Lesson Plans – Emotions

Emotions-Book-CoverIn my school we teach personal development for an hour each week, which I mentioned in the previous blog post.  I am sharing my plans with newsletter subscribers.  Below you will find my plans based on the theme “My Emotions”.  The lessons include books to use that were accessible in my school library, online books and videos.


Emotion One – Sad


1.  “When I Feel Sad” by Cornelia Maude Spelman

2.  “My Friend Is Sad” by Mo Willems

3.  “Franklin’s Bad Day” by Paulette Bourgeois (online video)



On chart paper the teacher scribes what students orally dictate to complete this sentence “I feel sad when ….”.  Do a few together. Students complete the sentence independently in their My Book About Emotions, which is found in the link below.Howard Wilgglebottom


My Book About Emotions – Version 1 – Complete the Sentence


My Book About Emotions – Version 2 – Dotted Lined Sheet


Emotion Two – Happy


1.  Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to His Heart by Howard Binkow 

2.  My Heart is Laughing by Rose Lagercrantz



On chart paper the teacher scribes what students orally dictate to complete this sentence “I feel happy when ….”.  Do a few together. Students complete the sentence independently in their My Book About Emotions.


Emotion Three – Anger


1.  Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Back Away by Howard Binkow I Feel Scared

2.  When Sophie Gets Angry–Really, Really Angry… by Molly Ban




On chart paper the teacher scribes what students orally dictate to complete this sentence “I feel angry when ….”.  Do a few together. Students complete the sentence independently in their My Book About Emotions.


Emotion Four – Scared


1.  Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Fears and Courage by Howard Binkow 

2.  When I Feel Scared by Cornelia Maude SpelmanWigglebottom Courage



On chart paper the teacher scribes what students orally dictate to complete this sentence “I feel scared when ….”.  Do a few together. Students complete the sentence independently in their My Book About Emotions.


Emotion Five – Jealousy


1.  When I Feel Jealous by Cornelia Maude Spelman


 Video – Understanding Jealousy


Video Snow White Fairy Tale



On chart paper the teacher scribes what students orally dictate to complete this sentence “I feel jealous when ….”.  Do a few together. Students complete the sentence independently in their My Book About Emotions.


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Making Friends

In our school we have Personal Development for an hour a week. I have begun my preparation and will be sharing these with my

Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend

Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend

subscribers.  Here are my first month’s plans.  The focus for the first month is “Making New Friends”.  I hope you find these ideas helpful!


Lesson Plan One 

Read the book “Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend” or watch the video below:


Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend


Discuss the book “Scaredy Squirrel Makes a New Friend” and how they can make friends by just giving others a chance as shown in theOutdoor Activities Pictures book. Discuss how enjoying common activities is a way in making new friends. Display the pictures found in the link below. Each child chooses one of their preferred outdoor activities. Children with the same choice activities gather in a group. The group goes outside together partaking in the chosen activity. After, they must report their findings. Focus on the concept that making new friends often involves meeting somebody who enjoys similar activities and giving others a chance to be a friend.


Outdoor Activity Pictures


Lesson Plan Two

Students watch online audio book “Franklin’s New Friend” found in the link below:


Franklin’s New Friend Franklin's New Friend


Again, reiterate the importance of being open to meeting new friends and giving them chances as stressed in the book. Review how finding people with similar interests allows them an opportunity to meet a new friend. Have them brainstorm for words or phrases that complete the following, “I like to…..” and scribe these onto chart paper. Have the students complete the sheet below by continuing the sentence as was done in the classroom. The students could use the chart as a guide.  After, have the students share these to learn who enjoys similar activities. These can be viewed as possible new friends. 


Writing Template 1


Lesson Plan ThreeWriting Template 2

The focus will be on “What Makes A Good Friend”?  This will be followed-up by discussion.  View the videos below and discuss.

Video 1


Video 2



Read book “I’m A Good Friend”  by David Parker. Brainstorm for words or phrases that complete the sentence “A Good Friend…..”  and scribe the phrases on chart paper.


Lesson Plan FourWriting Template 2

Students draw a name from a container to partner with and choose a free time activity (puzzles, blocks, etc.) to do together.  Allow about 15 minutes of free time partaking in the chosen activity. Discuss their experience.


