Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

Right to Read Week 2013

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

This week was Right to Read Week at Hilton School.

In Room 5, we decided to welcome in many guests to read with us this week.

Check out all of our visitors!  (We forgot to take pictures with only two people- Mrs. Schrader (the newest addition to our Room 5 family) and Mrs. Kaza (one of our student’s moms).  I’m so sorry we forgot!

A Modified Charlotte’s Web Unit

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

For the 2012 Global Read Aloud project, participants chose the chapter book Charlotte’s Web. I was disappointed at first.  How are we ever going to participate in this project with such a high level book with so few pictures?  Okay, I thought, I think we can do this.  After all, we’ve read Freckle Juice in the past, and at least half of Beezus and Ramona. And last year, we participated with Flat Stanley.

So, I decided, if I put in the extra time to make visuals, we can do this.

  Our students are mostly visual learners, so I knew we would need a notebook to keep all of our pictures for each chapter of the book. I started to create the Notebook and realized, there are 22 chapters in Charlotte’s Web!?!?!


I’ve gathered all the visuals I made and all the projects that our class created so that no one else would ever doubt that they could, in fact, read a chapter book with their class of students with special needs.

The following items are being shared, for free, because I don’t believe in web sites like “Teachers Pay Teachers.”  Please use, enjoy, and help your students succeed. (And maybe send me an email and let me know where you are located and how your project is going-

Charlotte’s Web Comprehension Notebook – This is a PDF file, contains pages for characters, setting, each chapter, problem-solution page, and the first page of characters in the story.

More characters – This page contains additional characters. The first set can be found on the last page of the Comprehension Notebook.

Charlotte graphic organizer – We used this page after meeting Charlotte in the book.  We wrote in details about Charlotte and about spiders.

Charlotte’s Web Settings – This file contains two settings. The last setting (the County Fair) is found in chapter 17.

Zuckerman’s Farm Graphic Organizer – Using describing words to talk about this setting.

Charlotte’s Web Problem/Solution page – We glued this page onto the Problem/Solution page in our Comprehension Notebooks after labeling it with the words “problem” and “solution.”

Visuals Per Chapter (via pictures found on Google Images)- We cut and glued these onto the pages in our Comprehension Notebooks each day after reading the chapter. The students reviewed these each night at home as their parents read the same chapter aloud for homework.

Chapters 1 and 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12 and 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapters 21 and 22

Additional Crafts, Projects, and Papers– We completed lots of activities centered around this project for the 5 weeks we worked on the Global Read Aloud project. The crafts were used for fine motor practice and to practice following directions.

We completed this pig craft that we found on Pinterest after reading the first several chapters.













We also found this Barn Craft on Pinterest and created these after Wilbur went to Zuckerman’s Farm.

We created these spiders (minus the hair bow and orange Halloween eyes) after meeting Charlotte in the book.










Good Friends graphic – Use this page to discuss the friendship between Wilbur and Charlotte

Charlotte’s Webs cookies – We used this “recipe” to create cookies with spider webs on top.  This was great for a following directions lesson.

Comprehension Quiz (Ch. 1-5) – We used this quick quiz after reading chapters 1-5 aloud at school and at home.

Charlotte’s Web Pin Wheel activity – To be honest, we ran out of time to use this one, but it’s a good resource for a pinwheel craft, Bingo Game, and other information.

We created webs with sidewalk chalk on black foam (you could use black construction paper) and put our names in the middle.

This is a ferris wheel craft we created after reading Chapter 20. We used popsicle sticks and construction paper.











This large 3D spider named Charlotte was made by our first graders in Art Class! So glad the Art teacher could integrate this for us!











This large 3D Wilbur was made by our second graders in Art Class!












CW Worksheet Activity Set – Pick and choose what you like here. Another participant in the Global Read Aloud sent this to me.

CW Writing Pages – As we were working to write complete sentences about a picture, we created these pages for writing.

Charlotte’s Web study guide – I sent this home the night before the Comprehension Quiz for chapters 1-22.

