Pete the Cat Scuba Cat Literacy

This mini-theme is based on the literacy selection “Pete the Cat Scuba Cat” written by James Dean.  Other similar selections written by this author could also be used for instructional purposes.  This unit is included in the Alphabet Program, which covers the majority of the Pre-Kindergarten outcomes.  All the alphabet letters and Pre-primer Dolch sight words are introduced within this program.

Pete the Cat Scuba Cat Literacy

Pete the Cat Scuba Cat Literacy


Modeled Reading or Reading Workshop

All alphabet letters/sounds and sight words begin with using popular literature selections for modeled reading or reading workshop.  In this set of lesson plans, the teacher would use “Pete the Cat Scuba Cat” and other similar literature selections written by this author.


Shared Reading Follow-Up

The companion emergent reader “Exploring the Ocean with Ollie Octopus” would be used a follow-up to reading the literature selection.  The color version of the reader would be projected for all the students to view.  The teacher would model the reading process teaching early reading skills, the focus alphabet letters and sight words.


Alphabet Letters:  Oo for “octopus and ocean”,  Jj for “jellyfish” and Ww for “whale” 


Pre-Primer Sight Words:  this unit is a review one


Exploring the Ocean Reader

Exploring the Ocean BW Reader







Alphabet and Rhyming Literacy Center Games and Activities

The games outlined below are follow-up activities that are used to reinforce what has been taught using the emergent reader as an introduction to the focus skills.  A collage of the activities/games are provided in the photograph below.


Spin and Print

Playing partners spin and print the letter of the focus initial letter sound represented in the picture they landed on.


Draw and Print

Students draw a picture card and print the letter of the focus initial letter sound displayed in the picture collage below.


Picture Mnemonic Printing Activity

Students will be involved with focus letter picture mnemonic printing activities as displayed in the photograph below.


Phonemic Awareness, Phonological Awareness and Rhyming Activities

Rhyming, phonemic and phonological awareness activities are always addressed within the units.  These are related to the reading selections.

Pete the Cat Scuba Cat Collage copy


Sight Word Literacy Center Games and Activities

Suggested review sight word games are included.  The games in this unit do not have specific words attached to it.  The purpose of this lesson plan unit is to review words introduced previously.

Review Sight Word Games

Review Sight Word Games


Writing Activity and Craft Activity

All lesson plan themes include a follow-up writing and craft activity. The students would complete the crafts outlined in the unit and write facts about what they learned about these ocean animals.


whale craft

Screen Shot 2018-10-14 at 7.00.38 PMjellyfish craft












Where Can I Access These Resources?

More Pete the Cat Literacy Units


Pete the Cat Literacy Lesson Plans Unit


More Pete the Cat Literacy Units


Alphabet and Sight Word Program Information


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Reading Readiness for Pre-Kindergarten

Research has shown that students who become readers are able to complete assessments successfully that include the skills outlined below.  It is important that students be systematically taught these skills within daily instructional time.

The Kinderplans program includes activities that focus on developing these skills.

Letter/Sound Isolation

Letter/Sound Isolation

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Phonological awareness is a broad term used where students exhibit the ability to hear and manipulate sounds. There is no connection in identifying specific letters but is exclusively based on the auditory component.  These skills are outlined below:

a)  Word detection is the ability to hear words within a sentence.  Dictate a simple sentence and have students identify each word.

Word Detection/Print Awareness

Word Detection/Print Awareness

b)  Syllable detection is the ability to clap or tap syllables within words.  This can also include compound words.

c)  Phoneme detection is the ability to hear sounds within words, for example, the word mat /m/a/t /has three phonemes.  In Kindergarten or Preschool the focus would be on hearing the initial sound first.  This would be followed by hearing ending and middle sounds.

Phoneme Detection Using A Puppet

Phoneme Detection
Using A Puppet

d)  Rhyme detection is the ability to identify rhyming pairs and also able to generate rhyming pairs.

Rhyming Picture Cards

Rhyming Picture Cards

e)  Syllable and phoneme blending is the ability to hear individual sounds and syllables and blend these back together to identify the related word.

Initial Sound Sorting Cards

Initial Sound Sorting Cards



Is the ability to name letters and identify their related sounds.  If a child has developed good phonological awareness skills and is able to identify the letters of the alphabet and their related sound, they should be able to begin printing and reading simple CVC words by the end of Kindergarten.  There are 44 English phonemes but the Kinderplans program only focuses on 26 of them.  I teach the other phonemes in grade one.


