Interventions Resource

This is a fairly new site online.  They are rolling out new reading interventions and progress monitoring resources daily.  Membership is currently free, and I hear they'll be starting to charge a subscription fee soon. I have nothing to do with this site, but thought I'd pass it along as another tool for our RTI toolkit. 



Measuring Individual Reading Growth: Aligned to Common Core

Here at Lake Myra Elementary, we are all about measuring individual student growth, especially in reading. In addition to the universal screenings and Digging Deeper Assessments to begin RTI interventions with students who are struggling to grow with Tier 1 interventions, we began to ask other questions. When we set out to answer the questions, "How can we make sure students are growing in reading?" And "How will we know when a student has made one year's worth of growth in reading? ...these growth lines were the result.  This is our third year of using the growth lines document. 

The main purpose of the document is to spark
conversations when students aren't growing. 
They are not evaluative, they are designed
to be used in a formative manner. 

This year we have updated and revised the document to include the lexile correlations in order to use the same leveling system as the Common Core Standards.  (Read more about text complexity in the first several pages of the Common Core Standards: Appendix A)  In our district, students are also assigned a lexile level on the EOG reporting sheets based on a student's EOG reading proficiency.

This letter explains to our teachers the changes made to the Growth Line sheet for the 2011-2012 school year.   In addition, and I will reiterate, if you choose to use the growth line template, you will need to print one for each student in your class. THESE SHEETS ARE CUSTOMIZE-ABLE for each student.  Do not print one and run a class set. You will need to "move" the ARROW LINES (that are grouped together and correctly spaced four quarters and six quarters apart) to the child's BOY running record level cell, then print.  Students that enter the grade level on or above the BOY benchmark for that grade level, are placed on the one year (four quarter) growth line.  Students that enter the grade level below the BOY benchmark for that grade level, are placed on the one and half year (six quarter) growth line.  Research shows that if students enter below grade level, they must make one and half year's worth of growth in order to leave elementary school ON grade level.  We believe in rigorous growth for all students so even if students enter above grade level in reading, we believe they are held to the highest expectation of also making one year's worth of growth, no matter how far above grade level in reading they enter. 

Please note, that level 7-8 and 13-14 are intentionally omitted.  In order to make one quarter's worth of reading growth around those levels, a student must go from 5-6 in one quarter, read past 7-8 and be able to read a 9-10 in order to have made a quarter's worth of growth.  You'll notice there are four rows per grade level, one row per quarter.  The arrow lines are perfectly spaced four quarters and six quarters apart, so do not add any more rows to the chart.  

At our school, we record a child's instructional level on these growth lines. Whatever your school decides, everyone should record the same, either instructional or independent, but not some teachers recording instructional and some teachers recording will skew your data. 

Our school also uses the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment Kits 1 & 2, K-5, where teachers administer running records during  Q1, Q2, (Q3 for students reading below their growth line) and Q4.

If you have further questions, feel free to contact me at

Happy Reading!



Revised Post: Reading Interventions...No More Than a Strategy

Found lots of  reading instruction and intervention resources today at this literacy site for Hall County Schools in Georgia.  Some of the forms look  tedious and cumbersome, but the intervention resources under the RTI Literacy Notebook look great AND useful.  

Although this list, found at the Reading Rockets website, is not a "complete" list of reading strategies/reading interventions, it is, however, a somewhat comprehensive list of research based strategies/interventions for each of the five BIG AREAS of reading... phonological  awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.  Not only are the strategies sorted by reading area, there is a distinction if the strategy is best suited for "before reading," "during reading" and/or "after reading" AND if best completed whole group, small group and/or individually.  Each strategy is hot linked to a full page description of the strategy purpose and procedure...some have videos and others include pdf's of downloadable materials.  For new teachers, this list is comprehensive enough to target areas of need for both enrichment and remediation.  In fact, these reading strategies are perfectly appropriate reading interventions necessary to help students in the RTI process where targeting a specific skill and foundational literacy deficit is found to be needed.   Regular classroom reading strategies such as the ones above ARE reading interventions we use regularly in RTI at Lake Myra.

