17 New Hello Fonts Released Today

Download fonts at the links below....

(like in your classroom only, at home, for your Girl Scout troop, for a friend's baby shower, for the PTA letterhead, for your blog*, for your family Christmas letter, for your child's science fair project, stuff like that...)

In exchange for 225 fonts for free personal use, please take just a second to leave me some positive feedback on TpT right after you download it.

(like in your TpT products - free or priced, for your blog**, for your Etsy store, for your paper products, for your card company, for teacher SWAG you sell like t-shirts, lanyards, caps, bags, pencils, pens, mouse pads, presenter door prizes, for your business cards, etc.) 

If you are a greeting card company, advertising agency, marketing firm, book publisher or design company, and you would like to use Hello fonts on greeting cards, company brochures, freeway billboards, chip bags, book covers, book text, coffee cups, etc. please purchase one commercial license per designer. 

If you have any doubt or wondering about whether or not you think you need to purchase a commercial license (because it's not listed about, and there are many interpretations of "commercial" just gmail me at helloliteracy. 

*if you would like to use Hello fonts in your blog header or anywhere in your blog elements, you can use them IF you put a blog button on the right sidebar of your blog.  Use this credit image button below. 

Permission to right-click save on the credit image below.

**if you would like to use Hello fonts in your blog header or anywhere in your blog elements, and you don't want to give credit via credit image button in your blog's right sidebar, then please purchase a Commercial Use License.   

Summer Literacy: 7 Fun, Free, Easy & Semi-Hidden Ways to Keep Your Kids Reading All Summer...Don't Put Reading on Summer Break, Too!

There is no doubt that a teacher's worst fear is that the students he/she worked so hard to bring up to grade level all year long, will slide back a reading level or more, over summer break.  The research is high and wide that this can easily occur when READING is not on a parent's summer radar.  I don't know why it is, but I can see how it happens...many parents are busy, work, or just plain unaware of the importance of daily reading. In this blog post, I'd like to share with parents, 7, easy, free, and semi-hidden ways you can keep your children actually reading and writing over the summer WITHOUT a designated and forced, parent-mandated reading time.  *Attention Parents* when you do this (forced reading), kids see reading as a chore and there are negative connotations that don't shine reading in the brightest light possible. So this post is about fun, sneaky ways to keep your child reading and they won't even realize they're doing it.  And, reading, like anything else, only happens naturally and occurs every day, when done naturally and every day, like a habit.  And habits are a perfect example of fluency, habits of mind and living are things we do and *think* without thinking...cognitive fluency. So let's begin.

During the summer, especially, make it a habit to go to the public library once a week. Find a day in your schedule that is not too busy because you will not want it to be a rush-rush trip. Allow at least two hours in your schedule to let your children browse for books...many teachers call it "shopping for books."  Your child's teacher has taught them to peruse books, look at the cover, read the blurb on the back and browse through books to decide if it looks interesting before committing to check it out.  Allow your child to choose as many books as they want, and definitely, without question, let them self-select the books they want to read over the next week.  This is probably the most important element of this habit. Again, research is high and wide that students who self-select their own books, read more and grow as readers faster and with more self-motivated eagerness than children who are given texts to read, where the book is selected by an adult, or where children are told what to read.  

You will also want to go to the library prepared to walk out with lots of books.  This is a great mindset to teach your children.  To do this, take reusable bags into the library with you, and use it as your library bag all summer. Return books in it and check books out with it. Week after week. And regular visits to the library will become a regular habit. 

Like the movie, Field of Dreams."if you build it, they will come" so is true for books....If books are there, kids will read them.  So why not capitalize on every opportunity?  Think about all the places kids are sure to be this summer and keep a bag or basket of books there.  Here are places kids are guaranteed to be this summer--in the bathroom.  They gotta go! Some kids are quick in the bathroom and some kids are not, so keep a basket of books near the toilet, within arms reach so they can easily grab them without falling off the toilet.  Kids are also sure to be in the car--going here and there, thanks to you. So keep a basket or bag of books in the car.  Also, when you keep books in the car, they can also be read while kids wait for other stuff....like their heat in a swim meet.  Summer, at least in North Carolina, is swim team season. Every, and I  mean every (ok, nearly all), subdivision in Raleigh has a swim team, which inevitably means a lot of waiting around.  Again, if books are there, kids will read them.  (Printable at the end of this post.)

