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6 Halloween Reading Comprehension Activities that will Positively Engage your Students

Hey there friends,

It’s almost that time of year when we get asked repeatedly how many days until Halloween. HA! Who am I kidding? We all know that it has already started on the first day of October!  So I figured…. “why not capitalize on all this festive excitement with a Halloween-themed guided reading?!”

Halloween Reading Comprehension & Writing

For years I’ve taught a super engaging spooky Halloween narrative writing unit that is always a huge hit and brings out so much creativity in my young authors! I just went into detail about that in my last blog post, “Halloween Narrative Writing Guaranteed to Inspire Young Authors,” so if you missed it go check it out.

Since I always love working on spooky narrative writing with my students, I decided to select a reading comprehension strategy that would support and build upon that unit. I chose character analysis for the main reading comprehension strategy of my Halloween Guided Reading with a Purpose bundle because analyzing the characters throughout the stories we read, not only helps students to better understand the characters we read about but helps our students create more developed characters of their own in their creative narrative writing.
Halloween Reading Comprehension activity bundle

When I chose the mentor text for this Halloween Guided Reading week, I made sure to choose a familiar character that the kids would know and some new ones as well. I also wanted to make sure that I used a story or two that maybe they hadn’t read before. I think this helps the students make a variety of connections and pulls in some new connections, too.

6 Books to focus on Character Analysis with Halloween Activities for the Classroom

Here are the 6 text I chose to explore the comprehension skill of character analysis while focusing on Halloween fun and the last one is included as a FREEBIE below.
Scaredy Cat Splat Halloween Reading Comprehension activity
This mentor text is about a character many of us know, the one and only Splat. Splat is preparing for Halloween and goes through a range of emotions and experiences throughout this story until a funny, triumphant ending.
Creepy Pair of Underwear Halloween Reading Comprehension activity
This mentor text is one of my boys’ favorites, I bet you can’t guess why. This book will have kids laughing and connecting with the characters as they go through a hilarious journey together.
The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything Halloween Reading Comprehension activity
This mentor text is a classic Halloween read-aloud that kids always follow along with closely. It lends so well to student involvement. Will the little old lady hold her title of never being afraid of anything?
Turkey Trick or Treat Halloween Reading Comprehension activity
This mentor text is an adorably fun story about our friend Turkey trying to get his hands on some of the farmer's trick-or-treat candy with a series of funny costumes. Will he get any of the candy that is “only for the kids”?
The Monster's Monster Halloween Reading Comprehension activity
This mentor text is another Halloween classic. It will take the readers by surprise. Three little monsters are trying to prove how bad they can be but are changed by a monster much bigger than them. I also love making predictions with this story.

Click on the images to check out the resources I’ve created to go along with each of these books.  You can also click on any of the book titles above to purchase these books on Amazon. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

This is such a fun week in Guided Reading with a Purpose. It helps to round up that holiday excitement and channel it into something engaging and productive.  Character analysis is such an important concept that our students will encounter over and over. I also love that it can lend to conversations about people, feelings, and experiences that our students are familiar with within their own lives. 

Book #6 - FREEBIE!

I am not going to lie, it was so hard to narrow it down to what books we would focus on this week. I may have a Halloween book buying problem - ha! Because of this love, I ended up making an additional free Guided Reading with a Purpose resource for the book, “Room on the Broom. In this FREE resource, you can take a glimpse into what the Guided Reading with a Purpose Halloween Bundle is all about.  You can also check out this book in my Amazon store.  (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Free Halloween Guided Reading lesson

Halloween Crafts for the Classroom

Remember --Guided Reading with a Purpose isn’t all reading… It is a multi-subject curriculum strong in reading and writing and even has fun art extensions! You will learn this as you explore the many resources that are part of this year-long curriculum.

Get all 5 of the resources mentioned above in my Halloween Guided Reading with a Purpose bundle for a full week of fun activities ready to use in your classroom.

I hope you have a “Spooktacular” week!

As always, feel free to reach out with questions, suggestions or just to connect!


Halloween Narrative Writing Guaranteed to Inspire Young Authors

Hey there friends!