CW Comprehension Quiz chapters 1-22 – We took this quiz after reading the book, creating all the projects, and watching both versions of the movie.

Other Websites, video clips, etc.-

Charlotte’s Web 60th Anniversary Trailer

Chin Up

I Can Talk

Templeton at the Fair

Charlotte’s Web Fun and Games K-2

Charlotte’s Web Fun and Games 2-4

Charlotte’s Web Chapter Summaries

Second Grade Web Site with Other CW Links

The Global Read Aloud Project wiki – with links for Charlotte’s Web projects in 2012, The One and Only Ivan from 2012, Flat Stanley from 2011, and The Little Prince from 2010






Two Weeks of Eric Carle Books!

Friday, September 14th, 2012

In the last two weeks, we have been reading books written and illustrated by Eric Carle. We have focused on the fact that an “author writes the words in a book.”

We’ve read these books by Eric Carle aloud: The Mixed Up Chameleon, The Grouchy Ladybug, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Little Cloud, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Students had access to other books written by Eric Carle and looked through them regularly throughout these two weeks.

When reading The Mixed Up Chameleon, we colored, cut, and glued our very own chameleons.

After reading The Grouchy Ladybug, we completed a literacy activity by listening to a word, and gluing a dot on the ladybug on the left if the /g/ sound was at the beginning of the word OR gluing the dot on the right if the /g/ sound was at the end of the word.

When reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, we colored a picture of each animal in the book. Then, we cut them out and glued them in the order we saw them in the book as a sequencing activity.

For Little Cloud, we got to use cotton balls and make our own clouds!  First, we used our fine motor skills to pull the cotton balls apart, then we squeezed glue bottles, then put the cotton into the shapes of a rabbit, a stop sign, a tree, and a hat.

Lastly, after reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we painted beautiful butterflies!



Week 2 of the Global Read Aloud Project!

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

We continued to work on the Global Read Aloud Project by reading chapter 3 in the book Flat Stanley.  We colored and cut out our own Flat Stanleys to send to our families and friends all over the state and country!  We’re sending one out to Missouri to Mrs. E’s son Doug, aka PFC Eschweiler, in the U.S. Marines.  We’re even sending one out to Las Vegas, Nevada and one to Canada!

This week, we also got to “Skype” with two classes- Ms. Wilson’s first grade class from Atlanta, GA and Ms. Bonds’ third grade class from Michigan. We showed our class books and our paintings of Flat Stanley.  They asked lots of great questions about our town and we asked about their weather.  Do you know that the kids in Georgia told us it was getting cold… in the 70s!!!  It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in education… kids communicating with students in other states and excited about a book!?!?!?! How cool!

Our Skype Friends Map

Next week we are going to mail out all of our Flat Stanleys, make our own “flat” characters, and create a Photo Story of our work so far.

Flat Stanley Vocab + Quizzes Chapter 1-3

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Flat Stanley quiz 1-3 (for First and Kindergarten)


Flat Stanley Quiz 1-3 (Third Graders)


Flat Stanley Vocabulary Chapters 1-3

Teaching Reading Comprehension to Students with Apraxia and Other Non-Verbal Students

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

(Written as a guest post for the blog “Technology in [Spl] Education.”)

Working on Reading Comprehension with

Students with Apraxia (or Any Non-Verbal Students)

by Morgan Kolis

 I’m not a researcher.  I’m not a clinician.  I’m not doctor, a Ph.D., or even a developer of a reading program.  I am a teacher.  I’m a teacher and I can only relay information that has worked for me.

So, please take this blog post with a grain of salt.  And then throw it over your shoulder.  Because you’ll need an extra helping of good luck when it comes to working on reading comprehension with students with apraxia or any other non-verbal student.  But it can be done.

It can be done.

Here are some thoughts on how it can be done, followed by some of the things I have done that have worked…

1. USE VISUALS.  First, determine what level your student may be at when using visuals.  Does your child/student use a visual schedule?  Is he working with objects, photos, picture icons, or symbols?  Determine which make the most sense to your student.  Use those types of visuals.