44 phonemes


Print Awareness

The student is able to track words, move from left to right and top to bottom when reading.

Initial Sounds Sorting Workbook Page

Initial Sounds Sorting Workbook Page
Students cut a paste pictures representing
the initial focus sound.


Vocabulary Development

a)  The student has the ability to name objects, express feelings and actions.

b)  The student is able to complete an oral cloze activity (word deleted and able to generate one that makes sense).


All the examples displayed are

taken from the Pre-K curriculum.


More Information About the Program



Vocabulary -Feelings

Vocabulary -Feelings

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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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Teaching Ideas for the New School Year


Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

Many of you will be entering the new school year and the excitement of meeting your little learners is mounting.  They will all enter with a wide range of skills and abilities.  With the curriculum expectations becoming more rigorous, we tend to omit the basics. When I started teaching kindergarten, I was so eager on getting these little ones learning the alphabet and start the process of writing and reading early.  I learned very quickly that the majority of my students didn’t understand the concept of what a beginning sound was nor could they hear it.  I had to take a step back and start with the basics.  This is where phonemic instruction comes into play.  The video in the link below does a fantastic job of explaining phonemic and phonological awareness.


Important Pre-Reading Skills


Importance of Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and segment sounds.  We know that a student’s skills in phonemic awareness is a good predictor of later reading success or difficulty.  Since research has proven this time and time again, as a Pre-K or kindergarten teacher, this is a great place to start your literacy instruction.  I have outlined some fun and engaging activities below that can be used for segmentation and blending.


Slow Speaking Sam

Guessing the Word

Slow Speaking Sam Puppet

I have a puppet called “Slow Speaking Sam”.  He says sounds of words very, very slowly. My little ones have fun trying to figure out the word he is saying.  Together we blend the sounds to say the entire word.


Assigning Each Child A Sound

Sound Segmenting

Sound Segmenting

I have three students (to begin with) and assign them each a sound.  They each say their sound and the rest of the students must guess what the word is when you put all the sounds together (blending).


Money in the Bank and Taken Out

Move the Sound

Move the Sound

I show a CVC picture card (45 pictures on the Kinderplans site). Each child is given a cupful of pennies or whatever you have available.  The students move the pennies into the bank representing each sound heard.  After, they blend the sounds together to say the entire word while removing the pennies.  After the game, the students can count how many pennies they collected.


Money in the Bank Templates


Squeeze the Sound

Squeeze the Sound

Squeeze the Sound

Again, I show a CVC picture card.  The students must squeeze the ball each time a sound is heard. They blend the sounds together to say the entire word, while dropping the ball to the ground (do not want a ball that bounces). This is also great for developing fine-motor strength too!


Stretch the Sound

Stretching Sounds

Stretching Sounds

The students stretch each sound using a slinky or elastic band. These can bought at a Dollar store (love those stores).


Using Your Imagination

These are just a few examples but you get the idea of the possibilities.  The activities should involve some sort of movement in order to be effective.


When Do I Start Introducing the Alphabet Letters?

I only concentrate on phonemic awareness activities for the first week or so of the school year.  I still continue to do these throughout the year but I introduce the relationship to a letter.


Meeting Your Curriculum Outcomes

If the Kinderplans Alphabet program were to be followed the majority of your curriculum outcomes would be met.  The only area that is not covered is poetry.  I am working towards adding these to the collection of resources found on the site.

Alphabet Program

Alphabet Program


If you have poems that you use in your class to share, I would really appreciate them sent to me or post a comment below.


Alphabet Program Explained

I just recently posted a video on the site that explains the program.  Hop over to view it.


Alphabet Program Explained



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St. Patrick’s Day Free Resources

PowerPoint Presentation from Teacher’s Conventions

I  spoke at two teacher’s conventions a few years ago.  It was a huge hurdle for me but with the encouragement from co-workers and family, it was less daunting.  The session focused on how I use a balanced literacy model successfully within both my Kindergarten and grade one classes.  This approach to teaching was the most positive and profound change in my teaching career.  A number of teachers have requested that they have access to the PowerPoint presentation that was used in this session.  You can access the presentation from the link below:


 PowerPoint Presentation


St. Patrick’s Day Fun – Four Day Event

Science and Shared Reading

Day One – Monday

This year I decided to make St. Patrick’s Day a four day event.  On Monday I am going to integrate our Science unit “Building Things” by having the children build leprechaun traps with boxes.  For shared reading, you can use the reader “The Leprechaun Wish” found in the link below.