(Photo courtesy of @lacypark on Instagram)

I know the television is a beast to manage (if you have one). I actually have found with my own children that they watch less television screen and more computer/phone/pad screen, than years ago.  BUT, in the summer, when many many kids are at home without fun camps, vacations or outings to attend, many children watch (too much) television over the summer instead of reading books. So, one way we can capitalize on the television watching, whether it's a 30 or 60 minute show or Netflix, turn on the closed captioning on your screen. Our family has found that when it's on, we notice that our eyes drift to the words the actors are saying and find ourselves reading along.  Kids will naturally do the same IF the words are there to read, so just turn it on and leave it on.

So, kids are all too familiar with YouTube, which can be both positive and negative. I personally think it's great that kids default to YouTube when wanting to learn how to do something new...some adults could learn this default.  In the YouTube search bar, enter "karaoke songs with lyrics" and see the many songs with lyrics for kids to read and sing along.  For a more refined search, add the word "children's songs" or "nursery rhymes" into your search.  Timothy Rasinski, fluency guru, says singing is one of the best ways to increase fluency because songs get "stuck in our head and we can't get them out" so that in itself, he says, is a form or repeated reading due to repeated head singing.

There are some fascinating Instagram accounts by some amazing photo journalists who travel around the world and document or explain fun and interesting things happening around the world. And, there are some amazing attractions, zoos, state parks and organizations that work really hard to document daily happening for everyone to enjoy on Instagram.  It's fun to read the posts of these interesting Instagrammers and use social media to do it.  Kids read about the picture post and don't even realize they're reading.  This activity is great for kids at home this summer, or kids in summer school...what a hit the Instagram Center would be!  I would also encourage kids to write captions to pictures that have very brief captions...what picture details would *they* include?  

I recommend the following Instagram accounts for kids to follow:

(Click on the color image for a free download of both color and b/w versions.)

Summer is the perfect time of year to read informational text and environmental print.  In life, this is the text that is most useful to living and functioning in society as a productive, healthy, informed citizen.  Be a role model by actively stopping to to read all the signs you see or point them out to your kids so they can try to read and understand them too.  If you make any trips or vacations this summer, make it a game to find everywhere that print and text is used to teach or tell information, and then figure out together, what they say, the message and why the sign or text is important for people to know. 

(Photos courtesy of W. Warner & J. Marshall)

There is indisputable evidence of the reciprocal relationship between reading and writing...and should always taught, practiced and done hand in hand.  For example, you might remember in my January 2015 blog post, I talked about the importance of teaching students how to also *write* sight words when teaching them how to read sight words.  And, so the same is true for practicing writing, when learning to read. The cognitive process of reading is called decoding and the cognitive process of writing is called encoding.  Kids not only need to know how to say the sound symbol for a letter (reading), but must also be able to retrieve and produce the letter symbol for the sound they are trying to make (writing).  This summer, ask your kids to write a Summer Bucket List.  In fact, everyone in the family should create a Summer Bucket List and then have a family meeting to create an opportunity for everyone to share their lists with the family. Then, work together to make a plan to accomplish activities on the list. If kids have trouble coming up with ideas, they can look through magazines to get Bucket List ideas. 

(Photo courtesy of B. Midtgaard Fletcher)

Sometimes ordinary things become extraordinary when we do them outside. Something about the outside environment, nature, fresh air, ions, not exactly sure what, but some indoor things are just more fun outside.  So, have a book picnic outside for some "natural" reading or a book picnic inside, when it's too hot outside.  Take a blanket and some snacks, spread out and enjoy some books on a blanket. 

(Photo courtesy of @snippetsbysarah on Instagram)

(Photo Courtesy of @alikscott17 on Instagram)

If you live in the Raleigh area, find out more about Book Babies, a free program offered by Book Harvest to connect new moms with free books..."kindergarten readiness starts at birth." 

