Using Mentor Texts to Teach

The Pumpkin Book

Welcome to The Literacy Garden blog! I'm thrilled to be a part of this Fall Blog Hop to share with you one of my favorite children's author / illustrator: Gail Gibbons. Today we are going to examine nonfiction text features through her book titled The Pumpkin Book.   Identifying Nonfiction Text Features Gail Gibbons is a prolific author of informational texts for elementary readers. She is a master at weaving text and nonfiction elements with detailed illustrations and diagrams. … [Read more...]

The Candy Corn Contest


Learning Through Literature is a series designed to help you and your students get the most out of a popular children’s book. Whether you are using this title for guided reading, small group instruction, or as a whole-group read aloud to your class, you will find plenty of ideas and resources to support your literacy program. THIS UNIT INCLUDES: * comprehension questions for each chapter * vocabulary and word work lessons * extension activities to provide additional engagement with … [Read more...]

Children’s Books Kids Love and Remember


Today I wanted to spotlight some of my class favorite read alouds. I like my students to hear stories that engage their minds and emotions, make them laugh, or touch their heart. They will often refer to these stories and characters throughout the year as we make connections to other stories they read in class. One of our beloved characters is Strega Nona created by Tomie dePaola. Each year, I launch our first author study about Tomie. While many of his books are autobiographical in … [Read more...]

Apple Trivia Hunt

APPLE TRIVIA hunt carda

 It is almost autumn! Time to think about apples, Johnny Appleseed, and fresh cider. Are you looking for a fun way to launch this year's apple theme? Then get your class up and about on an apple trivia hunt!         Print and cut apart the 12 fact cards. You can post them around your classroom, or out in a hallway.         Then print a question page for each student. Your students will love walking around searching for … [Read more...]

How Important Are High Frequency Words?


Did you know that children who do not master the 100 most common high frequency words until 3rd grade usually continue to struggle as readers throughout their lives? (Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement).  While saying words from a list does not encompass all the skills needed to be a proficient reader, the mastery of high frequency words is a crucial foundation for more complex texts. When a reader is spending most of their energy trying to figure out the words, they … [Read more...]



I love that my young writers are eager to spell correctly. They are no longer satisfied with using inventive spelling. However, their young age makes using a dictionary quite intimidating. So how is a teacher able to support conventional spelling during writer's workshop? What do you do when you hear, "How do you spell...?" My solution is a personal word wall! It is simple, customized, and handy. Whenever a student would like to know how to spell a word, they bring up their folder. Either … [Read more...]

Solution to No Name Papers


If you had a dime for every minute you spent trying to figure out whose "No Name" paper belonged to, you'd be rich! For years I have been frustrated by this chronic problem too; especially when there is more than one child forgetting. Then over the summer, I stumbled across this simple, yet amazing idea from Jamie at 2nd Grade Stuff Labeled Clothespins!! Here's what I did: I chose two different colors (boys / girls) that matched my classroom decor colors. I applied acrylic paint to … [Read more...]

Back-to-School Picture Books


Starting school can be an emotional time for students as well as teachers. Whether you are beginning kindergarten, or having been attending school for years, it is natural to have mixed feelings. Here are some books that can help ease the anxiety and get everyone off to a good start. If you want to know more about these books, CLICK HERE.   … [Read more...]

{Printable Freebie} Notebook Labels

Writing Notebook Labels 2x4 v2

Part of my getting ready for the first day of school includes deciding what types of notebooks or learning logs I want to use with this class. I can't tell you how much I go back and forth between should I use a spiral notebook, composition notebook, a pocket folder, or a binder. Each one has pros and cons. Once I've decided, I like to put kid friendly labels on them that identify their purpose. Below I am sharing some that you can use on your student notebooks. The labels are sized for 2" x … [Read more...]