Using Infographics to Teach Informational Text

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We've all seen the surge in infographics lately, especially on Pinterest, and it seems there's an Infographic on EVERYTHING under the sun.  However, I've only recently began using them with students as "informational text"...and they are just perfect because they're (rather) small, not a book or a magazine, but a one page, short snapshot of a whole bunch of information packed neatly into a very small space.  For this reason alone, it make reading and deciphering them...complex.  For students, nonfiction text structure alone can making reading nonfiction complex, but infographics can be overwhelming because it's the same nonfiction information structured on the page in a very visual way, using many of the same nonfiction text features they are used to seeing in nonfiction texts...tables, graphs, diagrams, labels, etc.  As much the information seems "scattered" on the page, we have found there does seem to be some structure to the way the infographic creator made it.  At first, kids shy away from "wanting" to untangle all the visual information...but on a "closer" reading and analysis....we are beginning to realize that we'd rather read an infographic than a book with lines upon lines of text or a magazine about the three branches of government when we could glean as much information from some spending some extra time on the infographic.  

Here are a few others that utilize many of the text features of non-fiction...
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Infographic Source:

The NY Times Learning Network also had a great post last year about using Infographics to teach with some great links and places to start.  

Happy Reading! -Jen

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Wanna Be...Pete the Cat?

...if the answer is YES, then this post is for you.   Last spring I posted about our Literacy Week celebrations during the first week of March, in a blog post called, Some School Spirit.  After that, I got a lot of emails from teachers (well, not a lot, but about 20) asking for directions on how to make the Pete the Cat costumes as worn by the 1st grade team.   To honor the request of those teachers that asked, I kindly asked the first grade team to tell me what they did and how they did it.  So, I have compiled a "how-to" book for teachers interested in also being a team of "Pete the Cats"...otherwise known as Colorful Cats...don't want to violate copyright. 

 Please take a free download of my "How-to Be Colorful Cats" book HERE.  

Happy Reading! - Jen



Hello Sale...Midnight to Midnight...and SALE Text Alerts

Also, I am starting to offer Hello Literacy text notifications whenever I throw a sale.  If you would like to receive a text when this happens, you'll receive right delay like there sometimes is with this blog.

Here's what you need to do...text this message:  @d01f1

to this number:  760-621-5629

You will be prompted to reply with your first name, type your first name (or make one up) and reply back.

That's're signed up for the Hello Literacy Text Notification service.  The texts are sent by me and will appear from "Mrs. Jones" when it comes through...and I promise I will only send SALE texts.  

This app I'm using for this is Remind101. It's totally legit and I use it with parents of the students in my reading groups and with staff, like when we have special reminders, things due, special days, school delays, etc.  



17 New Hello Fonts

I've added 17 new fonts to the Hello Fonts line-up...bringing the total to 81 so far.

Download them individually in the right sidebar of my blog 
Download them bundled in my TpT store...

If you already own my Hello Fonts Commercial license, you can go to your "My Purchases" button on TpT and re-download the product.  These new fonts are bundled together as 2-14-13 font bundle. 

Have a GREAT weekend! - Jen

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Three Cheers to an Awesome Parent Volunteer!

This post is dedicated to the best parent volunteer EVER...Barbara Saia (with Melissa Burnham, a very close second, and Margaret Slade and how do I even begin to rate or rank them...I LOVE LOVE LOVE parent I would never want to hurt any of their feelings...)

Twenty years ago, in my first first grade classroom, Barbara's daughter, Natellie, was a first grader in my class and Barbara was THE BEST PARENT VOLUNTEER EVER! You know the ones that help with everything, buy everything, donate everything, make and copy everything, bake and sew everything,  volunteer hours upon hours each week and never stop coming, and always do WHATEVER it takes, including throwing you a baby shower, and then you become friends after their child moves onto 2nd grade!?!?!?.....Well, Natellie has now graduated from college and landed an amazing job as a designer for the retail store, Anthropologie, in San naturally I couldn't be more proud of Natellie!  So I guess in a way, this post is my way of giving back to Barbara, as a way to say THANK YOU...(are there really enough thank yous?), although it is minute in comparison to all the things she did for me that year and beyond.   That year I taught at Del Mar Elementary in Morro Bay, CA, just up the coast from San Luis Obispo, where I went to college at Cal Poly SLO, and again, just up the road from Santa Barbara, where I'm originally from and grew up.

So here's where I need your help...

Barb is running for SLO Ambassador, she wins by votes!  Simply go this link and scroll down to Barb's video and check the VOTE box.  That's it....if you she could get a couple thousand votes from the faithful Hello Literacy followers...we could really show her some old fashioned Hello Literacy LOVE!!!!

Thank You! -Jen



Flash Sale til Midnight!

If you didn't catch the SUPER sale last weekend, here's one more chance...from now until midnight, everything in my store is 20% off. Shop now at



Big Sunday SALE on TpT!

As you probably know, TeachersPayTeachers offers one BIG sale per quarter.  Last quarter it was on Cyber Monday. In the 3rd quarter, it was the Big Back to School Sale.  Well, this quarter's BIG sale is TOMORROW (Super Bowl Sunday).  Enter code SUPER at checkout to get additional saving, where everything in your cart is 28% off (my sale is 20% off, then TpT takes another 10% off the sale price, which makes it 28% off). Monday's sale is only 20% and the code SUPER is only valid on Sunday. I don't know about you but my cart is full right now. I can't wait to grab some of those items from my Wishlist.   You won't want to miss out on some of my new products, and this a great time to snag of my most popular products.

Also, everything over at Hello Two Peas is on sale, too. 
And we just added two more monthly bundles yesterday so be sure to grab August and October.  

Don't forget SUPER at check-out! Jen :-)



NEW: 60 Hello Literacy Fluency Passages {All Lexile Leveled}

I'm super excited to announce my newest reading creation....and this has taken me months!  At first, I wanted to write some fluency passages for my students that were interesting and favorite ones are "Bailey Loves One Direction" and "Almost Everyone Has a Cell Phone"....but ya'll, I have written 60 one-page passages with and without word counts AND leveled them all according to the Lexile Framework for Reading.  I have correlated the passages to each grade band (1st through 5th) so if you have students reading below grade level, you can find the right passage that's at thier just-right instructional reading level.  As part of our SIP plan this year, an action stop is also to create fluency centers into our daily instruction.  I do it for 10 minutes a day with 5 rotations, 5 groups, 5 days a week.  The fluency stations are:

Say It Like You Mean It! 
(opinion oral reading & recording)

One Minute At a Time 
(fluency passages-one minute timings & graphing)

Lights! Camera! Action!
 (reader's theatre emphasizing character voices)

Swoop and Scoop
 (passage phrasing and scooping)

The Poetry Cafe
(oral reading of poems for fluency)

I'm using my new fluency passages in my fluency centers in addition to using them with a couple of students who are receiving phonics interventions.  Did you know that of the four research based best ways to measure reading comprehension (fluency timings, oral retellings, multiple choice questions and cloze) that fluency timings have the highest correlation to  reading comprehension?  Therefore, not only can these passages be used to progress monitoring fluency, but they are best indicator and measure of comprhension as well.  In addition, for students reading at or above level 15/16, yet still needing or receiving phonics interventions, fluency timings of connected text, like these fluency passages, will be able to show growth and help you determine if your interventions is working or not.  

Lots of different fluency graphs are included (for both student and teacher)

Also, if you add it to your Wish List now, you'll be able to grab it on Sunday for TpT's big Super Sunday Sale, for 28% off! That means you'll be able to pick it up on sale for $13.00

Happy Reading! - Jen
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