And, below is a printable refrigerator summary version of this blog post for parents and/or summer school teachers. 
IMHO, summer reading is going to be the key to closing the reading achievement gap in America.  Teachers work way too hard all year long to let 80% of it go down the drain over summer. Like reading guru, Timothy Rasinski says, "parents are vital in their child's reading success." That's just how I feel. 


Beach ball dividers made by me.  Right-click-permission to copy them.

Spring is Here Blog Hop


This week I'm hoppin' around with some other fun literacy bloggers. We are joining up to bring you some ideas for poetry fun. Although April is National Poetry Month, you know how I feel. Poetry should not be a "month long spring fling" as Lori Ockzus and Timothy Rasinski stated so perfectly in their recent preview article for their ILA co-session, Five Ideas That Work: Positively Poetry. Poetry should be read, written, practiced and enjoyed year-round, even daily.

For my contribution to the poetry blog hop, I would like formally introduce my newest line of literacy products...Poems for Fluency.  Now when I say fluency, you probably all think of reading fluency, right?  True. True.  However, fluency (in real life) also known as cognitive fluency, is simply two things...automaticity (without thinking) and familiarity (known information).  Like you may have heard me say, a great example of cognitive fluency is consumer economics. Why do we frequent the same restaurants over and over? Why do we order the same entree off the menu at every new visit? Why do we stick to the same brands of clothes or cars, over and over again?  The answer to all of these questions is cognitive fluency. We know what to expect, we know we like it and we don't have to think of something new to order or buy. When our brain is in auto-pilot, we don't have to make so many consumer decisions, our cognitively fluent brain does it for us.

In this product, students will be both be practicing reading fluency by reading original rhyming poems daily, and repeating the reading of them daily and every day after the original day AND students will also have the opportunity to practice writing the poem.  So, I know what you're thinking...."writing the poem? Like copying the poem?" YES. Copying the poem. Here's the rationale behind this work, without even beginning to mention how it expands oral language abilities, written language abilities, content knowledge and vocabulary, social knowledge and cultural/community awareness, author's point of view, voice, phonics patterns, grammar, figurative language, inferences, syntax, print concepts, and phonological awareness. Have I convinced you yet how great this is for kids?  If not, read more.

The reason I created this product is because there is mounds and mounds of research that reading and rereading poems increases reading fluency.  I have created two pocket three prong Poetry folders for my students for years as a consistent way for students to get daily practice in reading and rereading the same text. Fluency expert, Timothy Rasinski, says, “too often students do not get enough opportunities to read and reread the same text at least 3-5 times before more new text is introduced.” And, for the most part, teachers know this and there is a wealth of resources out there for practicing reading fluency.

Do you remember when teachers used to ask students to copy writing off the board? Do students ever do that anymore? Not really. When it comes to written word production, we leave it all up to the students, from the creativity to the time frame. However, I have a growing concern that today’s students, especially in the primary grades, do not get enough time to practice and increase their writing fluency.  Writing fluency can be defined in several different ways—as creators and of their own writing and as producers of writing.  When students create and invent their own writing from the stories in their head, they are doing both the cognitive work of creating the story, encoding the letters and producing the letters on paper. In addition, they are developing fine motor skills in short bursts. As teachers, we want them to develop as creative writers and authors, but this process can be slow and labored, and students learn much about the how letters, sounds out stories work. Even worksheets of today do not require students to write that much. They fill in a letter here, circle something there, connect the dots, or cut and glue matching pieces, which all require motor skills, but do not help students develop as endurance writers or develop their writing stamina. The “Read and Copy” portion of this product is designed to develop students as writing producers, not necessarily for speed, but for urgency.  Too often I see students who take 20-30 minutes to write something that should take them 5. This part of the product isn’t about creativity or originality, or even cognitive demand. It’s about raising awareness of written word production. It’s about focus and persevering to start and finish something in a short amount of time. (The circles in the upper right corner of the Read & Copy sheets were put there so students can record the time it took them to completely write the poem.) It is designed to be completed in one short sitting.

