Becoming the Best Reading Teacher

reading teacher

Do you teach the subject you always dreamed of teaching? If you do, I am so happy for you! If you don’t, I understand how painful this can be. It can be frustrating to see the teacher who teaches the subject or grade you want every day. Or, it can be overwhelming to teach a subject you do not feel totally confident about. However, we have to remain positive when this happens and keep our focus on students. They deserve to have happy teachers who love to get to know them and plan amazing lessons. So, let’s dive into becoming the best reading teacher whether you love or hate the subject! 

reading teacher

#1: Fake It Until You Make It 

I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before! However, it is relevant to so many situations! Even if you hate your current placement, you can still focus on becoming the best reading teacher. Now, are you wondering how you do this? I have a simple yet profound answer. You show enthusiasm every single day! Yes, your enthusiasm HAS to be there! You can’t be crazy about math or science, and your spirit suddenly disappears when it is time to teach reading. Your persona, vibe, and passion will show to your students. They will pick up on how you are feeling! So, if you are bored or upset, they will feel the same. You must be enthusiastic and excited to draw students into lessons. Ultimately, your mindset and tone have a massive impact on students. 

If you are feeling discouraged because you’ve already started the year and students are noticing a negative vibe, it’s okay! Make the needed changes, and students will notice and do the same. Honestly, this happened to me when I taught writing. It was amazing to see how students became stronger and happier writers when their teacher showed excitement about the subject. 

#2: Make It Fun! 

No one looks forward to being bored for 8 hours. So, when focusing on becoming the best reading teacher, make lessons fun! If you’re having fun, your students will have fun. Yes, this even includes your most reluctant learners or ones who do not want to smile. How do you do this? Break out of the boring worksheet and basal reader and get kids’ hands into the material. They are the ones learning and should be using resources! Put those school supplies to use and allow students to use color coding, scissors, and glue. They can sort different content, complete group work, and work on projects! Honestly, they will love reading lessons when they become hands-on. You will also love seeing a class full of students who are eager and excited to learn! 

Are you struggling with becoming the best reading teacher because you’re unsure how to make reading fun? I understand that! Thankfully, there are so many incredible resources out there to help. For instance, these Building Comprehension Units include educational activities students will love! They will work on making connections, analyzing sources, comparing and contrasting, and fact and opinion among many other skills! 

reading teacher

#3: Honest Insight for a Reading Teacher 

It is helpful to figure out why you hate teaching reading when working on becoming the best reading teacher. For instance, is it a lack of confidence? Or, is it you don’t understand the standards? Do you not understand the phonics portion or the vocabulary portion? What is it about reading that you dislike? Maybe it is something you went through in reading class as a student. I promise that once you pinpoint the issue, you can make a plan to do something about it! Planning and teaching reading will become exciting as your mindset changes about the subject! 

If you dislike teaching reading because students seem bored, think about why this is. Honestly, students do not just dislike reading. Something happened to cause this. Maybe you even use some of these techniques that actually Kill the Love of Reading. With honest insight, you can make the needed changes to ensure you and your student see how fantastic reading is!

#4: Keep Learning! 

Teachers are just as much students as they are teachers. They are always learning new teaching strategies, tools, and techniques. This is essential as students and their needs change each year. When students need extra help, teachers can pull various resources out of their toolboxes. Honestly, this could very well be the case for you if you hate teaching reading. In other words, if you do not love to teach reading, there is something ‘not right.’ Maybe it is due to a confusion level about certain material. Or, it could be a struggle to make the learning relatable. Whatever it is, the best thing you can do for yourself and your students is to continue learning.  Find some free webinars online to register for or attend some paid workshops or conferences. It’s our job to be confident in what we teach. We can’t settle if we are not. We must work through our obstacles to provide the best education for students. 

