K-6 ELA Updates & Resources


Understanding Bands of Text for Student Growth (Levels A-M)

As teachers of reading, we assess student's reading abilities, place them in "just right books" and make them read. We go around conferring or pulling small groups to increase their reading rates in fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. This is the never ending cycle of building readers. As a teacher, how do you know a student is ready to move up a level?

Each level of reader has skills that students must be proficient in before moving to the next level. We sometimes rely on our teacher intuition to move students or some sort of reading assessment (DRA, TC reading passages, On the Mark), but are we truly preparing our students to be successful in the level ahead of the assessment.

We send books home with students at their level. Students need to be reading inside and outside of school. Research shows us that students vocabulary and reading increases with each word the student reads daily.

Below you will find a brief guide of the different levels and what a reader at this level should know before moving up. I have gathered all of this information from A Guide to the Reading Workshop (Primary Grades) in the Reading Units of Study. Please refer to pages 34-47.


Calkins, L. (2015) A guide to the reading workshop: Primary grades. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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RtI, oh RtI

Response to Intervention is a system to help students become more successful in their education. I know you all know RtI, but today we are going to quickly review some of the main ideas of RtI.

Tier 1-- Core Classroom Curriculum: This is best practices performed by the classroom teacher for all students.

Tier 2- Small Group Intervention: This is more intense instruction for students having difficulty in Tier 1 instruction. There is more time given to the student in a smaller setting. Teacher begins targeting skills and monitoring growth through progress monitoring. Teachers document time, intervention, and progress monitoring tool and progress.

Tier 3-- Intensive Intervention: This is even more intense instruction for students not responding to Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions. The student is given more time and a smaller group for instruction.

Make sure you are spending time picking a researched-based intervention to meet the student's need. When you are documenting in Eduphoria, make sure only one skill is selected per form started. For example, if a student is a struggling reading you pick one skill to intervene and progress monitor for the form. Don't put fluency, comprehension, written expression, and others into one form. Pick one skill!

Don't forget the Intervention Menu! This is a great resource of interventions and progress monitoring tools.





Writer's Workshop: Narrative Writing

What is narrative writing? From the reliable source of Wikipedia, a narrative or story is any report of connected events, actual or imaginary, presented in a sequence of written or spoken words, or still or moving images.

We teach students how to write personal narratives...true stories about themselves. We teach them to have seed ideas and to give exact details to help the reader visualize their story. The more exposure to the different genres of writing will create a love of writing and will eventually help our students be successful in their future schooling and life.

Some areas we still need to teach students in their narrative writing:

  • developing setting
  • developing dialogue
  • defining a focus
  • developing plot to a climax
  • exact details
  • writing with a beginning, middle, and end
  • starting with a strong lead
  • completing a story with a conclusion
  • adding voice and tone to their narratives
  • planning their stories in many different ways
  • reviewing the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing)

I'd recommend you taking a few samples of your students' writing with you to your PLCs to determine areas to intervene and enrich our students' writing. I'd also recommend everyone using the Writing Pathways book from your Writing Units of Study. The book will show sample writings, a continuum for writing instruction, rubrics for students to use in revising/editing, and rubrics for teachers for grading. There is also a rubric for you to use in Eduphoria-Forethought in Course Supporting Documents.

Please contact me if you want me to model a Writer's Workshop lesson, model conferring with students, or provide you feedback on your workshop instruction. I am here to support you in any way I can.

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Videos on Writer's Workshop

Being a Good Writer Writing tips and strategies from Lucy Calkins
Assessment-Based Conferring to Raise the Level of Narrative Writing (3-5)
Envisioning to Write with Detail - Minilesson

Words Their Way Assessment: Kindergarten

Monday, Oct. 10th, 12am to Friday, Oct. 28th, 12am

This is an online event.

Kindergarten Teachers: Please don't forget to assess your students on Words Their Way the second week of October. The test is available to you in Eduphoria-Aware for data collection. Eduphoria will close on Friday, October 28 at midnight.