How to use Emotions to Enhance Writing

The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.

Do you wish your students would add more descriptive details to their personal narratives and creative writing stories? Are you looking to improve the level of vocabulary words they use in their writing? Incorporating emotions is an authentic and engaging way to enhance students' writing!


The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. It is helpful for students to think of what the character's body, voice, and face are doing in order to add details to their stories. Continue reading to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help your students improve their writing through the use of emotion words. 

USING EMOTIONS TO WORK ON VOCABULARY

Students first need to gain a basic understanding of what the emotions words mean before they can begin incorporating them into their writing. An easy and FUN way to introduce the emotion words is through a game of Charades. 

How to play: Write various emotion words on index cards and have students take turns acting out the words. The other students will write down their observations of what the actor's face, body, and voice are doing to express the emotion and then guess the word. These observations help students become aware of the details they can add to their own writing when describing how a character is feeling. This authentic practice makes it easier for students to understand what the emotion words mean and think of details to vividly describe the characters' emotions in their own stories.

The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.
Emotion Cards and Observation Recording Sheet
Students should record the observations from the charades game into their writing folders. This provides them with a tool to refer back to as they are writing their own stories and want to vividly describe how a character is feeling.

The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.
Recording Sheet to add observations to Writing Folders

USING EMOTIONS TO WORK ON SYNONYMS


Once students have a solid understanding of what the basic emotion words mean, they can expand their vocabulary to include synonyms for these words. Teachers can add a chart to students' writing folders where they can record synonyms as they find them while reading. Students can refer to this chart to add higher-level vocabulary words to their stories. For example, using ecstatic instead of happy.



The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.
Emotions Synonyms page for Interactive Notebooks

USING EMOTIONS TO WORK ON WRITING


Prior to having students incorporate the Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy into their stories, teachers should provide additional isolated practice. Students can select an emotion word and practice writing details to describe how the character is feeling. They can read their descriptions to a buddy to see if he/she is able to guess the emotion word or if additional details are needed.


The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.
Character Emotions Charts for students to think of Emotion Words
to use to practice the Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy
Another scaffold that is beneficial to support students with their own writing is a story graphic organizer. Students can use a template to plan their story with how a character's emotions change from the beginning to end and the events that lead to these changes. 


The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.
Additional practice for Show, Don't Tell and
a story writing graphic organizer
The strategies suggested above help to scaffold students to be successful with the Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy. Once they learn how to use the tools and know the language to use to describe characters' feelings, they can begin to incorporate emotions in their own stories.
Have you used emotions and the Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy to enhance your students' writing? What tools and activities have you found beneficial for helping your students find success with this skill? Pin the following image and share your ideas in the comments! 

WANT TO PIN THIS FOR LATER?

The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.



9 Ways to Make Your Reading Buddies Program More Effective

Do you want to implement a Reading Buddies program in your elementary school? Check out these must read tips to ensure a successful and effective buddy reading program with your students! #thereadingroundup #buddyreading


Reading Buddies is a popular program in elementary schools that promotes literacy. Many students have greatly benefited from buddy reading over the years. If you're considering implementing this at your school, you'll want to check out these must read tips to ensure a highly effective program for all of your students!


This is Part 2 of my Reading Buddies series. Don't miss Part 1 where I explained the program and the benefits of it!

TIPS FOR IMPLEMENTING READING BUDDIES


Assign Buddies

If your entire school is on board, it is recommended to pair up a lower grade with an older grade with specific teachers being assigned to each other. Ideal pairings would be: Kindergarten with 3rd, 1st with 4th, and 2nd with 5th. These pairings should remain in place for the entire year, which allows students to build solid relationships. If your entire school isn't on board, you can still pair up teachers that will remain consistent all year.

After the classes are assigned to each other, it's time to pair up students. Students should have the same buddy all year. Obviously, things happen with students being sick, moving in/out, etc., but remaining as consistent as possible helps with the success of the buddies.

Things to consider when pairing up students
The two teachers should briefly meet to discuss students' personalities and ability levels to create ideal pairs. If you have a 2nd grader who is reading significantly above grade level, you obviously wouldn't want to pair him/her with a 5th grader reading below grade level. This defeats the purpose of the program for both students. Personalities should also be considered for effective pairs. Two students who lack focus would not be an ideal match. You may also want to administer interest surveys and pair students by their shared interests. This immediately creates a natural connection with students that helps build a better relationship between them. (Find out more about administering reading interest surveys).

