Valentines Day

Teaching an Effective Guided Reading Lesson: The Mini Lesson

Contains Seven Leveled B or C Guided Readers

Guiding Their Reading: The Mini-Lesson

A guided reading lesson usually opens with a brief mini-lesson. The objective of the lesson is generally something that will help students read the text to be presented. And most generally, will look different for each reading group. For example, if you are going to read the book "Little Hearts," found in our February Guided Books,  you could choose from limitless mini-lessons. Following are a few suggestions.

Tracking Print
The strategy of tracking print can be practiced by printing simple sight words on cards and using picture cards or small objects for support in reading the sentence. 

Place the word cards in a row to construct a sentence. “Think Aloud” as you place the cards, talking about the words (and cards/objects), drawing attention to the space between words. “Okay. I now have a sentence. I will take my finger and point under each word that my voice is saying.” Point at each word one by one in a slightly exaggerated fashion. Ask students to read the sentence one by one pointing at each word as the word is spoken. After the activity, remind students that when you read today’s book, point at each word as it is read. *Note. For lower level groups, use only objects rather than words and allow students to practice naming an object only when their finger is pointing at it as they practice the skill of tracking.

Sight words: 
To practice the sight words included in your chosen guided reading selection, have the words ready to go, printed on cards. First show the students each word in flash-card style. Next, pull out a small deck of cards (about 3 or 4 of each word) with the words printed on them. “We are going to play Hot-Potato-Word!” “To play, I will draw the top card and read it. I will then pass it to ____ (the person at my left), and then he will read it and pass it, and he will read and pass until it gets back to me. I will then put the card in a container to cool it down.” After play, remind students to look for the sight words just practiced as they read the day’s book.

Valentine Thematic Unit

The sweetest of holidays is just around the corner! For some great valentine themed learning in your classroom, try our thematic unit: Valentines Red, Valentines Blue: Sweet Thematic Curriculum Essentials (Download preview here).

Table of Contents:

Literacy Activities
Speedy Heart: Naming Alphabet Letter Sounds Fluently
Valentine YOYO: Reading Sight Words
Postal Race: Reading and Alphabetizing Names
Valentine Sounds: Blending Sounds Together
Capital Clash: Building Alphabet Letter and Sound Fluency
Vanishing Hearts: Reading Alphabet Letter Sounds Fluently
Vanishing Hearts: Reading CVC Words Fluently
Conversation Hearts: Reading and Writing High-Frequency Words
Sorting Mail: Reading and Writing Various Fonts

Math Activities

Find a Heart: Identifying Numbers
Valentine Count: Making Numbers Equal to 10
Cupcake Wars: Adding and Subtracting on a Number Line Using the Signs + and -.
Draw a Shape: Drawing Shapes
Symmetry: Making a Heart
Candy Heart Graph: Gathering and Interpreting Data

Art Projects

Valentine Animals
Valentine Mouse
Valentine Puzzle

Kitchen Science

Sweetheart Pudding
Decorate a Valentine Cookie


My Friend
Love Dust
Bushel and a Peck


Valentine Word Wall Words
Writing Prompts:
My Friends
Things I Love
I Can:
Label It
Write a List
Write Word Wall Words

Guided Reading Books

My Valentine

Enjoy this free song poster as our valentine treat to you!

A Valentine Dice Game

Here is a great "candy-free" valentine that Lyndsey has created over at Mamma's Tots.
Each Valentine has 50 circles on the main heart. Children roll the die and fill in the circles. When all of the circles are filled, the child wins! The die is attached to the Valentine with tape, and what could be more fun to play with than a die!

Click here for a pdf version of the valentines that you can use non commercially.
And for more Valentine ideas, try this packet of fun activities.

Valentines Dramatic Play and Writing

Probably one of my favorite Dramatic Play opportunities of the year in our playhouse is The Valentine Post Office. 

I purchased the postman costumes years (and years) ago from Lakeshore. They are adorable, and consist of a jacket, a hat and a mailbag. If you do not have costumes, you can find many templates for postal worker hats online and simply make your own as a headband. Or, do the Post Office without costumes.

Next, fill the playhouse with TONS of writing paper. I have scraps of paper, paper cut as hearts, paper that is ran as cards, and so-on. Then add some markers, pencils, crayons, stamps, or anything else you can think of.

I then give the students one main rule. The post office is for writing letters! You  can add pictures to finish your writing, but you must write first!

This is when my independent writing moves to a new level, love it!