La lecture guidée en maternelle - Guided Reading in a primary French classroom (with a Freebie!)

I am so excited!! I have FINALLY finished my Lecture guidée en maternelle pack! It has been a labour of love and on the go for a LONG time. It is 145 pages long!

I must admit that, out of everything I teach, guided reading has taken me the longest to figure out. I feel like I am a pro at teaching math and writing, especially, but I had a hard time getting myself organized when it came to guided reading. By the end of the year, most of my students could/can read, but I just didn't feel like I was organized and like I was teaching them in the most effective way. My lessons and text selection were often done on the fly.

But this year is different! My personal objective for this year was to figure out guided reading for once and for all, and I think I have done it. I am excited to share with you what I have spent the past 3+ years figuring out!

First of all, here is a schedule of how my guided reading block runs. I have time to see 2 groups per day, and each group stays with me for 15-20 minutes. The rest of my kids are doing centres at this time.

As I am sure you all know, in order to become successful readers, students need to be able to use 3 sets of clues to figure out unknown words. They need to rely on visual clues, they need to think about what would make sense, and they need to use what they know about language and sentence structure (for example, replace a noun with a noun because that sounds right). A great teacher once told me that reading is kind of like an orchestra - students need to use all 3 sets of clues together in order to make sense of what they are reading and to figure out unknown words correctly. But how do you teach your students to do that?? Especially when they are 5? Answer: with animals!

I have read a LOT of teacher blog posts about guided reading, trying to figure out how to best teach my kinders. I have noticed that a lot of them use animals (the "beanie baby method") to teach their students seven essential strategies. Such a great idea! 5 year olds love animals and need a visual anchor when they are trying to use strategies on their own. However, I couldn't find anything like it en français (story of my life! #amirite?!). So, I adapted it myself and came up with this:

7 animals to teach 7 reading strategies. And they rhyme! If, by the end of the year, your students can use these strategies to help them figure out unknown words, they will be using all 3 types of clues and will be reading rock stars! And guess what? I have a FREE copy of the above poster to use in your classroom along with a guided reading cheat sheet of activities for each strategy to give to you!

Want the guided reading cheat sheet? Just CLICK HERE or on the image below to sign up, and I will email it to you! 

This is how I teach each strategy/what each animal means:

1. Regarde partout avec le hibou
The owl will remind students to look at the picture for clues to what the unknown word could be. This strategy is perfect for those level 1 books with predictable text! Students will be able to read the predictable part of the story, and then check the picture for an idea to what the unknown word will be. By looking at the picture, they are thinking about what would make sense based on visual clues to finish the sentence.

2. Prépare ta bouche avec la mouche
The fly reminds students to get their mouth ready to make the beginning sound of the unknown word. Then they can use the beginning sound + the picture to come up with a word that makes sense. This strategy is really helpful when students say things like "Je mets mes souliers" when they book says "Je mets mes bottes".  Both make sense when the student looks at the picture, but when they get their mouth ready to make the /b/ sound in bottes, they will know that the word can't be souliers. This strategy can be taught once students know a good chunk of the letters of the alphabet and their beginning sounds.

After I teach this strategy, but before I move into the next one, I like to get my students practicing listening for and segmenting sounds in words. We do this during our Étude de mots time during our lecture guidée block, after we have read our book. When I introduce this idea, I don't use letters yet - it is totally oral. I find that my students often struggle hearing multiple sounds in words without a lot of practice, especially if French is their second language. Adding letters to the mix right away takes the focus off of just listening, and adds a whole new degree of difficulty. So, how do I practice listening for sounds and segmenting/blending words without letters? With snake mats and manipulatives!

In my lecture guidée pack, you will find a collection of cards that show a picture of an object that has 2-3 phonemes (I personally printed them in black and white on coloured card stock - yellow for two phonemes and blue for 3, but they are available in colour as well). There are also snake mats with 2-3 squares on them. I get my students to draw a card and name the picture out loud (in this case a « rat »).

Then, they identify the first sound and say it (rrrrrrrrrr) while sliding up the first manipulative. In these pictures, we are using magnetic Bingo chips that I ordered from Amazon. They are our favourite! You can also use seasonal erasers, regular Bingo chips, or anything else they can slide.

