Grade me tips

Introduce interactive notebooks.

Source: Teaching with Love & Laughter “Using interactive notebooks is a great way for children to learn and interact with new information, as well as review and practice skills already introduced. They really took pride in their notebooks and were very proud to share their work with others. Unlike completing worksheets or other printables, which go home right away, these books are always available to the children.” —Lori

Make phonics fun.

Phonics is the foundation for reading success. Breaking words into their constituent sounds helps kids understand and build their literacy skills, bit by bit. Check out these 20 phonics activities!

Teach sight words

Source: Make, Take, and Teach Check out these 43 sight word activities for the classroom!

Use paint swatches to teach parts of speech.

Source: Color-code parts of speech and sentence components and then have students create silly sentences to tell stories! Students can copy down their sentences and then illustrate them. And check out these other fun ways to use paint swatches!

Teach them how to retell a story.

Use this reading comprehension anchor chart (1 of 25) to review stories with your first graders and strengthen their recall skills after reading.

Make things interesting with foldables.

Source: Mrs. T’s First Grade Class Foldables are a great—and easy!—way to make any literacy activity more fun. The one above helps students group words with the same blend.

Have fun with literacy centers.

We love this big list of ideas for grades K-2.

Have your students create personal word walls.

Source: First Grade Parade Instead of having one massive class word wall, have students create and post their own personal word walls in your classroom. Your first graders will love showcasing their skills! Check out the First Grade Parade for a free personal word wall template.

Differentiate reading instruction.

“Read Works is an incredible resource for teaching reading! At least once a week, I use a reading passage and question set in either the ‘guided reading’ or ‘read to someone’ for small group practice. I can easily differentiate because they provide the Lexile levels. I found this resource to be very helpful, especially with non-fiction to integrate science and social studies concepts into Daily 5.” —Kellie P.

Encourage critical thinking by giving your students writing prompts.

“I give students questions that take more thought than our simple carpet discussions—questions that they had to apply what they know to answer. It helps them get away from answering without thinking just to be first.” —Heather M. Here are 37 suggestions from Journal Buddies to get you started.