The biggest RTI pill to swallow is understanding that the I in RTI is not a person, place or's a strategy....a specific, targeted reading deficit that we are trying to fill, in foundational order, where the intervention lasts between 5-10 minutes 3-5 times a week.   If it's not the most foundation deficit, then it's like trying fill a higher hole in a bucket that still has lower holes to fill....for more information about how we do RTI at Lake Myra, see my RTI blog post

Reading Rockets Reading Strategies


Oral Retelling: The Big Secret

Oral Retelling Header

Sometimes I feel like a broken record when it comes to the disconnect between comprehension strategy instruction and comprehension strategy assessment...why is it that we continue to model and teach before AND during reading strategies when teaching reading, yet continually assess children's comprehension AFTER only?  I just don't get it!  The EOG is a reading test where we ask students to read a passage and answer multiple choice questions after reading and a running record is an assessment where we ask students to read out loud and then tell us what happened in the story after reading.   With the exception of Ellin Keene's Major Points Interview that I do during reading conferences, my school and district uses the benchmark assessment, Alphakids by Sundance and the Benchmarks Assessment Toolkits by Fountas & Pinnell. 

Since I'm all about giving kids the tools to succeed, I filled them in today on a little teacher secret and created this anchor chart to demonstrate.   I crouched down and spoke in a low voice...I said, "When you do a running record and finish reading the story, the teacher will then say...Talk about what happened in the story. However, what they really mean is...Talk about the plot, problem, characters, their feelings and how they changed, the setting, the resolution, your connections, your reactions, all of it." 

I created an independent collaborative center that I introduced to students last week called Partner Reading (and Retelling).  The reading groups board is set up with reading partners within the reading group so students know who they're working with before they get there.   We created a "Partner Reading" anchor chart complete with expectations. Included and most important about partner reading and talking about the book and having a conversation about what's happening in the book.  In this way, students are more authentically "retelling" elements and lessons from the book than a formal retelling, but prepares them by using the same oral language skills they will asked to use when they complete a running record.  Here is a picture of our Partner Reading anchor chart and a picture of the "Books Ideal for Partner Reading" (because they're "good books for thinking" as one of my students said).

We also created an Independent Reading rubric anchor chart...and since I only care for them to perform at the level 4 level, that is the only section of this chart we are filling in....basically, if you are doing anything less than level 4, than you're not a level independent reader and you need to check yourself.  

Last, here is the "Story Map on Steroids" that I created for students to use as talking points during Partner Reading.  I do not intend for students to take a lot of time filling this in as most of the front is lower level thinking with some elements of the back as higher level thinking.  



Tracking My Fluency Growth

{and feel free to right click on the center sign image to snag it}

So, I told you last week that I am fortunate to teach 19 3rd graders for a 90 minute literacy block's a really sweet deal and I love all of them dearly.  They are top notch readers who are working on going deeper with their comprehension, listening to the inner conversations in their head while reading and decreasing their reading fluency speed.  Yes, that's right, decreasing their speed!  We are working on increasing their fluency (and thus their comprehension) by decreasing their speed.  These kids read so fast they get to the end of the page and have little ideas or understanding about what they've just read.   So my solution, and those of you that know me, know I'm not a busy center fan or a worksheet fan....only higher level independent activities here.  Since we are all about tracking our progress and setting SMART goals with kids, I developed a fluency center where they could work on their expression, tone, prosidy, volume and enunciation collaboratively with a partner.  

In addition, Rasinki's Fluency Rubric will be copied to the back. The elements of this rubric are the most important aspects of reading fluency growth that these students are working on.

There are plenty of fluency passages out there, but it's easy enough to create your own using the free Reading Passage Generator at  Since it's more important to me to find content related to the 3rd grade science and social studies objectives, than say, a Level M passage or a leveled passage in general, I find articles online at Scholastic News and other sites linked in my blog post from earlier this year about places to find online sources of student text.   {Here is the link to that post}. 