After, add more ideas to the chart “A Good Friend……”


Students complete written page below.


Writing Template 2


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Substitute Plans

My students really enjoy hearing all the “Pete the Cat” stories.  I decided to create an emergency substitute lesson plan based on the story “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” written by Eric Litwin.  The emergency lesson plan is found in the link below:Pete the Cat Activities


Pete The Cat And His Groovy Button Mini Unit


Importance of Read-Alouds

The purpose of read-alouds is for students to be exposed to rich literature, to develop comprehension strategies through teacher reading, questioning and vocabulary development.  The selection can be read numerous times with focus on different comprehension strategies and vocabulary development.  The success of read-alouds depends on how the teacher structures carefully crafted questions.
I always begin a lesson with a read-aloud.  In this lesson the book is “Pete the Cat and His Groovy Buttons”.
The video of the book can also displayed on your interactive board.


Video of the Book


Pre-Reading Activities

-Discuss with the students a problem they may have experienced.  Discuss how they solved the problem.

-Do a picture walk of the literature selection and predict what the problem might be by viewing the pictures.  How might the problem be resolved?

-Read each page and predict how Pete will react to his problem.  Discuss how he reacted to his problem.

-Discuss the lesson that the author wishes to convey in this story.


Interactive Component

Interactive Component

What Is Shared Reading?

The purpose of shared reading is for the teacher to model the reading process. She/he points to words and demonstrates how text moves from left to right and top to bottom. The text should be large enough so all the students can see the words. Shared reading selections should also be repetitive so that young learners can participate. In the initial stages of learning to read the students will be reading from memory rather than using decoding strategies. This is the reason the text is kept repetitive and simplistic. All emergent readers found on the Kinderplans site have been designed to be used for Pre-Kindergarten to develop early reading skills.


Shared Reading the Interactive Reader “My Groovy Buttons”

Many of the Kinderplans lessons use an emergent reader that is related to the “Read Aloud” selection as a means to teach many of the curriculum outcomes.  The emergent reader found within the mini-lesson was created for the purpose of shared and guided reading activities related to the read-aloud.

-Project emergent reader “My Groovy Buttons” on the Smart Board or in a pocket chart with the words enlarged.

-Read the title of the selection.  Do a picture walk of the selection and discuss what might be happening on each page and how it might relate to the story you just read to Color-Number-Buttonsthem, “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Litwin.  Discuss the interactive component, which is to color, add facial features and the correct amount of buttons.  The photograph above displays a completed page.

-Read the selection to the children modeling the reading process completing the interactive component as you read (add buttons and facial features to each picture).

-Read again, choosing different students to be the word pointer.


Guided Reading

I meet with small groups of students working through the following activities:

-students add correct amount of buttons on the shirt and complete drawing their facial features on the emergent reader “My Groovy Buttons” reader.

-practice reading the book to themselves, then when ready can read it to the teacher.

-After, can read the book to another student.


Writer’s Workshop
-Students write what they think of “Pete the Cat”.  Complete the pattern: Pete the cat is ____________.Button-Subtraction
-Share what they wrote



Review Numeral Identification

-Distribute small math manipulatives.  Display numbers found on page  7 and the children display that many.  After, can complete sheet found on page 8.


Introducing Subtraction

-Print subtraction sentences on the board.  After, each sentence have the students use their manipulatives to act out the sentence (start with first number and take away the other number).  Explain how this is related to the story you read this morning “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Litwin


Independent Seat Work
The students could complete the subtraction sheet.  They would cross out the buttons that need to be subtracted in order to find the answer.  The teacher may need to do this work together as a class.

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Math Resources

Learning the teen numbers is the most difficult for young learners, as they do not follow a pattern.  I wanted to display the numbers to 20 on one of my bulletin boards as a point of reference, however, I also wanted to display the ten frames as a quick visual.  I went to the educational store in my area, but couldn’t find what I was looking for.   I decided to make my own, which is displayed below.  I am sharing these templates with you.  I specifically had these designed to copy on colored cardstock paper to use on our black and white photocopier.  They looked great, until I put them up.  The red cardstock I used did not make the numbers clearly visible from the distance. Back to the drawing board, I made circles to put in the middle to appear like a flower and copied these off on white paper. This did the trick, the numbers are now clearly visible. If you are going to copy these off on colored paper, I would experiment with this first to ensure the numbers are clearly visible.


