Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Schools of Hope Tutor Resources

Welcome to the new and returning Schools of Hope tutors. For those of us who like instant gratification, this is a great way to spend an afternoon. Yulupa uses the PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies) from Vanderbilt University. You can read about the program here. We use a slightly different version of PALS but the principles  are the same.
When many of us went to school, the most used reading method was Whole Word (the Dick and Jane days). If you would like to review the letter sounds, you can go to Alphabet SoundsSpring Creek Elementary  made a video of a tutoring session and training. They do no use the same materials as Yulupa, but it gives you some idea of the flow.
If you need some additional insight check out this  Advanced Tutor Training by MaryAnn Nichol. She is a professor at Sonoma State and is part of the team doing research on Schools of Hope.
Finally, for more ideas to help you with your students, just click on the Schools of Hope tag at the bottom of this post or in the left hand column on this blog.

More Tutor Resources

The Five Finger Rule to help a child find the “just right” book. I give all my students a copy of this near book fair time, in the fall at Strawberry and in the spring at Yulupa and show them how to use it.


Instructions for making a word game based on dominoes from No Time for Flashcards. We are encouraged to play a game with our students at the end of a tutoring session. This is an easy one to make yourself.

Sight Words



Yulupa uses a phonics based reading program, but there are plenty of commonly used words in the English language that do not follow the the “Rules”. These words are called Sight Words: the, and, see, come, go, know; you get the drift. By the end of first grade a child should know over a hundred of these words.


 This Reading Mama has a great article about the development of word learning as it pertains to sight words. Most of the students we see in Schools of Hope are in the second phase. These learners typically know basic letter sounds but not more complex ones like sh or th; they do not have strong decoding skills and rely on pictures and cues like the first and last letter to read words they don’t know.

A Schools of Hope video from Racine, WI has some interesting ideas about teaching sight words called Sound It Out?

Sight words are  introduced in the classroom gradually. Schools of Hope tutors review current sight words with their students every week. There are fun ways to do this. I have a couple of Sight Word Bingo games and a Picture Word Bingo game. 




I found these games locally back when we had a teacher store in town but they are available like almost everything else, at Amazon. Another game that kids like to play is Pop for Sight Words. There is a second version appropriate for late first grade and second grade.  I found the original game here in town but it both are also available at Amazon.




The Reading Mama, Becky Spence, has more than a dozen free printable sight word games here. Scroll down to the list under sight words and click on any of the games that interest you. All of these games are far more fun than drilling with flash cards while accomplishing the same goal.

Chapter Books for Beginning Readers

Nerdy Book Club contributor, Arika Dickens, has written an article about books she thinks are surefire hits for transitioning readers to chapter books. An added bonus is that all but The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes are the first in a trilogy or series. You can find her post here. Some of these books have been reviewed on this blog: Lulu and the BrontosaurusDory Fantasmagory and Bink and Gollie. Please note that two of these books are written by two time Newbery Medalist  Kate DiCamillo. It is wonderful that such a distinguished author is writing for beginning readers.



Hat tip: Growing Book by Book

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Early Readers and Chapter Books From an Animal's Point of View


One of the websites I follow is Book Riot. It is a great resource for books, not only for adults but for children and young adults. This morning they posted a list of books for early and middle grade readers from an animal's point of view. Most of the ones on the early reader list are new to me except for The Story of Diva and Flea. On the middle grade list is one of this blog's favorites: The One And Only Ivan. Note that several of these books are the first of a series. Series are great for reluctant readers. If they like the first book, they will often want to read the entire series.

Early Readers


The Sonoma County Library has ten copies. This is the first of a series. There is no AR for any book in this series.


The Sonoma County Library has twenty-nine copies. The AR is 4.6.


The Sonoma County Library has seven copies. This is the first in a series and the AR is 2.6.


The Sonoma County Library has seven copies. This is part of The Park Pals adventure series. The AR is 4.7.


The Sonoma County Library has nineteen copies. This book is the first in a series. The AR is 4.2.


Middle Grade



This book will be published on February 9, 2016.


The Sonoma County Library has four copies. The AR is 4.9.


The Sonoma County Library has one copy. The AR is 4.9.


The Sonoma County Library has thirty-one copies. The AR is 3.6.


The Sonoma County Library has three copies. The AR is 5.1.


The Sonoma County Library has eleven copies. The AR is 3.7.


The Sonoma County Library has eight copies. This the first book of a series. The AR is 4.5.

You may have noticed that some of the early readers have as high or higher reading levels (according to the Accelerated Reader rankings) than the middle grade books. In this article the categories are according to interest. One of my first grade granddaughters has read The Story of Diva and Flea; the only word trouble she had was with the very few French words in the story.