Reading Strategies- Goal 1 and 2

Hi, and welcome back! How are you? This past week has been super busy. We are getting ready for two birthday parties less than 2 weeks apart. The first is this weekend. My youngest turns 13. She is excited about becoming a teen, me...not so much. Lol, Where has time gone?  #timeslowdown, #teenyears

Well, enough about me and wanting to hit the pause button.

I hope you are enjoying the book study. I am excited to begin learning the different strategies Jennifer has shared in the book. Can I just say that I LOVE the layout? It makes grasping the strategies with ease. It will be a great tool during the year to open it up and plan lessons to meet the needs of my students with ease.

 Now, for the good stuff! This week we will be reviewing Goals 1 and 2. I am excited to jump into the "meat" of the book with all of you.

Supporting Pre-Emergent and Emergent Readers

A quote from the book that stuck out to me right off the bat was, "when you refer to the book as a story, it really is a narrative- by taking care with you language choices you are teaching your students important lessons about a genre." (pg 22)  Wow! I had to self-reflect with this quote. How many times did I refer a book as a story not realizing it might cause confusion later? Using appropriate language is key, beginning early in their reading development.  I know how important common vocabulary is in a child's learning, why had I not thought about it in this setting as well?

For a quick reference, I have listed a list of books that work best for this stage of development. (pg 22)
  • Text that includes visually engaging pictures.
  • Stories that have a strong narrative with some repetition.
  • Informational text where they can learn content from the pictures in the book. 
  • List book with supportive pictures.
  • Alphabet and number books that help reinforce what students know.  
Now, on to share a few strategies from Goal 1. 

1.4 Pictures as Stepping Stones

This strategy is best used with narrative text. It allows students to practice storytelling and sequencing. I really liked how this strategy talks about how every page in the book connects to make the story. It is looking at one page in the books picture to say what happened and then turning the page to see what happens next.  I have noticed in a small group (and whole group reading) there are times that students do not make the connections that the pictures connect. Together, they tell the story. 

One of my favorite prompt examples that she listed was asking, "so what happens next"? This thinking stem allows students to be thinking beyond what they see on the page and moves them to think about what could happen next before turning the page. 

1.11 Move Your Body, Remember the Words

This just might be my favorite strategy from Goal 1. I LOVE adding movement to my classroom any chance I can.  

As I was reading this strategy I thought of reading the book, The Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything. Have you read it? If not, it is a perfect read for October! My students always LOVE listening to this story. We add movements as I am reading to match the clothes that are following the little old lady. There are always many giggles! One thing is for sure, they do not have difficulty remembering.  

This is a strategy that would be easy to incorporate and one that I will be using more frequently this next school year. It would be perfect for a review in a small group when they are reading a story for the 2nd day/time. 

1.16 What I See/What I Think

I like how this is teaching kids that reading is thinking. We want kids to think beyond the text. They need to read the words on the page but also need to say what they are thinking in their mind (when they are reading).  They are having to use clues from the page + their background knowledge to decide what "maybe" happening.

There have been times where a student read beautifully but could not recall anything they just read. 

This is a strategy that I use during some of my read aloud. I will include more specific thinking stems she mentioned this next school year. I like the verbiage she used and how she also encouraged student responses. 

Teaching Reading Engagement

"without engagement, we've got nothing" (pg 44)  YES!! This piece is key to student success in reading. 

At the beginning of the year one of the first strategies I teach my kiddo's is building stamina. We have to have this piece down before moving forward or the rest of the year will be extremely difficult and not near as productive during our Literacy Stations.

I like how in the beginning she is monitoring what students are doing during this time using an engagement inventory. This tool helps to record what we are seeing, and it is nice to have it all in one place. 😉

2.1 A Perfect Reading Spot

When I first introduce reading to self to my students, we talk about finding the perfect place to read around the room.  It is teaching students to be mindful where they work best. 

In our classroom we use flexible seating so early on they are discovery where they learn best, finding a perfect reading spot is just an extension.  I truly believe students should be given the opportunity to discover where their "perfect" spot is. 

I like how she has students pick spots based on previous success and has them try a different spot. Allowing them to reflect on what worked, what might not work and where they would like to try in the future. 

2.10 "Party" Ladder

I love to use goal setting with my first graders. It is something that can be used across all subject areas, allows students to self-reflect and makes changes as needed. I also find it equally important that students are able to see the growth they are making to meet their goals. 

The "party" ladder gives students short-term goals to meet the larger goal at hand. After a period of time, the ladder can be modified to meet a new challenge. 

How often do we have reluctant readers? They see ALL the words on a page or how THICK the book is and say... NO WAY, I can't do that! I love how this visual breaks down their reading and gives them time to reflect over a SHORT period of time. 

2.13 Mind Over Matter

How many times have you heard a student say... "I don't like this book. I don't want to read it." I can't even begin to tell you how often I had heard these words, even before they opened the book to give it a try. Then, there are other times where they don't have a choice (ex: testing). It is something they have to read.

This strategy is beneficial for students who are at least on an "E "reading level. I appreciate how she approaches this strategy by teaching students when they say something isn't for them it is like a light switch that turns their brain off before they even begin. Having students try and change their mindset will help them in the reading process. 

Teaching them that attitude when reading can change how much we understand and able to focus.

For me, this was a HELLO, LIGHTBULB moment!  I want to be able to give my students the tools they need to get over the #idontlikethisbook, #itisntforme moments. 

Well, that is a few of my favorite strategies from this book so far. 

What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite strategy for Goal 1 and/or 2? If so, feel free to share it below.

Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to sharing next weeks goals with you. 


  1. Good morning, Kara! I didn't list a couple of yours that were still favorites. I love the idea of "Move Your Body/Remember the Words" because it falls right in line with Whole Brain Teaching--which I use a lot in my classroom. I also love the "Mind Over Matter." It is so important to get students to try new things (new types of books). I know there have been several times when I didn't think I would like something, but when I gave it a chance, I fell in love! Daily 5 being one of them! ;-)

    Teaching Little Miracles

    1. Crystal,
      I completely agree! It was really hard to narrow down my favorite 3. There are so many wonderful strategies she includes. I LOVE Whole Brain Teaching. I can also think of several times I didn't want to read something and ended up falling in love with the book.

  2. I had also highlighted strategy 2.13 in my book. We do Learning A-Z, read to self, once a week in our classroom, and I usually have a few students, many of whom are very engaged and voracious readers,who say they don't like Raz-Kids (we call it that in the classroom, rather than Learning A-Z) because some of the books are boring but they have to read all of the books in a level before leveling up. This strategy might work for some who've just decided not to like it without having given the books a chance with an open mind. What are your thoughts, fellow teachers?

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