This is one of my absolute favorite times of the year! I love everything fall, the crisp air, turning leaves, fun classroom themes, and the childhood anticipation of Halloween. I have found that rather than redirecting, capturing that charged excitement for the holiday is pure gold in the classroom.

One of the things I do to capitalize on that “disguised learning” is one of my all-time favorite units to teach in the classroom... Spooky Halloween narrative writing! Once you teach it, you will know exactly why I feel this way.
Spooky Halloween Narrative Writing
I created a spooky narrative writing unit with everything you would need to keep your students on track and excited while writing their own unique, haunted tales.  Let me give you a quick breakdown of how I do this.

Step 1 - Examples

First, we revisit the story elements from the different fun Halloween stories we have read. This helps to inspire unique features they may want to include in their own stories. I will say this -- reading aloud mentor texts aren’t necessary but they do provide so much creative inspiration.

I like to provide students with multiple mentor posters, narrative writing tools, and graphic organizers throughout the process. 
Halloween Narrative Writing Worksheets

Step 2 - Brainstorming & Rough Writing

The first narrative writing template is a brainstorming sheet to generate the basic story elements. There are a lot of ideas on there for all story elements, including spooky adjectives, to get even the most reluctant writers going. 

The first narrative is when students brainstorm a very rough version of their stories. After a session of reading, brainstorming, and rough writing, I have students share their ideas out with the group, with myself, or with a partner to help reflect on what elements they want to make sure they add to their “Spooktacular” spooky Halloween narratives. Often kids come away from this powerful share by changing up and adding to their stories… win!

Step 3 - Plan Characters, Traits, and the Problem

In the next session, we will plan our characters, their traits, and the problem. Brainstorming is so powerful during this process.
Halloween Narrative Writing Tools

Step 4 - Beginning, Middle, and End

During the next writing block, we would work on the beginning. I have provided mentor posters providing different spooky-themed topic sentence types. This is SO helpful for students when writing their Halloween narrative beginnings.

My biggest recommendation for teaching writing is to break apart every section of the process/story. It may seem slow to you, but it will save you so much time in the long run taking the time now.  It’s important to give your students a full writing session/block to craft the beginning, middle, and end of their stories.  The narrative genre can lead to never-ending stories, so by breaking the elements apart we can avoid this.

You might ask, “What if my kids are sailing through the writing and want to move on?” Still pause. You can break the time into smaller sections if you would like, but make sure to have everyone pause to mini-lesson review what is involved in each element of the Halloween narrative writing. Otherwise, you will have students all over the place… and that isn’t fun. Ha!

By the time you are working through the middle and into the end, your students will be showing so much independence and no joke asking not to stop!

Final Steps 

After we are done doing some small edits, they are ready to become finished stories.  I have gone about publishing my student’s spooky Halloween narrative writing pieces in many ways. It all depends on the time you have and your student’s abilities.
A few ways to do this:
  • Have kids type their own stories
  • Have kids dictate to you, parent volunteer or school staff and the adult types. 
  • Send them home for parents to decipher and type. (this is a great at-home volunteer project)
  • Have kids partner with an older student (we called them big buddies) and collaborate during the typing process. 
  • Make it an at-home project to type the final draft (if parents have a computer)
After students are finished with their amazing spooky Halloween narrative writing stories, I have done a few things to celebrate all their hard work. I have printed a book to keep in our classroom and they stay in our classroom with the previous classes’ publications. Arranging a read-aloud to another classroom is always a fun way to celebrate our writers. One year I even recorded students reading their stories and posted them on our classroom website. Of course, the stories would be posted in our hallway to share with the rest of the school as well. There are so many ways to celebrate our writers and it is such an important part of the process.

I truly hope you give this spooky Halloween narrative writing unit a try, you will be so glad you did. Prepare to see your little ghouls unleash their creative sides.

More Halloween Resources

If you are looking for more fun Halloween-themed activities for the classroom my Halloween Guided Reading with a Purpose resource might be just what you’re looking for. It focuses on character analysis, which lends perfectly to the narrative writing process. 
You can also read more about the Guided Reading unit in this previous Halloween Guided Reading blog post

Take a peek into what this resource is all about with this “Room on The Broom” Halloween Guided Reading with a Purpose Freebie

I hope you have an amazing week and as always feel free to reach out with any questions, requests, or to just connect.