Bulletin Board Display to 20

Bulletin Board Display to 20


Numbers to 20 Bulletin Board Display


Circles for the Middle (if needed)


Learning Numbers to 20

Addition Subtraction Mini-Workbook

Addition Subtraction Mini-Workbook

In the link below you will find a song videos and other resources that will help assist in learning the numbers to 20.


Numbers to 20 Song Videos and  Free Resources


New Resources

In the “Math Focus” curriculum you will find a newly added adding and subtracting mini-workbook.  More information on the “Math Focus” curriculum can be found in the link below:


Math Focus Curriculum


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Phonological Awareness Activities

Significant Correlation Between Learning to Read and Phonological AwarenessPhonological Awareness Pyramid

I am now teaching grade one and have come to realize the importance that phonological awareness plays in relation to children being able to read.  The students who are unable to identify rhyming matching words are the ones struggling with learning to read.  As a result, my focus for the month of January is to have these students exposed to more rhyming read alouds.


What Is Phonological Awareness?

I have posted the video below previously but this is for the benefit of the readers that have not seen it. It does a terrific job of explaining phonemic and phonological awareness.

Rhyming Read Aloud

Rhyming Read Aloud


Pre-Reading Skills Video


Focus on Rhyming Activities

The Read Aloud 

For every theme I did, I always tried to ensure that my read alouds included a rhyming book.  If you using the “Alphabet Program” the theme for January is “Ocean”.  I have listed some “Ocean” read alouds that make use of rhyme.  Having our learners listen to rhyme and word play is one of the best methods of exposing them to phonological awareness activities such as rhyming.


1.  Gizmo the Octopus by Mark Hooper

Spinning Rhyming Game

Spinning Rhyming Game

2.  Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck  ***

3.  Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae

4.  The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson

5.  Ten Little Fish by Audrey Wood

6.  The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen


Spin-A-Rhyme Board Game

I also included phonological awareness activities in my literacy centers.  The game displayed above is one my students really enjoyed. Partner players take a turn spinning a top and must place a bingo chip on the rhyming picture match.  (Example:  the top landed on a picture of a rake and a bingo chip was placed on the picture of a snake).

Rhyming Matching Game

Rhyming Matching Game


Rhyming Matching Board Game 

This is another game I had at my literacy centers. I copied and placed the rhyming pictures on poster board marked off with a grid.  The students drew a card and placed the picture beside the rhyming match. (example:  clown and crown, ball and doll).


Word Work

Each day we print on our erasable whiteboards.  I introduce a word family and have the students only change the initial letter. They learn that this not only changes what the word says but also that all the words rhyme (examples:  cat, bat, mat, sat, etc.)


Rhyming Mini Unit – Special Deal Until End of January!Rhyming Mini Unit

This mini-unit is not offered as an individual purchase but is only available to members that purchase a membership.  For the month of January only, I have decided to offer this as a single purchase (if you are an existing member, you will already be able to access this under the heading Literacy Centers).


More Information on the Rhyming Mini Unit


Fabulous Freebies!

Each blog post I l also try to include some fabulous freebies.  In the link below you will also find some free rhyming resources.


Free Rhyming Resources


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Working With Struggling Readers

The Logics of English

The Logics of English

I just read the book “The Logic of English” written by Denise Eide.  This is a great resource for teachers in terms of assisting you with integrating phonics instruction into your program. I intend to use this resource to strengthen my phonics instruction within my grade one class. She advocates that all students should be taught reading within a systematic phonics program and this would result in improving the nation’s reading scores and reduce the amount of struggling readers. This is debatable but I do believe that phonics instruction is important and should be integrated into a balanced literacy framework.  I learned to read and started my teaching career based on phonics programs that included rules, worksheets and where most of the phonics instruction was taught in isolation of text. This became obsolete once the “whole language approach” emerged.  Experienced teachers such as myself remained teaching phonics in conjunction with using a “whole language approach.”  In 2000 the “International Reading Panel” tried to settle the wars between the two opposing philosophies and out of this was born a “balanced literacy” approach to learning.  I feel that all classrooms today should be using this framework to guide their reading and writing instruction.