2.  USE VISUALS.  It’s obviously easier to do when reading a picture book or decodable reader, but you can also make your own visuals to go with chapter books, nonfiction books, even text books.  Use Google Images or Picture Symbols.  Search for clip art or cut pictures out of magazines. 

3.  USE VISUALS.  Are you sensing a pattern here?

4.  USE VISUALS.  After reading a story, article, or book using additional visuals (photos or icons), use those same icons to create a comprehension assessment or check for understanding.  Since the student you are working with struggles with expressive language, be sure that you cater to his/her receptive language skills.  Ask a question and give three picture choices as possible responses.  Students should point to or circle their answer.

5.  USE YOUR DATA.  You will likely know your student’s “level” as you begin this task, however, determine whether your student can make choices from 2, 3, or more picture choices.  Also, if your student is struggling to comprehend a picture book designed for typical Kindergarten students, don’t assume that he/she may understand a chapter book now that he may be in third grade.  Work up to that level.

Here’s an example of a unit we did last year with 3 third grade students who had limited expressive language.

I had a plan to read the short chapter book Freckle Juice by Judy Blume.

Before beginning the lesson, 3 “notebooks” were created with blank pages titled “Characters,” “Setting,” “Chapter 1,” “Chapter 2,” “Chapter 3,” “Chapter 4,” “Chapter 5,” and “New Vocabulary.”  Each page, or several pages, was left blank to leave room to glue in additional visuals for the story.  Each student received a notebook that traveled home at night and back to school each day (to keep parents in the loop).

Each child was also assigned to reread the chapter each night that we had read during the school day.  Again, the “notebook” went home with the students in order to use additional visuals to improve attention to the story as it was being read aloud.

All 3 students were then introduced to the book Freckle Juice.  Together, we tried to make predictions using picture cues.  Students were given visual picture symbols from the Boardmaker Plus software and asked to choose reasonable visuals to show their predictions.

Predictions were then posted on a “graphic blog” known as a “glog” as this is a visual representation of linquistic information.

Next, we began to read aloud.  Each time a new character was introduced to the story, we would stop and glue his/her picture (photo or icon level) into our “notebooks.”  Each time a new setting was introduced, we would stop to glue in this picture as well.  Each time we had completed a chapter, we would glue in new visuals.  We would then read the chapter again the next day to review and incorporate those visuals.

Also, at the end of each chapter, we would fill in the events on our “graphic blog” to be visually reminded of the events in each chapter.  We could go to this “glog” on daily to review our story map before reading aloud.

Because Freckle Juice is a relatively short chapter book, we checked for understanding after chapters 1 and 2, then after chapters 3-5.  We used the same visual cues that were provided in the notebook on the assessment.  Students had to circle their answers from a choice of 2, 3, or 4 picture choices (depending on each child).

Remarkably, all 3 students maintained an 80% or higher on both assessments.

And because of this success, we tried the process again with the book Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary.  Although we eventually stopped at chapter 5 in Beezus and Ramona due to stamina and attention span, students had an average of 70% or higher on the end of chapter assessments.

(If interested, please go to to find the Freckle Juice and Beezus and Ramona visuals and assessments that we made.)

Additionally, at school, we planned to read the book using the iPad (Kindle for iPad App) in order to enlarge the few visuals already found in the book.

In closing, it is clear to me that our students need to be taught the way they learn  best.  Many of our students with apraxia and those who are non-verbal learn best visually.  They also learn kinesthetically (cutting and gluing, turning the pages of the notebook, holding an object that pertains to the story, manipulating web sites on an interactive whiteboard, etc.).  Teaching and assessing reading comprehension is a concept that has to be individualized for each student, and if we provide enough support, we will realize the abilities to comprehend material has been there all along.

I encourage you to find your own ways to teach and assess reading comprehension, but I encourage you to make it fun!  Make it meaningful!  Make it purposeful! And make it VISUAL!