Encouraging a Growth Mindset for Kids

Hey there friends,

As teachers, we are one of our student’s biggest cheerleaders - always encouraging them, supporting them as they falter, and picking them up and reteaching them when they fall. One of the most important tools we can arm our students with is helping them to see their mistakes as part of the learning process and that’s why I developed these Guided Reading with a Purpose activities to encourage a growth mindset for kids.
Guided reading activities for goal setting and growth mindset for kids

Growth Mindset Phrases for Students

I don’t know about you, but I love chants with my students and repetition to get those “must remember” skills to stick. A few of my favorite growth mindset phrases for students are
  • “When I make mistakes my brain is growing!”  
  • “Mistakes are proof that we’re trying”
  • “If it isn’t challenging our brain isn’t growing”
I love to sit my nuggets down and talk to them about the brain being a muscle, how each mistake is an opportunity to make it stronger and how we can learn from our mistakes. I am passionate about finding books that demonstrate a growth mindset for kids and I share them with my students throughout the school year.

Be the Example!

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of developing a growth mindset with our students is the repetition in the journey. Our students need consistent practice and they need to see intentional modeling to build this skill.  As teachers, we need to model the concept and draw attention to it when we find a good example of growth mindset in the classroom.  The concept of growth mindset isn’t a fad, it’s not a weekly focus, it’s a lifelong tool! Imagine if the one thing that your students take from you is the courage to not give up and keep trying… WIN!

Goal Setting at Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences

One great way to structure a growth mindset for kids in our classroom is to start the school year by helping your students set goals.  In my school district, parents and students are invited to the classroom for a goal-setting conference.  This can be so impactful if we are helping our students to make unique, challenging, yet achievable goals. 

I would sit down with a student and talk to them about two things they feel confident in, something they are “glowing” at and two things they want to “grow” in. Typically my kids know right away what they feel good about and what they want to grow in, but if they need some ideas, my goal-setting template written in kid-friendly language is broken down into each subject as well as social skills. I even have a blank space to write in unique goals that we choose.  If you’re looking for a helpful goal-setting template? Check out my FREE Goal Setting Template



After we choose our goals we write out a plan on how we will work towards them with growth-mindset at school and at the conferences I would discuss with parents and students, how they can work towards them at home. This keeps the child and theft support team all on the same page and increases the buy-in for the hard work. I also make sure to display their goals on their desk and by my teaching space to keep them in the front of our minds.

Guided Reading with a Purpose Lessons to Encourage Growth Mindset for Kids

As a result of my strong belief in the power of growth mindset for kids and the need to set meaningful goals with my students, this week’s Guided Reading with a Purpose topic is all goal setting and growth mindset with a focus on answering “what” and “how” questions to build reading comprehension skills.  Students will be analyzing and answering “what” and “how” questions and applying them to their own growth mindset journey.  It’s a very powerful week, so get ready!

The 5 texts I chose to explore the comprehension skill of asking and answering questions while focusing on growth-mindset and goal setting are:
The Thing Lou Couldn't Do Guided Reading growth mindset for kids
Lou is a girl who loves being creative and rarely meets an adventure she can’t take on… until her friends climb a tree and she finds she can’t yet…. I LOVE that this book ends with her continuing to try.
After the Fall Guided Reading growth mindset for kids
#2 “After The Fall”
“After the Fall” is the sequel to the familiar childhood nursery rhyme, “Humpty Dumpty,” that your students will love. It’s the story of making a mistake and being afraid to try again.
Jabari Jumps Guided Reading growth mindset for kids
#3 “Jabari Jumps”
Jabari Jumps will be so relatable to your kids. It’s about a young boy being nervous to jump off the diving board. Coming back day after day and finally using the power of positive self-talk to help him meet his goals.
Energy Island Guided Reading growth mindset for kids
#4 “Energy Island”
This mentor text is about a community that comes together, works hard, and solves an important issue together. The power of teamwork and supporting each other is a great focus in this book and it’s true!  It’s such a great example of growth mindset for the classroom.
The Most Magnificent Thing guided reading growth mindset for kids
#5 “The Most Magnificent Thing”
This story features a creative young girl with a vision in her mind of how she wants her project to turn out. The story goes through her process of grit, frustration, patience, and excitement as her long journey comes to a successful end. I LOVE that it shows the process isn’t easy and takes some major growth-mindset. 

