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?


Sight Word Flash Card Games

Sight word practice is essential for students in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. Check out these FREE sight word games you can easily play with flash cards.

Sight words are a crucial part of reading for all students, especially those in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. If students have a solid base of sight word knowledge, it anchors their reading and allows them to focus more on decoding unknown words in text. But how do teachers help build students' sight word vocabulary? Here are some games I love using during centers and guided reading groups to increase students' number of known sight words.


Poke! Sight Word Game

This game is my students' FAVORITE. They constantly beg me to play just "one more round" which turns into a couple more rounds since it's a quick game.

In order to prepare the game, I print off the sight word flash cards that the students are currently working to master. I also print multiple Poke! cards. 

To play, I show the students in a group one flash card at a time. If they can read the word quickly and correctly, they get to keep the card. If they read it incorrectly or hesitate to read it, then the next student gets a turn to earn it. BUT don't get the Poke! card or you'll lose all of your cards to the player beside you. This part is their favorite and always leads to lots of laughs!



Go Fish

In order to play this game, I print two copies of each sight word that students are working to master. They play this game using the typical Go Fish rules. Students take 5 cards and try to make matches. Student 1 asks Student 2 for a specific sight word. If Student 2 has the card, they hand it to Student 1 to make a match. If Student 2 does not have the card he/she says "Go Fish" and Student 1 draws from the pile. Students continue alternating turns until no cards remain. The winner is the student with the most matches. 
Sight word practice is essential for students in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. Students can play this fun and FREE sight word Go Fish game with flash cards.

Another fun alternative to the game is letting students literally fish for sight words! Add a paperclip to each sight word and place them in a shallow container or on the ground. Attach a magnet to the end of string on a pencil to use as a fishing pole. Students can either fish to find matching flash cards or work to collect sight words that they can read correctly.


Memory Match Game

This game also requires you to print two copies of each sight word you want students to practice. Students lay all of the flash cards face down to begin the game. They take turns selecting 2 cards in order to find matching sight words. If they find a match, they get to go again. The game continues until all matches have been found. The winner is the student with the most matches. Make sure to have students orally read the cards they select for additional practice.
Sight word practice is essential for students in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. Students can play this fun and FREE sight word Memory Match game with flash cards.

Slapjack

Slapjack is another simple sight word game I play with my students. All of the flash cards are placed in a pile face down. I flip a card over one at a time. If a student knows the word, they quickly slap it with their hand. The student who slaps the word first, gets a chance to earn the card by correctly reading it. If they're incorrect, the next student gets a chance to earn the word. I also like to sneak some of the Poke! cards as an additional challenge. They do not want to slap the Poke! card because it means they lose all of their cards. 

Another version of this game is to lay all of the cards on the table face up. The teacher says one of the sight words and the students have to be the first one to find it. If they find it first, they get to keep the card. The game continues until all cards are gone and the winner is the student with the most cards. You can have students slap the words with their hands, pointers, flyswatters, or any other fun tools you may have!


Sight Word Games Implementation

Literacy Centers

This is an easy literacy center you can use! Once you teach students the games, they can play them independently. I print off different cards throughout the year based on what students are currently working to master. I also have different thematic flash card sets that I alternate each month as a way to change it up.

I also keep the flash cards at various centers for additional activities. For example, at word work center students select a flash card and practice writing that sight word using magnetic letters, rainbow writing, letter tiles, etc. 


Guided Reading

I play a sight word game at the end of my guided reading groups. It's a fun and quick way to practice reading the sight words. I use the flash cards of the words that group is currently working on mastering. It also serves as a quick informal assessment of the sight words students already know or are still learning.


Fast Finishers

As a classroom teacher, I always kept several sets of sight word flash cards available. Students knew that if they finished their work they could play one of our sight word games with a buddy. It was a simple way for students to independently practice sight words.

Parent Volunteers
At our school, we are fortunate to always have a lot of adult volunteers. These volunteers are dads in our Watch Dogs Program, copy moms, and high school teacher cadets. By having sets of sight word games always available, I can easily have the volunteer play a game with a group of students. It requires NO additional prep and I'm always ready on the days I have a volunteer show up that I wasn't expecting!
Sight word practice is essential for students in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. Check out these FREE sight word data graphs to monitor students' progress.


Assessment

Practicing sight words through games is one aspect of mastery, but it is also crucial for us to assess students' progress. You may be interested in checking out my corresponding blog post about assessing sight word mastery where you can download another FREEBIE!