The link below from John Hopkins School of Education outlines the reasons some children struggle with reading and possible intervention programs.  It does note that these students do benefit from a systematic phonics program. However, most of these programs are meant to be used within a small learning group setting.


Reasons Students Struggle With Reading and Intervention Suggestions


How I Tackled My Dilemma in Teaching Phonics

I have always believed that phonics instruction is very important but I struggled for many years on how to incorporate it effectively.  Teaching in isolation of text seemed very disjointed and not that meaningful to my learners.  When I started incorporating phonics instruction within my reading selections, I started to enjoy teaching phonics and it just flowed naturally.


Zoo Escape Reader

Zoo Escape Reader

Example of Phonics Instruction For Hard “Gg” Sound

I introduce the letter “Gg” and its related sound through reading the book “Good Night Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann.  This is followed by reading the reader “Zoo Escape” as a shared and guided reading instruction (based on a balanced literacy model).

At the beginning of the Kindergarten year I only teach the hard “Gg” sound and later the soft “Gg” sound.


Importance of Follow-up Activities – Word Work

Literacy Center Games

Literacy Center Games

Literacy Center Games

It is obvious that just introducing the letter is not enough for the students to fully internalize the concept. Follow-up activities are crucial in fully grasping how this sound works in conjunction to printing and reading.  The literacy center games are meant to be used for this purpose.  The link below outlines the process in which I go through for my students to fully grasp the concept of learning new letters and their related sounds.


 Follow-up Activities 


Dictation – Extending Word Work

“When writing by hand, the movement involved leave a motor memory in the sensorimotor part of the brain which helps us recognize letters.  This implies a connection between reading and writing, and suggests that the sensorimotor system plays a role in the process of visual recognition during reading.”

Word Dictation

Word Dictation


Anne Mangen Univeristy of Stavanger, Norway


The above statement supports the idea that students do not internalize the connection to the letter and sound until they are able to print that letter. This has also been my experience. For this reason, each day I have a short dictation period where my students print on their erasable whiteboards.  I will dictate words and they must print the initial letter that represents that word.  By the end of the year, most students can print the entire word (usually CVC words). This is part of my word work and phonics instruction and is a very important one.


Extending the Concept To “Soft Gg” – Later In The Year

When doing the fairy tale theme we read different versions of the book “The Gingerbread Man”.  This is followed-up by looking at the letter “Gg” and introducing the other sound it makes.  The reader “Gingerbread Man Perseveres” is used as a shared and guided reading follow-up.

Gingerbread Man Perseveres Reader

Gingerbread Man Perseveres Reader


Spelling Rule

You may introduce the following spelling rule as outlined in the book “The Logic of English.”

Gg may soften to /j/ when followed by e, i, or y.  Otherwise it says /g/.



Phonics instruction is important especially for those students who are not strong visual learners.  These students are auditory learners and need phonics instruction.  For me, I like to teach phonics in conjunction with the stories that I am reading and incorporating into my word work blocks.  For kinesthetic learners, printing the letter(s) in conjunction with learning the phonograms is an important step in internalizing how they are used in representing sound units within writing and reading.

The book “The Logic of English” will provide you with all the different phonograms that we use in the English language.  It also provides you with all the different spelling rules that can be applied when learning to spell English words.  It is a great book to read to provide guidance on how you can approach your phonics lessons and spelling instruction. I would tend to stick with teaching the consonants and the two vowel sounds (long and short) initially at the pre-k level.


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Christmas Concert Idea

Christmas Concert Dilemnas

Christmas Concert Ideas

Christmas Concert Ideas

Each year my school puts on a Christmas concert.  Each teacher is responsible for their own little performance (no longer than five minutes from walking on the stage and off) as all the different grades perform.  Since I am not very musically inclined this is challenging for me.  I decided to write this blog post in the hopes of helping others that are in a similar situation.