This may possibly be my favorite week in Guided Reading with a Purpose. It is such an important concept that should be at the foundation of all our classrooms.  I also love how so many of the books with the theme of developing a  growth mindset for kids are so relatable for our students’ lives. Growth mindset is crucial inside and outside of our classrooms and watching my kids grow in grit and confidence is priceless.  I know you’ll enjoy these lessons with your students, too!  Click on any of the above images to learn more about the resources that I’ve created to go along with these books.  Click on any of the book titles above to check them out on Amazon or find them (and all my favorites) at the Having Fun First Amazon shop. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Writing & Growth Mindset for Kids

Due to the fact that many of these stories lend to personal text connections, you will be able to facilitate great student lead discussions, whole group, team, and partner conversations that eventually can spill into their writing.  There are fun writing craft activities included with each lesson. This week again gives you a prime opportunity to make those priceless one-on-one connections without feeling rushed or searching for topics to discuss.

writing and growth mindset for kids

The crafts and writing extensions this week are wonderful to display at curriculum night or in the hallways inspiring others to have a growth mindset.

Be sure to check out the Growth Mindset and Goal Setting week bundle within the Guided Reading with a Purpose curriculum available through my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Guided Reading with a Purpose Goal Setting and Growth Mindset bundle
If you are wondering, “What is Guided Reading with a Purpose?”  You can learn about The Guided Reading with a Purpose program in this previous blog post.

Guided Reading with a Purpose Blog Post
As always, I hope you have an amazing week, and please reach out if you have any questions, suggestions, or just want to connect!

5 Guided Reading Activities that Celebrate Diversity in the Classroom

Hey there friends,

I fully believe the best way to support a student in your classroom is through connections. We need to get to know these nuggets and their diverse families and backgrounds. This week in Guided Reading with a Purpose is all about getting to know and celebrating our unique students.

As I explored fitting comprehension skills to match with this goal, I stumbled upon an educational journal article on Louise Rosenblatt’s theories in reference to the reader's interaction with the text they read.

Louise Rosenblatt’s Reader Response Theory encourages reading activities that inspire unique and individualized responses to the literature during and after reading a text. Her studies support students “making connections'' to self, the world and other texts they read. Her research demonstrates that when these transactions occur between the reader’s individual interpretations and the text, comprehension is achieved.

As a result, this week of guided reading activities focuses on diversity in the classroom while building the comprehension skill of making text connections. Students will focus on making text-to-self, text-to-world, and text-to-text connections in order to better comprehend the text we read. 

Guided Reading with a Purpose Text Connections

Here are my 5 favorite guided reading books and activities to teach text connections while celebrating diversity in the classroom:

“A Family is a Family is a Family” shows a class that is discussing what makes their family special. Each student is sharing something unique about their family and experiences.

"Rock What Ya Got" Guided Reading with a Purpose
“Rock What Ya Got” is a fun mentor text for guided reading all about loving yourself no matter your age, background, ability, etc.

The Day You Begin Guided Reading with a Purpose
”The Day You Begin” is about a girl who feels different, but finally decides to share more about herself and realizes she has connections to those around her that she didn’t expect.


There's Only One You Guided Reading with a Purpose
“There’s Only One You” is a wonderful book that celebrates our uniqueness -  how we look, feel, react, what we do for fun, how we communicate, our talents, etc all make us unique. It’s a message that our students need to hear over and over again!

We Are Family Guided Reading with a Purpose
“We Are Family” has wonderful illustrations giving students a glimpse into how similar routines/goals/traditions can look so different from family to family. 

I absolutely love this particular week in the Guided Reading with a Purpose curriculum because it helps me show my students that I care about who they are, that I value their uniqueness, and that their stories are important to tell. These books lend themselves to building text connections and inspire engaging, in-depth conversations inside and outside of the classroom.  Click on any of the images above to check out these 5 guided reading resources in my TpT store, or click on the book titles above to purchase the books on Amazon using my affiliate code. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Let Your Students Talk!