Do you want to implement a Reading Buddies program in your elementary school? Check out these must read tips to ensure a successful and effective buddy reading program with your students! #thereadingroundup #buddyreading
Teacher form to document buddy reading pairs.


Schedule a Set Time

In order to make reading buddies a priority it helps to schedule a consistent time each week to meet. Teachers have busy schedules but if you know that on a certain day of the week you have reading buddies for 15-30 minutes, you're more likely to stick to it. You'll soon find that students look forward to those days!

Find a Place to Meet

Decide on a quiet place to meet with plenty of space for students to spread out. This could be a classroom, empty hallway, library, or even outside. 


Start with an Icebreaker

When students first meet their buddies you may want to plan some fun activities for students to get to know each other. You can use the same type of getting to know you activities you plan at the beginning of the year to build a sense of community. (Click to download a freebie of suggested Ice Breaker activities!) Buddies can also fill out an interest survey together so they can immediately discover their shared interests. This naturally gives them something to talk about and allows them to begin to form a connection.
Do you want to implement a Reading Buddies program in your elementary school? Check out these must read tips to ensure a successful and effective buddy reading program with your students! #thereadingroundup #buddyreading
Administering reading interest surveys can help teachers
more effectively assign students to reading buddies.


Establish and Model Expectations

Teachers should set expectations for students. How should the reading look? What should students achieve during this time? You may want to consider creating the desired structure for how you want the time to be spent. (Do students take turns reading each time or alternate by weeks? Who reads first?). Most importantly, these expectations need to be modeled for students. 

Provide Scaffolds for Success

Along with modeling expected behaviors, you will want to provide prompts to help reading buddies be effective. These scaffolds may include visual reminders to remind students of the expectations during that time together. It is also beneficial to provide prompts for older students to support younger students when they get stuck.
Do you want to implement a Reading Buddies program in your elementary school? Check out these must read tips to ensure a successful and effective buddy reading program with your students! #thereadingroundup #buddyreading
Buddy Reading bookmarks scaffold students for success!


Allow Time for Discussion

The reading buddies program allows students to improve their comprehension as well as their fluency and accuracy. You can orally provide a comprehension prompt for all partnerships to discuss after reading. Students can also have discussion bookmarks with prompts depending on the desired skill you want them to focus on during that time. This could be retelling what they read, making connections, or reflecting on their reading fluency. For teachers who want even more accountability during this time, you may want to assign a shared reading response sheet for partners to complete. This might not be needed in most cases, but some classes might require the additional structure for success.
Do you want to implement a Reading Buddies program in your elementary school? Check out these must read tips to ensure a successful and effective buddy reading program with your students! #thereadingroundup #buddyreading
Reading response sheets that buddies can complete
together to increase student accountability.


Reflect on Reading

Lead students in a discussion after reading buddies to reflect on what went well and what they can improve upon next time. Upper-grade teachers will want to provide time to help students problem solve and practice strategies to better support their reading buddies. 


Plan Events to Build Relationships

The reading buddies program isn't just about reading. Teachers can plan other activities where older students help students with math tasks. Buddies can complete projects together such as holiday crafts and/or Stem challenges. It's also important to plan a fun event at the end of the year to celebrate a year of growth together! This can be as simple as a popsicle party!

Do you want to implement a Reading Buddies program in your elementary school? Check out these must read tips to ensure a successful and effective buddy reading program with your students! #thereadingroundup #buddyreading
Click to view the resources I use for buddy reading 
with my students - including the tools shown above!


Hopefully, this has inspired you to start or enhance your reading buddies program. If you've already implemented reading buddies, what other tips were most beneficial for you? Pin the following image and share your tips in the pin's comments!



WANT TO PIN THIS FOR LATER?

Do you want to implement a Reading Buddies program in your elementary school? Check out these must read tips to ensure a successful and effective buddy reading program with your students! #thereadingroundup #buddyreading


10 Reasons Why You Should Start a Reading Buddies Program NOW!


Reading Buddies is an effective program that promotes reading fluency and comprehension through authentic practice. Read on to find out the benefits of buddy reading that go beyond the literacy development of students. #thereadingroundup #buddyreading


Reading Buddies is a popular program that many schools implement with tremendous success. What exactly is this program and why should teachers use it with their students? Find out in this 2 Part Series on Reading Buddies! 