The problem I always encounter is that most of the children’s Christmas music songs are sung by adults or are too complicated for my little ones.  I like the background music to blend in with my student’s voices and this is not possible when an adult is singing.  It is for this reason I specifically had the “Alpha Tunes CD” sung by children.  I did find a few online songs that were sung by children and are appropriate for our little learners.


Recipe For A Happy Christmas Narrative

Recipe For A Happy Christmas Narrative

Children Christmas Songs Sung By Children And Are Appropriate For Young Learners

I really like the site outlined below and specifically all the songs that are sung by W.L.A. Children’s Music Choir as the choir consists of young voices.


Appropriate Christmas Songs 


My Idea For This Year

I chose “The Ha Ha Holiday Song” found in the link above and sung by the W.L.A. Children’s Music Choir.  During the laughing part I was going to have the audience join in.  This is a simple and fun song for the children.


Additional Narrative Part – Recipe For A Happy Christmas

Prior to singing the song above a pair of students are going to come forward to the microphone and say a very short line each about what ingredients are included for making a “Happy Christmas Recipe”.  They will add these ingredients to a large mixing bowl held by students dressed as bakers.  These verses can easily be changed according to the number of students you have and what you feel is important to include.  My ideas and lines are presented in the document below:

Christmas and Five Senses

Christmas and Five Senses


Recipe For A Happy Christmas


More Christmas Ideas

More Christmas ideas that can integrate into your classroom learning in conjunction with math, literacy and Science (five senses) can be found in the link below.


More Christmas Ideas For Classroom Learning

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Pre-Kindergarten Science

Color Mixing

The Fall season is a great opportunity to introduce the science concept of color mixing. Here is just brief sample lesson plan related to this science concept.


Connection to Literature

Mouse Paint Simple Retelling

Mouse Paint Simple Retelling

Read the book “Mouse Paint” by Ellen Stoll Walsh to introduce the concept of color mixing.


Shared and Independent Reading

The emergent reader “Color Magic” found in the “Colors” theme unit is a simple retelling of the story.  It could be used for shared and independent reading.


Colors Theme


Color Mouse Follow-up Experiment

Color Mixing Experiment

Color Mixing Experiment

The students would dab one end of a Q-tip with one color and mix it on the mouse template. After they dab the other end with another color and mix it over top; this will make a new color.


Red and blue makes purple
Yellow and red makes orange
Blue and yellow makes green


After the paintings are dry, they can be cut and glued to the picture frame.  The picture frame can be colored and cut to make a “Color Mouse Magic” display.


More Fun and Independent Science Experiments

The “Kinderplans Science Program” was designed to include:

–  Experiments that align with curriculum outcomes and related themes
–  Experiments that are fun and engaging

Pre-Kindergarten Science Program

Pre-Kindergarten Science Program

–  Experiments are meant to be independently run at the Science Center in a fun and safe environment
–  Follow-up crafts and suggested literature selections included


More Information On the Program

More information on the program can be found in the link below:


Kinderplans Science and Experimentation Program


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Is Teaching Printing Still Important?

Is Teaching Printing and Handwriting Still Important In This Digital Age?

Teaching Printing

Teaching Printing

Increasingly more students are arriving in our classrooms never having the opportunity to hold a pencil, coloring and cutting with scissors and fine-motor skills are lagging.  I have certainly noticed a significant decline since I started teaching 34 years ago. This blog post is meant to address some of these concerns.  How often do you hear, “children do not need to know how to print because they will just learn to type.”  Research has been done in this area and supports the importance of still learning to print


Importance of Learning to Print – Correlates to Learning to Read

A 2012 study showed that young children who attempted to write letters on a blank piece of paper demonstrated similar brain functionality used by adults when reading and writing.  Children who only traced letters or shapes with dotted lines, or those who typed the letter on the computer showed no such effect.  Their brain functionality for activating the same skill level was much weaker.


Printing and Writing Results In Better Retention

The video below discusses how printing/writing results in better retention.