Next, each student says the second sound (aaaaaaa), and slides up the second manipulative. This part can be really tricky, and I often have to get my students to do it over and over until they really segment it properly! They often want to say « rrrrrrr, rrrrrraaaa » and blend too soon. It's really important that they segment each sound! This big time helps them hear multiple sounds in words when they are writing.

Finally, they blend the word together and say the whole thing: « rat! ». I have magnetic "magic" wands that I also got from Amazon that they use for this part. When they sweep the wand from left to right, blending their sounds, the wand picks up their Bingo chips. It is truly magical hahaha. They get so pumped!! If you are using another kind of manipulative, they would sweep their hand left to right, picking them up while blending the word.

Once they get really good at 2 phonemes, we move onto 3! You can also do this activity with slinkies. They pull the slinky apart while segmenting, then push it back together to blend. Another big hit!

3. Étire le mot lentement avec le serpent
Now we are getting into decoding. This takes LOTS of practice. Unfortunately, in French, there are far fewer simple, common words that students can practice decoding that don't have silent letters and sons composés. I start with two letter words (which happily there are quite a few of). I like to use magnetic letters on a cookie sheet for this. Mine are colour coded - blue for consonants, red for vowels. I give them a few letters (for example a, v, t, m, s) and ask them to put all the blue letters on one side of the sheet and the reds on the other. Then I say a word out loud (va). They repeat the word s-l-o-w-l-y like a snake, and slide the correct letters together. You can also use the snake mats and white board markers and get your kiddos to write the letters they hear, one at a time, if you don't have magnetic letters.

Once we are 2-phoneme word masters, we work on 3-phoneme words with beginning, middle, and ending sounds. There aren't very many in French, so I provided you with a list of the ones I use, and the magnetic letters you will need to make them. And remember - after a student segments a word, it is SO important that they blend it together again! This helps them when they read. It is no good for them to decode a word slowly by saying all the letters, but then not put them together to make a word. There is no way that they will understand what they have read if they can't stick the sounds back together again! That is why it is so important to practice segmenting and blending in isolation like this - then they will be able to transfer their skills and use them while reading.

At this time, I also introduce a couple of sons composés that my students will see in their books - usually on and ou to start. I do the same activities with the snake mat. I keep the son composés in one square even though there are two letters, because together they make one phoneme. After we make a few words, I get my students to pick 3 that they can read and they write them in their snake booklet.

4. Trouve les parties avec la chenille
This is when I show my students how to read words in parts. We practice looking for other sons composés, and we practice reading words in syllables. This is such an essential strategy when they start reading longer words! It is SO MUCH EASIER to read "salade" like "sa-la-de" instead of like "/s/-/a/-/l/-/a/-/d/-/e/" - the poor kiddos will forget all the sounds they have read!

5. Essaie un autre son avec le chaton
Happily, in French, their aren't too many letters that make more than one sound, unless they are part of a son composé. However, when we get to this strategy, I get my students to practice reading words with hard and soft c and g. We practice reading words with both possible sounds and decide together which would make sense. I like using sorting games and puzzles for this!

6. Saute le mot malin avec le lapin
Sometimes, it's more efficient to think of a word that would make sense than to decode a word using its letters. If a word is really tricky for a student, they may be able to skip the word, finish the sentence, and then go back and try a word that makes sense. Of course, it is essential that you teach them that they can't just skip it and finish the book - they need to go back and try a word out! A fun way to practice this strategy is to cover a few words in their book with a piece of paper. Get them to read the rest of the page and think about what word would make sense in that place. I like to get them to write down the sounds they hear in their guess on a white board, and then check through the word once they take the paper off and see if they were right. If not, I get them to use their new clues (the letters of the uncovered word) to make another guess that makes sense. You can do this same activity with the mouche by covering a word except for its first letter!