#5: Observe Another Reading Teacher 

Teachers understand how demanding the profession is. So, many are more than willing to open their doors and help other teachers. Do you know someone who loves to teach reading? Or, have you heard about a great reading teacher in your building or a district close to you? Maybe they can help spark some inspiration in you! If you can, take some time during your prep period to go and observe a few reading teachers. Or, talk to your administrator about your feelings and get a sub to go and observe. This is an incredible way to help get some new ideas flowing and give you some motivation to make becoming the best reading teacher a reality. While teachers never like to be away from their classroom, your students will only benefit when their teacher finds ways to make the subject enjoyable. 

#6: Read to Your Students 

Every. Single. Day! Students love to be read to no matter their age. So, this is essential to do even if a love of reading or teaching reading isn’t in your blood. We cannot let the students suffer because we don’t like something. Even if you have a lower confidence level in your instruction, make it a priority to read to your class daily. At the very least – this is one of the BEST things you can do for your students to ensure THEY fall in love with reading. Hopefully, it will also help you fall more in love!

After reading these tips, you may be overwhelmed about becoming the best reading teacher. Honestly, that means you care and want to be the best teacher for your students. They will appreciate that you are taking the time to explore why you dislike reading and how to find enjoyment. Since this won’t happen overnight, check out the Adventures of Teaching Facebook Support Group! This group offers amazing collaboration among teachers to share tips, tricks, and strategies to make learning fun! 

 If you do not want to miss any of the upcoming lessons, join my email list to be notified of all the interactive lessons coming up! By joining the email list, you will also receive freebies for blog exclusive subscribers!  

Back to School Must Have Picture Books

Are you stressing about ways to transition students from summer fun to learning? I totally get it! While some students are so excited to be back in the classroom, others are not. Due to this, they are hesitant to join in on the fun activities the teacher has planned. Luckily, I have the perfect way to support students as they adjust to waking up early and learning new material. Picture books! No matter the age, picture books are an incredible resource to use. So, these back to school must have picture books are ready to help all students enjoy every moment in the classroom! 

How to Catch a Class Pet 

Do some of your students struggle to sit still when they return to the classroom? For many of them, it is probably because they have spent the last few months exploring! Suddenly, they have this expectation to just sit for so many hours. So, I love to include back to school must have picture books that focus on adventure. 

In this hilarious story, the class pets all escape! Yes, this includes everything from lizards to birds. There is even a bearded dragon, which students always love! Now, students get to go on a journey to help catch every class pet. Honestly, this silly story will draw in even your most reluctant listeners!

The Dunderheads 

Did you ever have a nightmare about having a teacher who hates children? Or, did you ever experience this while in school? I sure hope not! 

In this story, there is a teacher who hates kids. Her name is Miss Breakbone. Yes, you read that name right! While she hates all kids, she really hates the ones who struggle to pay attention, doodle, or sleep during class. Since no student wants to spend the year with a mean teacher, the Dunderheads come together. They use their special talents to show their teachers how incredible kids really are. Students will love seeing the power of working with classmates in this fun story.

The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer 

I’ve had students tell me wild stories about their summer vacation! Like sliding down a giraffe or flying through the forest! Sometimes, the stories are so crazy that it is hard to know what is true or not. That is exactly what students will have to decide with this fantastic story. Students will hear all about a treasure hunt filled with high-flying hijinks and outrageous characters. Students will love hearing about this exciting adventure while deciding if it’s true or not. 

back to school must have picture books

For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story

Every year, we work tirelessly to inspire students to be themselves. We want them to stand up for what is right and be proud of who they are. Sometimes the best way to do this involves back to school must have picture books! This story allows students to hear about a young girl who grew up in a world where women did not have a voice. However, she refused to listen to this. She proudly used her voice to change the world. After listening to this incredible story, students will feel inspired and empowered to make positive changes around them.

back to school must have picture books

I’m sure your mind is developing so many incredible ways to implement these books! However, I understand how short on time teachers are! I’ve had amazing ideas and just didn’t have the time to make them come to life! So, I love to offer freebies all year long through my Facebook group! Be sure to join Adventures of Teaching: Collaboration for 2nd-4th Teachers for many amazing ideas and freebies! 

