Kindergarten Step by Step: All things KINDERLITERACY!

Hi all!  Thanks so much for joining me today!  I am actually going to revert back more to my Kindergarten Step by Step posts from summer… where I break curriculum down piece-by-piece!  These posts are great for those of you that have the program and are wanting to fine tune your instruction to be the best!  This post will also suit those as well that are looking into the program and want to know what in the world the buzz is all about!
I will share with you my story below and how I came about creating KinderLiteracy.  However, I wanted to start first by saying this… I am super passionate about these units!  I have seen firsthand their outstanding results!  I stand behind my units and because I have taught them I not only share with you tips and tricks, but I can also offer up videos of myself teaching the lessons!  I know sometimes as well that it’s easy to read it… but nothing proves itself more than actually trying it out!  In this post I will provide you with a freebie close read that you can try out in your classroom right away!

Why did you create KinderLiteracy?

So, how did close reads come about in my classroom and why am I SO obsessed with them?  If I am passionate about anything it’s – – teaching with a read aloud in hand!  There is just something about looking out over your carpet full of kiddos and seeing them engage with a book, get excited about so much they can hardly contain their answers, and truly have a passion for books!  I feel that the one thing that can stifle the kids love for learning- – is when their teachers lose a little of theirs!  That is where I found myself three years ago… I would read my teacher’s manual and ask the questions that were given to me but I was far from passionate about what was in front of me on those pages!  Thankfully we were blessed to be introduced to close reading and there…that day I regained my passion!
That day three years ago I immediately started to take books my kids LOVED and write close read plans… some of you might even own those very first plans I created with my fiction and nonfiction close reads…then my bundled close reads!  I taught those plans that year and the following year and continued to love on them more and more each week!  So much so that at our team planning we were constantly tweaking and deciding on additional things to add!  I realized that it was time to take those original close read plans and “beef them up!” I was tired of reinventing the wheel each week and hunting down additional ideas to bring into my classroom!  I wanted a COMPLETE-TEACHER CREATED-TEACHER TESTED-KID APPROVED curriculum… thus was born my sweet baby, KinderLiteracy!

What is KinderLiteracy?

So, I am going to answer the above stated question briefly but then will let the lessons speak for themselves!  KinderLiteracy is a 35 week COMPLETE whole-group literacy program!  KinderLiteracy isn’t for small group or guided reading, but a reader’s workshop program where the teacher will lead the students in rich lessons using ONE main text throughout the entire week!  Why has KinderLiteracy brought the passion back for so many teachers? Well, I’ll let this teacher tell you why….

Oh, My, Goodness!!! This is the BEST RESOURCE I have EVER purchased! I love your Close Read Units and I wasn’t sure that I really needed all of this…but I was wrong. I NEED all of this! I love how you tied in a craft to each activity. And the Poetry. I am so excited about the poetry. I always say I need to do more poetry, but I always seem to let it slide. I love how you included cut up sentences with pictures for the poetry. I need to go buy some ink so I can start prepping this bad boy. It is EXACTLY what I needed. You are so talented. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

I really cannot put into words my love and desire to make a difference for students!  I am confident that actually being in the classroom and listening to how my students are responding to the units along with what teachers are saying/questioning/asking for…we are on the right path with KinderLiteracy!  I decided that I would step out of my comfort zone and truly stand behind my units since I am in the classroom and able to show you what a complete week of KinderLiteracy would look like in the classroom!  Now a couple disclaimers…let’s be teacher real…NO lesson is perfect!  There will always be more strategies and techniques to try!  So, I ask that you not judge the lessons upon that… trust me I am critical of myself -ha!  However, I ask that you look at each lesson and listen more to how the students are holding conversations and responding!  I apologize for obvious safety concerns you will only see me in the videos! After each video I will explain how that day of KinderLiteracy looks and after all the videos I’ll go more into the “behind the scenes” of KinderLiteracy!

Let’s See it in Action!

Alright….time to get down to business!  This weekly breakdown will be a week long lesson using the book, Rainbow Fish!  This is the very first close read I do each year so these videos are of days 3-7 of school (we always start on a Thursday and do not do a close read those two days).  I chose these videos because I wanted you to see the close read in action from the VERY beginning!  I know it’s easy to watch videos from October and think, “Hmm well where do I start?”  You will notice in the video that the kids are not real loud when it comes to turn and talks.  This is still BRAND new to them!