Leprechaun Writing

Leprechaun Writing

The Leprechaun Wish


Day Two – Tuesday – Focus on Writing

I am going to pretend a leprechaun visited the classroom the night before and left the message displayed on the right.  We will discuss how he may have escaped the traps, what his name is and how he looks (describing words).  In the link below you can access the message and writing booklet I am going to use.  Since I teach grade one this year, I will expect my students to give the leprechaun a name, describe how the leprechaun looks (from the picture) and write about what they think the surprise will be tomorrow (story beginning).  With kindergarten students, I would only expect them to write about what surprise the leprechaun will leave.


The Leprechaun Message

The Leprechaun Writing Booklet – Easy Version


The Leprechaun Writing Booklet – Hard Version


Leprechaun Template

Leprechaun Template

Day Three – Wednesday

The students will walk into the classroom and there will be some changes (desks and books scattered are just a few changes).  The leprechaun will have also left some gold nugget chocolates and badges (bought at the dollar store) for each of them.  They will write in their booklet as to what surprises the leprechaun left (middle of story).


Day Four – Thursday

There will be no signs of the leprechaun and the students will write about what they think happened to him (story ending).


Possible Craft Suggestion

The children can color and cut the leprechaun template found in the link below. It can be attached together by fasteners so the head can move.


Leprechaun Template



More Possible Craft Suggestions

In the link below you can find more possible craft suggestions.


More Possible Craft Suggestions


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Informational Content Plans

Focus on Informational Content

In the recent years there has been more concentration on the importance of students being able to read and understand informational content.   This has certainly become evident in recent curriculum changes.  The “Zoo” theme offers an ideal opportunity to address meeting your “R.I.K” outcomes.


Read Aloud

Reaad Aloud

Zoo Informational Content Theme Read Aloud

The focus theme for these last two weeks is  “Zoo” and I thought I would share some of the activities that have proven to be valuable to my learners.

Shared Reading

Shared Reading

The literature selection  “Good Night Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann is used as a read aloud to introduce the focus zoo animals.


Shared Reading

I project the emergent reader (a simple retelling of the literature selection) on my Smart Board and  model the reading process.


Word Work

This  is one of the final themes used to introduce the letters of the alphabet and their related sounds.  The letters “Gg for gorilla and Zz for zoo and zebra” are introduced within the context of reading the story.  Word work activities focus on these letters, as well as, all the letters previously introduced.  If you have followed my previous blog posts you will know that I run four rotating “Literacy Centers”.  These change every week.


Literacy Center One

Students practice printing the letters “Cc and Gg” and then complete their printing books found in the link below:


 Printing Booklet

Alphabet Letter Review Game

Alphabet Letter Review Game


Literacy Center Two – Review of All Letters

In this game, student partners take a turn rolling a die and moving their game players accordingly.  They must print the letter on the dotted sheet provided, representing the picture they landed on.


Literacy Center Three – Spin and Rhyme

Spin and Rhyme Game

Spin and Rhyme Game

The playing partners take a turn twisting a spinner.  They place a marker on the matching rhyming picture.


Literacy Center Four – CVC Activities

CVC Game

CVC Game

I work with this group of students, assisting them in hearing sounds within CVC words.  I draw a picture card and students are to print the CVC word represented on their individual dry erase boards.  Some of my students can print the entire word and others only the initial sound.

If you are a member, login to your account, go to reading on the main menu and scroll down to “Literacy Centers” to access the CVC picture cards.


Guided Reading – Interactive Version

The black and white version of the reader “Zoo Escape” would be used for guided reading.  I like using the interactive versions of the readers.  In this reader the students are required to cut and paste the correct picture of the zoo animal identified in the text.

Interactive Guided Reading

Interactive Guided Reading


Craft and Writing

Craft and Writing

Writer’s Workshop and Follow-up Craft Activity

Each day I read a book to my students and/or we watch a video (YouTube search) gathering information about the focus zoo animals.  The students would then write a sentence about what they learned in relation to a specific focus zoo animal.  They would complete the project as displayed in the photograph to the left.


