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And we have READERS!!!!

My first graders are literally OBSESSED with the Secret Stories!
 


Hello again from Mrs. Mac and her munchkins!

We have so much to share with you and so little time to do so! Busy, busy, busy we are at this time of year, but my students have been hounding me to sneak on Katie’s blog again and brag about their growth.
“Mrs. Mac… 
We need to let the people know how we’re doing!!!” 
I have learned over the years to never argue with determined 1st graders, so let’s get right down to the bragging….

These kids are officially crazy-in-love with Secret Stories! 
I cannot get through a lesson without them freaking out because they’ve discovered a Secret Story ‘hiding’ in a word.. and they go literally insane if the word has more than one Secret in it!

Here are some of our super-exciting Secret Stories-moments…

In this first clip, the kids were so excited that we actually had to stop what we were doing that moment and come to the carpet, so that they could “work the word.”

Notice that they are holding their hands over their sweet little mouths, which is what they do whenever they notice more than one Secret Story in a word. This helps them “hold the Secret in” so that they don’t accidentally blurt it out (completely their idea!)  Aren’t they just adorable?

Spotting SECRETS in the word ‘dangerous!’

This class has some real performers in it, and I love to tap into their hidden talents as much as possible! Here are few future actors performing their favorite…… the ous Secret! 

When ou & s get together, poor little o is always left out, and so it’s just US!”

Secret Stories® Phonics "ous" Secret

We spent 30 minutes acting this out. They got so into it that they just didn’t want to stop!  Below is a clip of one of my favorite groups acting out the ous Secret…

 
My favorite time to share and hear Secret Stories is during guided reading. I love Guided Reading! I could listen to them read all day. Using the Secret Stories has completely changed my approach to teaching kids how to read. It literally took all the stress off my shoulders! 
I used to really stress when I came across a word that I knew they couldn’t sound-out or identify using picture-support, but now I know the “Secrets” for all of those tricky words…. and so do THEY!

Guided Reading is now stress-free (or at least as stress-free as a first grade classroom can be!) The following clips include children on a variety of different reading levels, as I wanted to show how knowing the “grown-up” reading & writing Secrets make cracking the code easy for ALL learners- regardless of their level!
So here are some very proud kiddos who couldn’t wait to share their Secrets with you.
Can you see the pride in their faces? 
 
Sneaky Y®, Mommy E®, and the ‘al’ Secrets!
The “ce/ci/cy” Secret

 

The “ay” and “ing” Secrets
 

And here is a clip from our very first Reader’s Theater Production. These kids couldn’t believe that they could read a 40 page play…. but they did! And they even made their own costumes (well, headbands) to help them “get into their parts!” 

Readers Theater

Now this next clip requires an introduction.

This little guy is just a love bug. He comes from the most amazing supportive family. I have a great relationship with his mommy, and she’s a regular mommy-helper in our classroom. She was initially very concerned about her little guy, as there had been a few rough experiences in the past, and like any loving parent, wanted her baby to be successful!

At the time I’d captured this video, his mommy had just walked in as I’d started recording, so I quickly shooed-her right back out! Look at the pride in his face when he discovered that he could not only read the “big” word on the page, but the WHOLE sentence, as well!

When his mommy saw this clip, she had tears… and this is just the beginning!!!
I’m so thrilled that I will get to share all of his continuing growth with all of YOU this year!

Spotting the ‘ar’ SECRET in the word ‘shark!’

And finally, I have one more beautiful moment to share.

This student came rushing to the guided reading table when I called her group. The words she said touched my heart. What had initially sold me on Secret Stories was the idea of teaching my kids to read in a ‘stress-free’ way.

I teach it because I love it and it works, but I’m not the only one who had a life-changing moment. Listen to Lana as she explains why she loves Secret Stories so much, and how it has changed her life.

The “ing” Secret—
Lana shares why she loves knowing the Secrets (This one’s my favorite!!!)
 
Well folks, thanks so much for taking a quick peek into our little classroom,
and I hope that these small glimpses will help inspire you own Secret Stories journey!

xoxoxo
Renee McAnulty

PS I want to thank Katie for allowing me to guest-blog!

This approach has fostered a new way of thinking about teaching kids to read that has truly changed my life. Thank you for making me a better teacher for my amazing kids!!!!
Until Next Time,
Katie Garner :-) 

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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 day, and across all content areas. In a nutshell, the Secrets™ simply provide learners with logical explanations where otherwise there would be none!
That said, it’s rare that I create something specifically for their use, since pretty much anything kids can read or write will work just fine!
However, there are times when shining a spotlight on specific skills, or groups of related skills can be extremely helpful- especially for targeted reinforcement and assessment-  and there’s no better time or place to do this than in small, guided groups!
With the help of some amazing teachers from Stonewall Elementary in Virginia,  I’m releasing a new series of SECRET STORIES® Guided Readers with highlighted SECRET STORIES® sound patterns!
The SECRET STORIES® are in RED and OUTLAW WORDS are in “prison-garb” font!
In addition to the targeted phonics Secrets™, the Outlaw Words words are also identified within the text and printed in “prison-garb” font!
The outlaw words are the “SECRET STORIES® equivalent” of traditional sight words, with the only difference being that they can’t be sounded-out! And so they must go to Jail! (Word Jail, that is!)
The Word Jail is similar to a typical Word Wall, except that it houses only the worst rule-breaking offenders!  We put these ‘worst-of-the-worst’ words in Word Jail so that we can “remember what they so that they don’t get by us again” when we’re reading or writing!
For more details on how to create a Word Jail for Outlaw Words captured in your classroom,  check out the series about them on my VLOG, or click below to watch the video below!
Each reader includes three different version of the story: a highlighted color version, a black and white ‘easy-print’ version, and a teacher copy- which has all Secrets™ highlighted (not just those targeted) for quick and easy visual reference when introducing new Secrets™and reinforcing older ones during guided group time.
 
Notice the “Mommy e” in PINK, as well as the vowel that she’s telling to “say its name!” 
This first reader, In the Fall, will be followed by additional readers to be posted by the end of this week, so stay tuned!
Okay, so back on track….
While it is critical that learners are equipped with the reading and writing tools they need to “crack the codes” in text, it’s equally important to realize that the Secrets™ are simply the “keys” that unlock the door to world of reading and writing.
Making meaning is the true goal of the game!
We read and write for a purpose… and that purpose is not to accurately decode words on a page! While learners do need to know the Secrets™ to gain easy and early access to text, what develops them into fluent readers and writers is what happens after that!
Teachers spend so much time trying to teach kids HOW to read, that often there’s not enough time left over for thinking about WHAT they’re reading… which pretty much defeats the purpose of WHY we read in the first place!
Below is an example of Deanna Jump’s Guided Reading 101 (from my guest post on her blog) with some key SECRET STORIES® posters to show how easy it is to help kids sound out words with those tricky letter and phonics sounds….even in Kinder! Download the free poster SECRET™ phonics poster sample set and see for yourself!

Until Next Time, Katie

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