Have you ever wondered what to do with all those cute little printable books you find everywhere? Are you wondering if your students are ready to start reading groups in your classroom? If so I'm hoping that I can help clear some things up for you!
 An emergent reader book is a little book that beginning readers use as they are just beginning to learn the conventions of print. They can be printable paper books, or published paperback books.
 No matter where you find emergent reader books for your students you will want them to have the following characteristics:
  • Strong picture support
  • repetition
  • controlled vocabulary
  • natural spoken language
  • simple sentence structures ("Lions are at the zoo." Instead of "At the zoo, you may see lions.")
  • large text
  • 1-2 sentences
  • 1-2 lines of text
  • familiar experiences as subject matter (think "At my School" or "Going to the Park" not "Backpacking in Europe")
 There are TONS of printable emergent readers both free and paid online as well as books that you can order for your students. Here are some of my favorite resources:
  • Reading A-Z - This website has thousands of printable readers and e-books for students to practice with.  I usually print the black and white versions (color versions are also available) and use these mostly as homework books.  I love that I can print them and if they aren't returned I can just print more!
  • Wilbooks - One of my favorite sites for finding real published books for emergent readers, they are cheap and available on tons of topics.
  • Danny Books - If your students LOVE dogs they will fall in love with Danny.  These books have real photographs of Danny the dog participating in all kinds of adventures.
  • Making Learning Fun - This website has tons of printable emergent readers for lots of different themes, some are better than others so definitely take a look before printing.
  • Teachers Pay Teachers - You can find SOOO many great emergent readers both free and paid on TPT.  Just search emergent readers and you will find lots of great options!

 Here are just a few of the behaviors students may exhibit that let you know they are ready to begin formal instruction with emergent reader books:
  • interest in read aloud stories
  • pays attention to an entire book
  • participates in discussion of read alouds and stays on topic
  • "reads" the pictures in books and tells a complete story
  • understands how to handle books
  • makes predictions that make sense
  • knows letters
  • knows some letter sounds
  • differentiates between words and letters
  • has a sense of story (beginning/middle/end)
  • points to words while reading
  • recognizes some words in context but not all the time (STOP on a stop sign, but not in a book)
Using emergent readers for formal reading instruction can be a bit different than later guided reading groups because you are often working on many of the behaviors above, concepts of print, etc in the beginning. Here are some general guidelines for teaching with emergent readers.
  • Introduce the story and embed important vocabulary in students minds. If the book is about a trip to the farm, have students think about and name animals they may see in the book.  
  • Remind students to point to words as the read. This will help them as well as you to see where students are having difficulty.
  • While students are reading prompt them as needed: Use the picture. Does the first letter match what you read? Did that sound right? Did that make sense? Did that look right? etc.
  • After students have read their book be sure to point out examples of great book handling, strategy use, thinking, etc. (ex."I love that at first you said bunny, but looked at the first letter sound to correct your reading and say rabbit.")
  • Find a teachable moment. You may have students revisit a particularly difficult page and try it again.  I like to tell students to try it again before making corrections, if students recognize their mistake and read it correctly without you having to point it out, even better!
  • Give students time to reread the entire story again.
  • You may even find interactive books that allow students to cut and paste parts into the book.  These create even more opportunities for learning letters, sight words and more! Here is a peek at one of my interactive alphabet readers. You can check them out here: 

I could definitely go on for days about this topic, but I hope that this was a helpful reminder for what to look for when selecting and using emergent reader texts with students!
I'm participating in the You Oughta Know blog hop again this month, so if you are looking for more great ideas, check these out!

Happy Saturday! I hope you are enjoying the end of your school year and aren't too overwhelmed with fitting everything in.
Do you have an end of the year celebration with your students? Do you give out student awards? I know many people have gone away from these special events in kindergarten because of the "everyone gets a trophy" mentality that we see so much of these days. Now don't get me wrong, I definitely have students that are more difficult to celebrate than others, but I truly believe that every one of my students brings something special to my class and I love taking the time at the end of the year to celebrate them.  Sometimes it is the kids that have been the most challenging that need and appreciate the award most.
I've created a set of awards that I use every year.  These awards cover a majority of my students for high achievement, incredible growth, being a great friend, persistence, etc. but I also included editable versions, because not every student will fit one of these awards. I always have some special friends that just need something original. And just in case you're running low on ink I've included black and white versions as well!
To make this a little more beautiful you can copy them on colored paper, or better yet, have students color them in after they receive them for a more personal touch!

