There’s been a lot of talk in my district about how to use Reading Street – a scripted curriculum. As teachers, we’re always looking for new ways to teach our content and reach our students. So, I thought I’d share the way I divide up my time, make use of the enormous amount of content involved in using Reading Street. If you use a scripted curriculum, please comment on the ways you use it – we can all learn from each other!
First, it was halfway through my first year before I discovered that there is a clock at the top of the page at the beginning of each section. That clock gives you their idea for how much time the section should take. Boy, did that help! Not that I can follow their timing exactly, but it’s nice to have some idea how much time to spend.
Second, the colors at the top of the page in the teacher’s manual are very helpful. Knowing that I’m working on just getting the kids ready to read helps me remember that I need to activate their prior knowledge. I know that’s teaching 101, but I still tend to forget that step. Having it right there in my face is helpful.
Next, I use powerpoints. Before I started teaching with this book, I went to a PD about it and the teacher there shared her powerpoints (she taught 1st grade). It took quite a while, but I made powerpoints for each day of the units. These have made all the difference for me. I don’t have to keep checking the teacher’s manual, it’s all on the board. Plus, for the visual learners, everything is in front of them. One day, IT was working on my computer and I had to teach without the powerpoint. Everything took a LOT longer! I highly recommend powerpoints.
I also used reading notebooks last year, which was an excellent choice. I bought the composition style notebooks because they seem sturdier. They definitely lasted better than the cheap spiral bound ones. I had the students keep a running list in the back of the amazing words we learned. In the front part, I had them take notes on reading skills and grammar lessons. I also found a list of word parts with their meanings. We copied these in a small enough form to glue into their notebooks. That made looking up meanings of word parts SO easy! I will definitely use these notebooks again. The only change I plan to make is to have them use post-it flags to mark certain pages. That should make it easier for them to find the right page.
Also, each unit test requires them to remember what they learned in the grammar lessons for the past 5 weeks. Since they don’t get revisited, that can be tough. I started having them do some sort of project to review the grammar. This worked wonderfully. One unit, we made powerpoints, another time they made posters. We also wrote short stories to demonstrate the grammar. The students enjoyed doing the projects and it was a great review for them before the unit test.
Finally, I made peace with myself for not doing the stations every day. We had library once a week, and we do an All Done Club type thing each Friday. Therefore, the stations only happened 3 times a week (less if we had snow days, assemblies, etc). They were a good time for students to review what was coming on the weekly test, so I liked doing them. I just didn’t have enough time to do more. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned after two years of Reading Street. Some weeks, we won’t get to as much content. I keep reminding myself that it keeps coming back, so they’ll get to it in time.
So, tell me, what tips and tricks have you discovered for Reading Street?