Understanding & Using Common Abbreviations

Are you Understanding and Using Common Abbreviations ?

Before we begin ~ this Post is about Abbreviations NOT Acronyms….

Both Abbreviations and Acronyms are shortened forms of words or phrases.

An Abbreviation is a shortened form of a word ~ usually 2-4 letters ~ used to represent the whole word, such as Dr. for Doctor or tbsp. for tablespoon, while an Acronym contains a set of initial letters from a phrase that usually form another word such as ASAP for As Soon As Possible or LOL for Laugh Out Loud.

Why  Use Abbreviations ?

When talking and/or writing it takes less time to say or write the first initial of each word or an abbreviated form of the full word than to spell out every single word. This makes communication easier and faster. Several every day examples are:

  • Writing down directions to somewhere is easier to when using N, S, E or W on a St., Ln. or Blvd. instead of writing North, South, East or West on a Street, Lane, or Boulevard.
  • Words like tablespoon, teaspoon, Fahrenheit, pounds are hard to fit on a recipe card, so, using tbsp,tsp. F. and lb. will keep the measurements on the 3 X 5″ recipe card.
  • Large group words like Company and Association take up a lot of space on a sign, so using Co. and Assn. can save time and money.

When to Use Abbreviations ?

In writing, abbreviations are especially useful when you need to squeeze a lot of writing into a small space, like:

  • signs
  • posters
  • letters
  • envelopes
  • lists
  • notes
  • texts
  • recipes
  • diagrams
  • measurements
  • directions

You can, also, use abbreviations in place of long or cumbersome phrases to make your sentences easier and quicker to read:

 Without Abbreviations ~Drive North on Highway 357. Take the Green Street exit. Turn right on Maple Lane. Then, continue on Maple Lane until Poplar Boulevard.

With Abbreviations ~ Drive N. on Hwy 357. Take the Green St. exit. Turn rt. on Maple Ln. Then, cont. on Maple Ln. until Poplar Blvd.

So, I created 6 Activity Units for Understanding and Using Common Abbreviations during everyday communications when writing and talking.

Each Activity Unit contains eight similar Components.

Activity  Unit  Components

Here is a list of the Components included in each of the six Abbreviation Activity Units:

  • Construction  Instructions
  • Lesson Plan
  • Anchor  Chart Diagram
  • Pre -Test Forms with Answer Cards
  • Game Sort Mats with Storage Pocket & Game Pieces*
  • Response Sheets
  • Abbreviation  Sentences & Answer Sheet

*Game Pieces include the “long” word and its abbreviation.

Keeping reading for a brief description of each Activity  Unit.

Classroom  Clips

This 37-page Activity Unit includes a general collection of Abbreviations seen in the different subject areas taught in the classroom: Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Geography, Science, and Math (Customary & Metric).

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product  access:


It’s About Time

This 32-page Activity Unit includes Calendar (months & weekdays) Abbreviations, Time, and an annual, mini,  make-‘n-take Calendar.

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product  access:


Mini ~ Scopes  Measurements (Customary & Metric)

This 30-page Activity Unit includes Customary & Metric  Abbreviations for height, weight, distance, volume, and temperature. A Math problem-solving component is part of the Abbreviation Sentences.

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product access:


People (Individuals & Special Groups)

This 22-page Activity Unit includes a Abbreviations given to individuals as Common & Special Titles as well as Group Titles.

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product access:


Short  Order Kitchen (Customary & Metric)

This 24-page Activity Unit includes Customary & Metric Abbreviations seen in Recipes as well as Food Amounts found in packaging. A Math problem-solving component is part of the Abbreviation Sentences.

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product  access:


Travel  Tidbits (Customary & Metric)

This 45-page Activity Unit includes Customary & Metric Abbreviations for In-Town Directions, USA’s 50 States, the 7 Continents, and Global Directions.  A Geography/Map component is part of the Abbreviation Sentences.

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product access:


A Few Last Words

Some of these Activity Units have “cross-over” Abbreviations. For example: Common Titles for Individuals are found in both Classroom Clips and People. Measurements can be found in Classroom Clips, Mini-Scopes, and Short-Order Kitchen. 

However, each specific Activity Unit offers more than a few Abbreviations regarding its Abbreviation subject area. Plus, the Game Sort Mats, Game Pieces, and Abbreviation Sentences are specific to its subject area as well.

Regardless of which Activity Units you decide to purchase for your teaching  purposes, I hope you and yours have fun while learning this valuable Literacy Skill.

Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!




                       USING FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE:                    Add  Color to Your Writing

in SEVEN Different Ways

Figurative Language is a creative element you can include for adding color to some of your writing.

Many writers want to share  their expressions with readers.

If you, as a writer, want to engage a reader, there are a few things all good writers do.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Establish a focus, or purpose your reader can follow and understand..
  • Have an organized sequence to your content ~ beginning, middle & ending.
  • Develop and support your “Main Idea”.
  • Use adjectives, adverbs, and synonyms  to upgrade your written expressions.
  • Edit your work for grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.

Need some additional  info on Vocabulary Upgrades ? 

Check out this blog post:

 CLAMDIGGERS’ SUMMER GAMES: Vocabulary Study for Grade Levels 3 ~ 6

BLB’s Resource Library had a read for you. Here’s the link: Vocabulary Study Book Lists for Engaging Grade Levels 3 ~

What Is Figurative Language ?

A writer uses Figurative Language to include a word or phrase that doesn’t have an everyday, or literal meaning.

S/he uses one or more types of Figurative Language to emphasize:

  • an emotion,
  • time,
  • amount,
  • and/or size of a situation and/or character

outside of its usual, normal place. 

