ACE Literacy Newsletter

Elementary Literacy | September 2019 YEAR 5: VOL. 1

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In this Edition:


Instructional Focus: K5 Guided Reading and 3-5 Written Response

Instructional Resources: 6th Six Weeks Instructional Calendars

Building Readers: Independent Reading Stamina

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Campus Celebrations!

Since Summit 2019, we have taken off in Literacy! Independent Reading and Lesson Cycle has elevated to new heights. Students are engaged in reading and loving it! As we visit campuses we are seeing evidence of Independent Reading and Lesson Cycle in all schools. As we continue on our journey check out some motivation to take our work to the next level.

Check out what's happening across ACE schools!

What Does Conferencing Look Like?

Conferencing can be organized in many ways. Conferencing can occur with one student, pairs of students, or groups of students. This is dependent on what skills are needed and what lessons will be taught during the conferences.

It is recommended when conferencing, the teacher bring around a binder with the tabs with each student’s name. With a class of about twenty students, try to meet with each student at least once a week. This can be achieved by meeting with the students once individually and once in a group. It is helpful to use the provided student schedule template to help with achieving these conferences with students.

When conferencing with one or two students, never take them out of their reading spots because it is helpful for other students around them to overhear the skills taught. During small group instruction, pull those students to a table to teacher the skill. It is important to remember that during these skill groups, students are still working on their individual independent books or writing projects.

It is important to remember that you do not have the students read round robin. Many students get nervous reading aloud in front of a group of students. It also may result in a loss of focus for students who are not reading at the time. During these group sessions, teach the skill as a whole group, have the students practice the skill and then walk around the group and work with each individual student on the skill taught.

Independent Reading and Conferring, Gr. 3 | Language Arts Strategies

Conferencing Tips

1. Compliment the writer: Try to make compliments focused around the teaching point of the day’s lesson.

2. State the Teaching Point: Make this teaching point specific to what you notice with the students’ reading and writing. Examples include meaning, structure, detail, etc…

3. Provide a Metaphor: Focus the students by bringing the text back to something meaningful in their life.

4. Study a Mentor Text: Show examples of strategies.

5. Teach the Strategy: Show students how strategies can be applied in their reading or writing.

6. Practice: Ensure comprehension of the strategy.

7. Keep Notes: Record the teaching point and goals, and return to it again

ACE Team Thursday Recap

Writing can serve as a form of response that is both formal (demonstrating what students have learned or thought as they read) and informal ("thinking aloud on paper"). With guidance, students at all levels can learn to use writing in both of these ways. Here are some steps to take:

Help students understand the purpose for writing

• "Thinking aloud on paper": A way to generate and shape what you're thinking about as you read or as you prepare for discussion; or
• Formal synthesis: A way to refine ideas that have come up during discussion and to mold them

Offer some tools for written response: Open-ended questions, prompts, varied forms of written response (RACE strategy)

Use questions that come up during discussion as jumping-off points for writing
Open-ended questions: "How are you like this character?" or "What do you think will happen next, and why?"
Prompts: "I wonder...", "I wish ...", "What if ....?"
Cause/effect explanation

Teach for in-depth response: Model, discuss, and practice written response.

Assess and evaluate written response: Build students' skills through ongoing feedback and refinement.

K5 - Getting Started With Guided Reading


This is the first and one of the most important steps to being able to implement guided reading. The students need meaningful literacy activities. Your literacy stations should not require the teacher creating and introducing new activities every day. These are stations, include Independent Reading, Written Response, and IStation.


This is can be done with a leveling kit(DRA, Fountas & Pinnell, Rigby, etc.) or using previous STAAR data or BOY MAP data.


You can have groups based on reading levels. Use your guided reading binder to keep all of this information in and to organize my groups!


Essentials that you need day one.

o leveled readers

o dry erase boards and markers

o magnetic letters or letter tiles

o something for note taking

o running record form


Yes, it’s GO TIME! Grab your tub of leveled materials, grab the detailed lesson plan and get to work! As you begin to get your feet wet with this, having a detailed lesson plan to guide you is one of the best tools you can have. Eventually you will fly solo and will be able to write your own plans in your sleep, but until then, we are here to hold your hand and help you figure it all out.

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Upcoming ACE Team Thursday!

Join us at Thomas Edison Middle School

October 19th

3:30 pm - 6:30 pm

What Does Effective Guided Reading Look Like?

Guided Reading Part II

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Language to Literacy Charts has " Taken Flight"

K2 teachers are flying high as LtL Charts are being implemented. Check out the benefits of using this amazing chart in your classroom.

Why Language to Literacy Charts?

As evidence of testimony to the importance of the sharing and study of literature in the classroom

A language chart in a classroom signal that children there read, talk about, and value books. Because the charts are large and appealing, they are noticeable to all who enter the classroom, and they become a topic of discussion and explanation.

As a demonstration of oral to written language connections
Language Charts let children see the record of their own words for others to read, and for reading themselves. Children also begin to use the language of the stories as they reflect and respond, incorporating some of the author’s words into their own talk to be recorded.
As a stimulus for expression of personal responses to literature
Because language charts are the product of cooperative effort, they often represent group-constructed meaning. Yet, Language Charts also give an opportunity for the expression of individuals’ thoughts and feeling. Language Charts offer a place to collect these valued responses. The discussion that occurs seems to deepen individual responders’ thinking about books.

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K2 Benefits and Importance of a Whole-Group Gathering Space

A gathering place is an open space large enough for the whole class to gather while sitting on the floor. It includes a chart rack and whiteboard for focus lessons, class-created anchor charts, an overhead projector or document camera, CAFE Menu board, and other teaching materials. We have a gathering place in every classroom we teach, regardless of our students' age level.

Behavior management through proximity and an elimination of the convenient distractions that desks hold are two of the biggest payoffs of a gathering space. Sitting in a group provides students with an opportunity to turn and talk, enhancing engagement and giving each one an opportunity to express their thinking. In addition, being able to move from their independent workspace to the gathering place provides a needed brain and body break.

We know that children can build their stamina, eventually maintaining independence for 30–45 minutes, but asking students to sustain for longer than they are able results in off-task behavior and lower levels of performance. So when stamina is waning, or when students have reached the target time goal for the round, we signal them to the gathering space. This accomplishes two things at once; it provides time for a shift in their brain work and offers much-needed movement of their bodies (which is why we call it a brain and body break). As students come to join us in the gathering place, it signals the shift in activity and thinking from whatever Daily 5 choice they were just participating in and onto the focus lesson.

Students come to expect that in between each round of Daily 5, they will not only have a moment to move, but they will also receive short bursts of valuable and focused instruction. A guideline we follow for direct instruction is: the approximate number of years our children are in age is the approximate number of minutes their brains are able to attend to direct instruction. Keeping our whole-group focus lessons shorter and focused results in better retention of the concepts we are trying to teach. It is this consistent pattern that leads to the lovely ebb and flow of teaching and practicing that exemplifies Daily 5.

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Resource Spotlight: 2nd Six Weeks IPCs

Hot off the press: 2nd Six Weeks Curriculum Calendars

As you plan with the calendars, notice some upgrades such as Response Skills and Anchor Charts. As TEA make updates, we will add them to the upcoming six weeks! Happy Planning High Quality Lesson Plans!

ACE Website:

Click the link below to browse the site....don't forget to access our ACE resources in the Learning Lounge-use the password "ACE".
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