Sentence Starters

Yesterday I talked about making short patterned books for the early reader and writer.  For more detailed information, please read yesterday’s blog and remember that only 1 sentence starter should be used per book.  The same sentence starter should be used on every page of the book.  Today I will give you part 2 of the list of Sentence Starters for these books.  These are just some of the repetitive patterns most frequently used for beginning readers.

Can you…..?

Can you see a…..?

Can you see the…..?

Can you see my…..?

Here is a …..

Here is my…..

This is a…..

This is the…..

This is my…..

I like a…..

I like the…..

I like my…..

I like to go to…..

Look at the…..

Look at me in the…..

Look up at the…..

Come to the…..

Go to the…..

We can…..

We are…..

We like…..

It is a…




Filed under Beginning Readers, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Writing

Sentence Starters for Simple Books

Blog 90 Sentence Starters for Simple Books


Your Kindergarten child is just about half way through the second quarter of school.  One popular second quarter goal is to encourage more writing from our Kindergartners.  How to do that? Easy.  I am sure that you have noticed that your child has a longer attention span since the beginning of school and that your child is interested in more things.  The way I like to introduce simple writing and simple reading simultaneously is with short patterned books.  They are easy to MAKE, yes MAKE, no money involved and your child will love them.

Materials that you need:

  • 2 sheets of copy paper
  • Stickers of something that your child likes (i.e., a page of scrapbooking stickers full of items, like transportation, or princesses that your child likes)
  • Pencil


  • Fold the two sheets of paper in half, staple together to make a small book
  • Place a sticker on each page
  • Pick ONE sentence starter from the list below and write the same sentence starter on every page.
  • Your child will finish the sentence by writing the name of what is in the picture.
  • Now you have a book.


I see a…

I see the…

I see my…

I can see a…

I can see the…

I am a…

Here is the…

More sentence starters tomorrow.

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Filed under Beginning Readers, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Reading

15 Minute Reading Activities

Fifteen-Minute Reading Activities

by the National PTA

Make 15 minutes go a long way. Try these quick reading activities with your younger kids.

1. License to read. On car trips, make it a game to point out and read license plates, billboards, and interesting road signs.

2. Better than TVSwap evening TV for a good action story or tale of adventure.

3. Look and listen. Too tired to read aloud? Listen to a book on CD and turn the book’s pages with your children. You also can find books on your ipad.  You’ll still be reading with them!

4. Labels, labels, labels. Label things in your children’s room as they learn to name them. Have fun while they learn that written words are connected to everyday things.

5. Pack a snack, pack a book. Going someplace where there might be a long wait? Bring along a snack and a bag of favorite books.

6. Recipe for reading. The next time you cook with your children, read the recipe with them. Step-by-step instructions, ingredients, and measurements are all part of words in print!

7. Shop and read. Notice and read signs and labels in the supermarket. Back home, putting away groceries is another great time for reading labels.

8. Your long-distance lap. Away on a business trip? Take a few books with you, call home, and have your child curl up by the computer/ipad/phone for a good night story.

9. A reading pocket. Slip fun things to read into your pocket to bring home: a comic strip from the paper, a greeting card, or even a fortune cookie from lunch. Create a special, shared moment your child can look forward to every day.

10. A little longer? When your child asks to stay up a little longer, say yes and make it a 15-minute family readingopportunity.


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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Reading

