Common-2BCoreReading

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When the Common Core State Standards went live, a lot of teachers were seriously concerned. They wondered how they could possibly do any more to help their students learn to read and understand more rigorous text. Now that the dust has settled, there is still a struggle to make the learning interesting and fun enough to encourage students to read more.

Unfortunately, with the pressure of testing and rigor, reading has become more competitive than fun. Students are pushed until their breaking point to read more rigorous material that is sometimes hard to relate to. Even after the new standards debuted, one fact still remains: If kids aren’t engaged in the reading, they won’t learn much.

I knew there needed to be an approach to teaching the new standards that would be a hit with the students. I knew my students loved interactive notebooks, but also knew that I had to modify them to push for more difficult standards. After months of planning, I began working on interactive notebook pages that went with some of the treasured mentor texts in my classroom.

We began each week with a mini-lesson using their interactive notebooks and a mentor text. After that, we used the notes to apply what we had learned. Each day the reading material got increasingly harder, but stayed  with topics that my students were interested in.The result? At the end of the first year of implementation with my Title 1 students, I saw a 40% growth in Reading scores. At the end of my second year, I had a 90% average on our cumulative test. Best of all, my students enjoyed what they were learning and were really involved in my class.Below is a list of books I used as mentor text for the standards. I was able to check most of these out from our local library!

 

Mentor Text List

4th Grade
Literature Standards
The Stranger
Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind
Chrysanthemum
Train to Somewhere
Favorite Greek Myths
Poetry for Young People
Greek Myth Plays
Voices in the Park
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Informational Standards
A Child’s Introduction to Art
The Greek News By Anton Powell
Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust by Allan Zullo
A Warmer World By Caroline Arnold
To the Golden Mountain by Lila Perl
History.com

5th Grade
Literature Standards
Baseball Saved Us
Passage to Freedom
Fox
Grandpa’s Teeth
Train to Somewhere
Poetry for Young People
My Rotten Red-headed Older Brother
Voices in the Park

Informational Standards
Lives of the Scientists by Kathleen Krull & Kathryn Hewitt
Hope and Tears Ellis Island Voices by Gwenyth Swain
Freedom Heroines
A River Ran Wild By Lynne Cherry
The Transcontinental Railroad by Gillian Houghton
To the Golden Mountain by Lila Perl
History.com

6th Grade
Literature Standards
The Butterfly
Mirandy and Brother Wind
The Raft
Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind
Night of the Gargoyles
The Talking Eggs
Poetry for Young People

Informational Standards

A Child’s Introduction to Art
Lives of the Scientists by Kathleen Krull & Kathryn Hewitt
The Greek News By Anton Powell
A Warmer World By Caroline Arnold
Hope and Tears Ellis Island Voices by Gwenyth Swain
Looking at Lincoln
Smart About the Presidents
History.com

Grab this lesson for FREE!

I hope it’s obvious to you how much care we put into our notebooks. Gone are the days of hating note-taking!If you click on the images below, it will take you to my store where you can download these interactive notebooks. I have a free (standalone) lesson for each grade level 4-6. If you like it, you can purchase the entire set that includes all of the Literature and Informational standards for that grade level.Please contact me via e-mail if you’d like to get started with interactive notebooks and need some support!
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Resources Pictured Above