*If you teach in a state like North Carolina that assesses reading comprehension through written response after student's read a story on an iPad, you know the frustration when students can orally tell you the answer to reading comprehension questions but when asked to show their comprehension in writing, they are unable to write long responses or unreasonably complain, “my hand is tired” after one line of text. This product is designed to avoid this frustration by strengthening students’ hand muscles through daily word production practice, to increase writing production stamina and speed. 

If you (or your principal) need justification of standards met while reading and writing my poetry packs, between the reading and writing component of this product, students will working on several ELA standards daily:

RL.10, RIT.10 - Engage in group reading activities: Read independently & proficiently
RIT.6,8 - Determine author's point of view and author's opinion
RFS.1 - Print Concepts: Reading & Writing from left to right, top to bottom, return sweep and 1-1 correspondence
RFS.3 - Know and apply phonics and decoding skills: letters, sounds, words, sight words
RFS.4 - Read emergent text with purpose and accuracy to increase fluency
W.7 - Participate in shared writing experiences
L.1 - Demonstrate command of conventions of English
L.2 - Demonstrate command of proper puncuation
L.4 - Learn new vocabulary, like nouns, favorite things and grade level language

If you click on the free sample above, you can download 2 free poems and 2 free Read & Copy sheets (this rationale is also included in the sampler).

The full products come with 20 poems for each month in two ways: full sheets of just the poem for class and home use, and half-sheets for writing stamina practice.  In addition, there is a book cover sheet and a stamina graph so students can become more aware of how long it's actually taking them to get words transferred to their paper...whether it's from their brain to the paper or another paper to the paper, the graph helps students see and set writing stamina goals.

These poems are currently available for the months of March and April (May will be out next week), and are priced at $4.00 per month, OR, available as part of a growing bundle, that if purchased now, you save 50% over purchasing them by the month.

As the months are completed, I add them to the growing bundle, and you pay now more because you paid for it up front at discounted price.  (Note: the growing bundle will not always be 50%, when most of the months are added, I will reduce it to a 25% discount, so if the Growing Poem Bundle is on your wishlist, you might want to pick it up.)  The growing poem bundle will include all 12 months of the year.

Thanks so much for visiting today.  Lori at Conversations in Literacy is up next to share another way she uses poetry with her groups.


Have a great hop and come back soon!

Slides & Handouts from my Reading Workshop Sessions at the North Carolina Reading Conference #ncra15

"Hey, do you see yourself???" If so, go www.facebook.com/helloliteracy and tag yourself!
And do you notice they're all SO HAPPY? #notstaged #notpaid  #happytobePDd #lifelonglearners

Ok, I had such a blast presenting in downtown Raleigh yesterday.  I mean, don't get me wrong if I've been to your "outside of North Carolina" school...Rocky Creek Elementary in South Carolina made me a life size WELCOME JEN JONES PD banner and Fall Hamilton Enhanced Option Elementary School in Nashville, TN had "Welcome Jen Jones!" out front on the school marquee. But, there is really something special about coming to present at the North Carolina Reading Conference. It's like my own backyard, my peeps, my fan club, whatever! I love it! I love you! I truly felt like a celebrity...especially when one teacher said, "Well, I'm not going to ask you for your autograph, but if you pull out an 8X10 glossy, I'll take it." LOL. Seriously, ya'll, I'm just a regular Jen, have piles of laundry to fold, eat out too much, stay up too late, send birthday cards too late, have a thin thick layer of dust on my furniture, am a sucker for a sale, and addicted to coffee. Oh, and according to my teenagers, I don't know anything. I mean, I do have good kids, but I'm a regular mom to them. As I should be.

