I’m a Reading Recovery Teacher: Roaming Around the Known {Part 2}

Reading, Book, Child.

Well…all my kiddos are officially in lessons!  I’ve seen awesome acceleration and a some good learning since the first day of Roaming and I’m zeroing in on exactly what each kiddo will need to be successful.

I wanted to come back and share a few more of our favorite Roaming Around the Known (RATK) ideas because it took me a good 4 years of teaching Reading Recovery to feel like I was actually making good use of these two weeks!

Let’s start with my favorite:


These come in a variety of levels depending on what my kiddos know.  This little guy had a writing vocab of about 30 coming in (wow – right?!?) so he was able to write his book pretty much on his own with some support.  I do give them a practice page just like in lessons, especially for kiddos who know letters and sounds but have some formation issues.

how to play soccer student book student written soccer book

This little guy can write some words on his own, too, and is great at saying words slowly, but still needed a lot of teacher support.  Captain America bookstudent written captain america book

I love to let my kiddos bring a favorite toy during the first couple of lessons.  We take it around the school and take pictures of it, then use the pictures to write a book.  It’s always high interest because it’s their own toy!

This friend wanted to read his book to his action figures – Avengers Assemble!

Captain America and Iron Man

Another one of my kiddos loves Thor, so I made him a quick DIY costume and took his pictures all around the school.  When we made his book he wrote the words he knows (is, in) and I wrote the rest while modeling saying the words slowly.

Thor book

This round I have 4 boys who all love The Avengers, so we did lots of Super Hero writing!  They love the idea that they are teaching me something I don’t know and I’m pretty sure I now know basically everything there is to know about The Avengers!

I did several of these this round.  We started with a plain coloring page of the hero they wanted to write about (thank you, Google image search).  The kiddo wrote about the hero, then I turned the writing into a book.

Iron Man writing

This one started the same – writing about Spiderman – but because this little guy usually only visual information when reading (ie he wants to “sound it out” and ignores the pictures) we built the book together.  I put his text in the book, then we read it together and he had to match the pictures to the text.

student spider man writing

building spiderman book

I also love to have students write their own books based on books we have read.  This little guy read Dinner Time for Bella and Rosie, which is all about the food they like to eat, and then wrote a book about what he likes to eat.

student food book based on bella and rosie

When I write with kiddos, I LOVE to use these little “My Own Keep Books” from Ohio State.  Click here to check them out – they are pretty reasonably priced for how many you get in a box.

Keep Books

I take no credit for this idea…I stole it from my Teacher Leader…and the kids LOVE it!


After we read a book, the kiddos write their own endings to the book.  Then they can take it home and shock their parents with the amazing new ending! 🙂

This book was a non-fiction book about cows so we added a fact.

student written surprise ending

In this book Lulu wants Amanda to wake up and play so we added what would happen next.

Student written book ending


This friend is working on letters vs. words.  It’s hard to tell, but we circled letters in purple and words in black (using all words and letters that the kiddo knows).

magnetic letters vs words

Letter fluency – this is a string of letters the kiddo knows.  He points to each one and names them – simple and it makes the kiddos feel successful!

magnetic letter fluency


Another teacher shared this activity with me – let me know if it’s yours and I’ll give credit! 🙂

We put magnetic letters in a shallow pan under a thin layer of flour.  The student used a make up brush to uncover the letters.  I had my kiddo say the letter sound and then match the sound to an object.  It was perfect for this kiddo because I was having a difficult time getting him to show me what letter sounds he knows, but this activity was “FUN” so he was willing to share more!

alphabet archeology

Lastly, I track kiddos letter formations so that I can fix anything that is creating a problem for the kiddo in writing.  I don’t worry about formations that start from a weird place or that the kiddo makes a little differently UNLESS they are slowing the child down.

Teacher letter formation sheet

Student letter formation

What works for you in Roaming?  I’d love to hear your ideas!


This entry was posted in Reading Recovery, Roaming Around the Known and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to I’m a Reading Recovery Teacher: Roaming Around the Known {Part 2}

  1. Pingback: I’m a Reading Recovery Teacher. NOW WHAT? | Literacy And Lattes

  2. Pingback: Browsing Boxes for Non-Readers | Literacy And Lattes

  3. Ellen says:

    Hi Elisabeth!
    I am a Level 1 certified handwriting specialist with Handwriting Without Tears. I also tutor children that have dyslexia and dysgraphia. I studied the writing sample of the alphabet and I am concerned.
    Quality handwriting instruction in Pre-K, K, and 1st grade is so important… the process/formation of the letters is foremost in teaching handwriting. Verbal and visual cues give precise and specific directions to form letters and numbers. They help students remember the sequence of strokes as well as studying the model of the letter that includes numbered arrows. Be sure they are not starting their letters from the baseline!!!!… you will often see this with f,l,i,t,r,m,n,… baseline starting will slow them down and could be a sign of visual processing problems…… also if they are leaving out the “stem” in m, n, u, r. Watch out for reversals (b/d, p/q, s, z, j, g) The easiest way to prevent letter reversals is to modify the sequence in which letters are introduced. Rather than introducing letters in alphabetical order, introduce letters by the type of stroke…. most important teach b and d at different times. Your little person starts their b and d from the top, most likely when they do not have the upper case letter before the lower case letter (like the paper above) they would be mixing up the b and d. Some kids will use the strategy of taking the top off the B to see the lower case b or when they see the D know that the circle of the lower case d faces the D. For children who make reversals, it is harder for them to read and express their ideas in writing. Letter reversals are common with young learners, but after age 8 this is not typical and could indicate something else is going on. Check out Handwriting Without Tears website: hwtears.com/click hwtears.com/educators/classroomextras and hwtears.com/learninglounge/newsletters OBSERVATION/MODELING/CORRECTION IS THE KEY TO GOOD HANDWRITING INSTRUCTION 🙂
    Ellen Rechtien Level 1 HWT Certified Handwriting Specialist


    • Amy says:

      That is exactly what we do in Reading Recovery 🙂


    • Elisabeth says:

      Hi, Ellen.
      Thanks for sharing your knowledge about handwriting. All the samples collected here are from first graders who are performing well below grade level and were taken in the first two weeks of instruction. I do the letter writing assessment to get an idea of what students are able to do when they start intervention. Since the students are in first grade, they come with some skills but often have large holes in their knowledge. One of the benefits of a one-on-one intervention like Reading Recovery is that I can tailor instruction to each child’s needs. Taking an early inventory of independent handwriting and having an idea about what letters the child makes easily and which he is still struggling with helps me to better instruct the child. I certainly do not mean for it to sound as though I am neglecting formations, I am simply getting information about where it is best to start with each particular child based in individual knowledge, strengths and weaknesses. I hope that claifies the purpose of the letter writing form and how I am using it as a formative assessment to guide my instruction. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s