Take Home Reading Program Sneak Peek

I will say it up front:  There are no pictures today.  I left for work this morning without my purse and thus my phone.  I was very upset because I had great intentions of posting some photos of my room.  I promise to post lots tomorrow. 

I also promised to talk about my word wall but tonight I want to follow up on my post yesterday about my take home reading program.  I mentioned that I would be posting my package in my TPT store but wanted to give my followers a sneak peek.  I have already prepped my folders but the students will not receive them to closer to the end of September.  This is a preview of the pages in the package. 
I would love for you to follow my blog, leave a comment and tell me what you think.  Would it be useful for you?  I will be posting it tomorrow after school in my TPT store, so if you are interested go and check it out. 

This is short and sweet because it is wayyyyy past my bedtime and I have to be up bright and early to get my son to his grade 9 orientation (yikes!) and then try to finish off my classroom. 

Until tomorrow,


Day Two and a bit about my Take Home Reading Program

Day 2 Making Progress

Do you experience that chaotic and uncomfortable feeling upon returning to your room after the summer?  I always feel that way on day 1.  Where do I start?  It is all so overwhelming and I have been doing this for a long time. 

When I arrive on the next day, somehow things seem manageable and the feeling that it will all get done settles in.  Today was that day.  I was working on more wall spaces and prepping for some helpers.  Do you have help setting up your room?  Years ago I started asking students that I had taught who were in grade 7 or 8 or heading to high school to come in and help set up.  I always had at least one helper.  What a difference that makes!  Tomorrow I will be joined by two girls heading to high school, one who I  taught in grade 1.  I spent a fair bit of time today photocopying and printing a few things that they will prep for me.  It’s a win win situation for both of us - I need a hand and they need volunteer hours for high school. 

Although I did not take photos today (I promise to tomorrow) I am showing another photo from last year:  my focus wall behind my guided reading table.  Today I got my take home reading program package ready for the girls to assemble.  Do you do a take home reading program? 

My Take Home Reading Program duotang looks like this:

1 page of the decoding strategies

1 page for notes on progress

5 different coloured log sheets (20 entries per page)

Comprehension questions for parents to ask.


The posters at the bottom are the Beanie Baby Decoding Strategy posters from Brenda Frady at primaryinspired.blogspot.com.  I swear by them!  The kids love the stuffed animal that goes with the strategy.  (do any of you have an idea where I could get a stuffed eagle as you can see that is most definitely not an eagle LOL)  The animal sits with us during guided reading when we are working on a particular strategy. 

Now back to the Reading Log.  I make a small copy of these strategy posters and put it at the front of the log.  Next in the log is my notes area.  When I benchmark a student I record notes right in the log to communicate growth and next steps to parents.  After this are the log sheets, which contain 20 entries per page.  Once a student has read 20 books there is a small prize with the goal of reading 100 books and collecting 5 small prizes. 

Most importantly the log contains comprehension questions for parents to use to guide their children.  They are broken into ranges questions for levels A D (Fountas and Pinnell) and so on.  Parents have continually commented on how helpful these are.  Watch for these later this week in my TPT store. 

I should also say that students take 1 book home every night with the option of keeping it for a few nights to work on fluency as well.  At the beginning of the year in grade 1 most students get a new book everyday.  Student’s self-select the books after an initial assessment and are solely responsible for choosing and returning books.  I take this approach to instill responsibility.  That being said, it takes several weeks before this routine takes hold.  If I notice that books are not coming back them I contact the family to see how the take home program is going. 

My Take Home Reading program is the meat of my homework along with nightly practice of the weekly word wall words.  My word wall word program is another post coming this week. 

Until tomorrowHow was your day at school?



And So It Has started...

And So it has started

Hey everyone.  Today was my first full day back in my classroom after a short visit in July.  I always spend the week before the kids arrive getting things ready.  I like to get it done at a more leisurely pace and find that my head is in school mode anyway. 

Today was a long day of sorting, organizing and working on a few bulletin boards.  This is the stuff I LOVE to do, don’t we all?  I could spend an entire week on preparing the environment and have no time for the truly important part what will I do with my students?

Last year was my first year in this room and this year my numbers are significantly higher so I have opened up my layout a bit.  I have struggled a bit with making this work.  I am still not sure I like where things are being placed.  Below is a look at last year’s finished room. 