Remember, that I mentioned these lessons would be free! YAY!  You can download the lesson plans HERE and then follow along through the videos!

Day one- Teacher immediately draws students in to the lessons by introducing the weekly theme, students turn and talk to discuss what they know about the theme, teacher charts their knowledge, teacher quickly introduces the skill-based essential question, teacher states the purpose of day 1 {listen for enjoyment}, teacher reads the texts, students turn and talk about new knowledge they gained from the text, teacher charts additional information, students follow-up with a quick exit ticket.

Day One Exit Ticket

Day one’s lesson takes about 15-20 minutes!  I accidentally turned off the camera before calling for additional bubble chart ideas and  releasing the kids back to their tables to do the day one follow-up practice sheet so this lesson was about 15 minutes total!  The BIG idea of day one is to draw in your little learners….get them EXCITED about the book!  Now with fairy tales this is a little different because you don’t have a “theme” as if you were doing apples or sharks!  If you’re afraid the kids will get “bored” each day from the same book- –  you will be so surprised!  They love it and eat it up….they get to become experts and they truly want to please!

Day two- Teacher revisits the weeks essential question, teacher reviews the knowledge that has been charted, teacher has students turn and talk to state something they learned the day before, teacher states purpose of day 2 {listen and help the teacher figure our unknown words}, teacher reads the text again stopping on the vocabulary words, teacher states definitions and/ or has students turn and talk to discuss their thoughts on the vocabulary words, teacher adds a motion to each vocabulary word, teacher reviews all vocabulary words with student motions, students follow-up with an exit ticket.

The BIG idea of day two is to 1) read the text again and 2) state to teach the kids about context clues and understanding unknown words 3) have students start to use the rich vocabulary in their everyday life! 
Okay, again video fail!  I accidentally cut off the start of the lesson.  So, below you just have the final review!  As described above… you will read the text cover to cover.  Stopping to discuss the lesson’s vocabulary words!  You will also be creating actions for the vocabulary words!  You will see this in the video!
Below I will model how the day 2 lesson of Rainbow.

* Review this week’s theme (sharing) and essential questions.  Open up for a turn and talk, “Turn and talk to your partner… tell them what it means to share!”

* Introduce students to their daily job… “Boys and girls, today you will be helping me listen for tricky words.  When we come to an unknown word, we will stop, and discuss it!”
* Begin reading page 1 of the text.  Stop on page 3 “…letting his scales shimmer”  “Oh, boys and girls we have come to our first words.  Listen to this again…The Rainbow Fish would just glide past.  Did you hear that… he glided past the other fish.  I would like you to turn and tell your partner what you think that means…. to glide. Nice work!  Yes, glide means to move and in this book it means he is swimming smoothly.  Let’s make this motion to show glide.”

* “Boys and girls, we have another word on this page…listen closely.  Rainbow Fish would just glide past, proud and silent, letting his scales shimmer.  Listen to that word, shimmer.  Raise of hands if you think you know what shimmer might mean?  Yes, it means shiny!  Let’s try our hands like this to show shimmer.”

*Read to page 8.  On page 8 stop after “…He was so upset.”  “Boys and girls, listen to that… Shocked, the little blue fish swam away.  I want you to turn and teach your partner what the word shocked might mean.  “Get away from!” yelled the Rainbow Fish.  Then, little blue fish was shocked… what might shocked mean?  Turn and talk!  Oh, yes you are right!  Shocked means he was surprised!  Let’s place our hands on our cheeks to show shocked!”

*Read to page 10 and stop after admire. “Boys and girls, admire is one of our words.  Admire means to look up to someone…. like you look up to your mom and dad!  Let’s pretend we are looking up to our parents…ahh yes!”

*Still on page 10, stop after wise.  “Boys and girls, it says the octopus is wise.  Who can tell me by a show of hands what wise could mean?  Yes, wise means smart!  Let’s tap our brains to show how smart we are!”  