Grab the free sample of these awards in our "That's a Wrap! Facebook Hop" going on right now. Or if you'd like to check out the full pack complete with editable versions to meet all of your needs you can view it here:
 Check out all of these fabulous bloggers offering some free resources to help you wrap up your year.

Today,  I wanted to share with you my favorite go to resources for celebrating and learning about Memorial Day in the classroom.
Soldier Boy and Girl Craft and Writing Templates from Miss Kindergarten - This is definitely one of my favorite go to craftivities for patriotic holidays.  Sometimes I have students create these for Veteran's Day and sometimes I use them for Memorial Day. But they always look adorable displayed with our writing.
Memorial Day Fact and Opinion from Jessica Tobin - I love this quick pack for practicing fact and opinion because it includes sorting for whole group, small group, and individual practice as well as a fun board game for even more practice.
Raise the Flag Review Game from Pink Cat Studio - At the end of the year I feel like we are constantly reviewing and testing everything, so I love that this game can be used for any topic and it fits the Memorial Day theme.  To use, just grab your questions, and divide the class into 5 teams and project the powerpoint on an interactive whiteboard. When a team gets  question correct you simply press their character and the cute little character raises their flag.  First one to the top wins!
American Heroes for Little Learners from Mel D-Seusstastic - This pack has TONS of adorable printable coloring and writing pages to choose from, and best of all...its FREE!
Celebrating America Pack -  I just finished updating this pack with activities for all patriotic holidays. I love that I can pull different activities from this pack to use all year long, and the emergent readers are short and informative for my young students. Here's a peek at what's inside:

Here are just a few of my favorite Pinterest finds for some Memorial Day Fun!
Toilet Paper Tube Firework Painting from Haley at The McGrew Crew - I love a good simple art project and this one seems so easy I think I might even try it with Madelynn this week.  I'm sure she'll love the stamping and they'll look adorable hanging up for Memorial Day.
Pom Pom Flag Painting from Crafty Morning - Another low prep project that will surely yield some adorable results.  This one may be a little tough for my 18 month old, but will definitely be a great fine motor painting activity for kindergarteners!
Soldier Anchor Chart from Learning with Firsties -  Who doesn't love a cute anchor chart? This would be a great introduction to find out what students already know about soldiers or to practice using adjectives to describe them.
Branches of the Military Anchor Chart from Mrs. Dailey's Classroom - Another interesting anchor chart to learn about the different part of the American Military and what they each do.
Handprint Flag Project from..ME - Okay I just had to include this one, because it is one of my favorite projects of all time. I included all of the directions and printables for you to create your own patriotic display in this post over at The Elementary Entourage. So go check it out!

I hope you found some new ideas to try! If you are looking for more Memorial Day fun on Pinterest check out my entire Memorial Day Board here.
Finding books that capture the meaning and reason for Memorial Day that are also appropriate for the primary classroom can be a struggle. I am bringing you 10 of my favorite read alouds today to hopefully help you narrow down your list.  These have all worked great with my kindergartners and really helped them to understand that Memorial Day is more than just barbecues, summer fun, and a day off from school.

