Flipping Eggs – Fun Hands-on Activities for Learning Sight Words

Flipping Eggsbp

Learning and practicing sight words can be super fun when you integrate hands-on activities.  The Flipping Eggs activity is easy to assemble- simply print the eggs, laminate and then cut out each egg.  You’ll have an activity that will last for years!  Just for fun, the Flipping Eggs activity is also available with green colored eggs.

The Flipping Eggs activity for the Dolch Sight Words contains the Dolch 220 sight words printed on the eggs.


The Flipping Eggs Dolch Sight Words activity is available in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.

When you download the activity for the Fry Sight Words you’ll receive the first 225 words printed on the eggs.


The Flipping Eggs Fry Sight Words activity is also available in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.

If you’d like to check out the green eggs, just click the following links:  Flipping Green Eggs- Dolch 220 Sight Words  Flipping Green Eggs- Fry Sight Words.


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Valentine Sight Word Game Boards FREEBIE!


Just working away at updating a few oldies-but-goodies from years past.  If you’ve downloaded the Valentine’s Day Sight Word Game Boards last year you’ll want to be sure to click on the link below and grab the new version.  I’ve added a few new game boards and spruced them up a bit.  There are now 9 game boards with color-coordinated borders per Dolch sight word list.  The games are great for small group instruction or as a literacy center activity.  Even print them and send them home for added practice!



The Valentine’s Day Sight Word Game Boards can be downloaded for FREE in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

To receive an email notification of all Make, Take & Teach activities be sure to click the “Follow” green star in the MT&T Teachers Pay Teachers store.



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4 Ways to Improve Oral Reading Fluency


Picked up a good book lately?  Well, my shelves are literally busting with school-related books and I just organized them into categories.  During my organizational frenzy, I came across Tim Rasinki’s book The Fluent Reader.  I read this book cover to cover over spring break one year and absolutely loved it!  I reopened the book once again, shook out some sand and read a few chapters.  Here’s a little snippet from the book.

According to Rasinski, “reading fluency refers to the ability of readers to read quickly, effortlessly, and efficiently with good, meaningful expression.”  Fluent readers are able to recognize many words by sight and, when coming upon an unknown word, able to decode the word quickly.  Because good readers read accurately and effortlessly, their mental energy can be devoted to figuring out the meaning of the text (comprehension) rather than trying to figure out the words.  Dr. Rasinski outlines four ways to build reading fluency.

1.  Model Good Oral Reading.  Reading to students in a natural manner models fluent reading.  Model and encourage students to pay attention to phrasing, expression, and pacing.  Too much emphasis on “word-perfect decoding sends a message that good reading is nothing more than accurate word recognition.”

2. Provide Oral Support for Readers.  Research has shown that when a reader reads and hears simultaneously a fluent reader read the same text, reading fluency and comprehension improves (Topping, 1995).  There are several different ways to accomplish this:  choral reading, paired reading and using recorded readings.  The book describes how to use these strategies and the research behind them in more detail.

3. Offer Plenty of Practice Opportunities.  As with learning any skill, such as learning to play piano or riding a bike, time practicing the skill is crucial.  To become a good reader, readers need practice reading.  The repeated reading strategy has been found to lead to significant increases in students’ fluency.  In our districts, we utilize the Read Naturally computer based program as one way to offer this strategy.  Students begin with a “cold” read of the text, a words correct per minute (wcpm) score is provided, students practice reading the text with and without a recording and when they feel they can read it fluently, they then do a “hot” read.  The computer program tracks their progress on each read.  I love this program, and certainly did not do it justice with that short explanation.  I’ll devote a blog on the program at a later date.

4.  Encourage Fluency through Paraphrasing.  Students need to learn to chunk text into phrases to help determine meaning.  Meaning lies in a text’s phrases and not just in its individual words.  Disfluent readers tend read word-by-word rather than chunk text into meaningful phrases.  Teaching students to pay attention to punctuation helps.

For more information on developing fluent readers, be sure to check out Tim Rasinki’s book.

Fluent Reader


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Soccer Themed Activities! It’s World Cup Time!