Humor and drama can be part of the writer’s purpose and expression.

Usually, Figurative Language tries to explain something that is not real or factual by helping the reader form a visual image.

Writers of novels, short stories, poetry, songs, plays, speeches, news, and, even, informational, nonfiction texts will entertain and engage their readers with one or more of the different types of Figurative Language.

What Are The Different Forms, or Types of Figurative Language ?

Although there are between 10 and 15 types of Figurative Language, your 8 ~ 11 year-old child will be  learning seven of them.

As a Third Grader, s/he will be taught to recognize the difference between literal and non-literal language when reading, writing, and speaking.

Of the seven different forms of Figurative Language, usually Similes and Metaphors are introduced as the first of these types to explore. Your child may already be familiar with these 2forms of Figurative Language. S/he can identify them through the content s/he reads and hears in the classroom.

S/he will probably be familiar with the other types through interactive family, friends,  and environmental communication. They are: Idioms, Hyperboles, Personification, Alliteration, and Onomatopoeia. 

Now, you may be wondering why would a writer want to use Figurative Language.

  Are There Advantages to Using Figurative Language ?

Yes ! There are more than a few  Benefits for encouraging your budding writer (and speaker)  to include Figurative Language in his/her expressions.


  • Your child hears Figurative Language expressed in music, radio announcements, speeches, commercials, movies, and TV shows. It’s important for him/her to understand what is being said.
  • Your child engages their creativity and imagination when including Figurative Language during oral and written expression.
  • As your child transitions from concrete to abstract thinking, Figurative Language can make those complex ideas, concepts, and feelings easier to visualize and, then,  understand.
  • If your child is learning the literal words & phrases of English as another language, practice with Figurative Language will  improve his/her literacy & communication skills.


  • Your child’s understanding of Figurative Language will increase her/his overall comprehension of the content being read.
  • Not only does reading text with Figurative Language engage a reader, it, also, helps your child visualize,  interpret and analyze the setting, character traits, plot, and author’s purpose of the story.


  • Using Figurative Language when writing presents your child with many opportunities for expressing his/her thoughts in vivid, colorful, unique,  and interesting ways.
  • Your child’s ability to use Figurative Language is a way to effectively change a simple thought into a beautiful, complex image. 

So, How Do I Support My Child’s Learning?

Here are a few suggestions for supporting your child’s usage of Figurative Language:

  • Make sure s/he can define the meanings of each type of Figurative Language.
  • Use a variety of different forms of Figurative Language when communicating and identify them individually.
  • Point out examples when reading, watching media, listening to music, information & advertisements as well as writing.
  • Ask questions about your child’s writing, such as “compared to what, as in, sounds like, looks like, feels like, smells like, etc.
  • See if your child can differentiate the different kinds of Figurative Language and tell you when it is NOT being used.

Try some interactive activities, too.

How About Some FUN Learning Activities ?

Games and other interactive, hands-on activities with cross-curricular inclusions are effective ways to engage your child’s learning of figurative Language.

See if you and yours enjoy identifying some of the types when doing any of these:

  • Present a collection of picture books & magazines. Take turns locating and identifying which forms of Figurative Language are being used and what they mean.
  • During your next walk in Nature or anywhere, have your child describe the surroundings using the five senses with Figurative Language phrasing.
  • Select different objects around the house and ask your child you use a specific form of Figurative Language when describing them.
  • Look a a piece of art the next time you visit a museum and both of you use Figurative Language to describe the piece and how it makes you feel.
  • Create a Figurative Language Image Gallery and play a Match game with the drawings to the form of figurative Language.
  • Write skits that include Figurative Language and act them out.

Need a few more activity ideas? Here’s a  link:


I have, also, created games and activities for each of the seven types of Figurative Language. So, keep reading……    

Product Unit Components & Elements

Each of my six  Product Units~Similes & Metaphors (combined as one unit), Idioms, Personifications, Hyperboles, Alliteration & Onomatopoeia contain the following Components:

  • Front & Back Covers
  • Contents List
  • Materials List with Construction Instructions
  • Literature List
  • Simple Lesson Plan
  • At least 4 Different Activities with Directions & Answers

The Elements follow Bloom’s Higher Order Thinking Sequence and provide opportunities for increasing Critical Thinking Skills through:

  • Definition Cards
  • May have Label and/or Name Cards
  • Storage Pocket for Game Pieces
  • May have Sort Mats
  • Fill-In & Matching Activities
  • Writing Applications

           First up ~ Similes & Metaphors

Similes and Metaphors

Let’s define these two types of Figurative Language:                

A SIMILE is Figurative Language that compares two unlike things using the words “like”, “as”, or “resembles”. It is very similar to a METAPHOR.

A METAPHOR is Figurative Language that compares two things, which are usually not alike and does not use comparison words                     ( like, as, resembles).

Here are Similes & Metaphors links for Kid-Friendly Lists:



You can access this 37-page Product Unit with learning activities from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:


And here’s a little 6-page Freebie to go with it:


Idioms are next….


  IDIOMS are Figurative Language phrases that are culturally-based, with meanings completely different from the  literal, every day meaning.

Here is an Idioms link for a Kid-Friendly List :


You can access this 38-page Product Unit with learning activities from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:


And here’s a little 6-page Freebie to go with it:


Personifications coming up….


PERSONIFICATIONS give an animal, object or idea human characteristics or actions.

Here is a Personifications link for a Kid-Friendly List :


You can access this 32-page Product Unit with learning activities from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:


And here’s a little 6-page Freebie to go with it:


Keep reading for HYPERBOLES



HYPERBOLES are over-the-top exaggeration phrases usually included to make a point or add humor.

Here is a HYPERBOLES link for a Kid-Friendly List :


You can access this 44-page Product Unit with learning activities, including several for Tall Tales from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:


And here’s a little 7-page Freebie to go with it:


And now for a little Alliteration…


A Tongue Twister is a form of ALLITERATION, which is repeating  the beginning letter of several words close together in a sentence.

Here is an Alliterations link for a Kid-Friendly List :


You can access this 29-page Product Unit with learning activities from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:


And here’s a little 5-page Freebie to go with it:


And, finally, onward and downward to  Onomatopoeia…


ONOMATOPOEIA uses a word to describe a sound and actually mimics the sound of the object or action that is speaking.

Here is an Onomatopoeia link for a Kid-Friendly List :


You can access this 38-page Product Unit with learning activities from my Teacher PayTeachers Shop by clicking on this link:


And here’s a little 5-page Freebie to go with it:


Teaching your growing Learners this valuable Literacy element can be a very engaging and valuable asset for encouraging creativity and understanding our Language. I hope you will find some, if not all, of these Units useful.

Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!



CLAMDiggers: October’s Literacy Enrichment Collection



CLAMDIGGERS: October’s Literacy Enrichment Collection

The wind walks wildly in the trees tonight. ~ JT Stickney

Mysterious October is a  month full of exploration, discovery, color, and imagination. CLAMDIGGERS: October’s Literacy Enrichment Collection includes four of these events:

  • Celebrating Country & City Pets
  • Discovering Old World Explorations
  • Learning & Applying Healthy Nutrition
  • Enjoying the Fun of Halloween

The Components of each Unit include:

  • colorful Front & Back covers
  • a Contents list
  • an Introduction Sequence
  • a Master Materials List
  • A thematic Literature List of fiction& nonfiction trade books
  • an overall Lesson Plan
  • Projects/Activities with Construction Instructions written on an Independent Reading Level for Grades 3 ~ 6

Preparation for each of these units can be done  by following this sequence:

  • Read over the Materials & Tools needed for each project in the Master Materials List ~ a component included with each Unit.
  • Gather the Materials & Tools together specific for each Activity ~ card-stock, printing paper, scissors, glue, pencil, colors, etc.
  • Protect your work space with a plastic, washable tablecloth, newspaper, or butcher paper ~ the latter invites doodling & checklists.
  • Read all the steps included in the Sequence part of the Instructions provided for each Project/Activity BEFORE beginning.
  • Keep a copy of these Construction Instructions close by, so you can re-read as you create.
  • Clean up your work space when you have completed what you wanted to do.

Click on this link for more information on CLAMDiggers’ Literacy Enrichment Program:

CLAMDiggers: An Enrichment Program for Upper Elementary Learners

Read on for more Details on each Unit, but, first, take a look at October’s Poetry Posters to provide each Unit with a little focus.

CLAMDiggers’ October Poetry

During my years in the classroom, I discovered the best way to focus my students’ attention for new content was a choral read of thematic poetry written with colorful images.

October’s five poems are printed onto six thematic 8 ½ x 11″ images you can enlarge if needed. The font sizes are large as well.

You can access this PDF freebie in Mz. Bizzy Lizzy Biz’s TPT Shop by clicking on this link:


We LOVE Pets

Animals are such agreeable friends they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ~George Eliot

CLMDgrsOct:We Love Pets
CLMDgrsOct: We Love Pets

 Week One of CLAMDigger’s October Literacy Enrichment Collection is a 30-page unit entitled We LOVE Pets . It contains the following Projects/Activities:

Oct: Pets Care Manual
Oct:Pets Care Manual
Oct: Pets Poster Parade
Oct: Pets Poster Parade

General Supply List: card-stock, printing paper, pencil, colors, glue- stick,  scissors, binding materials, reference materials, envelopes/stamps, poster board, pet photos, mementos

You can access the We LOVE Pets unit by clicking on the link below:


Old World Explorations

Exploration is wired into our brains. If we can see the horizon, we want to know what’s beyond. ~Buzz Aldrin

CLMDgrsOct: Old World Explorations
CLMDgrsOct: Old World Explorations

Week Two of CLAMDigger’s October Literacy Enrichment Colllection is a  53-page unit entitled Old World Explorations . It contains the following Projects/Activities:

Oct: Ship & Game Cards
Oct: Ship & Game Cards
  • SETTING SAIL: Parts & Provisions of the Seafaring Vessel
Oct: Game Board
Oct: Game Board
  • INTO THE NEW WORLD: An Exploration Board Game

General Supply List: card-stock, printing paper, pencil, colors,  rubber bands, scissors, glue stick, tape/stapler, blue poster board, blue & green paint chips, ziploc, die, game-player movers, treasures

You can access the Old World Explorations unit by clicking on the link below:


Healthy Body! Healthy Brain!: A Nutrition Guide

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. ~Jim Rohn

CLMDgrsOct: A Nutrition Guide
CLMDgrsOct: A Nutrition Guide

Week Three of CLAMDigger’s October Literacy Enrichment Collection is a   42-page unit entitled Healthy Body! Healthy Brain! : A Nutrition Guide. It contains the following Projects/Activities:

Oct: Nutrition Food Groups
Oct: Nutrition Food Groups
Oct: Nutrition Menus, Servings & Recipes
Oct: Nutrition Menus, Servings & Recipes

General Supply List: card-stock, printing paper, pencil, colors, glue-stick, scissors, reference materials, dry erase marker, hole punch, O-ring, food photos/images 

You can access Healthy Body! Healthy Brain! : A Nutrition Guide unit by clicking on the link below:


Boos & Hisses ! It’s Halloween!

