Alphabet/ Letter Sounds:

 A Was Once an Apple Pie

Hooper Humperdink…? Not Him!

If Rocks Could Sing

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

letter on the busMy youngest loves buses and so we did a fun spin on the song “The Wheels on the Bus” today using letters.  I found the idea for the song long ago in Mailbox Magazine.  I just changed it to him sitting in his bus tent and holding magnetic letters.  Here is how it goes:

Hold up a letter and start the song:

The P on the bus goes “puh-puh-puh, puh-puh-puh, puh-puh-puh”

The P on the bus goes “puh-puh-puh” all through the town.

Continue with the other letter sounds you are working on.

Match up magnetic letters to alphabet cards.  I again sorted out a few cards and letters to make it easier.  Once your child knows his sounds well, you could have him sort the letters onto the pictures.


Alphabet Train Puzzle


Letter Bingo- you can buy a set or make your own.  We just made our own game cards with random letters and then wrote each letter on little paper squares.  We placed the letters into a box and took turns drawing a letter out to read and find on our bingo card.

Letter Hunt: for this game you hide letter cards around the room.  Your child hunts the letters and brings them back to you to say the letter name and its sound. You could also have him say a word that starts with the letter.

Beginning sound sort: find objects around the house and sort them with their first letter.
abc begin sound book

Beginning Sound Booklet: A good way to practice beginning consonants is to name things and then listen for the beginning sound.

Alphabet Path Game: This idea came from Teach Mama. Her blog is full of wonderful ideas for learning.  To  make this game just make a pathway and put the letters your child needs to work on on the pathway squares.  Then make clip art squares that begin with the same letters and place in a box ( I did 4 different clip art objects per letter).    Each player takes out a clip art square and says the name of the object, stressing the first sound and moves his playing piece to the nearest spot with the matching letter.  The first person to the end wins.  I put all of the letters on the last space to make it easier to win at the end.

Here are some links for both of these resources:


Zoo Phonics Website

Sight Words

IMG_7733I found this website that has all kinds of games to print off for sight words and math games.  The website is called The School Bell.  Today we played the game to the left where you print off their printable game board and then each player rolls a die and has to read that corresponding number of sight word cards before he moves that number of spaces.  The first to the finish line wins.

sight wordssight words 2 Sight Word Flip a Card Game: This is a quick and easy game to play using sight words.  First choose up to 10 sight words to practice (10 for each player). I like to put in some words that are known, some that are somewhat familiar and some that are new.  Place the cards facing up so that everyone can see them.  First have each player read his cards aloud to practice.  Then player one rolls a 1-6 die.  Depending on what number the die lands on, the player reads that amount of cards.  If he gets them all right then he flips them over.  If he misses one that is okay, he is told the word and maybe he will remember it for next time.  Play continues between players until a player has turned over all of his cards.  I played this with my son this morning and used Spanish flash cards for me to study.  So that is another option.  You could also play this game using addition facts. I adapted this activity in a Mailbox Magazine. In the magazine they recommended covering the 5 and 6 on the die with lower numbers, but we just said to roll again if a 5 or 6 was rolled.

Sight word bingo- this game board came from Mailbox Magazine.  I fill in the squares and then we read the words together first.  Then your child covers the words that are called out.  You can switch and have your child be the caller for practice too.

Write the words in salt

Write the words in shaving cream

Rainbow words- write over the word using different colors of marker

Type the words on the computer- use fun fonts
Use sign language letters
Spell words using Scrabble pieces
Spell out the words using your body to form letters
Use letter stamps
Cheer the letters for the words
Word Families:
IMG_7259 A quick and easy way to do word families is to write the rime on a piece of paper, then place magnetic letters  next to the rime to see what the word says.  We went through the consonants today and then recorded the words under real or nonsense on a piece of paper.  The only problem I had with this was that some words were real, but the student did not have them in his vocabulary.  So it could be an opportunity to go over some vocabulary or maybe leave out those consonants that would make unknown words.
Early Readers:

syndetics-sc Bob Books (these start with a simple level 1 and go up to a first grade level)

syndetics-sc Biscuit (I Can Read Books are the ones that are an easier level. There are other Biscuit books that are more challenging)

syndetics-sc Green Light Readers (these come in two different levels, both are easy)

syndetics-sc Mittens (these are similar to Biscuit, but has a cat)