This Month’s Fabulous Freebies

Zoo Animal Puppet Templates

Zoo Animal Puppet Templates

The students will really enjoy making these cute zoo animal stick puppets.  The masks can be integrated into your drama program where the children can move and make sounds like the animals.  These specific templates would be used to make stick puppets.  If you are a member of the site the prepared sized templates will be provided.


Zoo Animal Templates


More Zoo Related Activities


More Zoo Theme Activities


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Pre-Kindergarten Christmas Activities


Christmas and Five Senses

Christmas and Five Senses

During the month of December (when I was teaching Kindergarten) I incorporated the “Five Senses” theme in relation to Christmas.  The spirit of the season allowed for so many opportunities to incorporate this theme.  On my website and within the Christmas theme unit you will find ideas on how to incorporate the “Five Senses Theme”.


Incorporating Five Sense Into Your Christmas Theme



Christmas SymbolsIf you have followed my newsletters and blog, you would have discovered that I use and create many reproducible readers to offer my students an engaging and balanced literacy approach to reading in the early years.  Now that I teach grade one, this has not changed. Even though I have access to a variety of reading series, I still find myself creating little books that address the needs of my students better.  There is not one Christmas story within our reading series, so I created two.  In our Social Studies curriculum we are to introduce symbols that represent our community.  I thought I would introduce this concept by looking at symbols that are representative of Christmas.  I will use the reader below as a base to introduce this concept.  The students are to read, color and complete the interactive components of the reader.  Feel free to use these!


Christmas Symbols Reader – Easy Version

Christmas Symbols Reader – Harder Version


Christmas Traditions  Reader

Christmas Traditions Reader

New Christmas Traditions Reader and Follow-up Writing Activities

Another Social Studies outcome is for my students to identify different traditions practiced within their community.  I thought discussing Christmas traditions within our classroom would be a great platform to introduce this concept.  The reader “Our Christmas Traditions” is meant to help my students understand what a tradition is and lead to a discussion on different ones practiced within our classroom.  After, they will write about this, using one of the templates found in the links below.  Feel free to use these writing templates!  The reader is only available to paid members or individuals accessing the Christmas theme unit as it has been professionally illustrated.


Christmas Traditions Writing Template 1

Christmas Traditions Writing Template 2

Christmas Traditions Writing Template 3

Craft and Writing Activity

Craft and Writing Activity



I can’t wait to do this activity.  I did a similar activity when I was teaching Kindergarten but now my students are more capable (now teaching grade one).  My students are to convince Santa that they are deserving of his visit.  Within my school we focus on different positive character virtues.  We will reflect back on those virtues and discuss how they have practiced these and they must relay this to Santa.  I wanted to make this activity different from the traditional “Dear Santa” letter, where the students list what they want.  In this activity the students must convince Santa that they are worthy of his visit.  Template to complete this activity is found in the Christmas theme unit.

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A Balanced Literacy Lesson Plan

Balanced Literacy Model

Balanced Literacy Model

I have always been a big fan of integrating key learning concepts and subject areas in my language arts daily lesson plans.  This allows me to be more efficient in meeting the curriculum outcomes.  All my plans take a balanced literacy approach to teaching these concepts.  More information on a balanced literacy approach can be found in the link below:


Balanced Literacy Approach to Teaching Reading


Balanced Literacy Lesson Plan for November

The focus theme for November is on Pets and How Animals Prepare for Winter (Science Connection).  Outlined below is how I follow the balanced literacy approach to teaching reading.  Following this model makes my planning so much easier.Wanna Iguana


Read Aloud

This year I chose to use the book “I Wanna Iguana” as my read aloud to introduce this theme.  Within the theme unit (Pets Theme)  there are a number of suggestions but this is the one I chose.  This is a great book to use to understand the power of persuasion.  It also introduces the concept of the responsibilities involved in looking after a pet.  In the link below is a video reading of the book.


Video Reading of the Book “I Wanna Iguana”

The Best Pet Reader

The Best Pet Reader


Follow-up Shared Reading

I will be using the color version of the reader “The Best Pet” as a shared reading experience which is a follow-up to reading the book.  I will project it on the Smart Board for all the students to see.  I will introduce letters and their related sounds within the context of reading it  (Dd for dog, Cc and Kk for cat and Ii for iguana).  Any focus sight words could also be introduced.


