Thursday, June 20, 2019

A Promising Reading Intervention: The RISE Framework

I have been a Jan fan for close to a decade now.
Jan Richardson is the author of the book, The Next Step in Guided Reading which was first published in 2009.  This has been my go to resource for all things Guided Reading.  In it, Jan outlines her straightforward approach to guided reading and supplies teachers with the information, tools and resources needed to implement it. 

She has since come up with a revised edition called the Next Step Forward in Guided Reading.
In this book, Jan gives an overview of guided reading in a balanced literacy program. Then she focuses on the different levels of reading, the characteristics of readers and provides a framework that will help students grow and progress through these stages.

She refers to this one as "An Assess-Decide-Guide Framework for Supporting Every Reader".

So when I heard that reading consultant and Jan's coauthor, Ellen Lewis, was leading a training session for our division on their intervention framework: The Rise Program, I was all in!
I signed up immediately.

Image result for rise reading intervention book

  It was the day of the training and honestly as I was driving to school,  I began second guessing my decision to sacrifice a day...I was officially on summer vacation and it was a gorgeous day to be outside. Yet, once I met Ellen I knew I made the right decision. Ellen is an energetic, entertaining,  no nonsense presenter and I loved learning from her.

This ended up being time well spent, as I got to spend the day learning how to implement the RISE framework which provides striving readers with intensive, short-term targeted instruction in reading, writing, word study and comprehension.

 Ellen was able to share recent End of the Year data highlighting the success that students have made using this approach. She was excited to show us, and rightly so, their results were more than impressive.  Teachers from schools across the country were sharing their data and large numbers of readers who were "stuck" and struggling to make progress were finally growing by leaps and bounds using the RISE framework.

The more I heard, the more excited I became.  This is a result driven intervention holding the promise of finally closing gaps for striving readers. This program covers all the bases, so no more trying to piece together interventions that meets the needs of all readers.  This seems to do it all....for all.
As with The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading, Jan and Ellen take teachers step by step through the implementation of their framework.

Now, RISE is an intensive 6-8 week program that requires a team of 4 teachers or paraprofessionals and a time commitment of one hour a day. This may seem hard to manage for some, so the question needs to be posed, "What are we willing to do? What are we willing to sacrifice in order to help more students achieve grade level reading proficiency?"  For years at our school, we have been jumping from intervention to intervention trying to find something that will make a positive difference for our striving readers.  So far nothing has yielded the results we were working so hard for. This program seems different and is so comprehensive and result oriented.  I'm super excited that our school will be taking the plunge and making the investment in the time and resources needed to implement the RISE intervention next year.

So what will it look like?
The first step is selecting the 12-16 students in grades 1-5 reading texts at levels C-N who would benefit from such a program.
These students will be pulled from classrooms daily to work in 4 stations run by our reading teacher and a group of paraprofessionals. The work students will be doing in each of the stations is very similar to the activities that Jan Richardson recommends in her book, The Next Step in Guided Reading.  Instruction is driven by ongoing assessments and observations and is targeted to the needs of the readers in the group.

The students will be reading a new book, working through word study activities, rereading yesterday's book and participating in guided writing. The program is explained in detail in her book.  Progress is monitored and the intention is that students will make the intended progress and move out of this program and back into the regular classroom after 6-8 weeks.

 Ellen shared that results are promising and that the majority of students who have exited the program have been able to maintain their progress.  It is important to mention that classroom teachers are expected to utilize Jan Richardson's steps to guided reading in order to provide these students with all that they need to continue moving forward.

Here is an outline of the RISE intervention framework:


I would love to hear from you!
What reading interventions does your school use?
Have you found success in moving students and closing reading gaps?

Follow along as I post more about how we are using this intervention in the upcoming school year.
I would also love to connect with other teachers who are using RISE.

Email me at

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Science: A Soil Study-Layers of Soil

I love "digging" into content area studies. 
My science block is only 30 minutes and I often need to reserve that time for experimenting and hands on learning. Many times my solution is to slide science reading into my language arts block as a way to get it all in and give my students more exposure to informational reading. We can still work on using reading skills and strategies but with text that aligns to our science or social studies content. 

At this point we were working on a unit on soil so after we examined soil and figured out what it was, we went into our science book to do some nonfiction reading on the topic. Using our textbook allows students to have some experience with using tables of content, glossaries and indexes. It also exposes them to nonfiction text features like the headings, illustrations and labels. We found this great diagram of the layers of soil and we decided to recreate it.

We made a flipbook that includes the major soil layers or horizons.  I had a parent volunteer cut and staple the books together and I  typed up the descriptions of each one.  (See below)
I like to have students fill out the Cloze Notes on topics we study.  Third graders are not quite ready to write all the notes independently but are certainly capable of filling in key words on a note sheet. This also helps them work on using context clues.  For this set of notes I gave them the first letter of the missing words.  We filled it out and discussed it together.
Students then proved that they understood what would be found in each layer of soil by illustrating.
Here is an example of a finished product.  Now it is ready to go home to be studied.  Our "make and take" for this unit is a soil bag (big ziplock).  It will include this flip book, vocabulary cards and some note sheets and diagrams. 