Sight Word Flash Cards FREEBIE

Are you interested in implementing these sight word activities with your students? Be sure to download this freebie to start playing the games in your classroom! 
(It includes the PrePrimer set from my July flash cards game.)

Sight word practice is essential for students in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. Check out these FREE sight word games you can easily play with flash cards.



Do you play sight word games with your students? Do you already play versions of these games or different ones not mentioned? Share your experiences with sight word games in the comments below!


Want to pin this for later?

Sight word practice is essential for students in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. Check out these FREE sight word games you can easily play with flash cards.


Gingerbread Man Literacy Unit & Stem Challenge

Gingerbread Man Literacy Unit with Stem Challenge by The Reading Roundup


When I started teaching, we planned everything by thematic units. Since then the words "rigor" and "Common Core Standards" have become more prevalent and thematic units seem to be a thing of the past. I missed the fun and creativity of thematic units, so I implemented a Gingerbread Man unit with my 3rd graders which was standards based. Continue reading to find out more!

(Post contains affiliate links)


The 3rd grade team was focusing on the skill of comparing and contrasting which naturally lent itself to a unit on the various versions of Gingerbread Man stories. I began by working with our school librarian to collect a large collection of Gingerbread stories. (Click to see a list of suggested Gingerbread books to use!)

retelling

Even though 3rd grade was working on comparing and contrasting during their LA block, the students in my remediation group were continuing to struggle with story elements and retelling. As a result, we first practiced this skill with individual books before working on the more advance skill of comparing books. 

As I read various Gingerbread stories to the students, they each had a story map. They recorded the story elements and wrote the events from the beginning, middle, and end of the book. 

https://amzn.to/2BnniJ2
Click to purchase the dry erase pockets.
The students used a story map similar to the one in the picture above. I love placing story maps in the dry erase pockets to reuse the graphic organizers again and again. Students can use dry erase makers or post-it notes to allow for reuse.

gingerbread man book chart

After we read each Gingerbread book, we added it to a chart. We recorded the following story elements for each book: setting, characters, problem, and solution. You can create an anchor chart to keep track of the books, but I decided to document it digitally using Padlet. (Click here to learn more about using Padlet for your literacy instruction).


Gingerbread Man Literacy Unit with Stem Challenge by The Reading Roundup: Compare and Contrast Stories digitally with Padlet
The Padlet we created to compare the story elements in various Gingerbread books.

compare and contrast

After reading several Gingerbread books to the students, I allowed them to pick a book to read with a buddy that was at their independent reading level. We then worked to complete a venn diagram together to compare the two stories. Since we had done so much scaffolding and work together over the previous days it allowed the students to be successful with this skill.

Gingerbread Man Literacy Unit with Stem Challenge by The Reading Roundup: Venn Diagram to Compare and Contrast Gingerbread Stories

stem activity

For our culminating activity we read the book The Gingerbread Pirates which the students LOVE. As I read the book, we discussed the problems in the story. We chose two problems in the story: the captain needed to find his pirate crew and he also needed a ship. The students selected which problem they would like to solve and we made it into a stem activity! Our school purchased HUGE Imagination Playground Engineering Blocks with a grant, which is what we decided to use. But you can just as easily use wooden blocks, crafts sticks with tape, or play-doh to create a solution to the problem in the story. As you can imagine, this hands on literacy extension activity was a HUGE hit with the students! They keep asking when we can do this again! 

Gingerbread Man Literacy Unit with Stem Challenge by The Reading Roundup
Students built a solution to the problem in the story Gingerbread Pirates.


the value of thematic units

The students enjoyed all of the activities and kept asking me if we could do more. Not only that, they were able to master various literacy skills through this unit including: story elements, retelling, problem/solution, and compare/contrast. By completing a thematic unit such as this, we are able to teach students the standards in a more engaging and authentic manner!


Want to save this for later?
Let's make learning more engaging for students and bring back thematic units! In this Gingerbread Man literacy unit, we focus on the following skills: story elements, retelling, and compare/contrast. The culminating activity is a STEM challenge that students are sure to LOVE! The Reading Roundup

Practice Making Words to Improve Students' Phonics Skills

Are you looking for an easy and engaging literacy center that you can use with your students all year? Making Words is the perfect activity to help improve students' phonics and spelling skills.

Are you looking for an easy and engaging literacy center that you can use with your students all year? Making Words is the perfect activity to help improve students' phonics skills. Keep reading for tips on implementing this strategy in your classroom!
**This post contains affiliate links.**
Are you looking for an easy and engaging literacy center that you can use with your students all year? Making Words is the perfect activity to help improve students' phonics skills.

What is the Making Words strategy?