Boos and Hisses need Chocolate Kisses.~BLB

CLMDgrsOct: Halloween
CLMDgrsOct: Halloween

Week Four of CLAMDigger’s October Literacy Enrichment Collection is a 47-page unit entitled Boos & Hisses! It’s Halloween !  It contains the following Projects/Activities:

Oct: Pumpkins
Oct: Pumpkins
Oct: Halloween Party
Oct: Halloween Party

General Supply List: card-stock, printing paper, recyclable paper shreds, straw-colored raffia, string, ribbon, yarn, pencil/pen, envelopes/stamps

You can access the Boos & Hisses! It’s Halloween! unit by clicking on the link below:



You can  access CLAMDiggers’  October Literacy Enrichment units individually or as a 4-Unit bundle for your convenience & savings. Just click on the link below:


AND….as an added appreciation bonus…..

Here are two PDF freebies to thank you for reading!

A Home Reading and Writing Guide

Let Me Show You What I Learned-AltAssess

Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!




CLAMDiggers: September’s Literacy Enrichment Collection



CLAMDiggers: September’s Literacy Enrichment Collection

CLAMDiggers Septcover

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. ~A. Szent-Gyorgi

September is such a dynamic month full of celebration and changes. CLAMDIGGERS: September’s Literacy Enrichment Collection includes five of these events:

  • Appreciating our Community of Helpers
  • Preparing for Back to School
  • Celebrating our Grandparents
  • Observing the changes of Autumn
  • Exploring the wonderful world of Apples

The Components of each Unit include:

  • colorful Front & Back covers
  • a Contents list
  • an Introduction Sequence
  • a Master Materials List
  • A thematic Literature List of fiction& nonfiction trade books
  • an overall Lesson Plan
  • Projects/Activities with Construction Instructions written on an Independent Reading Level for Grades 3 ~ 6

Preparation for each of these units can be done  by following this sequence:

  • Read over the Materials & Tools needed for each project in the Master Materials List ~ a component included with each Unit.
  • Gather the Materials & Tools together specific for each Activity ~ card-stock, printing paper, scissors, glue, pencil, colors, etc.
  • Protect your work space with a plastic, washable tablecloth, newspaper, or butcher paper ~ the latter invites doodling & checklists.
  • Read all the steps included in the Sequence part of the Instructions provided for each Project/Activity BEFORE beginning.
  • Keep a copy of these Construction Instructions close by, so you can re-read as you create.
  • Clean up your work space when you have completed what you wanted to do.

Click on this link for more information on CLAMDiggers’ Literacy Enrichment Program:

CLAMDiggers: An Enrichment Program for Upper Elementary Learners

Read on for more Details on each Unit, but, first, take a look at September’s Poetry Posters to provide each Unit with a little focus.

CLAMDiggers’ September Poetry

CLMDgrsSept~Poetry Posters

During my years in the classroom, I discovered the best way to focus my students’ attention for new content was a choral read of thematic poetry written with colorful images.

September’s six poems are printed onto six thematic 8 ½ x 11″ images you can enlarge if needed. The font sizes are large as well.

You can access this PDF freebie in Mz. Bizzy Lizzy Biz’s TPT Shop by clicking on this link:


A Community of Helpers

Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

CLMDgrsSept ~ A Community of Helpers
CLMDgrsSept ~ A Community of Helpers

The 25-page unit of A Community of Helpers contains the following Projects/Activities:

  • HATS, TOOLS & VEHICLES: A Community Helper’s Helpers Sort Game
A Community of Helpers

General Supply List: card-stock, printing paper, pencil, colors, highlighters, scissors, binding materials, clipboard

You can access the A Community of Helpers unit by clicking on the link below:


Back to School

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers. ~ J. Thurber

CLMDgrsSept~Back to School
CLMDgrsSept~Back to School

The 27-page unit of Back To School contains the following Projects/Activities:


*Click on this link in BLB’s Shop for an effective Resource Product to further engage your child’s “Lunch Production”:

It’s Lunch Packin’ Time! (Kids Can Help Pack Their Lunches)

Back To School

General Supply List: card-stock, printing paper, pencil, colors, fine-point dry erase marker, scissors, glue stick, tape/stapler, hole punch, O-ring,  binding materials

You can access the Back To School unit by clicking on the link below:


 Hooray ! It’s Grandparents’ Day !

Nothing makes a child as smart as having grandparents. ~ F.P. Jones

CLMDgrsSept ~ Grandparents' Day!
CLMDgrsSept ~ Grandparents’ Day!

The 20-page unit of Hooray ! It’s Grandparents’ Day ! contains the following Projects/Activities:

Hooray! It’s Grandparents’ Day!

General Supply List: card-stock, printing paper, photos,  construction paper, decorative paper, pencil, colors, ruler, glue stick, glue, tape, scissors, binding materials, ribbon, yarn, filler, raffia, glitz, stickers, embellishments

You can access Hooray! It’s Grandparents’ Day! unit by clicking on the link below:


Autumn Comes

And softly thro’ the altered air hurries a timid leaf. ~ E. Dickinson

CLMDgrsSept ~ Autumn Comes
CLMDgrsSept ~ Autumn Comes

The 27-page unit of Autumn Comes contains the following Projects/Activities:

  • AUTUMN TREES SORT: Trees, Leaves, Seeds / Nuts & Berries
Autumn Comes

General Supply List: card-stock, printing paper, wax paper, clear contact paper, pencil, colors, tacky glue, scissors, rubber bands, binding materials, hole punch, O-ring, string/raffia/yarn

You can access the Autumn Comes unit by clicking on the link below:


A Bushel of Apples

Johnny Appleseed is my hero ~ BLB

CLMDgrsSept ~ A Bushel of Apples
CLMDgrsSept ~ A Bushel of Apples

The 62-page unit of A Bushel of Apples contains the following Projects/Activities:

  • APPLEPEDIA: A 28-Page Interactive Reference of Apple Information, Organizers, Diagrams & Templates
A Bushel of Apples

General Supply List: card-stock, printing paper, green poster board, pencil, colors, scissors, glue, stapler, rubber band, detachable gummy stick-um,  binding materials,  hole punch, O-ring

You can access A Bushel of Apples unit by clicking on the link below:




You can  access CLAMDiggers’ September units individually or as a 5-Unit bundle for your convenience & savings. Just click on the link below:



Here are two PDF freebies to thank you for reading!

A Home Reading and Writing Guide

Let Me Show You What I Learned-AltAssess

Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!




Elevating Your Upper Elementary Child’s Literacy

Elevating Your Upper Elementary Child’s Literacy

If you become a bird and fly away from me,  I will be a tree that you come home to.  ~ from The Runaway Bunnyby Margaret Wise Brown

I’m sure you’re noticing A LOT of changes in your 8~11 year-old child….oops..I mean, young girl/boy…

In my experience with this age group, I discovered these children to be immersed in what I call “The Golden Age of Learning”.

Their Literacy independence is inspiring them to explore a plethora of adventures in an imaginative and creative way. They are able to locate the answers to SO MANY of the questions they continually ask every day. And are SO VERY delighted to be able to do so!

Their Problem Solving skills as well as Task Completion rate are increasing with accuracy….most of the time.

If you haven’t done so already, dear Reader, NOW is the time to UP YOUR GAME for your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy!!!

 Your Upper Elementary Child’s Literacy

 I’m sure you’re SO over hearing “I’m NOT a CHILD anymore!” (note the correction in the Intro….), especially when supervision is a must.

Family Time is becoming…..rare, unless, of course, a few of “my friends” can be included…. Just how many extracurricular activities can one person participate in !?!?

I will tell you, though, those clubs, classes and sports will be a GOOD thing in the coming years….Seriously~keep the meter running.

Oh, and Hobbies & Collections are DEFINITELY a MUST for elevating your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy.   Here are a  few categories:

  • Visual Arts, like painting, sculpting, drawing
  • Crafts (several), like scrap-booking, sewing, cooking,  etc.
  • Performing Arts, like acting, singing, dancing, etc.
  • Musical Instruments, like piano, guitar, trumpet, etc.
  • Sports: Team & Solo, like soccer, baseball, tennis, track, skating, martial arts, etc.
  • Camping Excursions, like scouting, nature hikes, etc.
  • Gardening, like veggies, fruits, herbs, flowers, landscaping, etc.
  • Building Sets, like Legos, Lincoln logs, etc.
  • Model Kits, like ships, airplanes, cars, rockets, etc.
  • Board Games, especially ones that involve mystery & strategy.

Need more ideas ? BLB’s Library has a few Resources for you. Just click on these links:

Hobbies & Collections: Promoting Creativity & Discovery

Creative Arts Book List: 20 Reads to Share with Your Aspiring Artist

This website link lists “101 After School Club Ideas” you can start or suggest to neighbors, friends and/or your child’s school campus:


Not only is your 8~11 year-old  digging deep into how things work, they are, also,  developing quite a passion for the world beyond their family and surrounding community.

WOW! It’s A Great Big World Out There!

The World Is Ours~Canva Foto
The World Is Ours~Canva Foto

Your child’s interest in reading about exciting adventure, fantasies, and science fiction’s future feeds his/her daydreams. Seeking other places, cultures, and, yes, even worlds influences daily thoughts and ideas.

Having the tools of independent research allows her/him to travel into the far-reaching realms of imagination and creativity.

Here are a few family travel links:



BLB’s Library has a few Resources, too:

Ten Major Global Celebrations: Traditions, Symbols, Foods & a Book List

FABLES & FOLKTALES from AROUND THE WORLD : K~3 Book Lists & Websites

Don’t be surprised if s/he wants to learn a few more languages along the way….

Language’s listening and talking are taking on a whole new perspective within your 8~11 year-old’s communication skills.

Well, You Won’t Believe What Happened Next….

You may have to “listen in” to conversations between your youngster and her/his friends to hear the substantial amount of new vocabulary being included in the day-to-day dialogues.

And, then, she said...~Canva5
And, then, she said…~Canva5

And they’re not just everyday words either….

S/he is learning how to say exactly what s/he wants/means to say. Communication, especially between peers, is becoming more and more important.

The phone, if you are permitting one, is a new “appendage”…

You’ll, also, notice a keener sense of humor is emerging. There is, also,  an appreciation for solving riddles and a more sophisticated involvement in word play. S/he is very entertained/ing with his/her clever, sly Language skills.

BLB’s Library has a Resource for encouraging your child’s “funny bones”:

NOW THAT’S FUNNY!! Books for Smiling, Giggling & Laughing Out Loud

So, “Where is all this ‘sophistication’ coming from?” you wonder….

Common Core’s Ongoing Language Expectations

Beginning in Third Grade and continuing throughout each grade level,  s/he is expected to “demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking”.

Here’s a general list of the sentence structures s/he is expected to understand, form and utilize with accuracy:

  • Explain what a noun, verb, adjective and adverb is and how they are used in a sentence
  • Form sentences with accurate subject-verb agreement
  •  Can form & speak simple, compound & complex sentences

Specifically, there are expectations for forming & using the different parts of speech as well:

  • regular & irregular plural nouns
  • abstract nouns
  • regular & irregular verbs
  • simple verb tenses
  • comparative & superlative adjectives and adverbs
  • conjunctions

Many of these expectations are modeled and taught during reading instruction. Remember~ your child’s independent level of Reading is not only contributing to the amount s/he chooses to read, but, also, the escalating amount of fiction and nonfiction texts s/he is  experiencing in the classroom.

I Am Reading to Learn

Today a Reader, tomorrow a Leader.~Margaret Fuller

Even though your upper elementary child’s literacy level may enable her/him to read independently, you can continue to ensure her/his comprehension of the text by listening to him/her read aloud and using the following  strategies:

  • Ensure the content is not only appropriate for his/her maturity level, but, also, her/his actual reading level.
  • Encourage a Pre-Read for background knowledge, vocabulary understanding & interest level.
  • Confirm the content of fictional reads has a predictable Beginning, Middle & Ending structure with one Main Problem/Conflict.
  • Make sure the content of nonfictional reads has a predictable & supported Main topic.
  • Periodically, ask questions about the read and/or have her/him retell what was just read.
Reading to Learn-Canva10
Reading to Learn-Canva10

If you want to wait until after s/he has finished reading the chapter or slim book, here are some comprehensions questions to ask:

  • What happened in the Beginning of the story?  (listen for Important Details)
  • Middle? Ending? (again, listen for Important Details to be included during the Retell)
  • Did the story remind you of anything or anyone? (his/her response  should be a “Yes, it made me think about….”)
  • What is the Setting of the story? (characters, place & time)
  • What was the Main Problem, or Conflict in the story & how did it get Solved? (several solution attempts may be made before the actual success of one)

Using these comprehension strategies verbally or in a Reading Response Journal will continue to strengthen your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy.

Is your child a “Good” Reader?

“Good” Reader Strategies

Yes, reading for pleasure is VERY important. However, Your Independent Reader needs to read for accuracy so s/he is learning as s/he reads.

What Good Readers Do


  • Look at the Book Cover & Title
  • Do a Picture Walk & scan some of the Text


  • Ask Who did What, When, Where, Why & How.
  • Ask if the text is making sense & supporting the Main Idea.


  • Wonder about what you think will happen in the story.
  • Make some predictions and, then, read to find out how accurate your predictions were.


  • Think about  how some of the Important Details are meaningful to the story.
  • Use those Details to help you define the Author’s Purpose for telling the story.


  • Relate the story to your thoughts, feelings and what you know.
  • Compare/Contrast the story to other stories you’ve read or heard as well as the world around you.


  • Organize/Sequence the Main Details of the story.
  • Draw Conclusions about those Important Details.


  • Once you have finished reading the story, decide what you learned from the text.
  • Then, decide if what you read was important to you & if you enjoyed reading it.

And, what is your Independent Reader reading?

Your Child’s Reading Interest Levels

Reading to Learn~Canva12
Reading to Learn~Canva12

You can continue elevating your upper elementary child’s Literacy by making sure s/he has access to a wide ~ and I mean WIDE~ variety of fiction and nonfiction books, magazines, newspapers & how-to project books.

Books about historic, modern, and futuristic adventures with humor, excitement, mystery and the “unexpected” are definitely reads to pique his/her interests.

Here’s a great link with Book Ideas for your Independent, Upper Elementary Reader:


BLB’s Library has a Resource for Poetry:

Poetry Collections for K~5

As well as several Resources in BLB’s Library and Shop for Informative Text, which continues to GROW in importance:

Inquiry Investigations: Authors, Books & Websites for Your Child’s Exploration & Discovery

OH YAY! A RESEARCH PROJECT!: Processes, Templates & Resources

THE TINY GIANT: An Interactive Informational Text Features Learning Tool

However, if you have a struggling or non-reader, BLB’s Library has a Resource for you:

Guiding Your NonReader Into The Reader’s World

Perhaps, s/he would rather WRITE than read….

Writing to Read

What you don’t know would make a great book. ~Sydney Smith

If last year was Second Grade, you are aware of the Writing Expectations your child faces. Here’s a reminder link:

Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Writing Skills

Now, multiply those Literacy Expectations again and again…..and again.

You may want to have access to Common Core’s Standards for Third Grade Writing and Beyond. Here’s a link:


Yes, it’s pretty extensive and will continue to increase with difficulty.

Oh……… and , then, there are the Expectations for the Writing Conventions of Standard English :

  • capitalization
  • commas
  • quotation marks
  • possessives
  • spelling : patterns, prefixes & suffixes

My Teachers Pay Teachers Shop has a Resource for Grammar Usage:


Make glossaries, dictionaries, and other reference word helpers part of the easy-to-access library. They are definite tools for:

  •  unknown words’ spelling and multiple-meanings
  • root words
  • how prefixes & suffixes affect root words
  • figurative language
  • literal & non-literal words/phrases in context
  • abstract words

Fortunately, if those fine motor skills were hampering your child’s writing progress, the coordination of hand & fingers are improving ~ a plus to the actual physicality of writing.

Otherwise, if writing is a struggle ~ and it is for many of us ~read on for a few helpful suggestions.

ARGH!!! Writing !!!!

ARGH! Writing!~Alexandra Koch
ARGH! Writing!~Alexandra Koch

Loves to read, but Hates to Write!!!! BLB’s Library has a few Resources for you:

Reading About Writing: 15 Books to Encourage Your Young Author’s Writing Skills

and for some inspiration:

More Wonderful Wordless Picture Books for Readers, Ages 5~8

The BEST and most effective  suggestion I have for your I HATE TO WRITE writer is Interactive Writing between you and your child. Select a journal, have your writer decorate it, and begin:

INTERACTIVE Journal Prompts

BTW…  a few ideas and suggestions for making your home and your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy Learning Space an inviting environment.

Ready, Set….Learn!

Ready, Set, Learn!~KitzD66
Ready, Set, Learn!~KitzD66

Here are a few Resources & checklists for helping you make your home a Learning & Teaching ~Friendly environment:

A Materials & Activities List for the Home~Learning Experience

Questions for Brain Food Menu

 YOUR CHILD IS A BRAINIAC ! A Parent Guide for Building Thinking Skills

and last, but not least……

Your Homework Help HOTLINE : Parent Involvement Strategies

I hope this Post has some ideas and suggestions you can use in your Family Literacy Circle regardless of the Independence of your Learner.

Now…for the 52-week, cross-curricular, interactive, hands-on, enrichment program I promised to deliver for your 8~11 year-old Learners. Click on the link below for CLAMDiggers:

CLAMDiggers: An Enrichment Program for Upper Elementary Learners

Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!


Planning the Family Literacy Circle During Your Pregnancy

Planning the Family Literacy Circle During Your Pregnancy

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.~ from Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne

WOOHOO!!!! You’re a parent! A mommy!  And in less than 9 months your outer body mommy-hands, arms, legs & feet (not to mention your chest) will be filled with a small, soft, beautiful life. That sleeps, eats, yawns, coos, and, well, you know what else the precious little darlin’ does…..Planning the Family Literacy Circle During Your Pregnancy

But for now, your little seedling of life is safely tucked away….for the next 36 weeks,  giving you time to plan.

When you have some awake-time during these first few months (I, like other moms, was constantly in need of a nap), you’ll probably dream about:

  • Who your baby will favor in looks? Eye/hair color? Your dimples? Daddy’s cleft chin? Grandma’s curly hair? Grandpa’s long, slender body? Your sister’s smile? Your brother’s freckles? Your cousin’s big feet & hands? Your Great-Aunt’s nose?
  • What will your baby’s personality be like? Your mom’s love of gardening? Your dad’s love of fishing? Your aunt’s love of books? Your uncle’s love of travel? Daddy’s love of humor? Your love of long walks on the beach?

It’s, also, okay to worry about, well, what pregnant parents worry about. Don’t scare yourself. Take care of the 2 of you with good nutrition, fresh air and lots of laughter, rest  & pampering.

You are planning the Family Literacy Circle during your pregnancy.

Begin the Family Literacy Circle with “Dear Baby of Mine……”

Starting a journal during this time will make a wonderful memory gift for you to give your child later in life. Reading some of these entries will answer questions your child will have about when s/he was “growing in your tummy.” Here are some thoughts you may want to include in this keepsake:

  • names you are considering for your baby and why
  • a list of your favorite songs, stories, rhymes, books
  • activities you want to share with your baby
  • places you want to take your baby
  • things you are doing to prepare for your baby’s arrival
  • special traditions your family celebrates, especially birthdays
  • important lessons you want to teach your baby
  • little bios of all  the people your baby will meet

Your feelings and reflections, especially when spoken out loud to share with your baby, will begin the literacy circle of bonding. Connecting with your little swimmer this way helps you to prepare for  your growing family through language-the first MAJOR step in forming the Literacy Family Circle.

BLB Shop may have just the journal you are looking for ~

The Waiting Womb Journal : 36 Gestation Meditations

Click on the link below to check it out!


 Your Pregnancy and Your Baby’s Brain

Pregnant at the Grocery Store-JBarsky0
Yummy in My Tummy-JBarsky0

Dr. John Medina, a brain scientist,  stated in his book, Brain Rules For Baby , you should leave your little embryo/fetus alone during the first 4-5 months of your pregnancy. S/he can’t hear you until then, anyway. Of course, not to contradict the experts and/or cause harm to your unborn child, but most mothers (including myself) start chatting with Baby as soon as they find out they are pregnant.

I guess the “disclaimer” here would be…. your baby’s brain is not actually listening/understanding what you’re saying during the first half of your pregnancy.

Dr. Medina does go on to say scientific research has tested and evaluated several activities parents can do to help with their baby’s brain development during pregnancy.  

Helping with the Growth & Development of Your Baby’s Brain

Here are Dr. Medina’s “Four Things Proven to Help Baby’s Brain”:

Nutrition Needs

  • Eat LOTS of fruits & veggies
  • Make sure your prenatal vitamin has folic acid
  • Take iron which is necessary for your baby’s proper brain development & normal functioning
  • Eat foods with omega3 fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon, cod, haddock & sardines
  • Disclaimer- scientists don’t know why pregnant women have “random cravings” (I personally had to have ice cream every day after my DAILY intake of Mexican food. I was unable to eat my favorite food- peanut butter because it gave me heartburn, which I had never experienced until pregnancy)

Baby’s Birth Weight

  • Your baby’s brain size is related to the birth weight of up to 8 pounds (so, a 10-pound baby doesn’t mean a larger brain)
  • Snacking on the right foods will secure that desired weight  (for me – it kept headaches away, which I experienced during pregnancy if I didn’t eat when I /we were hungry….and had never experienced until then. I put away a hefty sum of granola bars, especially during the last trimester).


