Entries by Katie Garner

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Phonics on Steroids: Give Kindergartners “Warp-Speed” Access to the Reading and Writing Code

It Takes More Than Individual Letter Sounds to Read and Write! I sneakily took this pic at the end of snack the other day…. These 6 kids were engrossed in telling the Secrets (and trying to figure out the ones we haven’t learned yet!) The little guy in the stripes has become our unofficial “Word […]

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Teaching the Reading & Writing Connection in Kindergarten

I received this adorable picture and description from kindergarten teacher, Kjersti Johnson, along with the following email… I teach two sessions of half-day Kindergarten, with my morning class tied to our Intensive Support Class (4-8 fully inclusive kiddos) and my afternoon class with half ELL, plus a few in the am too!) I knew the […]

“….But NINE other people were doing it!”

  “But NINE other people were doing it too!” As September draws to a close, that initial excitement over “going back to school” begins to wear off. Most students by now have become acclimated to their new routine and the increased learning and behavior expectations in their new classroom.  But for those who haven’t, the […]


The “SECRETS” to Guided Reading 101

The New SECRET STORIES® Guided Reader Series- In the Fall SECRET STORIES® READER- In the Fall I’m so excited about this that I couldn’t wait to share it! I sometimes feel like a broken record when I say that the SECRET STORIES® is not a program, but easily accessible, reading and writing tools to be used throughout the instructional […]

Social Studies Standards Posters for ANY State!

Common Core Made EASY!! Cutest EVER Common Core Social Studies Standard Posters (made to match the FREE Science Poster Sets!) FREE Pk-3rd Grade Common Core Science Posters This post is going to be short, but sweet!I just wanted to be sure and let everyone know that I have posted preview sets for the Common Core […]

Chit-Chatting About the Phonics “Secrets!”

Imagine you’re a beginning learner in Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade, and you’re told about the grown-up reading & writing “”secret”  al, and the sound they make when they get together in a word… A and L love balls! ALL balls…  Footballs, baseballs, basketballs, volleyballs…  ALL balls, ALL the time!! Armed with this new reading and writing tool, you naturally begin looking for […]

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The Brain Loves Novelty, So Spice-Up Your Phonics Instruction!

Brain Based Phonics Instruction: How to Take Advantage of the Brain’s Need for Novelty! I’m often asked why the Secret Stories® musical brainteaser exercises (on the CD that’s included with the class kits) don’t sound like actual “songs” (i.e. no musical/ instrumental accompaniment, repetitive lyrics, etc…). If you are already using the Secrets in your daily reading and writing […]


First Graders Offended By School News Article!… An Impromptu Exercise in Persuasive Writing

First Graders Offended By School News Article! Last month, I shared a post (here) written by first grade teacher, Renee McAnulty from Hesperia, California. Her candid description of the challenges she faced with her class at the beginning of the school year generated TONS of questions, comments, and emails from teachers with similar classroom situations […]