The Importance of Play in Kindergarten

The children in my Kindergarten classroom have the opportunity for indoor play every day that they come to school.  I am all too well aware of the Reading Readiness, Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies that I am required to teach to these young children before they leave me to go to first grade.  Let’s not forget about the required assessing, both standardized and informal that I must do along with the teaching.  However, I do have to remember that I am teaching young children with 5 year old brains.  They MUST play with others in order to learn.  The American Academy of Pediatrics says “Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.”  Play allows children to use their creativity to solve problems. A group of children were followed from preschool through high school. Researchers found that the complexity of playing with blocks in preschool and Kindergarten predicted kids’ mathematics achievements in high school. In particular, those who had used blocks in more sophisticated ways as preschoolers had better math grades and took more math courses (including honors classes) (Wolfgang, Stannard, & Jones, 2001). Yet year after year, I have to explain and convince parents of the importance of play in Kindergarten.  Children learn not just with paper and pencils.  Assessment comes from observing the play, and listening to the conversations.  Math is happening at the block center, language arts is happening at the art center and writing center, science is happening at the listening station followed by free art at the easels. I listen to children as they discuss with each other what we have learned in our daily focus lesson.  At play, they have the opportunity to relearn and take ownership of what has been taught and file that information away in their brains.  I have blocks in my room, and blank art paper, and lots of toys (legos, buckets of old keys, flannel board nursery rhyme stories and so much more) These toys are big hits with the 5 year old crowd and even when I should be teaching, sometimes I stop what I am doing to listen and observe ALL of the learning that is taking place right before my eyes.

reposted from 2009

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Filed under Kindergarten, Play

Emotional Growth of 5 and 6 Year Olds

Your child 5 year old child will experience enormous physical and emotional growth this year. We focus on the physical because we can measure it and see it but we cannot measure the emotional growth of a 5 year old as easily.  You’ll have to make observations about the emotional growth as it matures during this school year.  The American School Counselor Association published the following about Kindergartners:

Where They Are:
The average five-year-old is enthusiastic, helpful, and conforming. He:

  • Attempts only things he/she knows he/she can do.
  • Needs attention, affection, and praise.
  • Is energetic and fidgety.
  • Has a short attention span.
  • May show opposite extremes of behavior.
  • May become less well-behaved as the school year progresses.

Where they’re Going:
At five years old, your child is learning to understand himself/herself. You can help by encouraging him/her as he/she:

  • Develops a positive, realistic self-image.
  • Learns to respect himself/herself.
  • Begins to understand his/her own uniqueness.
  • Gains awareness of his/her feelings.
  • Learns to express feelings.
  • Learns how to participate in groups.
  • Begins to learn from his/her mistakes.

To learn about the emotional growth of a first grader read here:

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Filed under Behavior, First Grade, Kindergarten, Maturity, Parents

Responsibilities for 5 and 6 Year Olds

When we clean up in our classroom, the children are expected, and required, to clean up after themselves.  This seems pretty simple, you make the mess, you clean it up.  However, this is a new concept for many Kindergartners and First Graders who come to me from homes where Mom/Dad or someone else cleans up after them.  What a shock it is for these children when they find out they have to clean up themselves without adult assistance.  One of the questions that I ask parents at our parent/teacher conferences is what type of responsibilities/jobs does your child have at home?  What job will only get done if your child performs it?  Many parents have the answer right away since their child does have responsibilities at home.  Other parents, after giving it some thought realize that their child has no home jobs.  Now some of these parents realize that it IS time to help their child mature and do small tasks at home, but others will listen to my advice and then go home and continue to do everything for their child.  Kindergartners and First Graders are old enough to do many things at home:  Make their own bed, put their dirty laundry in the hamper, help sort/fold clean laundry, empty the silverware from the dishwasher, feed the fish/dog/hamster/guinea pig/, set the silverware/napkins on the table, the list is endless.  The point is, NOW is the time to have your child start helping out at home, as these self help skills will carry with them wherever they go throughout the day.

re-posted from 2009

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents, Responsibility

Newsletters From Your Child’s Teacher

Newsletters sent to you from your child’s teacher or school should be read as soon as you receive them.  Most Kindergarten and First Grade teachers send out newsletters weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly in order to keep parents informed of what has happened or what is about to happen in the classroom.  I send my weekly newsletters out by email and I post them on Blackboard but all teachers have their own method of sending them to you.  These newsletters are packed full of information about what is being taught in your child’s class, upcoming events, pictures,  daily goings on in the room and general information about your school.  The writing of these newsletters takes time and your child’s teacher writes them for you with you in mind.  These newsletters contain valuable information which will help you stay informed and provide you with conversation starters for you to talk about your child’s school experience with your child. The next newsletter that you get from your child’s teacher, the PTA/PTO, or School Principal, please take the time to read the newsletter as it contains news that you can definitely use!

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents