Foundation of our Reading Time: Unit 1

It has been a year for the record books so far. Lots of unexpected changes and challenges, but I do have to say my group of kiddos this year will continue to motivate me to become the best teacher I can be. They are great- and they have a lot to teach me. I just wish I had more hours in the day! But that's nothing new for a teacher.

It seems like each year, I become more passionate about making sure we ease into our content areas by getting students excited! This year was no exception. I look back at the beginning of our reading lives this year, and I've already seen huge changes! Students are finding books that they want to read and are staying focused, they are reflecting on the kind of reader they are, and they are trying our new learning in their independent work. What more can I ask for!? Here's a photo dump of our first unit.

We make a lot of charts. Like a lot. I'll let them do the talking as they are pretty self explanatory (as any good anchor chart should be). Often, I plan them out ahead of time, but then add to them with the students.

(P.s. I'm loving my boards in the back of my room. I want more!)

(I talked more about the chart on the left here. I was inspired and tweaked the chart on the right here)

The arrows which are large post-its (love!!) were the text evidence.

I led strategy groups from Serravallo's awesome book a lot during this first unit. When I met with a group and we discussed a strategy, I made a little reference chart and put it on the back board. I could easily pull them off and set them on certain students' desk as reminders and references.

Students did the work here. They came up with some awesome ideas! My new teammate gave me the idea for this chart!

(You can tell the parts that I wrote with the students... oops!)

4th year and 4th time I'm trying to make the reading notebook work. And golly I think I've found it!

I used the layout of my Classroom Journals to make tabs for my students writing and reading notebooks.

Whenever we read a book together where we jot in our notebooks, we write it down on the tab. We also add a star rating when we are done.

Here are a few things we've jotted in our read aloud section:

Students just started writing in the independent section this past week in their own books. They are doing the character maps for their own characters. Next we, we start our units on characters in a series, so I'm excited to see improvement in the types of things they record down after we do some lessons. This is great formative assessment for me to see what and how they jot ideas down before our learning begins. 

In the very back of the notebook, we started to glue in resources from me. We are going to work backward since I don't know how often we will use it. I'm not loving the gluing, but it makes the most sense right now, so we will continue!

 (for asking questions during our reading)

(for reading partners and accountable talk)

As part of my Masters work, I'm thinking of new ways to integrate academic language and vocabulary and make it accessible for my students. One way is through language charts. Each unit, we will redo this process and add words and phrases that we need to use during this unit. I have started one for science too (that's a whole new blog post haha).

I'll be honest- I haven't used this board as much as I would have liked to at this point. But I think now that the year is rolling, we'll add more to it. Here was our examples for how to write a fiction question for a character. I noticed students were not using character names and correct punctuation so we did a lesson and activity around this.

So that's a glimpse into our first unit of reading! This covered about 30 days (and of course there are some things that I didn't cover because I didn't snap any pictures, like our book buzz).  What did you do during reading in your first 30 days of the school year??



  1. Wow! You've accomplished a lot! I always LOVE your anchor charts!!

  2. So glad I found your blog while on Pinterest! I'm really interested in how you use your notebooks during your read aloud time! Do you have any additional posts on this topic?

    Angela :)
    Hippo Hooray for Second Grade!

  3. Where did you get the question matrix? Will you share?

  4. Hi! I saw that you have the writing journals on your TPT site, but I didn't find the Reading Workshop/Read Aloud journal. Do you have the available? I LOVE it and would purchase it ASAP!


    1. The tabs can be found here: and some of the g.o. can be found in my TpT shop! :)

  5. Completely awe-inspiring! Do you happen to have templates for the read-aloud rating sheet and the During Ind. Reading one? Love the fonts and the accountability. Thank you.

    1. Hi Beth! You can snag the tabs here:

  6. I need your reading notebook pages... I just love them!! Please make them available to purchase. I have spent the entire year trying to wrap my head around reader response notebooks and your tabs are the first thing I have seen that I know I can make work.

    1. You can snag the tabs here: It's taken me 4 years and this finally seems to be what works best for me! Hope it can help you!

  7. Wow! This post is chalk full of amazing ideas! You are inspiring me as I begin year 5 on Monday!!

  8. Where can I get a copy of your tabs for the reading notebooks? Do you have them to share?


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