For example, if you go to National Geographic Kids, and select the News tab, there are online stories related to Animals & Nature, People & Places, Science & Space and History.  I clicked on History and several stories popped I clicked the first one about Stonehenge Village.   

Scroll down and highlight the entire body of text to be pasted into the Reading Passage Generator over at You could really use any online text you find, but by inserting it into the RPG, it keeps track of the number of words for the kids so they don't have to waste time counting up words.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to shoot me a comment!

This year I also wrote and created 60 fluency passages (all lexile leveled by grade level) to either monitor progess for your RTI students or can also be used in a fluency center or Read to Someone center if you want to ensure reading and fluency growth of ALL students. Remember, even ON grade level students need to grow their fluency at the rate of 1 word per work in order to maintain fluency benchmarks at every grade level, and a rate of 1.5 words would ensure they are at least ON grade level if not ABOVE grade level in fluency, especially if they started the year with your under the BOY fluency benchmark.  

The 60 original fluency passages are HERE. 

***Resource Link:***

Happy Reading!

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My Blog Bucket is FULL

A warm bucket-filling thank you to Mrs. Durbin over at 3rd Grade's A Hoot and Mrs. Pitner over at Pitner's Potpourri for awarding me the Top 10 Blogs Award.

My bucket is brimming with gratitude!

On an adult note, the bucket filling philosophy is not just for kids.  The following book is a great read for grown-ups who also want to be bucket fillers not just at school but in their daily lives.  I highly recommend it and it takes only about 45 minutes to read the whole book! Well worth it! Truuuuuuust me! 

Thank you! I love it!


A Packed Week of Learning

The Lake Myra Benchmarking Team checking out Pinterest!
As I struggled with 'blogger's block' this week, I decided to just create a post that included highlights of everything I taught and saw in action at Lake Myra.  First of all, I must say this week came fast after coming of off benchmarking the entire school last week in two days. It's a move we made last year in an effort to take *something* off the plate of teachers since we do ask teachers to maintain quarterly running record growth lines for each of the students in their class, they get to listen to them read once every nine weeks at a minimum, if not, daily in guided reading. So, I know you're all wondering what's going on in the picture above. Well, let me tell you....with the help of @Jane Ferguson, we have Pinfluenced at least five teacher friends to check out Pinterest and I must say, as you can see, they were very Pintrigued!

Ms. Staib's 1st Grade Class in my 21st Century Special
 Part of being a 21st century learner is being able to work and learn with EVERYONE. So, in addition to the content lesson of learning how to create partner Wordles, students are also practicing their 21st century "super skills" of communicating and collaborating, and being critical thinkers when laptop problems arise.

3rd Grade Reading Group
This week my 3rd grade reading group (9:30-11:00) worked on creating SMART reading goals based on one of the 1st quarter reading objectives in addition to getting good at identifying fiction story elements. 
The SMART clipart downloaded from Pinterest

 Monday began with an Elements of Fiction (formative) pre-assessment.  I read a fiction story to them all whole group, and then gave them each a blank white piece of paper and asked them to create a story map.  I got 19 different story maps with most students needing work on Setting and Plot.  Thus, we began a Setting study.

By the end of the week, students were able to make interesting, specific predictions based on book jackets.
Download Book Jacket Prediction sheet here.

Our Word Learning Anchor Charts (in progress)

I also push-in to a 2nd grade class in the afternoon...this week, we focused on Predicting. Here is some of the anchor charts we created this week.

In the middle of the week, I spotted this 'Synonym Garden' made with paint chips when I was attending my daughters' middle school Open House.
Synonym Garden @ North Garner Middle School 7th Grade Hallway
As the IRT at Lake Myra, I'm in and out of classrooms all day long...lucky me!  Most days, I carry my iPhone on me because I always suspect I'm going to see or witness greatness while I'm in and out of Lake Myra classrooms.  Here's a sampling of some of the greatness I found this week on the first grade hall. 


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