounds without teaching them the letter that goes with that letter sound. I really want to focus on having them HEAR the sounds and breaking words down into parts. I think spending more time on breaking words down in the front end will help them to be able to put words together with greater success and ease! How am I going to do this? That is the exciting part!

At the training, our presenters talked about a phonics program called Zoo Phonics. Our county already has a phonics program, but I thought that I might supplement it with Zoo Phonics. In this program, students first learn that there are sounds in words. Each sound, or phoneme, is represented by an animal (remember, no relationship between letters and sounds has been made at this point). I will teach them all the animals and sounds in the first 2 full weeks of school. Once the students have learned each sound, they can start building words with the phonemes that they know. I am planning on using beanie babies to have students build words.

Let's start with CVC words.

I will always use these 3 colors to signify beginning, middle, and end. We will begin by "stretching the word," and then I will let them use the beanie babies to create words. This example shows how the students spelled the word "cap."

This next picture shows onset and rime. It shows students how there is a beginning sound and an ending sound. This is how we begin to show our students the importance of word families.

I think it is great that students can begin to see the relationships between words! When the students start learning about word families, they will begin to see the relationships between those words! They will probably shout out that the ending 2 phonemes are the same!

I love how to teach the silent "e" at the end.

Excuse the lack of an elephant! :) I have not found an elephant beanie baby yet. Also, when a vowel uses the long sound (as in cape) I will put a little hard hat on the animal (probably from a construction stuffed animal) because it has to work twice as hard to say 2 sounds.

As the students show mastery of word building, we can begin to trade out the beanie babies for letters with the animal transposed on top of it.

I believe that this method can help students to learn to listen for each sound in a word. I am excited about using this method to teach reading, and this method helps there to be a seamless transition between phonemic awareness and decoding. When looking at the reading rope graphic, I see how the rope begins at the top with phonemic awareness, then decoding, then sight word recognition. Each skill requires the other skills in order to be skilled in word recognition. It is of vital importance to build each part of the rope. I realized that I spent a lot of time on decoding and sight word recognition, and I spent very little time on phonological awareness. I can't wait to use some of these strategies to help integrate more phonological based lessons in my classroom.

We will continue next week with the Language Comprehension part of the reading rope!

Do you have any word recognition strategies/lessons that you use in your classroom? Let me know!