Soccer Themed BP

Soccer is my sport!  I love, love, love soccer.  My oldest child was five when we enrolled him in our city recreational league.   Our family has been hooked ever since.   You know how organizations are always short on volunteers?  Well, the soccer league was short on coaches.  When I was asked to coach I remember saying, “I’ll think about it” and the next thing I know I received a roster of 15 10-year-old boys.  Having never played soccer, I did what any rational person would do–googled “how to coach soccer.”  How difficult can it be- right?  Well, ever since I’ve coached all three of my kids recreational league teams as well as Lizzie’s travel team.  I loved every minute of it.


Here’s a picture of my travel team with my good friend, Mike, who I coached with for many years.  When this picture was taken, these little girls were 11 and 12.  It’s hard to believe that they will all be leaving for college in the fall.  Lizzie is my youngest so I’m going to have to adjust to being “an empty nester”.  It’s certainly  not something I’m looking forward to.

So, being such a soccer fan myself, I really enjoyed creating these soccer-themed activities.  The World Cup is now starting and the memories are flooding back!  For my little friends learning sight words, I created a super fun sight word activity.  This activity is easily differentiated as you choose which and how many sight word soccer balls to use.  Simply have your students take turns choosing the balls and reading words.  If a player chooses the “Goal” ball, he/she can choose 3 more balls.  If the player chooses the “Penalty” cards, balls must be returned to the pile.  The player with the most balls at the end of time wins the game.  I love this game as it’s fast-paced and allows many practice opportunities.


Click HERE to download this activity from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

For my first grade friends working with long vowel sounds, I created the “Soccer Shoot Out!  Long Vowel Sounds” game.  This activity addresses the common spellings for long vowel sounds.  Students read the words on the soccer balls and match the balls to the corresponding soccer net.  There’s also a fun little variation of the activity.  There are soccer nets for all 5 vowels and 140 soccer balls!

Long Vowel shoot out

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Just click HERE to download this activity from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Hoping your little soccer fans enjoy these activities!


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Flipping Pancakes!

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It’s important to add a little variety into our small group instruction and into our literacy center activities.  Sometimes just adding a little twist to a drill and practice activity can do the trick.  The Flipping Pancakes activity is super easy to make and guaranteed to keep our students engaged.  Simply print the pancakes (laminate if desired) and then cut them out.  Have your students read the words and then flip the pancake with a spatula.  This activity is super simple, but the kids just absolutely love it!


Storing your activities can sometimes be a bit challenging.  I typically store mine in baggies, but plastic storage containers will work great too!


The Make, Take & Teach Flipping Pancakes activity is available through the Make, Take & Teach website or through my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.


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Motivating Struggling Readers


This is a post about helping children to become better readers- I promise.  Before we talk about reading, however, I’d like to share with you a story about the love-hate relationship that I have with my guitar.  Yep, that’s right- my guitar.


Fifteen years ago I was a stay-at-home mom.  My children were just old enough to entertain themselves for brief periods of time so I thought I’d do something new.  That “something” would be learning to play the guitar.  At the time was I attending our contemporary mass at church and a new friend was one of two guitar players.  I asked Lori if she wouldn’t mind teaching me to play. She agreed, so off I went to purchase a guitar.  Lori taught me a few chords and within a short time I was playing a “real church song”.  The song was “Come to the Water”.  If I was to correlate this song to a reading level, I’d say it’s on par with “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See” (1.4 reading level).


I practiced this song over and over and over again.  Lori and I met about once a week to practice- we chatted and played.  We had so much fun!  One evening Lori called and asked if I would play with her at mass.  Tom (the lead guitar player) wasn’t able to attend that evening and she didn’t want to be alone.  I agreed and was then under pressure to add “Praise the Lord My Soul” and “Lead Me Lord” to my repertoire.  These songs were a bit more difficult.  I’ll equate them to “Frog and Toad” (2.4 reading level).  I thought helping my friend that evening was a one-night-thing, but I still play at our 5:30 mass to this day.


Here’s something else you should know about my guitar playing.  You may be thinking with 15 years of playing guitar, I’m pretty good.  The honest truth is is that I’m not very good at all.  Despite taking lessons for 2 years and playing weekly at mass, I stalled out somewhere at Junie B. Jones (about a 3.1 grade level).   There really is no mystery as to why I’m not very good.  I simply don’t practice.  My guitar teacher was really cool.  I really enjoyed the lessons, but I didn’t practice during the week.  He was fine with that.  Although I had the music for the upcoming mass, I rarely practiced.  Tom and Lori were so good, that if I skipped a chord, it didn’t matter.  Sometimes I even played chords that were “close enough”.  Sound like any struggling readers you might know?

