Starting the Year
  • Seasons of Literacy Alphabet knowledge, HRSIW and Sight word assessments would still be valuable to do at this time. They give you a good picture of where each student is functioning.
  • It is best to plan for one lesson a week, including the 4 day weeks, to complete the program by June. You must do the "Getting Started" Story and the Main Selection. You can combine some skill lessons that are repeated on numerous days in the week. You can skip workbook pages. Don't skip poem charts.
  • Inventory lessons are done in the first weeks of school. Many of these can be combined, allowing approx. 10-12 days for all of them.

  • Storytown's initial assessments are teacher read, Listening comprehension, so they often give the impression/score of Proficient to students who are good auditory learners. They do not accurately reflect their current reading level since the text is read to them in the beginning of the year. Also note that some of our lowest readers do not have the ability to follow print on a page (1:1 matching) and have difficulty locating the answer on the assessment page.
  • DRA at least 2X a year.
  • Be sure to do all of the assessments listed on the cover sheet for the Student portfolio.
  • Benchmark scripts provided by the publisher often do not match the material given to students to read. Check this prior to benchmark assessments.
  • One minute digital timers are helpful in assessments that require the students to read for a minute aloud (reading rate).

  • Nightly homework will include math, phonics or spelling, and reading.
  • Students can also be given high frequency word cards to practice nightly. This is a nice review of the K words during the Inventory Lesson period, and a nice reinforcer for the weekly high frequency word cards. Gold kraft envelopes 6X9 work well for this. Word cards are available on the first link on our links page. Script for word card envelope:
The words in this bag are high frequency words, also known as sight words. They are "see and say" words that are meant to be instantly recognized rather than stretched and sounded out. New words will be added each night for the next 10 nights or so. It is important to practice the words as they are added so that there will not be too many to learn all at once. Here are some tips: Separate those instantly recognized words from those that are unknown or require thinking time. Then practice only the slowly known words and the unknown words. The next night, mix all of the cards. Again, separate the instantly known words and practice the unknown words. The goal is for instant recognition. Please remind your child to brink this bag to school each day!

Classroom Management
  • Send home a copy of the "School-Home Connection" each week to parents.
  • It is necessary to "preload" or set up vocabulary word cards, phonic alphabet cards, story questions, question of the day, objectives the day before a lesson. Lessons are fast paced and switch from word work to skills quickly without time to grab necessary word cards or write questions on the chart. We may attempt to set up "questions of the day" in a powerpoint program and save them on the computer as there are over 150 of them. This way we can display today's question on the TV monitor and discuss. (include TE pg reference and objective)
  • Using multiple pocket charts, wipe boards, powerpoint, easels are all helpful in "preloading" your lessons with objectives, vocabulary, questions, prompts, etc.

Managing Materials
  • Since the workbook covers are very similar, apply color coded stickers to help differentiate between each workbook quickly.
  • Workbooks can be cumbersome for students to carry home (and possibly lose) so we suggest tearing pages out and sending individual pages home in a folder or HW binder. Enlist 4th grade helpers or parent helpers to tear pages out for the next week.
  • "Strategic Intervention" booklets are listed as consumable, but these can also be used in small group lessons to help struggling readers. If you have students point to the answers...they do not need to be consumed.
  • Small group paperback readers come in cardboard tiered boxes. We suggest taking them out of these and storing them in 3 bins (below level, on level, above level) with the books in lesson order (marked on the book by the publisher) and with the five copies tucked inside the cover of the first copy of the book (6 total). This way you can easily grab a packet of books and place them in the back of the box when you are finished with them.

  • Phonemic Analysis tasks in the T.E. focus on sounds and are a verbal/auditory task.
  • Phonics tasks are written (Workbook) and focus on sounds corresponding to graphemes and are a reading task.

  • Tests are often weekly (M-F). For any 4 day test can be given the last day of the week.
  • We plan on supplying parents with a list of each spelling word and nightly HW assignments. This seems to encourage home support.
  • 10 words per week

  • There is a writing prompt at the bottom of each day's overview in the TE. This is often difficult to do within time constraints of the classroom, so possibly include these in journal writing daily. Pilot teacher suggested preparing a weekly page of each day's writing prompt to give to students.

  • Check the theme test to note the meaning of the vocabulary word that they are focusing on. Shades of meaning are often a problem (i.e., Cooperative: working in a group or working without arguements)
  • There are nice Robust Vocabulary word cards available on our first site under LINKS, with the vocabulary word on the front and the teacher's script printed on the back for each word.

Whole group Reading
  • Pilot teacher sent home the hard cover story on Mon and Tues to reread at home. There are nice bookmarks available on our first website under the LINKS section. These bookmarks have the weekly spelling words printed on them and I add the nightly reading assignments, such as Monday read "Tag" Tuesday read "Let's Tap" Wednesday read your small book etc. Students should use the bookmark for the whole week.

Small group Reading
  • Pilot teacher sent home the little books Wed. and Thurs. to read at home.
  • Small books are meant to be read more than once at home. Supplement with small leveled readers from Rigby, Sunshine, Wright, etc. to enable students to have a variety of small books.
  • During learning centers, work stations, etc. have students keep a collection of 5 small books that they have previously read. Use "reading phones" or "plumbing pipes" to allow students to read aloud to themselves without disturbing others or you!

Literacy Centers
  • It is suggested to use Storytown's Literacy Centers while you are meeting with small groups. The centers each have an explanation card and do not generate papers for you to check.
  • During centers, students often need a "home base" where they go to their desk/seat where they will have a few "jobs" to do such as journal, arts/crafts on the theme or holiday, handwriting, etc.
  • At the beginning of the year, you may want to consider having first graders only go to one center (rather than rotate every 15 min.) The students do not appear ready to handle multiple steps or multiple directions to remember and cannot read the explanation cards. I also provide a visual example of the finished product expected at each center.
  • This year (2012) we have incorporated "The Daily 5" to replace Storytown's Literacy Centers

Ending the Year
  • There is a weekly test, unit test and end of the year test. All are not necessary. The end of the year test data is needed for portfolio data.
  • Don't be concerned if you do not finish all of the lessons. Depending on the pacing for your unique group, this is normal. Note key robust vocabulary needed for the last (end of the year) test and be sure to cover that. It's not a race to the finish...its the journey along the way that counts.