Very Easy Chapter Books

 Fly Guy series

syndetics-scYoung Cam Jansen (These books are great since there is an older Cam Jansen later)

syndetics-scBones mystery books

syndetics-scsyndetics-scsyndetics-scsyndetics-scCynthia Rylant Series: Poppleton, High Rise Private Eyes, Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball

syndetics-lcFox series by James Marshall

Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel (other good titles available by this author)

Corduroy’s Garden by Alison Inches

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa (for horse lovers)

Harder Early Chapter Books

These are all series books.

syndetics-scCam Jansen

syndetics-scMagic Tree House

syndetics-scRicky Ricotta

Snot Stew

Chapter Books

 Pain and the Great One Series by Judy Blume (plus other Judy Blume titles)

 Roald Dahl books

DRA Leveled Books

Level 1:

Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno

Do You Want To Be My Friend? by Eric Carle

Level 2:

Have You Seen My Duckling by Nancy Tafuri

Have You Seen My Cat by Eric Carle

How Many Fish? by Caron Lee Cohan

Level 3:

The Fox on the Box by Barbara Gregorich

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaloa

Pancakes, Crackers & Pizza by Margorie Eberts

Raindrops by Larry Brimmer (I thought this was kind of hard for a level 3)

Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar

Level 4:

Up Went the Goat by Barbara Gregorich (easy read)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle

I Went Walking by Sue Williams

Joshua James Likes Trucks by Catherine Petrie (okay read)

Roll Over by Peek

What Time is It, Mr. Crocodile ? (I thought this had a lot of words that were not level 4… too hard 6/18)

Level 5:

The Cat that Sat by Marie Vinje

I Am Water by Jean Marzollo

Footprints in the Snow by Cynthia Benjamin (this was kind of hard for level 5)

Level 6:

How Many Bugs in a Box by David Carter

Mary Wore Her Red Dress by Merle Peek

Ice is…Whee! by Carol Greene

The Chick and the Duckling by Mirra Ginsburg

Happy Birthday Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

Level 7:

Night Train by Caroline Stutson

Buzz, Said the Bee by Wendy Cheyette Lewison

Mrs. Sato’s Hens by Laura Min

If I Were an Ant by Amy Moses

It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw

In a Dark, Dark Wood

Machines at Work by Byron Barton

The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss (level 7-8)

Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi, illustrated by David Allender (level 7-8)

Level 8:

Hi Clouds by Carol Greene

The Hungry Billy Goat by Rita Milios

Who Is Coming? by Patricia C. McKissack

Where’s Spot by Eric Hill

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Chistelow

A Bug, a Bear, and a Boy by David McPhail

Wishy-Washy Day by Joy Cowley

All By Myself by Mercer Mayer

Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley

Level 9:

Jog Frog Jog by Barbara Gregorich

Just Like Daddy by Frank Asch

Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins

Dinosaur Garden by Liza Donnley

Pizza Party by Grace Maccarone

Level 10:

Amy Loves the Snow

Across the Stream by Mirra Ginsburg

Roll Over! by Merle Peek

Clifford’s Christmas

Thank You, Nicky! by Harriet Ziefert

Bubble Trouble by (Hello Reader) Mary Packard

Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward

Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown

Harry Takes a Bath by Hariet Ziefert

Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats

I’m a Seed (Hello Reader) by Jean Marzollo

Ten, Nine, Eight, Bang by Molly Bang

I Am An Apple by Jean Marzollo (Hello Reader)

Are You My Mommy?  by Carla Dijs

Caps, Hats Socks and Mittens by Louise Borden

Cat Games by Harriet Ziefert

Cat Goes Fiddle-I-Fee by Paul Galdone

Color of his Own by Leo Lionni

Dear Zoo by R. Campbell

A Dozen Dogs by Harriet Ziefert

Have You Seen the Crocodile? by Colin West

I Need You Dear Dragon by Margaret Hillert

Itchy Itchy Chicken Pox

Johnny Lion’s Rubber Boots

Jump Frog ,Jump by R. Kalan

Just Like Daddy by Frank Asch

Lady with the Alligator Purse by  Nadine Westcott

Mama Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming

Mama Zooms by Jane Cowen-Fletcher

Pizza Party by Grace Maccarone

Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins

Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews

What is That! Said the Cat by Grace Maccarone

Who Will Be My Friends? by Syd Hoff

The Yellow Boat by Margaret Hillert

Level 11:

Just Me and My Babysitter by Mercer Mayer

Cat Game by Harriet Ziefert

On Top of Spaghetti

More Spaghetti I Say by Rita Gelman

Harry Gets Ready for School  by Harriet Ziefert

Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton

Wait, Skates!  by Mildred Johnson

Sometimes Things Change  by Patricia Eastman

Each Peach, Pear, Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Level 12:

Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews

Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

Peanut Butter and Jelly by Westcott

A My Name is Alice by Jane Bayer

Titch by Pat Hutchins

My 5 Senses by Aliki (level 12-14)

Level 13:

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Level 14:

We Are Best Friends by Aliki

Come Out and Play Little Mouse  by Kraus

Cave Boy by Cathy East Dubowski

My Tooth is About to Fall Out  by Grace Maccarone

Sammy the Seal by Syd Hoff

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Sir Small and the Dragonfly by Jane O’Connor

Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones by Byron Barton (level 14-15)

Swimmy by Leo Lionni (14-16)

Very Hungry Caterpillar (14-16)

There’s an Alligator Under My Bed (14-16)

Level 15:

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Wake Up, Sun by David Harrison (Step Into Reading)

The Bunny Hop by Teddy Slater (Hello Reader)

Just Grandpa and Me by Mercer Mayer

All Tutus Should Be Pink by Sheri Brownrigg (Hello Reader)

Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant

Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Ehlert

Michael Bird-Boy by Tomie dePaloa

One Snowy Day  (Hello Reader)

Level 16:

Spot’s Birthday by Eric Hill

There’s a Nightmare in My Closet by  Mercer Mayer

A Kiss For Little Bear by Else Minarik

Quarter From the Tooth Fairy (Hello Math Reader)

Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Itchy, Itchy Chicken Pox

Fire Fighter by Angela Royston (Eyewitness Reader)

Henny Penny by Paul Galdone

Just Me and My Puppy by Mercer Mayer

Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman

Dinosaur Dinners by Lee Davis (Eyewitness Reader)

Frog went A-Cortin’ by John Langstaff

Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer

Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells

Dolphin by Robert Morris (I Can Read Book)

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone (level 16-18)

Level 17
Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack
The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff
The Gruff Brothers by William Hooks
Stone Soup by Ann McGovern
Level 18
Aunt Eater’s Mystery Vacation by Doug Cushman
Jamberry by Degan
Little Blue and Little Yellow by Lionni
Drummer Hoff by Emberley
A Little House Birthday by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Listening Walk by Paul Showers
Winter Days in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Me Too by Mercer Mayer
Winter on the Farm by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Happy Hippopotami by Bill Martin Jr.
More Tales of Oliver Pig by Jean Van Leeuwen
When I Get Bigger by Mercer Mayer
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Owl at Home by Lobel
Little Bear by Else Minarik
Fox and His Friends by Edward Marshall
Charlie Needs a Cloak by DePaolo
Sam and the Firefly by Eastman
Clara and the Bookwagon by Nancy Smiler Levinson
Buck, Buck the Chicken by Amy Ehrlich
A Tree Is Nice by Janice Udry
The Owl and the Pussycat by Jan Brett
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Suess
Clifford the Big Red Dog Series
Frog and Toad Books
Anansi and the Talking Melon
If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff
Starring First Grade by Miriam Cohen

Books For Boys

Super Diaper Baby (This book has lots of potty humor, but my boys loved it.  It also has some misspellings if that bothers you.)

Diary of  a Wimpy Kid


I got this assessment from another teacher a few years ago.  Assessment for reading

Running record 100 squares to do a running record, retelling guide, DRA level descriptors

Word analysis

Body of Evidence:  Our school keeps a body of evidence for each child.  In it we keep the most recent running record or miscue analysis at the student’s instructional level, retelling rubric, fluency checklist on a book at the instructional level, a student evaluation, DRA scores, reading continuum checklist, written retelling or written response, and ILP goals for students on an individual literacy plan.

In reading groups I keep a folder for each group.  On the outside of the folders I tape on the DRA level ranges with descriptors of skills that students are supposed to be working on at their level.

Early concept skills word identification


Character reflection paragraph

Reading Reflections Retell

Partner retell checklist ( I have the kids practice retelling a story to a partner)


For parents, I send home a folder with some useful information to help their child read.  The folder has the five-finger rule for picking a just right book, blend sounds, comment sheet for parents and teachers to communicate about the reading done each night, tips for parents to help with reading, list of sight words students should know, and a reading strategies page.


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