7. Essaie un autre mot avec l'escargot
This strategy is for when a student gets big time stuck. They have tried everything else and just can't figure out what the tricky word is. Sometimes, this is going to happen. But we don't want our students to get stuck on an impossible word forever and refuse to continue their reading until someone comes and helps them! We want them to be independent. Sometimes, they just aren't going to know the exact word... but they should be able to think of another word that would make sense. Students can use the structure of the sentence and their knowledge of language to replace the unknown word with something else that doesn't take away from the meaning of the text. Then they can continue reading and ask for help from an adult at another time. For example, if the book they are reading said "J'aime mes moufles rouges!" and they student had never heard the word moufles before and couldn't decode it, tried skipping it and coming back but their guess didn't match up, etc., they could look at the picture, see that the characters mittens are red, know that it would make sense to say "J'aime mes mitaines rouges!" say that instead, and continue reading. Then later they could check with an adult what that word was.

I like to always, always also remind my students of 3 questions to ask themselves when they are reading: Does it make sense? Does it look right? Does it sound right? If the answer to any of those questions is no, they need to try one of their strategies! We don't want our students rushing through their reading and not noticing when they have made a mistake. They need to be thinking about the sense of what they are reading all. the. time! To help with comprehension, I question them before, during, and after their reading, and sometimes we play games. I have a little pack of guided reading cards that I keep with me to remind myself of questions to ask them. It can be hard to think on the fly!

Rather than drill them with interview questions after we read, I have some spinners and dice that we use to pick a question or two to answer each time.

To keep all of this organized, I have a lecture guidée binder and a set of drawers. My binder is just a 1" binder from Costco. In it, I have a tab for each group, and a tab for each student. I also have a tab for my weekly plans. There are lots of ways to organize your planning, but here is what I do!

First, I have a sheet to keep track of my groups. My guided reading groups are pretty fluid - when someone is no longer a good fit for their group, I move them to another. Right now I have 5 groups, but later in the year,  I may have 6... or even 4! I keep this sheet in a plastic sleeve and write my students' names with Sharpie. I can wipe it off using hairspray (#protip) if I need to move someone. I use colours to keep track of my groups, and I let my group with the most needs choose their colour first.

My groups on the sheet are in no particular order
I also have a sheet for each group with space to plan out 4 lessons. For groups I see more often (my below-level readers), I copy it double sided and plan out 8 lessons. This helps me make sure that my lessons have continuity and progression. It helps me see the big picture! I keep the sheet for each group behind the group tab in my binder.

After each lesson, I add notes with a different colour of pen if needed
Then I have another sheet I use to plan out my week. This sheet I look at all week long and keeps me on track! Since I have 4-8 lessons planned ahead of time for each group, it is easy to sketch out what the plan is for any given day for any given group on my weekly schedule.

I also do a fiche de lecture each time I give my kiddos a new book, so it is easy for me to see who needs to sit by me so I can hear them read, and it helps me not miss anybody! These sheets go behind each students' tab. They help me make sure that I am giving them books to read at their instructional level, and see at a glance what they need to work on. I like to use my own sheet, rather than the one provided by my school board, because it has a place where I can circle which strategies my student used. It makes it so easy to see their next step!

Ignore my hen scratching/grammatical error haha
To keep all of my activities, books, and games organized for each group, I have a set of 6 drawers. Actually, two sets of 3 drawers. They are from Walmart and cost about 13$ each, and are big-time worth it! Since I use colours for each of my groups, I put a picture of their colour on each drawer. I have 5 groups, so I have one drawer left over. In their drawer, I put everything I need for the week - their books, games, cards, activities, strategy cards/bookmarks, fluency bookmarks, empty fiches de lecture, anything! In the sixth drawer, I keep things that I use with multiple groups.

I use colours for my groups, but in my TPT product, I have included multiple options for grouping your kiddos :)

Everything that you see in this blog post can be found in my new TPT product : Lecture guidée en maternelle! It is specifically designed for kinders in mind, because they haven't learned any strategies yet, but can of course be used for grade ones as well! It comes with...

- Reading strategy posters

- Cards/bookmarks to reinforce using their newly learned strategies at home

- Tips, tricks, and ideas for how to structure your guided reading lessons, as well as questions to ask your students and things to say when they get stuck

- Comprehension activities, questions, and games

- Word work activities and games (blending, segmenting, reading words in parts, try another sound, etc.)

- Lesson plan forms and running record sheets

- Organization tips

- and MORE! 

If you have any questions at all, please let me know in the comments! Happy reading!

Pocket chart sentences

Youpi, youpi!!

