Summer Book Study: Goals 1 and 2

It's week two of our book study of The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo!  I'm excited to share my thoughts on goals one and two.  Goal one is about supporting pre-emergent and emergent readers, and goal two is about teaching reading engagement.

As a former kindergarten teacher, I am always excited to read about ways we can support our very youngest readers.  In Goal One, Serravallo addresses what research says about when we should begin focusing on decoding words and working toward conventional reading.  Although our standards are tougher than ever before, Serravallo reminds us that early childhood research asserts that although we can get many children reading earlier than ever before, that may not be best for every child.  We have the responsibility of meeting children where they are.  Furthermore, there are many meaningful activities we can and should do with children before they are ready for conventional reading.  Establishing a child's engagement and desire for reading is critical at this young age!

I've chosen three strategies from Goal 1 to share with you today!

Strategy 1.1: Finding Treasures in Books

I picked this strategy because it's PERFECT for the beginning of the school year!  I think it would be a perfect activity for the first week of formal guided reading groups.  To use this strategy, you'll compile a variety of books.  Then, your students will explore the books and find treasures that interest them!  For kindergarten, these treasures might be an interesting picture, a word they know, or even a letter from their name.  Your students can keep track of their treasures by writing or drawing them on a mini whiteboard or piece of paper.  I created a template you can use for this activity, and it's available for free in this download.

Strategy 1.4: Pictures as Stepping Stones

I LOVE this activity because it helps reinforce that a) pictures have meaning and b) the pictures in a book connect to the text and can help us as readers.  Emergent readers will be reading books with strong picture support, so I love using this strategy to reinforce that knowledge.  Serravallo explains that the pictures in a book connect to make a story in a similar way as the text does.  You can use the pictures as "stepping stones" to tell a story.  This works great for a book a student has already read, or you could use an unfamiliar text to try to be a storyteller!

This strategy would be a fun partner activity in kindergarten.  You could pair students who read the same text or different texts, or you could let each student try it out with a new book.  It gives students a great opportunity to work on their communication and speaking skills, so it would be a good activity for any time of the school year, but especially the beginning!

Strategy 1.5: Word Treasure Hunt

Here's another treasure-themed activity!  This activity is great for reinforcing that words have meaning and that it's our job as a reader to find the meaning.  It's also perfect for reinforcing concepts about print.  To use this strategy, students first read the pictures and then they go back and hunt for any words or letters they know.  Then, you can put the words or letters on a chart.

Serravallo provides great teaching prompts for this strategy that work great for young readers.  Students will be excited to think of words and letters they know as treasures!

As I said before, you can write the letters and words on a chart.  Students may also want to write them on their own.  I made a quick treasure-themed page you could use for this, and it's a freebie in this download.

In Goal 2, which is about teaching reading engagement, Serravallo reminds us that "engagement is everything" (pg. 44, The Reading Strategies Book).  Children must have meaningful and positive experiences with books from a young age.  They must have opportunities to interact with text in an on-task, strategic, and social manner on many occasions.

Strategy 2.1: A Perfect Reading Spot

This is another great strategy to keep in mind for back-to-school time.  With this strategy, you will lead a conversation about what makes the perfect reading spot for each of your students.  Is your perfect reading spot quiet or loud? Bright or dim? In your chair or on a pillow?  You can create a chart or a drawing of your classroom and talk about the characteristics of each possible reading spot. Then, you could provide each student with a sticky note with their name on it and let them stick their note on a spot on the drawing that would be their ideal reading spot.  

This strategy is pretty simple, but it's important to remind children that finding a spot that helps them focus while reading is a good idea.  Also, remind your students that their spot is flexible and might change based on the amount of other children reading in one area, etc.

Strategy 2.7: Prime Yourself with Prior Knowledge

This strategy caught my eye because it's one I tried to use frequently in kindergarten.  I believe that establishing prior knowledge at the beginning of a lesson can make a huge difference in students' engagement.  It can be done in whole-group, small-group, or individual settings, and can take just a minute.  Especially for reluctant readers, this strategy can help set students up for success with whatever you're teaching!

Strategy 2.9: Most Desirable/Least Desirable

If you're familiar with The Daily 5™, you probably know a lot about this strategy already!  Use this strategy as a way to show students what it looks like to be a disengaged reader vs. an engaged reader.  This is another essential strategy for the beginning of the year!

With my kindergarteners, I could always guarantee they would laugh when I showed them what I looked like as a disengaged reader.  I would sit sideways in my chair, look bored and tired, and act really distracted.  Even children with little experience with reading knew that I was not in a good position for reading.  They were very eager to show me what it looks like when we're focused on reading.  What does our body look like?  Where are our eyes?  Are we talking or silent?  Then, we practiced this skill over and over again by going to a reading spot and practicing what good reading looks like.  I find this strategy to be highly effective!

Next week we will discuss goals three and four.  It's not too late to hop on board with us!  If you don't already have the book, click here to buy it from Amazon.  You can even rent it from Amazon!  

 If you need to go back and read last week's post about the Getting Started part of the book, here's the link:

Are you already reading along?  Leave a comment telling me your favorite strategy from goals one and two!

Check out the other blog posts about these goals!  Thanks to Teaching Little Miracles for hosting!


  1. Hi Katie. I love reading your perspective as a Kindergarten teacher because this year I will be working with a lot of Kinders as a reading specialist, and they scare me a little bit! Ha! Hopefully, I will start the year armed with many strategies for them. Thanks so much for the Treasure freebies. They are great!


  2. Katie, I liked the Goal 1 and Goal 2 strategies you posted. It's hard for me to narrow down to just a few in Goal 2 because there were so many that are applicable! But, I will try... 2.10 Party Ladder -- I wish I'd had this one for a couple of my students last year. I will enjoy using it this year... 2.21 You've Got to "Get It" to Be Engaged -- really helps students think about what they're thinking about! ... and 2.27 Hear the Story -- excellent advice to be intentional about sharing with students

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Back to Top