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5 Easy Ways To Teach What Character Traits Are in Children’s Literature

March 14, 2022 2 Comments

Do you get blank stares when you teach what character traits are? Are their answers limited to words such as “nice” or “mean”?  When I taught second grade, I quickly realized how limited my students’ vocabulary was when it came to describing the character traits of a person. They could easily tell me what the character looked like on the outside, but on the inside? Not so much. The good news is I will explain 5 activities…

Easy Ways For How to Improve Writing Skills of Elementary Students – Part 1

October 18, 2022 No Comments

Are you searching for ways to improve writing skills of young writers without pulling your hair out? I’ve been there. The challenge is to encourage growth without crushing them in red ink. In this 2 part article, I am going to share my favorite and most effective methods to improve writing with younger students. Improve Writing With a Visual Rubric Now rubrics aren’t anything new. However traditional rubrics didn’t help my 2nd graders much. They’d check…

Successful Ways to Teach Character Traits Definition Through Mentor Texts

September 14, 2022 No Comments

While discussing with my young students character traits examples, it became clear that there were many terms that they were not familiar with. They would default to words like nice, mean, or good. Character Traits Definition Bulletin Board So I decided to pair some character traits definitions with characters in our read-aloud stories. After reading and discussing the story, I ask the children to give me two or three character trait words that describe the character…

Is Reading Aloud to Children Actually Supported by the Science of Reading?

July 19, 2022 8 Comments

I LOVE children’s literature!  My schedule always included 20 minutes of reading aloud to my class as they unwind and rehydrate after recess. Year after year read-aloud time was their favorite part of the day. And thanks to Scholastic Book Club and a boat load of points,  I curated a vast classroom library of books for my students to choose from. We used books as mentor texts and for author studies. I wanted to immerse my…

Phonemic Awareness vs Phonological Awareness and Phonics – What’s the Difference?

July 13, 2022 No Comments

Do phoneme awareness, phonological awareness, and phonics mean the same thing? Can the terms phonemic awareness vs phonological awareness be used interchangeably? Let’s demystify these terms!  Although each word starts with phon, they do not mean the same thing.  The Greek root phon means sound. So phonemic awareness, phonological awareness and phonics are related terms, but not identical. What is Phonological Awareness?  Phonological Awareness is a broad term that involves orally identifying and manipulating sounds. This…

Life-Changing Strategies for Classroom Management –  6 Secrets to Calm the Chaos

May 12, 2022 No Comments

Have you ever noticed that strategies for classroom management are a lot like puppy training? Let me introduce you to my Golden Retriever puppy Shadow.  Cute, isn’t he? Yeah, things went really well for the first couple of months. He quickly learned to do his business outside,  never chewed any furniture,  and never destroyed any of his stuffed animals! He sounds like a dream puppy, right?  Well, fast forward a few months, and things have changed….

5 Poetry Writing Wins For Kids Who Hate to Write

March 21, 2022 1 Comment

Teaching poetry writing can feel like a daunting task. You either love it or dread it. But let me tell you a secret: Struggling writers often enjoy writing poetry. Now, hear me out.  Poems can be two short sentences (couplets) Poems don’t have to follow “the rules” Poems don’t have to rhyme Poems can be about anything What Are the Benefits of Teaching Poetry? Reason #1: Poems can help us see life in new ways. The…

5 Ways to Celebrate Groundhog Phil With Elementary Students

January 25, 2022 No Comments

Are you looking for some Groundhog Day activities to use with your class? Is your class excited to know if Groundhog Phil sees his shadow? Are they eager to hear that winter is almost over? As we near Groundhog’s Day with all the superstition and folklore, I have always wanted to dig deeper (pun intended) than what the great Prognosticator forecasts. So I decided to do a little research and learn more about this infamous rodent…

Hi! I'm Alison

My #1 passion is all things literacy! I'm a curriculum creator and literacy specialist with over 30 years teaching in elementary classrooms. My goal is to share creative and engaging ways to grow your students and are easy to implement and academically sound. You can expect to find teaching tips to boost your confidence and grow your learners. You don't have to do this alone! I'm the support you've been looking for. I'm so glad you are here!

About the Literacy Garden

When I started teaching, I quickly realized that student teaching didn't prepare me for the real challenges of being alone in a classroom full of young children. The learning curve was steep and time was limited. That is why I created the Literacy Garden. My hope is this will be a place for inspiration, mentoring, and connecting.

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