You can see that I varied between turn and talks, teacher “tells”, and quick raise of hands with answers!  It’s just impossible to do turn and talks for all!  They will be rolling on the carpet and that’s no good 😉

In my classroom I am able to make a large display for our vocabulary words!  The picture cards are part of KinderLiteracy so you’ll have those as well!
Here are this week’s vocabulary motions:

shimmer: do “spirit hands”
glide: show your hand in a gliding movement through water
admire: put your finger to your chin and pretend to ‘look up’ at someone you admire
wise: tap both sides of your head showing how you think smart
shocked: hands to cheeks

Day three– Teacher revisits essential question, teacher reviews vocabulary words with motions, teacher has students turn and talk to discuss previous learning, teacher states the purpose of day 3 {Think critically about questions from the text- – and use EVIDENCE}, teacher reads parts of the texts that lends to their text-dependent questions, students turn and talk to generate answers for text-dependent questions, students follow-up with practice sheet

The BIG idea of day three is to teach the students how to use the text to answer specific questions. You also want to teach them about using specific evidence from the text to support their answers.  How do we know that?  How did the author teach us that?  You will be able to relinquish more and more the kids as the year progresses!

*Disclaimer* Please remember this is day 5 of kindergarten!  You’ll hear extra chatter and not super “deep” answers!  They are sure trying and they have to start somewhere! 🙂

Day four– Teacher revisits essential question, teacher has students turn and talk to discuss skill-based and life-based essential questions,  teacher reviews vocabulary words with motions, *if retell book students work with teacher to retell the story using story sequencing cards*, teacher reads an alternate text that links to the same theme, students turn and talk to discuss connections from the text, students follow-up with practice sheet.

The BIG idea of day four is to review the learning that has taken place thus far in the week and bring in an alternate text of the same theme! For this week the paired text is I am Sharing by Mercer Mayer! Each week of KinderLiteracy it is suggested you bring in two texts…with the text second being any book you have on hand that follows the same theme! 🙂

Day five– Teacher revisits essential question, teacher has students turn and talk to discuss skill-based and life-based essential questions,  teacher reviews vocabulary words with motions, teacher leads a discussion for the week’s book/theme, students take weekly skill check, students create weekly craft

Below us a look at our retell craft for this week!  All weeks of KinderLiteracy have an included craft for the kiddos!

Now that you’ve seen KinderLiteracy in action I think it’s important to discuss the nuts and bolts of the program!  I believe I have included any and everything you’ll need to teach a successful reading program!  I am also happy to make additions when teachers contact me with needs so they get added and you download them as well! I decided to do bullet points because well…we all like to read bullet points!

*KinderLiteracy is currently 46 weeks. KinderLiteracy contains lessons for your whole-group close read, phonemic awareness, writing lesson plans, craft, skill check, weekly poem with retell pieces, vocabulary cards, practice sheets, skill check grade books, and editable files!

*KinderLiteracy is made up of 8 units!weeks

*KinderLiteracy IS aligned to the standards

*KinderLiteracy contains a curriculum map for each unit like this one!

*KinderLiteracy comes with VERY detailed lesson plans for each week!  The lesson plans are on a two-page spread so you can easily place them into a binder and view the entire week!  They are easy to understand and teacher-friendly!  Each lesson plan will also detail the Unit big idea, Unit standard objective, weekly theme, close read texts, literacy Skill focus {standard based},essential questions, I can statements, comprehension strategy, story element, literacy standards, writing genre

If you have additional questions you can also view THIS post and THIS post!  You can of course also leave questions below and/or email me at li******************@gm***.com!

As I mentioned above…I am passionate about close reads and now most excited for my KinderLiteracy program!  KinderLiteracy was not thought up in my head and then typed up and then placed on TpT.  It has all been kid tested in my room and I stand behind KinderLiteracy …I listen to the teachers and make adjustments as needed!  If you ever have questions about the units or if they would work for your class please let me know!  

Still not sure if KinderLiteracy is for you?  You can download a FREE week of KinderLiteracy HERE!  This will help you to see the “meat and potatoes” you get each week! 


  1. I am absolutely loving these step by step posts for the themes! It gives me confidence as well as gives some added ideas when I'm at a loss. I also have a student teacher right now so sharing these with her really helps her! I know you cannot please everyone, but our kindergarten team will be doing transportation next week but after that we are switching it up to include some of your new supplemental themes to match October. We will do owls, then stellaluna, then spiders, then pumpkins. Will you by chance be covering these next?

  2. Hi Tara,

    I absolutely love the layout of your Kinderliteracy. I noticed that you included the editable template for you to fill out but was wondering if the ones you already created are editable too?

    Thanks, Ashley

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