As educators and parents, we know that many kids, when given the opportunity to share in a supported environment, will talk on for days! ha! This week is a perfect opportunity to let them do just that. Channel that over-sharing into great discussions with the whole group, in teams, partners, as well as into their writing. This week also gives you a prime opportunity to make those priceless one-on-one connections without feeling rushed or searching for topics to discuss. 
Text Connections Guided Reading with a Purpose

Adding in Art

Don’t let the curriculum title fool you - Guided Reading with a Purpose is a multi-subject curriculum strong in reading, writing, social skills and even has some fun art extensions! Your students will enjoy the crafts included in each of the Guided Reading with a Purpose activities.  The crafts and writing extensions this week are wonderful to display at curriculum night or even in the hallways to celebrate diversity while introducing your students to the school community.
Artwork activities to celebrate diversity in the classroom
Click HERE to learn more about using the All About Me and My Family week of activities to celebrate diversity in the classroom.  This resource is a part of the Guided Reading with a Purpose curriculum.
All About Me & My Family Guided Reading with a Purpose

You can also click HERE to read more about The Guided Reading with a Purpose program in a previous blog post.
Blog Post All About Guided Reading with a Purpose

As always, I hope you have an amazing week and please reach out if you have any questions, suggestions or just want to connect.

A Week's Worth of Guided Reading Activities to Build Classroom Community

Hey there friends,

Building a positive classroom community is my number one goal every year and I’m sure it’s one of your top priorities, too. I also like to work smarter, not harder. You too? Ha. We’ll this is one of the reasons I absolutely love Guided Reading with a Purpose. I can teach the themes and social skills I want to incorporate into my classroom while still hitting the literacy standards. 

I don’t know about you, but I could never understand why my students often struggle with retelling a story. It’s a skill our kids start working on in Kindergarten, but need to consistently review and practice retelling -  especially on that dang middle section!  I decided that like other skills, we can’t just assume they have them down. 

I needed to address this skill that is seen so much in our literacy standards and yet still focus on the foundation of my classroom which is setting up that positive classroom community so I decided to focus a week entirely on retell and building a positive classroom community. 

Throughout this unit, students examine the beginning, middle and end of the story in detail, making sure to review all the important story elements such as character, setting, problem and solution.

I chose 5 mentor texts with the theme of friendship to help build classroom community, focusing on how to be a good friend and how to make new friends. These are both important topics to our young students and when building a positive classroom community. When the problems are relatable and relevant our students’ recall will increase.  Remember - when you are teaching a new skill, it is so important to make sure the text topic and level are appropriate for your students.

5 Guided Reading Activities to Build a Positive Classroom Community

"Enemy Pie" Guided Reading with a Purpose
This mentor text is a wonderfully fun text about making new friends in unique ways and the importance of truly getting to know someone.

"Leonardo the Terrible Monster" Guided Reading with a Purpose

This mentor text is about a unique friendship between ”people” who are completely different. It also focuses on how we can support our friends.


"Ricky the Rock that Couldn't Roll" Guided Reading with a Purpose
This mentor text is about growth mindset and supporting our friends when they need it.

"The Invisible Boy" Guided Reading with a Purpose

This mentor text is a fabulous story about taking the time to get to know those people around you and the impact you can have in someone’s life by simply offering your friendship and attention.


"We Don't Eat Our Classmates" Guided Reading with a Purpose

This mentor text is a hilarious story about a dinosaur trying to learn the basics of being a good friend to her new classmates.

Click any of the images to check out these resources in my TeachersPayTeachers store. Click any of the book titles above to go to purchase these books on Amazon using my affiliate link.  (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Suggestions For Using These Guided Reading Resources

With this guided reading unit, I suggest exploring the problem and solution more in-depth to help the students make solid connections to the mentor text. We can then say the problem or main event is our middle. The important events that lead up to that is our beginning and how it was solved, or the resolution, is our end.