Word Study

The Literacy Centers outlined in the link below all incorporate the the Word Study Component of the balanced literacy approach.


Daily Literacy Centers


Interactive Black and White Version of The Best Pet

Interactive Black and White Version of The Best Pet

Interactive Guided Reading

I use the interactive black and white versions of the readers (same one used for shared reading).  At this point, the students are still learning to track words and recognizing few sight words.  They absolutely love completing the interactive component of the readers and this adds a comprehension and fine-motor element to their reading.  The students are to cut and paste the correct pet that is mentioned in the text.  They can match the underlined word with the word printed on the picture.  This is a good visual discrimination activity.

Independent Reading

Once the students have read the reader during shared and guided reading, many of them will be able to read it independently.


Research and Vocabulary Development – Would An Iguana Be A Good Pet?

Since many of my students would not be a familiar with what an iguana is, we will need to do more research and add this to their vocabulary background.    I have used the videos below as a base for this research. This will help them to decide if they feel and iguana would be a good pet.

Information Videos About Iguanas


Modeled, Shared and Interactive Writing

I will model  writing what pet I would like or have as a pet.  After, I will model what the students dicate on chart paper.  As I am writing we often “share the pen”.  If they know a beginning letter sound of word that I am going to print, I will allow them to come forward and print it.


Guided Writing

Guided Writing

Guided Writing

After, the students will complete their own writing with guidance.  Could provide a template for this.

I want a __________ for a pet.

I have a ___________ for a pet.

I would like a ___________.


More Ideas for the Pets Theme

This is just a small sample of what activities you can engage your students in within the Pets Theme.  In the link below you will find more ideas.


More Ideas for Pets Theme


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The Tiny Seed Literacy Unit

Focus on Informational and Fictional Content Literacy Unit

Tiny Seed Literacy Unit

Tiny Seed Literacy Unit

In my last blog post I discussed how authors are combining fictional and informational content together, the literature selection “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle is a good example of this.  It takes the students on a journey of how a seed must overcome different obstacles before transforming into a plant.  This allows students to infer information from a fictional viewpoint.


A Gift for My Newsletter Subscribers – Access to “The Tiny Seed” Mini Literacy Unit

Tiny Seed Reader

Tiny Seed Reader

In this blog post I have also included a link to the mini unit I will be implementing in May related to the literature selection “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle.  This is my way of thanking my newsletter subscribers, Facebook and Google Plus followers for taking the time to read and post responses.   A modified version of this unit can be found in my TPT store (FREE).  A complete version is available to paid members in the “Plants Theme Unit”.


The Tiny Seed Literacy Unit (Modified Version)

Plants Theme – More Ideas

More related plant theme ideas can be found in the link below:


More Plant Theme Ideas



Emergent Reader – Simple Retelling of the Literature Selection

The emergent readers have proven to be invaluable to my teaching, I use them as a base to teach all early reading skills.  I will use the emergent reader “The Tiny Seed Retelling” as a follow-up to reading the literature selection “The Tiny Seed”.  I  project the color version on my Smart Board to use for shared reading.  I like to focus on specific reading strategies during this time (outlined within the unit).  The black and white version I use for my guided reading groups and as a home reading book to keep.


Tiny Seed Craft and Writing

Tiny Seed Craft and Writing

Follow-Up Writing and Craft Activity 

I will use the literature selection “The Tiny Seed” along with other books and videos to gather information about seeds and plants.   In the link below is an online version of the book.


Online Version of the Book


Literacy Centers or Stations

Literacy Center One – Rhyming Matching Game – 32 Rhyming Picture Cards

Rhyming Matching Game

Rhyming Matching Game

Using the rhyming picture cards (32 pairs) and large poster board, I created the matching rhyming activity displayed on the right.  There were three different boards, so if a student completed one board, they would exchange with another individual within their group.  There was also an answer key that outlined the correct pairs, this allowed the students to check their own completed task independently.