Last week, my brand new pocket chart arrived. It's my fourth year teaching, and I have never splurged on a NICE pocket chart until now! I bought a couple of little cheap ones from Michael's, but always balked at the prices at Scholar's Choice and Scholastic, and was too nervous about ordering online. Nothing worse than a pocket chart whose pockets stretch out and don't hold the cards! Anyways, I had some Scholastic Bonus Bank dollars left over from last year, and an activity that I really wanted to try out, so I took the plunge and ordered one from their Classroom Essentials catalogue. And let me tell you, I am SO glad I did!! I LOVE IT. It is huge - wider than my easel - but still hooks onto my easel nicely. We can fit so many words in there!

The picture above is the one I purchased. It may say 24.99, but with taxes and shipping, it came out to 35$. Ouch! I'm sorry, but I think that is too much for a piece of fabric with plastic pockets. But really I didn't technically pay anything and used my bonus bank, so I will keep my mouth closed and not complain, haha. 

Here is how it looks in my classroom:

So nice and big!!

The activity that I really wanted to try out with my kinders was building predictable sentences. We are getting so great at reading our sight words, but I find that my group this year is slow to make the transfer that they can use the words they know to build sentences in their writing, too. My word wall is 100% interactive, but isn't being used during Writer's Workshop quite as much as I would like. I felt like I needed a quick little activity to help build the bridge between reading sight words and using them to write, too. I had seen predictable sentences being used often in English Kindergarten classrooms as a literacy centre, but have never come across one in French. So, of course, I just had to make one! 

I picked 6 target sentences to start with. I only put 2-3 up in the chart at a time (both masculine and feminine versions). The sentences I pick contain only the sight words I have taught whole group. The target sentences stay at the top of the pocket chart. On the bottom rows, I placed all of the words that we need to build the target sentences, plus 12 vocabulary words that my students can select to finish their sentences. For November, to go with our math journals, I went with a farm theme. Gotta sneak that vocab in whenever you can! Then, I model, model, model. I show my students how to choose a target sentence (I think out loud so they can hear what their thinking may sound like, too). I get someone to help me find the words to build the predictable part of our sentence. I get someone else to pick a word to finish my sentence, and to select some punctuation. Now - we all know that French is a little more tricky than English in that the genre of the word is really important and affects the word you can choose. All of the cards where genre is a factor are labelled with a little stick boy or girl, to show if the word is masculine or feminine. We talk about how all those little pictures need to be the same in our sentence in order for it to make sense. 

Then we take turns reading the sentence using a pointer. Sometimes I will switch out the last word to try and "trick" my students, but they always seem to pay attention and realize when the sentence changes ;)

This activity only takes us 5-7ish minutes as part of our morning meeting, but I have already noticed a difference in their one to one correspondence, so that is exciting!

This week, I have turned this activity into a literacy centre, as well. My students work in partners during centre time (à la Debbie Diller), and at this station, each partner builds a sentence. Then they write and illustrate their sentences for me so that I can see the beautiful sentences they made! I forgot to take a picture of what they came up with today, but they did pretty well! I will continue to model making our sentences make sense during our morning meeting. 

I also love how it provides us with a great opportunity to discuss and practice reading with expression and looking at the punctuation. This morning, we talked about how our voices are different at the end of a sentence with an exclamation mark vs a period. 

If you are interested in trying out predictable sentences with your students too, just click HERE or on any of the pictures above to  check it out in my TPT store. In the download, you get 6 different predictable sentences (Regarde le/la_____,  C'est un/une_______, Voici un/une_____, Je vois un/une____, C'est un(e) petit(e)_____, C'est un(e) grand(e)_____) to build, as well as 12 different Farm themed vocabulary cards. You can use this resource whole group, small group, or as a literacy centre - I have also included an "I Can" card to help foster student independence. There are even two emergent readers included that practice two of the above sentences and the vocabulary words, and two writing paper options for students to record their sentences.

If you want to try out a non-seasonal version,  you can grab Phrases fantastiques - Les animaux en couleur by clicking HERE! There is also a money-saving bundle available right HERE.

Five for Friday - November 13

Hi! It's Friday, and I have a few minutes to myself, so I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for my favourite, Five for Friday! Five for Friday is a linky party where teachers post about five random things from their week.