 Seriously, I am beyond humbled that all of my sessions were a "full house"...and I'm super sorry that some of you were turned away by the room moderators who apparently took their jobs very seriously of not exceeding the Maximum Capacity Occupancy in these rooms.  If it were up to me, ya'll could have come in, stood in the back, sat down the aisle and come straight on up the front criss-cross applesauce, we could've had our own little session mini-lesson right there in front of the big screen--BUT, nobody asked me.  And, I guess, I heard after my session that I it even caused a little riot in the hall, some folks wanted in bad and she said NO. THIS ROOM IS FULL. (Secretly on the inside, I smiled and had a little #sistersmoment.)  So, I'm sorry. I'm also sorry for running out of handouts. I truly thought 75 would be enough.  But as promised, I have uploaded my session slides and handouts below.

 I also apologize for not getting this post up until now. I cannot tell you how many sweet emails I have received from teachers who were in my session(s) yesterday....ahhhh, so much positive and warm feedback. Truly makes my literacy heart melt.  This email below pretty much sums up the sentiment of most of the emails.

  If you were not in any of sessions yesterday, feel free to peruse them as well, but please understand that they will have the most contextual meaning to the folks that were there.  However, behold, I am more than willing and able to travel to your school or district and deliver any of these (or others) enthusiastic and energetic professional development sessions to your teachers.  If you are interested in having me visit your school, send me an email and I will let you know my rates and availability. I did actually just update my PD schedule for 2015 which you can see by clicking on the PD>My Schedule link at the top of my blog.  IF you are interested in having me visit your school or district, I encourage you contact me sooner than later as I am beginning to taking bookings now for August through October.

 I had the opportunity to travel to many amazing places in 2014 to deliver staff development, and I look forward to traveling to Georgia, Idaho, Tennessee and Kentucky in 2015.  Will I be adding your state to my itinerary?  Email me for PD rates and availability.

Download Slides Here

Download Handouts Here

Email Me About Presenting This Session to Your Staff

Download Slides Here

Download Handouts Here

Email Me About Presenting This Session to Your Staff


I was on a little vacation last week in Puerto Los Cabos, Mexico, with my husband and some of our good friends from California. We had a great time. Short, but relaxing. We stayed at one of those all-inclusive type resorts where all the food and drink is included, and the particular one in which we stayed, (Secrets: Puerto Los Cabos) happens to hold a lot of corporate retreats. There were probably four different corporate functions going on while we were there...BUT ANYWAY, we were walking to breakfast one morning and happened to walk past a table of "corporate talkers" and I overheard one of them say, "if you're teachable, you're still humble." And that really resonated with me because as a literacy coach, you often work with teachers who LOVE a teaching coach, WANT a teaching coach and BEG for a teaching coach. But, then, there are some teachers who don't. Some will not actually come right out and say they don't, but some, the bold ones or usually the ones with a lot of years of experience, even come right out and say, "I don't want a coach. I don't need a coach. Don't waste your time in my classroom." There was a teacher once who said this to me (I didn't take it personally, as a coach, you cannot take statements like this personally) and it's always stuck with me, and when I walked by the breakfast table, this teacher's comment from many years ago, totally snapped into place for me. Although the opposite of humble may be conceited, arrogant or showy, she really didn't act like that, but she really wasn't humble either.  I also wonder...how do you keep teachers teachable? At what point in a teacher's teaching career does a teacher go from humble to "I don't need a coach!" I don't get that. I don't know the answer, but I do like what the breakfast person said, a lot! #stayteachable #alwayslearning #stayhumble #productiveeavesdropping 

And one more vacation/teaching story. On the last day of our vacation, my friend, Shannon, from California finally asked me, "Why do you take so many pictures? And of the weirdest things!" My response was, "for Picture of the Day! (like, obviously)." So I explained Picture of the Day to her in the most parent-friendly way, as she is a non-educator friend and parent who works in the Silocon Valley.  She shook her head and was amazed at the concept, and then asked if her youngest could move in with us. LOL. (Yep, we'd love to have her! But you'd probably miss her.) The best part of the story is tha yesterday when I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw she had posted several pictures in an album that she named Cabo: 2015. I looked through all the pictures (cute!) and the last picture I find is this picture and caption.#ilaughedoutloud #loveit
Picture of the Day Volume 1 and Volume 2 or you can read all about it HERE.

Facebook Caption: Picture of Mrs. Jones getting her "picture of the day"

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