Litearcy Center Two – Identify and Print Review Game – Group of 6
Draw_-Print-Letter-Sound 2Place a plastic page protector over the printing sheet so it can be reused. This can be a partner or individual game.  Each player is given a printing sheet.  The players are also given a set of alphabet picture cards.  Players draw a picture card and determine which letter represents the beginning sound.  They must print the letter that represents the initial letter sound with an erasible marker.  If they draw a picture of a letter that has already been printed on their printing board, this is placed in the discarded pile to be used after all the cards have been drawn. The game is over once all the letters have been printed.


Litearcy Center Three – CVC Practice – 45 CVC Picture Cards – Group of 6Making-Words-Photo

In small baggies I enclose a CVC picture card, along with the word printed on bingo chips.  The students (partners or individuals) select a bag, stretch the sounds heard in the CVC word represented in the picture and place the letters in the correct order that make that word.  After, they print the word they have made.  The object of the game is to make 8 CVC words and print them.  After, I ask them come and read the words to an adult helper or me.  If they can read the words, they receive a sticker.  


Literacy Center Four – Alphabet Name and Ordering – Group of 6

Literacy Tiny Seed AlphabetThe students would take a tweezer to pick up a seed (great fine motor activity) and plant the seed on an alphabet letter name they can identify on the game board.  The object of the game is to plant all the seeds to cover the game board.


Literacy Center Five  – Planting The Seeds – Sight Word Game – Group of 6

Same as above, only the students would be planting the seeds according to sight words they could say.



The Tiny Seed Literacy Unit (Modified Version)



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Literature Based Programming

Many Pre-Kindergarten teachers align their programming based on themes or literature selections. I try to incorporate both into my planning.  In planning for next year, I am attempting to organize the literature selections I want to use.  I based these selections on the skills I want to teach both academically and socially.  I thought I would share my tentative planning in order to possibly help trigger some ideas.  This is for the first half of the year and is also the sequence in which I plan to introduce the alphabet letters.  This sequence has worked very successfully for me.  I concentrated on the letters my students would see and hear the most readily. This sequence also gave me greater flexibility to start my guided writing groups sooner.  I also tried to align this with the printing sequence suggested by our O.T.  (starting with dive down letters).

In my last blog post I outlined the five major components in teaching reading:  phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary building, comprehension and fluency.  In the first half of the year a great deal of my focus is on phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary building and understanding the reading process (what a word is).

In the later half of the year I focus more on writing, comprehension and fluency.

Note:  I will post the literature selections I plan to use for the later half of the year in the next blog posting.

lion_and_the_mouse 2Friendship and All About Me ThemeLion-Laughs

The Lion and the Mouse – Aesop Fables – Letter “Ll”

The book “The Lion and the Mouse” is an Aesop fable book but there are different versions of it.  This is a wonderful book to read in relation to the importance of being a good friend.  I will also introduce the letter “Ll” and its related sound in conjunction with reading the book and emergent reader “Lion Laughs”.

Concept – Letter “Ll” heard in “lion” and its corresponding sound.

Note:  Another book that could be used in “Library Lion” by Kevin Hawkes.  It introduces proper behavior that should be followed when going to the libary or listening to a story (uses humour).


Hands-Not-For-HittingHands are Not for Hitting – Martine Agassi – Letter “Hh”MyHelpingHandsReader

The book “Hands are Not for Hitting” is great  to use at the beginning of the year to establish rules and virtures of being a good friend.

Concept – I will also introduce the letter “Hh” and its related sound (heard at the beginning of “hands) in conjunction with reading this book and emergent reader “My Helping Hands”.


Rainbow-FishRainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister – Letters “Rr and Ff”Rainbow-Fish

I use this book to help my students understand the concept of sharing.

Concept – I also use it to introduce the letters “Rr and Ff” (heard in “rainbow” and “fish”)  in conjunction with the emergent reader “Rainbow Fish Retelling” which is a simple retelling of the book.


The Nose BookThe Nose Book – Dr. Seuss – Al Perkins – Letter “Nn”NosesReader

I use this book and the emergent reader “Noses” to help my students appreciate individual differences.

Concept – Rhyme and the letter “Nn” for “nose” and its corresponding sound introduced in the printable emergent reader “Noses”.


Queens-Feet-BookThe Queen’s Feet – Sarah Ellis – Letter “Qq”QueensFeetReader

I use this book to introduce the concept of self-control.