I’m hoping by this time, you can make the correlation between my learning to play the guitar and helping students become better readers.  The bottom line is that, just like with  learning to play an instrument, the only way to get better at something is to actually do it!  So, how much time should you practice?  Well, not sure if there’s been studies about playing guitar, but there have been studies looking at time spent reading and performance on achievement tests.  Take a look at this:

Why Reading

 You can download this chart by clicking the following link Why Reading Outside of School Is Important

It’s important to know that it’s not only about the time spent reading, it’s also about the quality of what is read.  What if every day I only played “Come to the Water” and “Lead Me Lord”.  I love those songs.  I feel really good about myself as a musician when I play them, but will I actually improve?  Probably not at a rate that’s acceptable.  It’s not harmful. My fluency with the chords in those pieces would improve and it would help my muscle-memory, but is playing the songs I already know all I need to do to become a better player?  To improve my guitar skills, I not only need to increase my practice time, but I need to systematically play songs that are more difficult.  The songs can’t be too hard that I’m frustratrated and give up, and they can’t be too easy either.  They need to be “just right”.  Just challenging enough that I’m learning something new.  In terms of reading, helping children choose “just right books” is critical.  You can use the book leveling system (e.g. Acclereated Reader) or try this quick and easy way of teaching children if a book is a good fit:

Finding the Right Fit Book

 You can download this poster by clicking the following link Finding the Right Fit Book

It’s kind of tricky balancing the “just right” books for students.  Again, they can’t be too difficult.  Studies have shown that reading at 98 percent or higher accuracy is essential for reading acceleration.  Anything less slows the rate of improvement, and anything below 90 percent doesn’t improve reading ability at all (Allington, 2012; Ehir, Dreyer, Flugman & Gross, 2007).  It’s so, so very important that we find the right books for our struggling readers.  It’s pretty clear that consistently having students read at their frustration level does little good. Maybe this handy little chart can help:

Reading levels

 You can download this file by clicking the following link Determining Reading Levels

We can’t have a discussion about about increasing time reading without talking about motivation.  So, how do you motivate students read?  More importantly, how do you motivate the struggling reader to read?  Let’s digress to my guitar playing example.  My all-time favorite Christmas song is “Child of the Poor”.  When our choir sings this song–it’s beautiful.  The melody is to “What Child is This” and the last verse we sing as a round.  I really wanted to be able to play this song from beginning to end without skipping chords at Christmas mass.  The song was a bit beyond my level (inching into the frustration level), but I practiced it diligently for weeks.  That darn “B” chord gave me the most trouble, but with a lot of practice, I finally got it!  It was a song that I was highly motivated to learn and I was willing to put in the time and practice to master it.

Child of the poor

So, how do we motivate those struggling readers, here’s a few ideas:

  1. Find a hook.  For my son, the “hook” happened in second grade with the “Michigan Chillers” series and then morphed to the “Warriors” series.  That’s when he discovered the love of reading.  Finding a series can be very addicting.
  2. Provide a variety of books for your child/students to choose from.  If you are a classroom teacher, a rich classroom library will improve student achievement at a much faster rate than worksheets.  If you are a parent, there have been numerous studies showing the direct correlation between the number of books available in the home and reading achievement.  Need books?  Frequent visits to the library may be in order.
  3. Set achievable goals with your child/students.  This could be number of books read, time spent reading, improvement in reading levels… whatever you choose.  Of course we want children to read for the pure love of reading, but sometimes we need to use some other forms of motivation until they discover this.
  4. Make reading a social affair.  Remember my friend, Lori, who taught me to play guitar?  Well, Lori sadly moved away.  Playing the guitar wasn’t as fun anymore and it was shortly after she moved that my guitar practicing time took a dive.  Try reading the same book as your child/student and have rich discussions!
  5. Set aside time.  Turn off the t.v.!  Take a peek at that chart outlining the amount of time students spend reading outside of school and their exposure to words.  Did you know that if a child at the 30th percentile (one who reads a little less than 2 minutes a day) spent an extra 10 minutes a day reading a book, he/she would have added 700,000 words read during the school year.  This surpasses the amount of words read by a student reading at the 70th percentile!

I’m reading this really great book on increasing the amount and complexity of student reading.  It’s a pretty easy read with great ideas for increasing reading time within the classroom.  Feel free to check it out!  Be sure to let me know what you think in the comment section.




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