WHAT ARE READING BUDDIES?

The reading buddies program pairs up an older student with a younger student for them to take turns reading to one another. It allows for authentic reading practice and a model of fluent reading among many other benefits! Students may also engage in buddy reading with same-aged peers, but in this post the phrase "reading buddies" is referring to students of different ages. 

Reading Buddies is an effective program that promotes reading fluency and comprehension through authentic practice. Read on to find out the benefits of buddy reading that go beyond the literacy development of students. #thereadingroundup #buddyreading

BENEFITS FOR LITTLE BUDDIES

Younger buddies can gain a lot from the program but it may require some training with older students to be extremely successful. (Be sure to read part 2 of the series for tips on that!). Younger buddies benefit from reading buddies because they can:

Listen to a Fluent Model

Younger students grow as readers when they hear more experienced readers model fluent reading. The older students can demonstrate how fluent readers read with appropriate phrasing and intonation. Emergent readers also benefit from hearing their buddies read with accuracy and automaticity rather than needing to constantly sound out difficult words.

Observe a Peer Mentor

The benefits of buddy reading go beyond academics. Younger students can observe their buddy demonstrating positive behavior and valuable social skills. They see their buddy following the rules and remaining focused on the task. They also benefit from their buddy displaying positive character traits such as kindness and patience with them. 


Receive One-on-One Support

During buddy reading the younger students essentially have their own personal tutor helping them with their reading. The older students provide immediate feedback and offer strategies to help emergent readers decode unknown words. It also builds awareness and increases self-monitoring of comprehension as the older buddy can support the student when the reading no longer makes sense.
Reading Buddies is an effective program that promotes reading fluency and comprehension through authentic practice. Read on to find out the benefits of buddy reading that go beyond the literacy development of students. #thereadingroundup #buddyreading
Big buddies can use a tool like this to better
support younger buddies with their reading.


Reading Buddies is an effective program that promotes reading fluency and comprehension through authentic practice. Read on to find out the benefits of buddy reading that go beyond the literacy development of students. #thereadingroundup #buddyreading

BENEFITS FOR BIG BUDDIES

Even though older buddies provide many supports to the younger students, they also gain a lot from the experience. Older buddies benefit from reading buddies because they can:

Build Confidence

Struggling readers and shy students in the upper grades may not feel comfortable reading aloud with their same-aged peers. Reading to a younger student provides them with a chance to feel confident as a reader in a less intimidating environment. It naturally builds confidence when they know someone is looking up to them both academically and socially. The little buddies view their reading buddies as their role models and are in awe of them!

Act as a Mentor

In the same way reading buddies benefits older students who struggle with reading, it also helps students who have difficulty with self-control. They are forced to model positive character traits and set the example for responsible behavior during the designated time. The program naturally rewards them for good behavior by having someone look up to them rather than focusing on any negative behavior.

Practice Leadership Skills

Reading buddies provide older students with an opportunity to practice lifelong skills in authentic ways. They learn leadership, patience, and problem-solving strategies while working with their younger buddies.
Reading Buddies is an effective program that promotes reading fluency and comprehension through authentic practice. Read on to find out the benefits of buddy reading that go beyond the literacy development of students. #thereadingroundup #buddyreading
Big buddies can reflect on their weekly buddy reading experiences
and problem solve way to better support their little buddies.


Reading Buddies is an effective program that promotes reading fluency and comprehension through authentic practice. Read on to find out the benefits of buddy reading that go beyond the literacy development of students. #thereadingroundup #buddyreading

BENEFITS FOR BOTH BUDDIES

Even though the students have different roles in the partnership, both buddies gain value from the experience. Big and little buddies benefit from buddy reading because they can:


Practice Authentic Reading

The best way to get better at something is to practice, practice, practice. The same holds true for reading. All students benefit from the opportunity to practice reading to a live audience in an authentic manner.


Practice Reading Fluently

Since students are reading to another person, it naturally motivates them to practice reading fluently. It is the perfect opportunity to practice phrased and expressive reading. 

Engage in Meaningful Discussions about the Text

All students need time to discuss the texts they read to deepen comprehension. Talking about texts can also build excitement about reading. 