Concept – Letter “Qq” for “queen” and its corresponding sound is introduced within context of the the reader, which is a simple retelling of the book.


pete-the-catColors, Fall, Apples, Trees, Halloween and Pumpkins Themes

I try to maintain this sequence, however, it may change depending on what activities that are occuring within the school.

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes – Eric Litwin – Letter “Cc and Kk”Pete-Cat-Reader

The book “Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes” would be used to introduce colors and color words. I use the simple retelling emergent reader “Pete the Cat’s Shoes” to reinforce colors, color words and introduce the letters “Cc and “Kk” and their corresponding sounds.  The students are required to color the shoes according to the text.  Note:  I also introduce the letter “Kk” because it also makes the same sound as “Cc”.


ten-applesTen Apples on Top – Dr. Seuss – Letters “Aa” and “Tt”Ape-Apples-Emergent-Reader(1)

I use this book to introduce the concept of numbers and phonological awareness.  The follow-up emergent reader “Apes Apples” is used to introduce the two sounds of “Aa” and also sound of “Tt”.  The students are required to draw the correct amount of apples indicated in the text.


 How Many Seeds In A Pumpkin? – Margaret McNamara –  Letters “Pp and Ss”Pumpkin-Patch-Book 2
Seeds-PumpkinsI will use the book “How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin” to further our counting experiences.  The emergent reader “Down at the Pumpkin Patch” introduces the letters “Pp and Ss” for “pumpkin and stars” within the story context.  The students are also required to draw the correct amount of pumpkins inidicated in the text in the interactive version of the reader “Down at the Pumpkin Patch”.


mouse paint 2Mouse Paint – Ellen Stoll – Letter “Mm”

I use the book “Mouse Paint” to introduce colors, color mixing and color words.  The emergent reader “Mouse in the Monster Parade” is used as follow-up to introducing the letter “Mm” sound, as well as, the students are required to color the monsters according to the text.Mouse-Parade-Clip


green eggs ham 2Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss  – Letter “Ee”

Dr. Suess books are great to use for phonological awareness activities as they use rhyme and play on words.  The emergent reader “Enormous Eggs” would be used to further the concept of colors (students FunnyEnormousEggs(1) 2must color the eggs according to the text) and introduces the two sounds of “Ee” for “eggs” and “enormous”.


Pets, Animal Adventures and Seasons (Focus on Winter)

During this time we talk about pets and how to care for them, go on animal adventures, talk about the seasons with focus on winter and how animals adapt to this season.Under-Umbrella-Emergent-Reader 2

The - Umbrella - BookThe Umbrella – Dieter Schubert – Letter “Uu” 

This is a beautifully illustrated wordless book that really inspires children to use their imagination. The story is told through the pictures of the little dog’s adventure throughout one day of being swept up into the air while holding onto an umbrella. Beautiful landscapes with jungle, sky, ocean, and many animals and birds.  This book could be used for days to create endless stories, talk about adventures, seasons and different parts of the world.Unicorn'sUmbrellas

Concepts – I will use the follow-up emergent reader “Under the Umbrella” or “Unicorn’s Umbrella” to introduce “Uu” sound.

Note:  I like using the interactive versions of the readers.  I use the version where the students cut and paste the pictures or color them as indicated.  This adds a comprehension component to the reading process.


Help Me, Mr. Mutt!  Expert Answers for Dogs With People Problems – Janet Stevens – Letter “Dd”Taking-Care-Dog

Help Me Mr. MuttThe book “Help Me, Mr. Mutt!  Expert Answers for Dogs With People Problems” is written from the dog’s persepective.  It is a funny book that lays the foundation for a discussion on how a dog should be properly looked after.  The activities related to this book and emergent reader could be used to meet your informational content outcomes. This is quite a lengthy book; I am planning to only read a few pages each day and really concentrate on developing reading comprehension strategies.

Concepts – Letter “Dd” for “dog” and steps that need to be addressed to care for a dogs and other pets.  This would be introduced through reading the book and emergent reader “Taking Care Of A Dog.”



Wanna Iguana

I Wanna Iguana – Karen Kaufmann – Letter “Ii”

The book “I Wanna Iguana” makes use of persuasion through letter writing.  It follows a similar format to the book “Help Me, Mr. Mutt”!  This is something that can be further developed in class activities.BestPetReader

Concepts:  Letter “Ii” for iguana.  I will also do further research about iguanas and also discuss use of persuasion.  I will use either emergent reader “Iguana On Ice” or “The Best Pet” that concentrate on developing reading strategies.


downloadGood Night Gorilla – Peggy Rathman – Letters “Gg and Zz” Zoo Escape

This is another funny book where animals take on human characteristics.