Additional Parent Letter- GRA

Thursday, September 15th, 2011


Dear Parents,

As you have read through my summer mail and in our blog, we will be doing a project called the GLOBAL READ ALOUD project.  The Global Read Aloud project starts on Monday, Sept. 19th and runs for approximately 4 weeks.

In that time, our class will be reading the book, Flat Stanley.  I will start with the original version of the book, and we will then move to the chapter book (hopefully) and Flat Stanley in Space.

To keep up to date with the project, I would like to ask you to join a website called Edmodo.  Edmodo is a social network for SCHOOLS ONLY.  A password must be given in order to join any groups in Edmodo and it is strictly monitored.

Please go to and join the web site for free.  Once you have joined Edmodo, please join the group “Room 5 Students and Parents.”  You must use this code to get in: sixdr3.

On Edmodo, I may post questions, ask you to post photos, post our predictions or thoughts on chapters, scan picture icons, etc.

I will be sending home a permission form for your child’s photo (nameless) or work to be posted on Edmodo.  On that form, you will also be asked if your child can use Skype.  Our class will likely be “skyping” with another class and no students will be pointed out or named in this process.  Your child will NEVER be identified as having a disability.


Most of this project will be completed at school.  There will be one part of the project that I ask you to do at home.  This should take no more than one week. Please see the schedule below to know when you will have Flat Stanley at your house!

– You will receive “Flat Stanley” in a bag along with a camera, notebook, and the book.

– Please try to read the book each night with your child.

– I will ask your child to take Flat Stanley with him/her to any place you travel in that one week.

– I will ask that you help your child take pictures of Flat Stanley in these places.  If you don’t go anywhere in that week, I would encourage you to take photos of Flat Stanley in your child’s favorite places in your home, yard, or neighborhood, or with family members.

– In the notebook that comes home, your child will have a chance to write a paragraph or use picture icons to tell about your week with Flat Stanley.  If your child is in first grade or Kindergarten, you can write this for him/her.

– You will be asked to send back the bag and items when your week is complete so that we can  use them in school to complete our projects.

If you have additional questions about this project, please feel free to email me, call me, tweet me, send a message on Edmodo, or read our blog at

Thanks so much for your time and effort with this project!  I am really looking forward to seeing what we can create and do with this!

Click below to see the directions that you will receive in the “Flat Stanley bag.”

Flat Stanley Project directions

Great Book Lists by Big Universe!

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Unit Plan on Police Officer, Firefighters, Paramedics, and Emergencies

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

A Work in Progress…..

Police, Fire, Paramedics, and Emergencies Unit

Police Officer Social Story

Firefighter Social Story

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’ Birthday!

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’ Birthday!

And since one of our students is a BIG FAN of all things Seuss-y, we’ll be celebrating in Room 5.

When we went searching for ideas, we found a few of these…

We’ve collected them here as an easy reference for ourselves, but we’re happy to share…

Check out Seussville!

Brain Pop Jr. Video on “Dr. Seuss”

Dr. Seuss Interactive Word Search

Dr. Seuss Doorknob Hanger (PDF)

The Cat in the Hat -at words

Cat in the Hat Connect the Dots

My Many Colored Days Bookmark

Cybraryman1’s Dr. Seuss Page!

Make a Cat in the Hat hat

Green Eggs and Ham Placemat

Dr. Seuss’s Who’s Whoses

NEA’s Read Across America on Dr. Seuss’ Birthday!

World of Seuss Word Search

Cats in Hats Poem

1 cat on a sunny day put on his hat and went out to play
2 cats when the sky was blue put on their hats and went to the zoo
3 cats on a rainy day put on their hats, but had to stay
4 cats when the snow came down put on their hats and went to town

5 hats on a windy day put on their hats and blew away

The Cat in the Hat
Tune: The Addam’s Family

The cat in the hat (snap fingers) snap! snap!
The cat in the hat snap! snap!
The cat in the hat
The cat in the hat
The cat in the hat snap! snap!

He causes so much fun
But when the fun is done
You will be the one
To send that cat AWAY!

Repeat chorus