Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reading Comprehension and Writing Workshop Binders

I love going in to my classroom in the summer. It's quiet and organized and peaceful! I went in this morning to help some teacher friends do some organizing of some books we just got to start building a leveled book library for our school. The power was out from some storms yesterday and it was so peaceful in there! Anyway, I took all of my goodies I've been buying this summer and got to show them off... Target lovers who are reading this, they were both especially geeked about the $1 pocket charts! :)

As promised, I brought home my two binders. These are like my teaching Bibles and I use them to help me plan much of my reading and writing instruction. I am a huge believer of using mentor texts for both reading and writing and, since I LOVE to read to my kiddos, it's a perfect fit for my style. So, you'll see my "book lists" in both of my binders.

Ok. Here is my "Reading Comprehension" binder:

In the front on the left, is a main book list from the book Strategies that Work another book list is what you see on the right. This has more "general" categories that don't tie in to a specific comprehension strategy.

There is a divider for each major strategy: prior knowledge, questioning, visualizing, inferring, connecting, summarizing, evaluating, and synthesizing.

When you open each section there is a book list specific to books that are excellent for highlighting that particular comprehension strategy. Here is a link to one of the lists that I use from The Reading Lady. I also use this list from The Reading Lady.

After the list of picture books, there are printed lessons and files I have made to go with that particular strategy. Many wonderful comprehension lessons can be found at Into the Book.

That's it for my comprehension binder. My favorite part are all the book lists. On most of them, I have gone through and denoted the books that I own... but you can use most any picture book to teach any comprehension strategy.

Next... my writing binder...

Same deal- in the beginning are lists for teaching general writing skills like plot development, setting, strong leads, and good endings. I've just looked and can't find this list on my own computer or online.

After the general list are tab dividers. They are: launching writing workshop, miscellaneous mini-lesson ideas, and then the 6 Traits- ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation. The last tab has master copies of student writing resources.

The first two tabs (launching WW and mini-lesson ideas) are the only two tabs that actually have lesson ideas behind them. The others are just collections of picture books that work very well to teach each six-trait skill.

I love, love, love Jennifer Jacobson's book "No More 'I'm Done!'" and have amassed a huge quantity of the picture books that she uses for mini-lessons in the book. So, in my classroom I have two crates- one is full of books that I specifically use to teach writing skills. This one is separated into six-traits sections with a divider between each one. The books have the trait they best fit written inside the cover, as well as the page number and book that I can find the suggested mini-lesson on- either from Jennifer Jacobson or Ruth Culham. And I have wonderful books that I have collected that aren't in either of my favorite teaching resources. I have decided which skill or strategy they are best for and those books are with the others in their crate.

The other crate is full of books that I use to teach reading strategies. Each of those books has the strategy written on the inside cover.

In the picture below you can see my series of crates. The one on the left has my 6-Traits books, the middle one holds my binders and favorite teaching resources, and the one on the right (which you can only see the corner of!) has my reading comprehension picture books.

I think that's it! I just came across this blog "Teach with Picture Books" and am about to go get lost in reading it. I hope it was helpful for you to see how I organize my literacy materials... hopefully you don't think I'm too much of a literacy dork!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing!!! I'm gonna be setting up some binders like these!!! Appreciate it:)

    4th Grade Frolics

  2. I love these! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Thank you for posting this, it is exactly what I was trying to do this summer and have papers ALL over the place!

    I needed the visual to get me there. I even downloaded the same list of books from the Reading Lady and purchased the book Strategies That Work this summer. Thank you!!

  4. Thank you for posting this wonderful resource!


  5. Thanks for the visual-my stuff is all over the place and I am working on getting it all into one place and out of just my somewhat lacking lately "brain file"


  6. I do the same exact thing! I'll have to take pics and show you...glad I'm not the only anal one :) The only thing I haven't put into a binder yet are guided reading lesson plans. Do you do that - if so - how? I wasn't sure if it was worth it.


  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you...I've been meaning to complete this task for the past few years...now I'm motivated.

    It seems like in the past, I'd find something and just throw it into a folder...then forgetting where I put it.

    Thanks again
    A Time To Share & Create

  8. Thanks for sharing how you organize your materials. I have lots of books for reading and writing mini-lessons, but never thought to put them in crates to make them easier to access. I have to do this!

  9. I'm so glad you all found it helpful! I love my crates of books, Julie. It is very handy to have them organized like that so I don't have to dig too far to find them!

  10. I love reading about how others stay organized. Thanks for the info!

    Please check out my new linky party. Thanks!

    First Grade Frame of Mind

  11. I'm a new follower of your blog and love this post. Would love for you to follow my blog at mysecondgradejournal.blogspot.com

    Mrs. Shepherd

  12. I needed to better organize my my teaching ideas. What a great idea, and it's simple too. I can even do that with my math ideas.

  13. THANKS for all the great resources! I will be BUSY for the next couple of days!!

  14. Thanks for sharing. My colleague and I have been thinking about how to set up a reading binder. We had a few ideas, and this helps make a decision on how to set ours up. Do you know of any intermediate sites like yours?

  15. would it be possible to see an example of each of your tabs for the writing? I love how you did it but just unsure as to how you have them set up inside the tabs. For example can you show me an example of your mini lessons? Also, I'm having trouble with the scope and sequence!

  16. I am curious about the books you store in the crates- do you have extra copies of these in your classroom library for the students to read or do you put them into the library after you've read it to the class? I like how you sort them for lessons and it would definitely make it easier to keep up with, but I like the idea of my kids having access to these books as well. How do you handle that?

  17. Hi Leigh-Ann... I don't know if you'll see this and sorry it took a while for me to respond, but here's the answer to your question...

    *I do not have extra copies of these books. In my classroom library, all of the books have a number on them which corresponds to the number of the basket they belong in. Once I read a book to my kids, it becomes fair game for them to read too. It goes on a shelf where the books are changed monthly to reflect holidays or seasons. None of those books are numbered, so when the librarians are putting books away, any book without a number goes back on that shelf and then I put them away later- taking back my personal teaching books and putting the holiday books away on the shelf for that too.

    *So, I guess the short answer to your question is... after I read a book to the class, the kids get to borrow it too, but when it isn't a hot commodity anymore, I put it away. It is easy to distinguish because my personal books are not numbered, so the kids know to return those to me.

  18. Redwood- the writing tabs are organized by the Six-Traits so each section has inside mini-lessons for the traits as well as book lists of books that exemplify each trait.

    I have no scope and sequence. We have to use our basal as a guide. Treasures by MacMillan/McGraw-Hill is our series and I *loosely* follow their structure for teaching writing and then supplement with materials and resources that I have in my room.

  19. He, I love your writing set-up! The links for "collections of picture books" and "six-trait skill" no longer work. Would you happen to have a saved copy of either?


  20. Christina, I love your posts! You always have so much to share with everyone. I clicked on the links for the picture books for writing and I was wondering if you have a copy you could share?


  21. Thank you for sharing! An excellent resource that I use religiously is Adrienne Gear's Reading Power - amazing!!


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