Here is the Soil Horizon printable if you would like your students to create a flip book similar to this one. Check back...we also got in another investigation of the comparison of soil types this week.  Will post that one next!

Head here to get these materials to try in your classroom:

A Soil Study Unit: Experiments and Investigations

Here is a slide show that includes all the important information!

Soil: Teaching Slide Show

Here is a FREE resource that I am offering.
Soil poems that are perfect for integration of science into your language arts block. 

Soil Poetry Follow Ups/Language Skill Review

I love making science learning hands on.  Kids need more time exploring natural objects like soil, sand, soil, etc.
Check out how I foster curiosity in my classroom while still getting everything else in!

Keep them Curious! Observation Station Materials and Reading Passages

Keep Them Curious! Observation Station Materials and Reading Passages

Please follow my store and blog to keep updated on other free resource!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

A Quick & Easy Budget Friendly Mother's Day Craft Idea

Happy Mother's Day!
Are you short in money and in minutes?  
Then this is your kind of  Mother's Day Craft.
I picked these tiles up at Home Depot for a mere 11 cents each. 
I grabbed some clear acrylic spray and scrounged up a basket of colorful sharpies. 
We were all set to craft and create a special Mother's Day present. 

My students all ooed and awed over the pretty "teacher" markers they got to use. 
They had to earn their way to the "creation station".  They were good as gold!

They created great pieces that I know their mamas will treasure. 

Here are some of their special creations:

Art from the heart.  Is there anything a mom would love more??

I will give them a quick spray of clear acrylic sealer and they will be good to go!

My kids were able to create a one of a kind piece of artwork and I spent less than $5.00.
Oriental Trading can't even beat that!

Enjoy your Mother's Day this coming weekend!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Quick and Simple Easter Bunny Treat Cups

Easter is right around the corner!  
I love celebrating with my kids, but try to avoid the stress and mess of big complicated projects. 
These little bunny cups are a super simple alternative to making Easter baskets. 

I have been making these for years. 
Kids have the best time creating them. 
They always turn out so cute...they just make me smile!

All you need is some white cardstock, Easter colored SOLO cups, and Easter grass. 
 Don't forget some plastic Easter eggs or treats to fill them with.

Print out the bunny template using white cardstock. Plain paper just doesn't hold up well enough for this project.  
Kids cut the bunny shape out and then go to town decorating them.  
You will be surprised at how they manage to make their bunny look unique and special. 

I zip around and staple the bunny to their cup so that it looks as though the bunny is hugging the cup. 
Then fill with Easter grass and treats. 
So sweet!

I've added this to my store as a free item. 
Click the link below for the bunny template:
Be sure to follow my store to take advantage of other free files I'll be sharing!

Easter Bunny Treat Cups Freebie

Enjoy this Easter season with your students!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Let's Fly a Kite: Spring Summary Writing

It's Spring!  Hallelujah!
The praise team at my church allowed the little ones to come up and play "drums" for this song.
How cute!  God's beauty is certainly on display here in Virginia already this year. 
The trees are budding and the flowers are waking up.  
I think teachers and children alike are so ready to feel the spring breezes and feel the warm sun again! 
I love looking for ways to celebrate the changing season with my students.  We had great fun last week reading a spring story and making these spring summary kites.  

We began by reading the tale, The Wind and the Sun.

We used our 5 Finger Summarizing Hand to help us remember the elements of a fictional story.

Then we began recording our thinking about the story onto the kite template.

We glued the pieces on a colorful piece of construction paper and cut them out.
Students added illustrations of each part to retell the story using their "mind movies". 

We all read the same story for this summarizing lesson but it would also be fun for kids to all read different stories and summarize them using this kite idea. 

We displayed our kites for others to see and read. 

We are high flying summarizers!

I've added this set to my TPT store.
It includes the story, kite template and a bonus....a kite poem and language skills review.
Perfect for a reading station.

Kites and Wind: Writing A Spring Summary

Let's Fly a Kite: Spring Summary Writing

What spring related reading and writing are you doing?
Please share!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Let's Research: Using the Table of Contents, Index and Glossary

My kids have begun researching and I absolutely love it!
It makes my teacher heart happy to see them hard at work finding the answers to questions they have about subjects they are interested in.  
They are finding out that they don't need their teacher to learn...they just need books!

They are collecting information and organizing it in research folders and having a blast doing it. 

Along the way, we have been fine tuning our research skills with mini lessons on how to use a nonfiction book. 

My students are quickly understanding that knowing how to use parts of the book such as a Table of Contents or an Index can make their job of locating specific information a whole lot easier.  It is much more efficient to search for the facts they need by using an index  rather than flipping randomly through the pages of the book.  

I created a slide show for teaching the Table of Contents, Index and Glossary.  

It includes practice pages and resources. It made covering these important and necessary reading skills quick and easy. 
I added it to my TPT store. 
You can click the link below to check it out: 

Nonfiction: Let's Learn about the Table of Contents, Index and Glossary

Now I can just coach them as they use these text resources while they research.  
 Real life practice is the best!