Tips, Titles and Tools for Teachers

Instructional Resources for Reading and Writing Workshop

On Friday, Valerie and I had the opportunity to go to a conference with Kylene Beers and Bob Probst on their book Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note. We have many new ideas to share with the teachers at WES during our book talk! I also have some ideas to share with primary teachers at Atwood on using nonfiction in close reading and small group instruction. I've included the 3 Big Questions for reading nonfiction in this newsletter. At the workshop, we also discussed great sites for short text, including Wonderopolis. I would encourage you to check out these great resources, if you haven't already. As always, I've also included some blog posts to support your work with Units of Study and my new book recommendations. Happy Reading!

I am grateful for the chance to work in all of your classrooms this fall as we navigate a new writing program. You are all incredible teachers and a true gift to our school community. I hope you all have a restful holiday season surrounded by family and friends.



"We teach readers and writers, not reading and writing." ~ Kylene Beers

I love this quote! Kylene reminded us that as teachers we need to remember that we are teaching readers and writers, not the subjects of reading and writing. We may be using the Units of Study program this year to support us in teaching our writers, but we must stay focused on the needs of students.


3 Big Questions

Resources for Short Texts

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Wonderopolis is an excellent resource for all grades! It's a great way to introduce the 3 Big Questions or to have students practice their use of the questions independently. Vocabulary words, or Wonder Words, have been identified for each passage. In addition to exploring the 3 Big Questions for nonfiction, you could also incorporate vocabulary instruction. There are also videos connected to many of the articles to help build understanding. Wonderopolis would make an excellent literacy station in the upper grades! I would recommend selecting the article that you want your students to explore. There are articles for current events, seasonal topics and many of our content units!

If you are looking for more short text to use for small group instruction or to practice the 3 Big Questions, check out these sites!

Read Works is an excellent site that many teachers use to find short text. They also have a new digital component, if you are having students read the article on their iPad!

Paired Texts:

These texts would be great for comparing information from two articles or writing from sources in grades 3-5.

Article A Day:

This page on the site has some great ideas for reading an article a day to help students gain knowledge and improve vocabulary.

NEWSELA is another great site for short texts that we often forget. One of the best features of this site is you can change the Lexile level of an article so students can read the same content, but at an appropriate level of difficulty. They also now have Text Sets of articles centered around the same topic. Enjoy!

Writing Resources for Units of Study

Differentiating Between Reasons and Evidence Awesome lesson for 4th and 5th graders during their persuasive unit!

Why Teachers Should Write Support for Quiet 10 and the importance of modeled writing in Units of Study

Using Mentor Texts Ideas for all grades, especially second grade as they work with Owl Moon. I love the anchor chart in this post!

Three Favorite Word Wall Games These interactive games will be a hit with primary students! You could adapt them in the upper grades to use with your word jar or vocabulary words.

Shelly Moody

Instructional Coach, K-5

Atwood Primary School

Williams Elementary School