How to Amp Up Your Reading Street

If you still do or must use a reading basal, what do you use?   I used Reading Street by Scott Foresman with my second graders....... or I should say, I used parts of it with my second graders.  I think there are several good aspects to this basal series, but yes, it really is important to pick and choose what fits your needs.  There are way too many suggested lesson ideas to do them all, especially if you do Guided Reading and Daily 5.

One of the things I did like about using the Reading Street basal was the scope and sequence.  By following that, I could feel confident that I was covering the necessary skills I needed to cover as we ventured off into the world of Guided Reading, Literacy Centers, and Paired Reading, which were worked in to correlate with the Reading Street skills being taught.

Each week, the basal was the guide for the weekly skills: comprehension, grammar, phonics, and spelling (which included words that followed our phonics skill and words from the basal vocabulary). Once the kids were taught the routines for each of those parts of the reading program, everything sailed right along. The kids were learning the skills and pretty much enjoyed everything we were doing.

The only thing that kept nagging at me was that, even though my students were doing well at tackling the weekly skills, some of what they learned was forgotten as time went on.

How I Amped Up My Reading Street

Then I had a light bulb moment!  I thought, "Why not create daily morning worksheets that would not only focus on and reinforce the weekly skills I taught, but would also review the previously learned skills.  Would it make the difference?"  Yes, yes, and yes, the answer is "Yes!"

I developed a set of daily morning work pages to correlate with the Reading Street skills we focused on each week for every unit (same phonics patterns, same grammar, same spelling).  By the end of the year, I was truly amazed at what the kids had learned and retained.  I thought, "Okay, is this just a fluke, or is it really the morning work?"  Well, each and every year after that resulted in the same overall learning retention.  Plus, they never complained about doing it.  In fact they looked forward to this work every morning, I think because they felt successful with it.

I knew this morning work was a hit, not only because of the results I got from it, but it also worked so beautifully as the first thing the students did each morning.  As always, once they knew the routine and felt confident in what they were doing, they did it independently, which allowed me just enough time to take care of my morning work before we talked about it and got our day off to a mind-opening start.

Here is how I used it:

The first week of the new year, as I introduce and practice routines, Morning Work is included.  I begin with it on Day 1 as part of our routine.  Students will learn and know that, as soon as they have unpacked, they are to immediately begin working on it.  I used this free First Week Common Core Morning work packet, which you can download by clicking on either one.

Click to download.

Click to download.

Each student has his own copy of the page, while I also project it for them to see as we do it together. I begin by introducing and discussing editing and how to use the editing marks on the two sentences (see Editing Marks Poster).  I ask someone to read the first sentence and then tell the class what they see that is wrong with it.  Together, we edit it and rewrite it correctly.  We do the same with the second sentence. 

This is included in the packet.

As you can see, in my redeveloped Common Core Morning Work, I have included math, which covers every math Common Core standard throughout the year. I begin by calling out the facts, and they respond with the answer as we write it.  For each of the four problems, we discuss and do them together, just as we did with the sentences.

The second week, we are ready to begin with the first unit to correlate with Reading Street. To clarify, this will be Unit 1 for second grade; however, for first grade, the Morning Work Kinder Review unit is used to coincide with the Reading Street Kindergarten Review lessons that precede Unit 1. Then 1st Grade Reading Street Unit 1 will coincide with the Morning Work Unit 1, and so on.

Later in the year, I still ask a student to read each sentence and point out the mistakes, even if we don't write them together.  Even later in the year, I simply give students time to find and edit on their own; then I ask how many mistakes they found and confirm the correct answer.  For the math, we may only discuss and do a new concept together.

Once students are doing these on their own, I project the page, and we check them together later in the morning.  Sometimes they check their own; other times they trade to check.  Usually, once a week, I collect them and give a grade; this helps with accountability.

I have to say that I love, love, love this morning work!  It definitely amped up my Reading Street! That's why it is the first resource I redesigned to include the particular Common Core skills covered. It had always included math skills, so I redesigned them to fit the math Common Core skills as well. And Viola!  Here are my masterpieces (the bundles):


Each of the bundles (2nd Grade and 1st Grade, which I developed later) cover the entire year of Reading Street.  However, each unit can be purchased individually.  You can go to this blog post, A Peek at a Common Core Week, to see a more detailed week of  my Common Core Morning Work for both grades.

As this morning work is designed around the Reading Street program, it is a perfect supplement to that program.  But, since the same skills are taught using other programs, many, many teachers using those programs or their own programs have used them successfully too, as pre-lessons or review, and have loved them.

If you're looking to amp up your first or second grade Reading Street program, you can sample the first week of morning work for FREE  Here for 1st Grade and Here for 2nd Grade.

Best wishes for a great new school year!

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