The School of Failure: A Story about Success

Are your students so afraid to make mistakes that it holds them back? Or, do you have students who feel their mistakes mean they are not smart? Sadly, all classrooms have students who doubt themselves for various reasons. So, this is the perfect book to show students that success involves mistakes and determination. There are even three fairy tale characters to ensure students build personal connections. Honestly, this is one of my favorite back to school must have picture books to show students to never give up on their goals. 

School People 

For so many students, school is the place that brings them joy and excitement. However, it is not the decorations or playgrounds that are the source of these positive feelings. It is all of the grown-ups that children work with throughout the day. This book contains 15 poems that celebrate these adults. Yes, this includes bus drivers, teachers, custodians, and nurses. There is a beautiful, inspirational poem for all of the caring adults! 

Let Me Finish! 

You will have a classroom full of smiling faces with this story! Just as a young hero gets all comfy to read a great book, noisy animals create an adventure! Sadly, this adventure involves ruining the ending of the story. Thankfully, the young hero actually makes his own ending with the help of the animals. 

Chairs on Strike

Do you ever think about all that chairs endure each day? They have to hold us up and help keep us comfortable. They also have to handle us constantly wiggling around. On top of this, they smell our feet! So, this rhyming book creates so many giggles within our students as the chairs go on strike. Honestly, this is one of the best back to school must have picture books to teach students all about kindness. Best of all, this includes people and things! Students will love the funny story while seeing the importance of being kind. 

Back to school is exciting yet exhausting for students. They are enjoying time with their teachers and friends. However, this also means they are exerting so much energy! So, they need time to sit and enjoy the moment during the day. Luckily, these back to school must have picture books will help students fall back in love with school! 

chairs on strike

For more tips on having a great year, check out these 5 Back to School Amazon Must Haves! They will ensure your classroom is organized and ready for a year of learning. 

If you do not want to miss any of the upcoming lessons, join my email list to be notified of all the interactive lessons coming up! By joining the email list, you will also receive freebies for blog exclusive subscribers!  

5 Tips for Mastering Your Morning Routine

morning routine

Do you ever feel overwhelmed before the day even begins? Is this due to students running into your classroom while you are trying to manage so many things? Please do not think you are the only teacher feeling this way! There is just so much to get done in the morning between checking folders, collecting lunch counts, and submitting attendance. However, it is awful beginning each day feeling flustered and stressed. I decided I did not want to feel like this anymore. I knew I had to do something to ensure the morning set the tone for an incredible learning day. So, I created a solid morning routine that establishes productivity and calmness among students. I am so excited to share my 5 tips for mastering your morning routine! 

morning routine

#1 – Create a Routine and Stick To It

When students enter the classroom in the morning, some may still be half asleep. However, some will be full of energy. To help manage everything, teachers must create a solid routine and stick to it for the entire year. Students need this consistency to know exactly what to do the minute they step foot in the classroom. Otherwise, they will forget what to do, and chaos will quickly erupt. Therefore, you mustn’t change the routine. It needs to begin on day one and be extremely consistent. Yes, this even means on special event days. No matter what is going on, the morning routine must always be the same. 

It takes time for students to learn a new routine. So, I create a visual aid to help. This contains simple directions and pictures to outline the morning routine. Students can reference it whenever needed! 

#2 – Model the Morning Routine 

Sure, you could tell students to enter the classroom and put their folders in a specific bin. However, some students will interpret this as skipping into the classroom and hopping while placing the folder in the bin. Or, it will mean pretending the bin is a basketball hoop and slam-dunking the folder into the bin. To create a clear, consistent routine, students must see the morning routine in action. They need to see the right and wrong ways to complete the routine. Doing this on the first day of school or during the first week is best. Students must begin the morning routine immediately to maximize their time in the classroom.  

#3 – Morning Greeting at the Door 

Students enter the classroom with so many different emotions. Sometimes, you have students who are just so happy to be at school because they love to learn. However, there are always students who are happy because it is their safe place. Honestly, it is heartbreaking to see what some of our children go through. To ensure everyone’s day starts with a smile, be at the door to greet each student by name. Now, there are a few key components here. 