This is a photo of how a few areas look so far...far from done!   As you can see, I have a huge Word Wall space.  I think the Word Wall is vitally important in Grade 1.   I will be blogging more about how I use the word wall this week, so check back each day for something new. 
Sorry the pictures are so washed out.  I took them with my iphone and the colours seem really dull for some reason.  I still have my writing focus wall and word jail to do along with my bucket filling display.  So much to do...


Did you go into school today?  What did you focus on?  I would love to hear from you!



If you read my inaugural post you have already learned a little bit about me. 


My name is Christina and I am a 40something teacher in Ontario, Canada.  I have teaching for 20 years (minus 2 maternity leaves).  I have been married for 21 years and have two wonderful children who have attended the same school I teach at.  That all changes this year…my son goes to high school (gasp!) but it is right next door (J).  I have loved having my children in the school I teach at. 


I have taught Kindergarten – Grade 4 but my heart is truly in Grade 1.  I love this age more than any other.  I do have to remind myself of that a bit at the beginning of the year when they are still Kindergarten babies. 


Read on for a few more fun facts! 


Hanging out with family and friends, surfing around pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers, reading, travelling

I really don‘t know.  I have always wanted to be a teacher and never really considered what I would be if I wasn‘t a teacher



Sure, I can cover your duty and have no bathroom break for 8 hours, said no teacher ever!! 


  Replicating myself…there is never enough time to do everything that I want to do, so if there were more of me then perhaps I would have some hope of getting things done! 


 I am told that I always say ‘yes‘ even when I really should say no.  LOL



I am a total night owl and am most productive after 9:00.  Unfortunately that makes for a tired girl in the morning but I plow though. 


 I love my Word Jail resource.  I use it daily in my classroom and believe it is essential to your word wall. 


Years ago I wrote a book about the area I grew up in.  I always had an interest in history and started the project in my teens.  I finally published it when in my 20s.

Click on the link to visit some other amazing teacher bloggers.


Welcome to My Blog and a little about ME!  

Welcome to my blog.  I have been considering blogging for quite some time but I have never really taken the time to sit down and get started.  This summer I decided to make the time and learn about blogging and start one of my own.  I love to read blogs. I hope you enjoy reading my little blog. 


My plan is to share photos, ideas and inspiration from my Grade 1 classroom.  I am a huge believer in learning from my colleagues.  I hope that you find that you can learn a little from my experiences.  With that being said, how about I tell you a little about my journey here.


As a little girl there was never any doubt in what I wanted to be - a teacher.  My Mom said there was nothing I liked better than playing school.  Once in High School I tutored the primary students in our Kindergarten - Grade 13 school, even working with a French teacher and doing a bit of team teaching in a split class.  A unique opportunity for a wannabe teacher! 


I went to Trent University for my undergrad in History and Psychology and then finished my Teaching Degree at Queen's University in Kingston in 1994.  The year I graduated was not a great one for new grads.  The field of teaching was a bit bleak at that time with no jobs.  The only bright spot on the horizon was the fact that they reopened the supply teaching list after not taking any applicants for a number of years.  After applying and successfully landing a spot on the list, many years of supply teaching ensued.  I did day to day supply teaching for 3 1/2 years before landing a long term occasional position.  After that short stint in grade 3/4 I landed a contract position in Kindergarten and grade 3/4.  I was finally teaching, but not yet having my own classroom (I shared with other teachers) - that would come a little later. 


Just after the birth of my son I was hired to teach grade 2 and then shortly after that I was given a Grade 1 class.  That was always my dream job and so my dream career started.  It has been 18 years teaching and 14 of those have been in grades 1 or 2.  I am looking forward to rest of this educational journey. 


Outside of teaching I love to read, create products for my TPT store, surf Pinterest (who doesn't?), go to the cottage and travel.  My family loves to travel in our 40 foot RV.  We have travelled to Florida, as far south as Key West, and throughout the East Coast of Canada.  In fact, this post is being written in the RV on the way back from a family trip to Newfoundland. 


So check back often for pictures (lots of pictures) and ideas and inspiration for your own classroom.  I love taking a photo tour of classrooms, so when I make it into my classroom on Monday I will upload some photos of my progress so far.

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