Bulletin Board & Anchor Charts

Here is an example of how I set up my bulletin board with included anchor charts. I only leave these up on the week we are focusing on the comprehension skill. I have seen increased interaction with anchor charts when they are only up when necessary.
Bulletin Board and Anchor Chart for Guided Reading Retell

Posters & Story Element Cards

All the mentor posters, story element cards and guided reading materials are included in the Guided Reading with a Purpose Classroom Community and Friendship Bundle to help you focus more on your student success vs. creating examples and other materials. 
 
Enemy Pie Guided Reading activityRicky the Rock that Couldn't Roll Guided Reading Activity


You can choose to write out the elements in the moment or you use the ready-made cards included in this set. A fun tip is to have the cards turned over and flip them to check to see if the students’ answers were correct.
Guided Reading with a Purpose Retell Story Cards

More Guided Reading with a Purpose Resources

Retell is something our kids do often, but sometimes those frequently used skills need some bulking up and that is exactly why I created this week's Guided Reading with a Purpose all about building a positive classroom community focusing on retell.

If you want to check out this week in Guided Reading with a Purpose, just click below to explore it in my store. You can also read more about this guided reading curriculum HERE in a previous blog post.

As always, I hope you have an amazing week and please reach out if you have any questions, suggestions or just want to connect.



Guided Reading with a Purpose Friendship Bundle


5 Mentor Texts to Teach Classroom Expectations

The First Weeks of School

Hey friends, 
As teachers, we all know the first few weeks of school will always be filled with learning and relearning classroom routines and expectations.  Many of us have a few classics we like to read to model the behaviors we are looking for in our classroom communities. I noticed, just reading the text and simple conversations weren’t helping students make those real-life connections that I hoped for.


5 Books that Teach Classroom Procedures

This week in my Guided Reading with a Purpose curriculum I chose 5 mentor texts that focused on back-to-school routines, as well as real-life problem and solution connections.
After digging through my classroom collections and collaborating with other teacher friends, I selected 5 books for guided reading that will help teach classroom procedures and expectations:

Personal Space Camp mentor text to teach classroom expectations
This book addresses personal space, understanding what our bodies need, and how to calm our bodies so they are ready to learn and others can too!

Don't Squeal Unless It's a Big Deal mentor text to teach classroom expectations
This book address the difference between a tell and a tattle, a big deal vs. small deal and when is it right to get an adult and when I, the student can solve it myself.

I Just Want To Do It My Way mentor text for classroom expectations
This book addresses knowing that it’s ok to ask for help, when to ask for help, the positive effects of asking and the negative of when you don’t.

Lacey Walker, Non-Stop Talker mentor text for classroom expectations
This book addresses how to be a good listener, how to wait our turn to talk and the positive effects of listening and negative effects tuning out.

The Girl That Never Made Mistakes mentor text for teaching classroom expectations
This book addresses the anxiety that some students face as they work at school and the worry they feel over making a mistake. It talks about how mistakes are ok , and are actually important. 

Click the images above to check out these resources in my TpT store or click the book titles to view these books in my Amazon store along with all my other favorite teaching tools.  (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

More About Using These 5 Guided Reading with a Purpose Resources 

Throughout the week students will have the opportunity to extend their learning of the theme by trying to solve similar problems that we encounter within these stories that we read.  Each guided reading resource listed above has a plethora of included comprehension activities, writing prompts, a unique craft, conversation cards, home connection materials and more that will help students as they predict, analyze and reflect on our comprehension strategy of problem and solution while that oh, so important classroom routines and expectations theme stays strong.  

This free problem and solution bookmark is a small component that is always included in my Guided Reading with a Purpose units and is perfect as a take-home token for school-guardian connections or a reminder in small group instruction.  
Guided Reading with a Purpose Freebie
I absolutely love how this Guided Reading with a Purpose week focused on classroom routines and expectations meets more than the typical “rules” we like to teach. The lessons have positive approaches and require self-reflection and application. I hope you find it as helpful and rewarding as I have. 
Click on the image below to take a closer look at this week’s Guided Reading with a Purpose resource. Want to learn more about Guided Reading with a Purpose curriculum?  Read about it in this previous blog post
I wish you the best of luck this school year as you meet your new students and work together through classroom routines and expectations creating that just right classroom community. I know this resource will support you on that journey!



Guided Reading with a Purpose Classroom Expectations Bundle