Yes, this does mean you are at the door while every student enters the classroom. You are not at your desk working or getting the lesson ready. That should all be ready. Secondly, you are saying each student’s name. They need to know you are looking at them as individuals. Additionally, this is the perfect time to ask them how they are or what they ate for dinner last night. You can also give them a high five, a hug, or a special handshake. This short conversation is an incredible way to show students how much you care about them. 

morning work

#4 – Morning Work Ready to Go for Morning Routine

Before students enter the classroom, have morning work on their desks. This should be part of the morning routine. So, after they put their bookbag and lunch away, they can get right to their desk and get into an academic mindset. Morning work is one of the best ways to get their brains going. I also love how it keeps spiral reviews alive. You can even choose to focus on reading or math during morning work. 

For reading,  I love using comprehension work to get their brains reading. These Reading Comprehension Morning Work Worksheets are my absolute favorite! Students will focus on reading strategies, context clues, reading skills, comprehension, and responding to the text. I love starting the day with these impactful activities! 

If your students are old enough for independent reading, check out Perfecting Independent Reading. They can even share their reading with a classmate to work on comprehension. 

For math, I love using Daily Word Problems! My students always struggle with word problems, so this practice is essential! This incredible resource even has 2 levels of differentiation for over 25 concepts. 

Both of these resources provide great warm-up activities. Then, I review the questions and answers with my students during the day.  So, this warm-up technically is part of the morning routine and the assignments for the core subjects. 

#5 – Reward- Reward- Reward!

When you were a student, did you always want to impress your teacher? Or, were there days that you just wanted to be at home relaxing but still did what you were supposed to? I’m sure all teachers can relate to these questions in some way or another. Thankfully, this means they can relate to students! Even when they may not want to, they show up and do what the teacher says. So, they deserve to earn a reward for being on task! Yes, this even includes routine behavior we are expecting of our students. Why? Because they are doing it. They are focusing, learning, and engaging. When they receive a reward, you motivate them to stay on task. You are also showing them how proud you are. Rewards are a powerful way to motivate and encourage all of your students. 

Your morning routine sets the tone for the entire day. By utilizing these 5 tips for mastering your morning routine, your students will be ready to learn right away! Honestly, everyone will love the smooth start to the day. 

If you do not want to miss any of the upcoming lessons, join my email list to be notified of all the interactive lessons coming up! By joining the email list, you will also receive freebies for blog exclusive subscribers!  

morning routine

Teaching Reading at the Beginning of the School Year: Things to Reconsider

teaching reading

Are you starting to feel anxious over the upcoming school year? I totally get it! While we want to soak up every bit of sun and sleep, our minds can’t help thinking about everything there is to do. So, while lying at the pool, think about what worked last year and what you would like to change. This does not have to be a stressful time where you create a long to-do list. Instead, look at this time as a reflection. So, these things to reconsider when teaching reading at the beginning of the school year provide a way to start! Let’s dive in together and see how we can make this upcoming school year the best one ever. 

teaching reading

#1: Don’t Assume Students Know What ‘Reading Is’

Many times, students think if they just read the words on a page, they are reading. While this is technically true, they are not reading in the academic sense. Let me explain. When we read in school, we focus on so many aspects. This includes comprehension, figurative language, and making connections. However, if students do not know these aspects, they just read the words. They are not improving their understanding or realizing the purpose behind the text. 

We must show students what actual reading is. They need to understand why we are reading and what to look for. So, they need modeling to know what it means to use context clues or how to draw inferences out of a text. By spending this time with students, they will become successful readers! 

#2: Wait to Start Your Curriculum 

You probably think I am crazy for saying this, right? I get it! I really do. Teachers have SO many standards to get through each year. So, there is pressure to get started the minute students enter the classroom for the first time. However, I promise you will see a change in your classroom if you wait. Instead of diving into the material, lay the correct groundwork for your students. For many reasons, waiting will be one of the best things to reconsider when teaching reading at the beginning of the school year! 