Making Words is a hands on phonics activity that promotes students' phonological awareness and spelling skills. Students manipulate letter tiles to create words by blending the sounds together. They will need to change letters, add letters, and move letters around to spell new words. This multi-sensory approach deepens students' understanding of how words work.

Click to view book!

Patricia Cunningham offers the Making Words book that explicitly leads teachers and students through the activity. The teacher begins with the "secret word" in mind and then guides students to create smaller words using the letters in the secret word. The word difficulty gradually increases and the words build off of each other until the students eventually determine the secret word.

Some skills targeted by this activity:

  • Initial and ending sounds
  • Vowel sounds (long, short, silent e, digraphs)
  • Blends and Digraphs
  • Word families and rhyming words
  • Prefixes and Suffixes
  • Sight words

What is an alternative approach to this strategy?

I modify Patricia Cunningham's approach and implement a more open ended activity. I provide students with the letters of various holiday and theme words. They then brainstorm all of the words they are able to make using those letters. It gives me an opportunity to see students' independent phonics and spelling skills, but I can also scaffold the learning for students when necessary.

Are you looking for an easy and engaging literacy center that you can use with your students all year? Making Words is the perfect activity to help improve students' phonics skills.
For Halloween, we used black lights and highlighters to complete the activity!


What are the benefits of using Making Words?

When students use this hands on approach, it makes their knowledge of how words work more concrete. This multi-sensory strategy is highly effective for struggling readers and students with Dyslexia to improve their phonological awareness. The open ended approach is naturally differentiated. Some students may only be able to change initial/ending sounds in CVC words while others may be able to add affixes to make more complex words. 

Making Words is an extremely beneficial informal assessment. Teachers can quickly see which specific phonics skills students have mastered and those that require additional practice. Students may surprise you by either achieving more than you thought they could or struggling on skills you thought they knew. I've been surprised by 5th graders still missing short vowel sounds in CVC words or a struggling 2nd grade reader adding -ly to make the word sadly

Are you looking for an easy and engaging literacy center that you can use with your students all year? Making Words is the perfect activity to help improve students' phonics skills.


What are the steps for implementing this activity?

  1. Determine the final word you want to use.
  2. Provide students with all of the letters in the word you choose.
  3. Give students a recording sheet.
  4. Encourage students to manipulate the letters to see how many words they can make.
  5. Provide prompts to help students who may struggle coming up with words independently.

How does this fit into my Reading Workshop?

There are two options for implementation depending on the needs of your students. When introducing the activity and/or working with struggling readers, I recommend completing this within a small group. It allows the teacher to model and prompt students to help them find success. The small group format also makes informal observation and assessment easier.

Another option is to incorporate this activity into literacy centers, specifically Gail Boushey and Joan Moser's Daily 5 Word Work center. You may choose to print letters for individual students to use or larger letters for students to collaboratively manipulate using a pocket chart.


How do I organize the materials?

I have letters and recording sheets for holidays and themes already prepared that can be used throughout the entire year. They have each been printed on cardstock and laminated for reuse. You can also use the dry erase pocket sleeves to reuse the recording sheets. Each set of letters is stored in a small sandwich bag. The recording sheets and letter bags are kept in a small file box. By preparing it this way, I save paper and always have the activity ready. Plus I avoid fighting with the copy machine!

Are you looking for an easy and engaging literacy center that you can use with your students all year? Making Words is the perfect activity to help improve students' phonics skills.

How do I support students with this skill?

You may need to model strategies to students to show them how to add/change letters to make new words. Here are some prompts you may need to provide to students:
  • Change the first letter 
  • Change the vowel sound 
  • Add a silent e 
  • Add an ending (-s, -ing) 
  • Think of a word that rhymes with ____
  • Think of sight words you know
  • Add a digraph to the beginning/end of the word
  • Add a blend to the beginning/end of the word
  • Add a prefix
  • Add a suffix 
  • Combine words to make a compound word
  • Segment sounds and have students blend the sounds together to figure out the word 
  • Provide clues for words to make: A big yellow circle in the sky 

Are you interested in using this engaging phonics activity with your students throughout the entire school year? Click to download the resource!
Are you looking for an easy and engaging literacy center that you can use with your students all year? Making Words is the perfect activity to help improve students' phonics skills.
Download Here!

Making Words is a highly effective strategy to reinforce phonics and spelling skills with your students. Have you tried this activity with your students? Let us know your experiences with this hands on strategy!



Want to save this for later?

Are you looking for an easy and engaging literacy center that you can use with your students all year? Making Words is the perfect activity to help improve students' phonics and spelling skills.