Build a Sense of Community

Typically students only interact with their same-aged peers, but reading buddies provide opportunities to make the school feel more connected. Reading buddies are always excited when they pass by in the hallways or see each other at school-wide events. Teachers can plan fun events for reading buddies such as popsicle parties, holiday crafts, or stem challenges. Every year our younger buddies write their older buddies notes of encouragement during state standardized testing. All of these moments help establish a strong sense of community within our school.

Now that you know the many benefits of reading buddies and are hopefully feeling motivated to start implementing them, you may have a lot of questions about HOW to begin. Be sure to check out Part 2 of the Reading Buddies Series to learn my best tips for implementing this program with your students!


WANT TO PIN THIS FOR LATER?

Reading Buddies is an effective program that promotes reading fluency and comprehension through authentic practice. Read on to find out the benefits of buddy reading that go beyond the literacy development of students. #thereadingroundup #buddyreading


A Simple Activity for Story Elements Practice

Are you looking for a fun way for students to practice retelling fictional texts? I have the PERFECT activity I use to work on story elements in an engaging way. Students play a dice game to answer various comprehension questions. Engaging and fun for students!

Are you looking for a fun way for students to practice retelling fictional texts? I have the PERFECT activity I use to work on story elements in an engaging way. Students play a dice game to answer various comprehension questions. Read on to find out how I use this activity with my students!

**This post contains affiliate links.**

What is Roll-a-Retell?

Roll-a-Retell is a dice game for comprehension practice. Students roll a dice and answer a question that corresponds to the number they rolled. They can answer the question orally or in a written response.
Are you looking for a fun way for students to practice retelling fictional texts? I have the PERFECT activity I use to work on story elements in an engaging way. Students play a dice game to answer various comprehension questions. Engaging and fun for students!

Setting up the Activity

Decide which comprehension skills you would like to focus on with the activity. Some suggested skills include: retelling, character analysis, story elements, making connections, and theme.

Create 6 questions stems for each skill you'd like to include. You can easily differentiate the activity by the skills and difficulty level of the questions you use. You may want to scaffold the questions and increase difficulty based on the number. (Think Bloom's Taxonomy). For example if you're working on characters, a #1 question could be "Who was the main character" while a #6 question could ask "Would you be friends with the main character? Why or Why not?" After students are familiar with the activity they can create their own questions!
Are you looking for a fun way for students to practice retelling fictional texts? I have the PERFECT activity I use to work on story elements in an engaging way. Students play a dice game to answer various comprehension questions. Engaging and fun for students!

Choose a way to display the questions to students. You may want to create a visual for your literacy centers or on a bookmark. Digital options could be showing it on your board or with a QR Code for students to access the questions.

Before implementing the activity, decide how you would like students to respond. If they're responding orally you will not need to prep anything. But if you opt for a written response you need to decide how that will look. Some options for recording their responses are: in their Readers Notebooks, on plain notebook paper, white boards, or a specific recording sheet. I prefer using a recording sheet so I can collect it. This allows me to informally assess their comprehension as well as holds them more accountable for their work. 
Are you looking for a fun way for students to practice retelling fictional texts? I have the PERFECT activity I use to work on story elements in an engaging way. Students play a dice game to answer various comprehension questions. Engaging and fun for students!

Ways to Implement the Activity

Guided Reading

This is my students' favorite activity to do during guided reading! After we finish reading a fiction story, we use a Roll-a-Retell game board to answer comprehension questions about the text. I select questions based on the skills that we are targeting within our group. It's a fun and easy way to informally assess students' comprehension of the text. Plus it's engaging and changes things up a bit for the students.

Literacy Centers

Students can work with a buddy to complete this activity during centers. They can each read an individual book or read a book together. After finishing the book(s), the students take turns rolling the dice. You may opt to have students orally respond to the questions or have them write down their answers. 

IKEA 2-Sided Picture Frames are perfect to use for Literacy Centers!
Click to purchase the frames!

**Tip for Centers Setup!**
I love using 2-sided frames for centers. It is easy to print off directions and keep at the table where students are completing the centers activity. For the Roll-a-Retell activity, I place the questions I want students to answer in the frame. Super simple way to keep things organized!

Independent Reading

Students can also complete this activity during independent reading. After they read a fiction book, they can answer comprehension questions about the story. This is the perfect opportunity for reading response in students' Readers Notebooks.
Are you looking for a fun way for students to practice retelling fictional texts? I have the PERFECT activity I use to work on story elements in an engaging way. Students play a dice game to answer various comprehension questions. Engaging and fun for students!
Click to download the boards I use!