First, get to know your students MORE! Now, you may be saying you already do this. However, do you get through the first few weeks of school and suddenly learn something important about a student? It happens all the time! So, take more time to dive into who your students are. They will love having a teacher who cares about them so much. Then, when the time comes, they will be eager to learn with their teacher. For more tips on getting to know your students, check out Beyond the Reading Interest Surveys

Second, consider whether their brains are ready to be readers. Many of your students did not read much over the summer. You cannot expect them to grow from where they left off the previous school year. They need time to adjust, refocus their thinking, and they need smaller readings to help them reawaken their love of reading.  

Third, reflect on their strategies and how solid they are before teaching reading. For instance, do students know what to do when encountering a word they don’t know? Do they remember how to use context clues? Do they even know where to turn in work? There are so many aspects to go over before diving into the content. If you take the time now, the year will go much smoother! 

#3: Always Teach about Schema First 

Everyone organizes their thoughts a bit differently. This means that students will organize their learning and make connections in different ways. This may be on one’s knowledge about people, places, objects, or events. Honestly, students will not just realize they do this. 

Thankfully, the Schema Printables and Activities teach students all about schema! The teacher will model and explain schema and go over everything from relationships to talents. After learning about the brain wheel, students will show all they have in their schema. This is such a FUN way to learn about students even more! 

schema

To deepen their understanding, students will analyze details in a story to determine what information they already had in their schema. They will also realize they add to this information. I LOVE seeing students light up as they discover how impactful their schema is! 

Student thoughts are changing each day. They are experiencing more in the community and learning more at school, So, they will see how they access their schema and how it changes over time. This will help them realize how there are multiple perspectives, such as compassion, empathy, and openness. Then, they will practice using their schema before, during, and after they read to see how they use it to answer questions. This is a great way to help students identify misconceptions as well. 

For more information on schema, check out How Schema Affects Students Reading Comprehension. It will provide great insight into understanding how students think. 

#4: Have You Taught Them How To THINK?

Students are SO hard on themselves! It breaks my heart to hear them say negative comments. This is why I jump right into teaching students how to think! 

Students know themselves better than anyone. So, I go directly to them to learn about their thinking or metacognition. For instance, what are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? By having them answer these questions, I can gain SO much insight into their thinking. I then know where my work begins. 

teaching reading

Developing a growth mindset is HUGE! Students must see that their mistakes are okay and learn as they grow. I love to work on fix-it strategies with students. For example, do you have students who are confident going into a test only to be let down by a low score? Maybe they don’t know how to study. Or, perhaps they have test anxiety. My place here is to work with them on fix-it strategies, making teaching reading that much easier.  I focus on ways to overcome any weaknesses or struggles standing in their way of achieving goals. 

Another critical aspect involves a give-and-take relationship. Students must understand that there are two sides to every story. They need to see situations and identify what both sides look like. When they do, they realize how everyone thinks, feels, and handles obstacles differently. What matters most is how we react and continue. 

#5: Building a Culture of Collaboration 

Don’t you just love it when all of your students work together? It is the best feeling knowing your students can communicate and collaborate. 

Now, have you ever wanted to rip your hair out over constantly telling your students to be nice? I’m sure you have! However, students may not know what is wrong with how they are saying comments. This is because they have to learn how to have successful conversations! They need to learn how to give constructive feedback and interact with classmates despite differences. Students even need to know how to talk about a text. Instead of saying “It was good” or “I agree,” students must practice being specific. Additionally, they need to learn it is okay to interpret something different than others. Honestly, this makes for great conversation! 

For more great tips on working together, check out How to Build a Culture of Collaboration in Your Classroom! 

When the year starts, life becomes extra stressful. There are so many things to handle in your professional and personal life. These things to reconsider when teaching reading at the beginning of the school year can help reduce your stress! I want you to have an incredible year! Reconsidering these aspects can make your classroom and routines even more amazing. 

If you do not want to miss any of the upcoming lessons, join my email list to be notified of all the interactive lessons coming up! By joining the email list, you will also receive freebies for blog exclusive subscribers!

teaching reading