One of the reasons I love teaching second grade is because I get to see huge growth in my young readers.  Although we definitely continue with word attack skills and self-correction, we also get to move on to some higher-level reading strategies.  One of my favorite strategies to teach is how to read with the correct voice.

This post shares lessons and strategies for teaching student how to read with the correct voice.  Learning to read with an appropriate voice is a huge part of fluency, and it helps students demonstrate comprehension.

To hook students on the idea, I pull out a favorite poem, "The Homework Machine", by Shel Silverstein (You can find the poem and many other great ones in the book, A Light in the Attic.)  I displayed the poem and read it in a very monotone voice.  After that, we discussed more appropriate voices for the different parts of the poem.  When reading the final four lines, we talked about different tones that may be appropriate: mad, sad, surprised, embarrassed etc.  We practiced reading the poem, changing our voice in the last couple of lines and discussing how that changes the meaning.  For fun, we also tried voices like scared and robot.

This post shares lessons and strategies for teaching student how to read with the correct voice.  Learning to read with an appropriate voice is a huge part of fluency, and it helps students demonstrate comprehension.

The second day we worked on choosing the right voice for reading, we discussed previewing the book to predict the proper voice we would need.  I modeled how to look at the cover, back, pictures, and Table of Contents to help predict what voice might be best to use during different parts of the reading.  Students practiced this technique with their reading partners by verbalizing how they planned to read their book.  Once each partner had a chance to share, students read independently.  At the end of reading workshop, they met with their partner again and shared a portion of their reading where they felt confident that they had a "just right voice".

When working with small groups, there are so many great activities you can incorporate for choosing the right voice.  One of my favorites is to use poems with more than one voice.  A great series for this is the You Read to Me, I'll Read to You Series.  (You can also use these poems for the whole class by dividing them into two groups.  Students love this!)

This post shares lessons and strategies for teaching student how to read with the correct voice.  Learning to read with an appropriate voice is a huge part of fluency, and it helps students demonstrate comprehension.

One of the things I love about this series is that there are multiple reading levels within the series.  This makes the series suitable for a wide variety of students.  For example, the Fairy Tales book above is guided reading level J, and the Very Short Stories book is guided reading level M.

This post shares lessons and strategies for teaching student how to read with the correct voice.  Learning to read with an appropriate voice is a huge part of fluency, and it helps students demonstrate comprehension.

Having students read with an appropriate voice is a great way to monitor their comprehension.  During reading conferences, I often prompt students to go back and reread parts of the book in a way that shows how the characters are feeling.  It's fun to see them engaged in the text this way.

I'd love to hear your favorite book or strategy to coach students to read with the correct voice.  Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Thank you!

This post shares lessons and strategies for teaching student how to read with the correct voice.  Learning to read with an appropriate voice is a huge part of fluency, and it helps students demonstrate comprehension.

Personal narratives are one of my favorite writing projects because they allow me to learn great things about my students.  I enjoy hearing about those special small moments in their lives.  However, I am always running into students who want to share entire vacations, descriptions of their pets or other ideas that don't fit the small moment narrative framework.  This year, we worked hard to make sure students had small moments to write about from the start.


This post shares great strategies to help your students narrow the focus of their small moment stories.  The posts includes mentor texts and an anchor chart to help guide your students to the perfect topic for their personal narrative.


First and foremost, I started off with two great mentor texts for finding small moments.  I don't always use the same ones every year, but these are two of my favorites.  Not only are they excellent examples of small moments, but they are meaningful moments.  There is definitely a lesson to be learned in both stories.


The first book, Fireflies, is about a child who can wait to get outside and catch fireflies with his friends.  However, he soon realizes that life in a jar is no life for a firefly, and he sets them free.


The second book, Shortcut, is about a group of children who decide to save time and take a shortcut to get back to Bigmama's house.  They learn that saving time isn't as important as staying safe.


This post shares great strategies to help your students narrow the focus of their small moment stories.  The posts includes mentor texts and an anchor chart to help guide your students to the perfect topic for their personal narrative.

A huge part of making sure students understand the process of narrowing their focus is modeling step by step how I do it.  First, I share a list of possible topics.  The next day, I go through the "Seed Test".  To do this, I use the watermelon analogy.  If you have a "watermelon story" the topic is way too big.  Examples of watermelon topics include: my family, my pets, etc.  A "slice" is a bit more narrow.  Examples of a slice include: my dog, the time I went to Myrtle Beach, etc.  The "seed story" is when we get to the small moments.  Examples of seed stories include: my first roller coaster ride, entering the classroom on the first day of school, etc.

When I model my process, I start with a "brain dump" of ideas.  Next, I share with students how some are fine, some need to be more narrow, and some just don't have a story to go with them.  In the later case, I talk about how there are other forms of writing that we can use those ideas for later in the year.  You can see the slide I use to guide this conversation below.

This post shares great strategies to help your students narrow the focus of their small moment stories.  The posts includes mentor texts and an anchor chart to help guide your students to the perfect topic for their personal narrative.

In the end, I decided to model my writing with the story of getting my rescue pup, Millie from the shelter.  I created the anchor chart below for students to use as a guide when checking their ideas.  (Graphics are available for free in my TPT store here.)

This post shares great strategies to help your students narrow the focus of their small moment stories.  The posts includes mentor texts and an anchor chart to help guide your students to the perfect topic for their personal narrative.

I was very excited to listen to students' ideas for narratives.  The watermelon analogy, great mentor texts, and modeling are wonderful guides to get your students to find their just right topics.

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