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Want your students to love reading? I am going to share 8 ways to create a positive reading community in your classroom.  It is vital for your students to see how much you love reading.  SHOW YOUR KIDS YOU LOVE TO READ. It all starts with the teacher. Teachers are role models for their students and it is our job to  OPEN THE MAGIC! *Amazon Affiliate Links are used in this post to help Ramona Recommends bring more picture book recommendations to you. Thank you!

1. What is the TEACHER READING
-During the school year I share with my students what books I am reading. Most of the time, they are children's picture books and chapter books. I love using children's literature through out my day in the classroom. I do A LOT of reading to see how I can fit most books into my curriculum. 
 Disrupting Thinking

My kids know picture books are my jam. My total count is a little over 2,000 books in my home office. I entitled my library OPEN THE MAGIC! I want them to know I love love love reading! Want to see my old Open the Magic library? Below you can see a few of the new pictures.


I get asked daily: is this your own library and how to do use organize all your picture books? The answer is yes, but more about that later. Here is the short story how I organize- purchase: input into excel spreadsheet: put which picture books I want to use while I teach into my picture book resource binder. Want to see some previews, click here! Maybe you want to get super organized this year? The Picture Book Resource Binder will do just that.

Once a month or weekly I have book chats with my students. I ask them what books they are reading. Sometimes they learn about books quicker than I do. They help me create my recommendation lists.  Need More? I have some here too. Gets kids talking about reading. The more the students see the passion you have for reading the more likely they will sure to foster their own relationship with books.

Pink is for Blobfish (non-fiction picture book for the win)
Dragons Love Tacos 2 (you just need it)
For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story (non-fiction picture book for the second win)

Create a Recommendation Wall for the kid to recommend to each other. We all know kids like reading what their peers read. Last year, one boy read Prisoner B-3087 and then all the rest of the boys started to read it. They even had mini book clubs at lunch. My student did a recommendation binder this year called Bubblicious Book Reviews. They were required to write at least 3, but many words 10-15 reviews. 

Show your kids picture of you shopping the Scholastic Warehouse Sale
 Go through the catalog each month and pick 5 books you would recommend. Staple on to catelog sheet and send home.  

Read Alouds are KEY to any classroom instruction. They are just as important as teaching multiplication. Students are able to hear fluent reading, see how to make connections, get lost in the reading, and learn about new books. This year I am going to start off by reading Class Dismissed 
 Class Dismissed is about a fifth grade class that becomes teacher less. The teacher has had enough of their silly, but funny escapades. The 5th graders must figure out how to run a classroom. While reading it last year, it made laugh out loud. There is plenty of figurative language and rich description. The reason I want to read this book first, is build a positive reading relationship with my class. This book is not serious, but will allow the students to enjoy and learn at the same time.

7. Silent Reading Time

8. Picture Books For Days
 I am a fifth grade teacher and use picture books to help open, guide, and inspire my lessons. One Cool Friend is great to teach students how to correctly use quotations while writing. I introduced my lesson with this book. The book sat nicely on my document camera so I was easily able to show my students each quotation mark and explain the purpose.

By the way, do you follow me on instagram? I put many picture recommendations on my weekly feed and instagram stories. During the year, its my jam! Ramona Recommends Instagram

Are you teaching opinion writing? Check out I Wanna New Room by Karen Kaufmann Orloff. Does a great job teaching the opinion writing style (opinion, reason, backup). The kids think it is hilarious and can relate well to new siblings joining the family.

The United States of America- is a great book for students to use when learning about the United States.
 Read a picture book a day JUST FOR FUN! Not everything you do in your classroom needs a standard behind it. Reading picture books just for fun can build a strong classroom community. 
Want to know more books to help build a strong classroom community?

This is one of my new favorite books. Kids can relate to this book because it uses words from the technology age. I am sure if you read this story to your students they would understand all of the words. Dot shares her daily journey through sharing, searching, recharging, and rebooting. The author of this story is Randi Zuckerberg sister to the founder of Facebook. I love how our society brings on new meanings to old words, and new words to our old world. The pictures remind me of a spring day. I am ready for SPRING, are you?

amazon affiliate link used- thank you for helping pay for my book obsession. :)

Are you feeling the burn of the spiral of the end of the year craziness.  As a teacher, you don't stop you just keep going because that passion we all have ignites each time we have a light bulb moment. #itsateacherthing.

I thought I would share with you my Top 10 ways that I enjoy life.

1. Read.  I go to Barnes and Noble and sit in their children's section and read. There is something about fresh new books that relaxes me. I usually come home with at least 2-5 new books and add them to my library. Have you seen my library?

2. Workout. I can't believe what it does to my soul after running a few miles. Oh it feels absolutely yummy!

3. Girls' Night. If it is a Monday night, I will shower and then head to girls night for some Bachelor and Trader Joe's Coconut Chocolate ice cream.

4. Organize. Everything has a place and everything needs to be color coded. The end.

5. Pray. I am thankful that God is in my life. He has delivered such a gracious path for me even when I think "Hello, God it's me Courtney, are you listening!?. God and I chat a lot. We are homies.

6. Create. My coworkers are always asking me how I have time to blog, create posters, cute lessons, products or anything in between. When I need a stress reliever, I craft. Creating a poster with backgrounds and fonts... OH THAT IS A GOOD TIME!

7. Family. Spending quality time with my family is special. Hanging out with my niece and nephew during the summer is the best. Calling my mom and going over to their house to just to chat is one of my favorite weekly rituals. 

8. Shop. There is no stress that Nordstrom or Loft can't fix. The end.

9. Scroll. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Blogs.... you get the idea.

10. Watch. When I do watch TV, you can find me enjoying Nashville, Greys, Bachelor/ette, and anything on HGTV.

I am so excited to team up with Scholastic to share some pretty bookful news that involves YOU!  Scholastic Magazines wants teachers to take this summer to relax and enjoy these blissful months off. Are you ready for the even better news? Scholastic is giving three TEACHERS a chance to win some money!!! One teacher will win a $1,000 VISA gift card! #yesplease

Here is how to enter: 
It is pretty simple and really fun.


1. Share a photo or video with your Scholastic Magazine on vacation. Don't forget to use the #ScholasticMagVacay.
2. Don't have a subscription to Scholastic Magazine? No problem, we've got you covered. Click here and Scholastic will send you a FREE copy. 
3. The contest starts June 1st and ends August 31st.

You can find more about Scholastic here:

I love Scholastic Magazine. Want to see how I use it in my classroom to help students annotate text? Click here! While this is a sponsored post all of the thoughts about Scholastic are my own feelings. SCHOLASTIC pretty much knocks the book covers off my books! #picturebooksaremyjam

Father's Day is June 18th-this coming Saturday. Below are my favorite FATHER'S Day reads. For easy access I have linked all the books to Amazon! 
 All of these books are perfect for kids to read with their daddies. My favorite two are {daddies do it different} and {how to surprise a dad}. 

Check out this cute pic collage idea I bloomed this summer. I have been watching Jen Jones of Hello Literacy use pic collage for her reading instruction for years. Then, I have become Kami Butterfield of Teaching with APPitude biggest fan because of her online Pic Collage courses. #heradorbsglasses Seriously have learned so much for these two. #teachershelpingteachers

I choose my favorite dad from one of the above picture book selections. Cropped  (clip) the dad from the story and then added characteristics about my dad in the picture. This is in mid creation, I still need to add more qualities that describe my dad.

*Amazon Affiliate Links Used

"Not that again!" I heard one student say on a Tuesday morning. At first, I was insulted because I loved the Tuesday Precept we had been doing since September. It was one of my precious moments each week where I learned about my students. My students last year LOVED this time to learn about each other.

Let me backup and explain what 12:00pm on a Tuesday in room 20 meant.

Last year, I read WONDER to my class. #allthefeels A year or so later....RJ Palacio came out with 365 Days of Wonder a quote book that had, well you guessed it, 365 quotes centering around life and greatness.  Each week students would respond to a quote using paper and pencil. In their response it included 2 parts {what the quote meant} {how it related to them}. Want to see it? It might work for your kids. The thoughts and feelings that came from my 34 students was WONDROUS!

Lets fast forward to this year. The negativity (but respectful) that spilled from their mouths was a clear FLASHING RED LIGHT that screamed (quietly) problem. My magical idea did not work for this group. I had to find something that would peak their interest. I swallowed my pride and got thinking!

This group loves technology and they will do ANYTHING on the computer. That is why my Weekly Precept became DIGITAL. One Saturday night, I stand up until 2am searching for videos that would INSPIRE, TEACH, EXCITE, and AWE my students.

I created a Google Docs precept video and answer activity. The students watch a 2-4 minute video and then answer similar questions on a google doc. It is all stationed on Google Drive and then I upload the precept weekly into Google Classroom.

I am happy to report that my students are SO excited to come in on Tuesdays and do the weekly precept. I hear them talking to each other trying to guess what the video will be about during recess.

We are fortunate to have 1:1 chromebooks in our classroom. BUT! You can totally do this whole class. Have students do this activity in centers or have students watch whole class and then answer the questions verbally.


 I selected videos that will get my students to think but also send a message. It is our jobs as educators to teach our students about the real world.  Some of the topics include {grit, failure, age, strength, empathy, power, and working hard}.

Want to try it out in your classroom? Grab the PREVIEW to try one of the videos. You will need to click PREVIEW button inside TpT.
Love it? You can find the whole digital resource here


Go be digital! #itsthenewpaperandpencil

It is April! Which means three things: Tax Day, My Birthday month, and POETRY month. Poetry is a make or break with my most kids. Many students enjoy writing poetry, but they are unsure of the technical side. When I start saying words like theme, mood, stanzas--their little smiles fade away. Of course what do I do? I bring in my favorite POETRY picture books. We analyze FUN poetry before we have to start looking at well.....boring poetry. #hadtosayit! #sorry

Here is a FREE list of all my favorite poetry books to use in the classroom. My affiliate links are provided because well I have a horrible (AWESOME) habit of buying books. THANK YOU!


Share with me how do you teach poetry in your classroom?

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