Here is a quick summary of each of my favorite books for Memorial Day:
Memorial Day by Lynn Hamilton - This is a great non-fiction book with a ton of information. Because there is so much packed into this book, I usually select a few pages to read or spread it out over several days so that the students aren't overloaded with new learning.
The Wall by Eve Bunting - In this book a boy and his father visit the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial and search for his grandfather's name. I use this book to practice making inferences as it doesn't give specific details about the war, however students can infer that many soldiers died, family members miss their loved ones, other soldiers were hurt but not killed, etc.)
Arlington National Cemetery by Bob Temple - This book introduces the national landmark and discusses some of the important people that are buried there.  It also discusses the locations role in Memorial Day Services.
Year of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins - This book is an autobiography of the best selling Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, and her experiences understanding war through the eyes of a child. Her father is sent to Vietnam and she slowly develops understanding of what it means to be a soldier.
I Am America by Charles R Smith Jr. - This book is full of beautiful pictures of all kinds of children that make up America.  The poem is a powerful celebration of everything that makes us unique as Americans.
Hero Dad (Mom) by Bryan Langdo - There are 2 versions of this book for both a Hero Dad, and a Hero Mom.  The young boy in this story describes his dad as a super hero and all of the things that he does as part of his job in the American military.  LOVE the illustrations in this book!
Memorial Day Surprise by Theresa Martin Golding -  This book is a lighthearted account of many typical Memorial Day celebrations.  The surprise however is that a young boy learns that his grandfather served in the military and is a true American Hero!
America's White Table by Margot Theis Raven - This book explains the importance of the white table; a table that is set at military functions where no one shall sit that honors those soldiers that have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Each of the symbols on the table is explained by the mother in the story as the daughters set the table for the first time.
Postcards from a War by Vanita Oelschlager - The boy in this story is struggling with his mother's deployment so his grandfather shares with him that his own father fought in WWII. The pictures in this book include real postcards that the author received from her father during WWII.
F is for Flag by Wendy Cheyette Lewison - This last book is appropriate for any patriotic holiday, but I usually choose to introduce it around Memorial Day as we not always in school on Flag Day (June 14)  This books shows in simple ways how our flag holds many meanings and is perfect for the youngest of students.

I hope you've found a book or two that can help you teach about this important holiday in your classroom. If you are looking for response options to go with these books, I have included comprehension, writing and craft options for the first 5 books in this list as part of my Memorial Day Read & Respond pack. 

Have you heard the news? There's a big sitewide TPT sale coming on 5/5-5/6 just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week.  You have been busting your butt all year getting those cutie pies to reach goals and learning targets and finding fun and creative ways to make your classroom more engaging than a day at the circus. (okay well, maybe sometimes your classroom feels LIKE a circus, but shhh...don't tell your principal) So a bunch of your favorite TPT sellers want to help you out with a big discount on the resources you need in this sitewide sale.  And TPT will be throwing in an additional discount on top of what teachers are offering just use the promo code: THANKYOU at checkout.

Now I know you are pressed for time trying to survive the end of the year craziness so I wanted to share a few of my favorite end of the year resources to finish the school year! Hopefully this can save you a little browsing time!

Do you have a celebration or graduation for your students? I know many schools are going away from a big celebration in kindergarten, but I always like to do something special in my classroom. I think it makes it more special when it is just the kids from your class and their families anyways.
My room is always jam packed full of family members for our Kindergarten Celebration every year so I created a resource to help you plan a celebration of your own.
 Here is what I've included.
The classroom celebration usually lasts about an hour, and most of that is our photo slideshow.  Here is a rough idea of what my celebration includes:
After our celebration in the classroom we always head outside to the nearby park for a little picnic :) Usually we have between 3-5 kindergarten classes in my building and we all have our celebrations in our own classrooms but then team up for the picnic.  We've done our picnic a few different ways. We have done a potluck where each family brings something to share and we assign each class something different (main dish/side dish/ snacks/ drinks/ desserts). We've also had each family bring a picnic lunch for themselves and then we provided a dessert and/or popsicles for a special treat.  This is a lot easier to manage because we don't have to worry about plates, silverware, cups, tables etc. If you are short on time, or just too exhausted to worry about managing all the extras, this is the way to go! Here is the note we send to families.
After our picnic lunch we have a mini field day where each teacher plans a game for students and the classes get to rotate to each activity for a little organized fun. Some examples of our rotations include a pinata, water balloon toss, red light green light, relay races, parachute games, minute to win it games, three legged race, tug of war, freeze tag, etc. If you have parents willing to lead games too you can add even more activities and divide into smaller groups, so don't be afraid to ask!
Now if you are super close to the end of the year and don't feel like you have time to plan a big celebration, you can always do a quick awards ceremony and picnic with your families.  I just uploaded these Student Awards to my TPT store and they include color/black & white versions as well as EDITABLE versions for you to create your own!

Personalized awards are always a sweet keepsake for kids and their families. I hope you find what you need for your end of year fun, now I am off to fill up my cart so I'm ready to checkout by Wednesday night, happy shopping!
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