Have you used the Roll-a-Retell activity with your students? Share your tips for implementing this or similar activities in the comments below!


Want to Pin This for Later?

Are you looking for a fun way for students to practice retelling fictional texts? I have the PERFECT activity I use to work on story elements in an engaging way. Students play a dice game to answer various comprehension questions. Engaging and fun for students!

Sight Word Assessment

Assessments and data graphs are crucial for progress monitoring students' sight word mastery. Find out how I formally and informally assess students' sight word knowledge during guided reading using these FREE data graphs.

In order for students to become fluent readers, they need to develop a large base of known sight words. There are so many amazing resources and activities available online for fun ways to practice sight words, but how should we be assessing students' sight word mastery? Teachers need to be progress monitoring on a regular basis to determine students' known sight words and the ones they need to practice more. Find out how I regularly assess my students' sight word knowledge.


Informal Assessment During Guided Reading

Part of my daily guided reading routine includes sight word practice. This may include a quick write on white boards of known sight words or playing a fun review game. (For ideas of the games I play check out this blog post!) During these activities I informally assess students to see which words they know automatically and which are still unknown.

For each guided reading group, I have two separate data graphs. I select a graph of the Dolch sight word lists (PrePrimer, Primer, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade) depending on the students' current reading and ability levels. Typically I have one graph to document the words that students can READ and another graph to assess which words they can WRITE correctly. I like to track these skills separately since students' mastery of words they can read and write will vary.

Assessments and data graphs are crucial for progress monitoring students' sight word mastery. Find out how I formally and informally assess students' sight word knowledge during guided reading using these FREE data graphs.
Data graphs I use to informally assess students during guided reading.
As we complete the sight word activities, I document each individual student's success with reading and/or writing the word. If they are able to read or write the word quick and accurately, I give them a check in the box next to the corresponding sight word. If they are incorrect or hesitant with the word I give them an X.  As you can see from the picture above students will have multiple checks and Xs next to each word. This helps me determine which words to be practicing with students each day.

Formal Assessment for RTI Data Binders

Progress monitoring using formal assessments and data binders are a crucial component of the RTI interventions I provide. I aim to formally assess students' sight word mastery at least once a month.

To administer this assessment, I work with students one-on-one while the other students in my group read independently. Obviously it may take longer for classroom teachers to administer the assessment. If you're fortunate enough to have a teacher assistant or parent volunteers they can assist with the assessment.

Assessments and data graphs are crucial for progress monitoring students' sight word mastery. Find out how I formally and informally assess students' sight word knowledge during guided reading using these FREE data graphs.
Sight words are sorted into 3 piles during the assessment.

During the assessment, the students read the sight words to me. As they read the words I separate them into 3 separate piles as shown above: Nailed It!, Almost, Not Yet. If they are able to read the word quickly and accurately, it is placed in the Nailed It! pile. Words that are read incorrectly go in the Not Yet pile. If a student hesitates on a word, reads it incorrectly but self corrects, or needs to sound it out I place it in the Almost pile. This helps me make sure I'm only tracking the words that students have definitely mastered.

Sight Word Data Graphs

After administering the assessment, I fill out the data graphs for each student. As mentioned above, the data graphs are based on the Dolch sight word lists: PrePrimer, Primer, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and 3rd Grade. The list I use for each student depends on their current reading and ability level. 

Assessments and data graphs are crucial for progress monitoring students' sight word mastery. Find out how I formally and informally assess students' sight word knowledge during guided reading using these FREE data graphs.
Monthly data lists to monitor students' progress
The data graphs document which month the students master the sight words. Each month is given a different color on the graphs to provide a quick visual overview of when the students mastered the sight words. For example, the words the students mastered in September are colored red. I also write the number of newly mastered sight words at the bottom of the graph. It helps me notice trends of students who are progressing as expected or below expectations. This knowledge allows me to adjust my instruction accordingly to the students' individual needs.
Assessments and data graphs are crucial for progress monitoring students' sight word mastery. Find out how I formally and informally assess students' sight word knowledge during guided reading using theses FREE data graphs.
Submit the form below to download the data graphs in this post!



How do you assess sight words? Do you assess your students monthly or weekly? Please share with us in the comments below!

Want to Pin This for Later?