Concepts – Letter “Gg” for gorilla and “Zz” for zoo and zebra  will be introduced within using the emergent reader and we will also do further research on gorillas.  The emergent “Zoo Escape” is a simple retelling of the book.  I use all emergent readers during my guided reading groups.



brown bearBrown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – Eric Carle – Letter “Bb”brown bear see

This is not Christmas book but I use it as a base for introducing the emergent reader, “What Does Brown Bear See?”  The reader is another version of the book but with a Christmas focus.   I also use the same repetition of text in my Christmas writing activities.

Concepts:  The letter “Bb” for bear and I also do activities related to using our five senses.


Ocean Animals – Informational Content

The focus in this theme will be on retrieving information.  The emergent readers also allow students to read informational content.

Jenny Jellyfih

Jenny Jellyfish A Tale of Wiggly Jellies – Suzanne Tate – Letter “Jj”Jellyfish Jiggle

The book “Jenny Jellyfish” is both fictional and informational.  The students will enjoy hearing the story and learning facts about jellyfish.  The follow-up reader “Jellyfish Jiggles” will also support the book and would be used to introduce the letter “Jj” for jellyfish within its story context.


booksAn Octopus Is Amazing – Patricia Lauber – Letter “Oo”Ollie Octopus

The book “An Octopus Is Amazing” is an information book about the octopus.  The emergent reader “Exploring the Sea With Ollie Octopus” would be used as a follow-up to introduce other sea creatures and the letter “Oo” for octopus within its story context.


Humphrey 2

Humphrey the Lost Whale – Wendy Toluda – Letter “Ww” Whale Watching

“Humphrey the Lost Whale” is a true story about a whale that got lost.  The students will learn a great deal about whales by listening to the book along with the related video found in the link below.  They will also enjoy reading the emergent reader “Whale Watching” which is a funny and fictional story about what happens to a boy when he goes whale watching.  It introduces the letter “Ww” and its related sound within its story context.


Humphrey the Whale Video


Valentines, Friendship and Kindness and Final Letters

Focus on WritingFriendshipBook

This is when I begin to focus more effort on conventional writing (letters used to represent words, not scribbles).  The majority of the students have developed the ability to hear sounds (phonemic awareness) and associate these with the correct letters (phonics).   They have also gained greater control over their pencil skills in forming letters correctly.  It is now time for them to apply what they have learned about letters and their related sounds to writing.  I often forego guided reading groups for guided writing groups because of time restraints.  At this point, they still need considerable assistance in applying what they have learned about letters and sounds.  I also place more focus on sight word recognition.  I usually start each writing assignment with a number of patterned writing templates they can use where focus is on specific sight words.

I continue to use the emergent readers during shared reading time (projected on my Smart Board) which I use to introduce new reading skills (example, sound of “sh”) but now the students have the ability to read the color copied versions more independently.Valentine Mice

Final Letters

Franklins Valentines BooksValentine Mice –  Bethany Roberts – Letter “Vv”

Letters “Vv, Xx, Yy and sometimes Qq” are the final letters introduced in the Alphabet Program.  During Valentines week I read “Valentine Mice” by Bethany Roberts and “Franklin’s Valentines” by Paulette Bourgeois.  I introduce the letters “Vv” for valentines and “Xx” for fox used in the follow-up emergent readers “Valentine Mice” and “Fox Play Rhymes”.Fox Plays Rhymes



Yak-Back-BookWhat Can You Stack On The Back Of A Yak? – Alison Green – Letter “Yy”

“What Can You Stack on the Back of a Yak?” is a brand new published book that I decided to order to entertain my students.  It will integrate well into the mini Transportation theme and rhyme focus in the Literacy Centers.  It will also serve as a good foundation to reading the emergent reader “The Yippety Yaks”.


What Other Books Are Used?Yippety-Yaks-Reader

These are the main books I plan to use for an integrated literature based learning classroom that are related to the skills I want to focus on.  I use many other books but they are not directly related to my main focus.  This helps me ensure that I have these books readily available to me.   I do not necessarily own all these books but will have easy access to them.


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