We had a GREAT week this week. Having Wednesday off probably helped a bit (we didn't have our usual Friday fatigue today), and my class is in that sweet spot of just being all around lovely, engaged, excited, and pretty well-behaved. I am feeling so excited about teaching, and so pleased with some of the things we have been accomplishing lately!

My happiness began this week when Ben, my favourite human, finally caved and decided to give making clip art a try! He is SO SO talented, and I have been trying to convince him for ages to give it a go. How amazing would it be to have my own, personal clip artist in the house? ;)

He is starting out with some superheroes. Aren't they adorable?!

I just can't wait to see them when they are all cleaned up and coloured!!

I don't know if it is a Kindergarten teacher thing, but I love colouring and find it super relaxing. I am so excited that adult colouring books are a thing now and I really hope that Santa brings me one this year! In the meantime, I have been enjoying colouring these FREE tribal adult colouring sheets from Rebecca B Designs. I posted about them on my Facebook page, but in case you missed it, here is the link to them in her TPT store!

I just knew that Costco Sharpie pack would come in handy someday ;)

Yesterday, I only had 13 kids! I finished my report cards on Wednesday, so I was all set to dive into some new content after spending basically all of Monday and Tuesday squeezing in last-minute evaluations and tying up loose ends. But since I was missing so many, I changed my plans a bit. One of the outcomes we are working on this term is showing our understanding of a text through different means (like a drawing, retelling, skit, etc.). Some of my kiddos are still not solid in their second language, so comprehension is really important. Thinking about the characters, setting, and key details are essential to being able to retell a story, and if a student can identify and discuss all of those things, to me, they definitely understand what I read to them. To introduce them to this idea, I started with something every already knew - the Three Little Pigs. We read the book, then made some adorable puppets. They had to show me that they knew who the main characters were, and aside from a quick discussion, I gave very little guidance here. I showed them how to make a pig, and that was it - the rest was all them (I noted if they recognized they needed 3 pigs and a wolf to retell the story). I seriously did zero prep for this. It was totally on the fly when it was 8:40am, the busses had been and gone, and I realized no more kids were coming. I literally put pink, red, and black paper and googly eyes on their tables and modelled how they could find two different sized circles around the classroom (pencil holders, tape rolls, containers, etc.) to trace for a head and nose. No templates! I also showed them they could cut the corners of the paper to make triangle ears. Look how adorable they turned out!

The wolves they totally free-handed. The one above is a really bad wolf - look at those red eyes, haha! The sticks were a combination of left over stick thingys from when we grew beans last year, straws, and white coloured pencils (because who uses those anyway?!).

Then I gave them straws, wooden blocks, and Lego to make houses out of straw, wood, and bricks, and we "played" the Three Little Pigs. It was so much fun!! And so easy for me to see that everyone understood the main ideas of the story. Even though this is a story that probably everyone knew before they got to school, it is still great practice for later in the year when we get into some new stories! I was also SO PLEASED with how much French was being spoken! Usually it is hard to get them to speak French while playing - they don't have all of the vocabulary yet. But, since we had just read the story, they were using a lot of words that they had heard over and over in the book. "Petit cochon, petit cochon, laissez-moi entrer!" "Je vais SOUFFLER et SOUFFLER!" Love it!

Two wolves huffing and puffing!

Straw houses are actually really tricky to build
In the afternoon, we talked about how the wolf seemed mean and like he wanted to eat the pigs. But then I asked if they thought it was possible the wolf was just misunderstood... and we read one of my favourite versions of les Trois petits cochons :

This story is so cute! The wolf is actually sick and just wants some tissues... but the pigs won't share. So he gets frustrated, goes down the chimney, lands in a "warm bath", and ends up sneezing all over the pigs and sharing his germs! It's so important to cover your mouth when you sneeze ;)

After we read that story, we played again for about 15 minutes, and added some Kleenex into the game. They could decide if their wolf was mean or just sick.

I loved this activity and can't wait to build their French vocab and comprehension skills in the same way with more stories this year!

