Does your classroom have a Classroom Library? A writing Center? It should!


This is my Reading Hut, the reading center where students could curl up in and read, work, reflect.


These two photos below show a room set up specifically for professional development

(The Teacher Idea Center, Miami-Dade County Public Schools – Thanks to Sharon McGee, Magda Salazar, Gloria Rodriguez, Lavinda Young, JaSheena Ekhator, Sylvia Arango, Ruth Bilsker-Valle, Amy Abate, Yamila Suarez, Yverose Placide, Haydee Villanueva, and Kerlene Christophe-Lewis) which was used for literacy workshops for special education and general education teachers:



The “Strategy Tree” can also be a “Poetry Tree” or a “Verb Tree” or a “WOW Word Tree” or any type of “tree” you want, to display words, words, words.


Additional Resources:

These comprehension blocks provide students with inference type questions that help them make reflective connections.  An activity can be used to toss the block and answer the question on top.  A similar activity can be designed using a beach ball, where you write the questions on the blow-up beach ball with a Sharpie marker.  Toss it to a student and the question located where his/her thumbs are, is the question to be answered.
Comprehension Blocks
Comprehension Blocks
Comprehension Blocks
Comprehension Blocks
Comprehension Blocks
Comprehension Blocks
Comprehension Blocks
Comprehension Blocks

Below are some of the questions you may want to use if you design your own comprehension blocks:

  • What would you like to find out in the story?
  • Identify any words you don’t recognize in the title.
  • What do the pictures on the cover tell you about the story?
  • How does this story relate to your life?
  • What do the pictures in the book tell you about the story?
  • What questions do you have about the story?
  • Is the story fiction or nonfiction?
  • What background to you bring to the story?
  • What lessons can you learn from the story?
  • How are you and the main character different?
  • Who might you retitle the story?  Why?
  • How are you and the main character alike?
  • Retell a main event within the story.
  • How was a problem solved?
  • Identify a paragraph that used descriptive writing.
  • How can you relate to the story?
  • Which character can you relate to so far? Why?
  • Did the solution to one problem cause another problem to occur?
  • How does the story relate to your life?
  • Choose a problem in the story.  How could this problem have been avoided?
  • What questions do you have about the story?

What Do Good Readers Do?

If you ask struggling readers what good readers do, oftentimes they respond, “They read fast.”  Good readers perform a multiple of tasks while reading, and also use strategies that assist them in the reading process.  Ask your students what good readers do… reflect on your own practice as a reader – what do you do?  Add to my list below.  Make a poster, a bookmark, a stepbook… teach your students these components of effective reading:

  • Use picture clues
  • Reread
  • Attempt to figure out an unknown word
  • Go back to text
  • Think about the meaning of the story
  • Visualize the story part
  • Form a picture in your mind
  • Ask yourself questions about the text
  • Chunk word parts
  • Read fluently, not word-by-word
  • Know your purpose for reading
  • Know when you don’t “get it”
  • Discuss what you’ve read, sometimes even in a conversation to yourself
  • Think actively about what you are reading
  • What else can you add to this list?

Writing Task Cards, Grade 4

Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Division of Language Arts/Reading compiled Writing Task Cards to enhance the teaching of writing, with the writing question stems commonly used in state assessment tests. They are compiled with the Florida Standards, but you will find similarities in a variety of states. Teach your students how to write “test-like questions” and watch their comfort level on state assessments increase.