Handwriting Versus Typing

Handwriting Versus Typing

Teaching Printing In Relation to Learning Letters and Sounds

The research above confirms the importance of teaching printing in conjunction with learning letters and sounds.  There is such a huge connection between learning letters and sounds and printing the letter.



In conclusion, the importance of learning to print should not be overlooked even in this digital age.  I believe even more research is going to become available showing the same outcomes.  Below I have posted a few printing “Literacy Centers” ideas.


Literacy Games That Promote Fine-Motor and Letter Learning

The game displayed below was one of my student’s favorite Literacy Center games. I place the picture circle graph in a paper plate so the top would not roll off.  The students must twist the spinner (great for fine-motor) and print the letter represented by the picture the spinner lands on.

Spinning Alphabet Board Game

Spinning Alphabet Board Game

Roll, Count, Move and Print Game

This is a great game to assist in letter learning and printing and also incorporates math. Students roll a die and move their game player accordingly. They must print the letter that represents the sound of the picture they landed on.

Literacy Center Game

Literacy Center Game

Draw and Print

As a member of the Kinderplans site you have access to 156 alphabet picture cards.  The students would draw a picture card and print the letter represented.


Draw and Print

Draw and Print

CVC Word Printing

As a member of the site you will have access to 45 CVC picture cards.  Students can make words as displayed in the photograph below.


Making CVC Words

Making CVC Words

More Literacy Center Ideas

In the link below you can find more Literacy Center ideas.


>More Literacy Center Ideas


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Printing and Literacy Centers

Fine-Motor Skills

Pencil Grasps

Pencil Grasps

It is not uncommon for students to enter our classrooms never having the opportunity to hold a pencil, cut with scissors or unable to print their names.  The first few weeks or even a month is devoted to addressing these concerns and writing expectations must reflect this.  Unfortunately, in the computer age many students are arriving with even more delayed fine-motor abilities than in the past.  This does not make our jobs easier in moving forward faster.


When Are Children Ready For Formal Printing Instruction?

According to occupational therapists, children are not ready to learn formal printing until they are between the ages of five and six years old.  This creates a problem in many classrooms today as expectations to write increase.  I think with reasonable expectations, children at the kindergarten level can learn printing but not within a formal setting.  This will vary according the age of entry.


What Are Reasonable Expectations?

Some students will arrive in your classroom with proper pencil gasp, while others are still not fully developed. The link below is a great site that outlines the stages in which children develop proper pencil grasp.  I have witnessed all these different grasps.  After learning this information, I was no longer really concerned about the pencil grasps I was witnessing (our Kindergarten children are ages 4-5).


Stages in Developing Proper Pencil Grip


Does Proper Pencil Grip Guarantee Good Printing?

Proper printing grasp does not necessarily guarantee that a child will be able to print correctly but it is a first step.  There are so many other factors that come into play.


Does This Mean We Do Not Teach Printing In Kindergarten?

Practicing on Dry Erase Board Not A Proper Pencil Grasp

Practicing on Dry Erase Board
Not A Proper Pencil Grasp

Given curriculum expectations, this would not be an option for many.  Since there is such strong correlation between writing and learning the letters and sounds, I still taught my students proper letter formation (some of my students were four year olds).   Students who are able to apply what they know about letters and sounds in their writing have a much greater understanding of the alphabetic principle.  The fact that children are not developmentally ready for formal printing instruction until age five, did not deter me from still teaching it, I just lowered my expectations.

We often practiced printing the letters on dry erase boards with large erasable markers. I didn’t expect them to have perfect letter formation and pencil grasp at this point.  The sole purpose was making that physical connection with the letter.  By the end of Kindergarten, the majority of my students had proper pencil grasp and could print the letters correctly.  Many could also print CVC words because they learned about segmenting letters through phonemic awareness activities and printing. They were now ready to enter into grade one where they would receive more formal reading and printing instruction.


Literacy Center Games

Free Resources, Fine-Motor and Literacy Center Ideas

I often incorporated fine-motor activities into my Literacy Centers.  In the link below you will find ideas for your Literacy Centers and free resources!


Literacy Center and Fine-Motor Activities and Free Resources


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