Our guided reading lessons have also been going strong. We started serious guided reading this week. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this small group time!! It took us a really long time this year to get into the groove of our centres. I have another blog post coming up about how centre time looks in my classroom - it didn't always run smoothly, haha. But now we are pros and I am getting that quality time I need with my groups. Today we busted out my special magnet counters/magic wands and our Lentement comme un serpent mats for the first time and had a blast segmenting and blending sounds!


I have been working really hard compiling all of my guided reading stuff into one big document for TPT. I am on page 75 or something like that and still have lots of activities to add! These snake mats and segmenting cards will be in there, along with all of the other things I do to teach reading strategies to my kinders. So if you are looking for help making your guided reading time run smoothly and efficiently, check back soon! :)

Number 5 was a big proud teacher moment for me today!!! On of my little munchkins successfully read his yellow sight words and fluency sentences perfectly! That means he already knows 30+ sight words and it is only November *all of the heart eyes*! I am LOVING my sight word lists more than ever this year. It's the first time I started early in the year, and I am seeing big progress for a lot of my kiddos. I love how it is differentiated depending on each student, and moves along at their own speed. As a class, whole-group, I have taught all of the red words and our first two orange. But, some of my kids still haven't mastered their red words yet - that's fine! They get to practice at home at their own speed and once they get them, they will get their orange list. I have three kids who got their orange lists today, and four who got their yellows. That's half my class who is ahead of the game - I love that they can progress at their own rate!

If you aren't sure what these lists are and are interested in a new way of practicing sight words with your students, you can check this product out in my TPT store by clicking HERE. Basically, I took 90 high-frequency words, broke them into groups of 10, and gave each group a colour. Students start with red, and when they master a list, they move onto the next colour, all at their own pace. There are certificates and progress reports/evaluations for each list, and fluency sentences that practice all 10 words from the list in context, and include words from previous lists as well, so they aren't forgotten. If your kids master all their lists, there is another product for practicing les sons composés, which you can check out HERE, or you can buy the bundle with both products HERE and save $$.

I hope you have the very best weekend! :)

Un coquelicot pour se souvenir


Long time, no post! I have been in big-time new resource creating mode for the past month. My students this year are so different than last year when I had the combined class, that I have been finding that I have needed to create more for them than I anticipated! I am also a different teacher than I was two years ago (the last time I had a straight K class), so I have been changing things up a lot. Things are going really well in my classroom though, and I wanted to pop in and share with you a quick post about what we made for our school-wide Remembrance Day ceremony tomorrow!

Looking for a simple, beautiful art activity to help your students celebrate Remembrance Day? Check out this poppy craft - all you need are coffee filters, red washable markers, and water!

These were super simple and quick to make, but are very pretty! We are singing the song Un beau coquelicot during the assembly tomorrow, so I wanted everyone to have a poppy for the song. I had made this type of flower with a whole bunch of colours with previous students for Mother's Day the year before, so I knew I still had some coffee filters in my art cupboards (they come in a pack of 250 for super cheap!).

You can make these in just three steps!

1. Get your students to colour their coffee filter red with a (washable) marker. Sharpies don't work for this! Mr. Sketch markers work extra well. Get them to fill in as much white space as they can, but it does not have to be perfect. The more space they colour, the richer the red will be. I had a few different shades of red markers on the table, and some students used more than one.

I had my students put their coffee filter over a piece of scrap paper to avoid red tables. Some of them also used a clip board if they had trouble holding their coffee filter still.

2. Get your students to "paint" their red coffee filter, using only water and a decent sized paint brush. I had also put their initials on their coffee filter with a Sharpie. The Sharpie marker won't spread when it comes into contact with water.

They "painted" their filter when it was still on the scrap paper - again to save my tables! The filters don't stick to the paper once they dry.

3. Use a pipe cleaner to assemble when dry! I dried ours with a hair dryer - super quick to do. Then I just pinched the (dry) coffee filter in the middle of the circle and held it in a flower-shape. I twisted a pipe cleaner around the bottom (where I was pinching it) to hold it and make a stem. Easy, peasy!

If you are still in need of a quick craft to do tomorrow, I hope this helps you! These are also a great craft for Mother's Day - I had each student decorate 3 filters with all different colours and patterns and we made little bouquets tied together with ribbon.

Enjoy the rest of your week!