  • Look into swimming, dance, stretch, and/or yoga classes especially formatted for pregnancy
  • Walk as much as you can everyday and breathe deep
  • Moderate exercise  helps during labor
  • Don’t over do it because you can overheat your baby
  • Moderate exercise can, also, reduce stress


  • Some people, as part of their genetics, are more sensitive than others to stressful situations- if that is you- keep it to a minimum
  • Your stress hormone- cortisol- slips through the placenta & enters your baby’s brain
  • Avoid too much stress – especially during the 3rd trimester – because it can “profoundly influence your prenatal baby’s development”
  • I’ve dedicated a section in this blog to “Stress Tamers”

  Your First Trimester with Your Baby

Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.~ by Dr. Seuss from The Cat in the Hat

In Kathy Kinsner’s May 16th, 2016 article, “Bonding With Your Baby Before Birth” for the website http://www.zerotothree.org , she tells us your baby’s brain starts to form just three weeks after conception. It continues to develop in many different ways throughout a lifetime.

During the beginnings of your baby’s brain development, it starts storing information – new skills and memories- to keep and use during her/his life.

Infogrades Infographic: “Guide to Pregnancy: Week to Week” lists some helpful data on what is happening to you and your baby during this first trimester:


  • Grows from the size of a sesame seed to the size of a lime
  • Develops brain cells at a rate of over 100 per minute
  • Begins to form major organs
  • Starts to wriggle inside your womb


  • Produces pregnancy hormones
  • Feels your body (and emotions) rapidly changing
  • Needs to nap because you’re more tired than usual
  • Needs to eat lots of fruits & veggies

Literacy Plan During Your First Trimester

Although most experts will tell you to leave your little embryo in peace for the first four to five months of your pregnancy, there are several Literacy Planning and Brain Development Support  can activities you can do:

Madonna in Red-Vidallari
Madonna in Red -Vidallari
  • Visualize & start to prepare Baby’s room
  • Write a letter to your newest little family member
  • Start your daily 2 mile walk & find different, non-strenuous places to explore
  • Relax & drift into a light nap
  • Visit the children’s section in your local library & look for books you’ll want to share with your baby
  • Write down the titles & remember some of  your childhood favorites
  • Call some of the surrounding elementary schools, learning centers and/or churches to see if they’re having a children’s book sale.
  • Check out  this book list in BLB’s Resources to help you plan your Family Literacy Circle’s library:


Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.~Dr. Seuss

Exercise Benefits for Both of Your Brains

Unitypoint.org’s infographic “Get Moving, Baby!” is filled with specifics regarding the effects of exercising during the 3 trimesters of pregnancy. You should always check with your obstetrician before beginning  a workout plan even it is listed as specific for “Pregnancy”.

Go Outside - Greyerbaby
Go Outside – Greyerbaby

Here are some Exercise Benefits:

  • helps with your sleep & daily rest
  • increases your energy levels
  • improves your mood
  • eases aches & pains, especially in your back
  • reduces your risk for pregnancy complications
  • prepares your body for childbirth

“Walk This Way”

I found this short article  in the February 2017 issue of AARP magazine’s section Healthy You (yes, I’m of the age) titled “Walk This Way”. Author Sara Altshul suggests a variety of “motivational” strolls & their benefits:

The Family Time Walk

Talking, laughing, debating, planning, and/or holding hands together while stepping outdoors for a mile or 2 is very  healthy for you and yours. It can calm your overactive brain as well as restore your attention span.

The Tree Hugger’s Walk

Nature walks through parks and on forest trails can be healing. Researchers found it improved lung & heart functions. You can always park yourself on a bench or under a tree for a shaded rest.

The Meditation Master’s Walk

You don’t need to be seated on a meditation mat to reap its goodness. Allowing your mind to rest in a quiet, peaceful way has the ability to ease high blood pressure, digestion woes, anxiety, depression & insomnia.

The Socializer’s Walk

Joining a “walk group” with friends and/or other waiting mommies is not only fun, but  also, helps keep you and your baby on a healthy track. One study showed group walks can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.

The Philosopher’s Walk

Deep thinking during your daily stroll is a great brain booster. It improves your memory and reasoning skills. “Brainstorming” opportunities and solutions to troublesome problems are additional perks to this type of meandering.

For me – a  nice, long walk on the beach combines several of these “types” of walks. Must be why everyone always feel so GREAT after one of them!

Baby's Beachtime - Albaroma
Baby’s Beachtime – Albaroma

Onward to Your Second Trimester with Your Baby

How are we doing? I LOVED this part of my pregnancy! Feeling your baby’s first “kick” is  magical and powerful! Bonding with your baby with chats, songs & laughter is SO important for your baby’s brain development. By the end of this trimester, your baby has millions of brain cells!

Baby Love - Tasha
Baby Love – Tasha

Dr. Medina of Brain Rules and Infogrades Infographic: “Guide to Pregnancy: Week to Week” share some useful data on what is happening to you and your baby during the critical second trimester:


  • Grows from the size of an avocado to the size of a coconut
  • Has its own fingerprints
  • Develops ears & can hear by 20 weeks
  • Becomes sensitive to smells, temperature & bright light
  • Responds & prefers your voice
  • Wriggles, yawns, hiccups & burps


  • Feels more aches especially in back, ankles & feet
  • Your belly button might pop out
  • Has more energy than in the first trimester
  • Eats lots and lots (Thanksgiving dinner is a fun food fest!)
  • May crave certain foods

Literacy Plan During Your Second Trimester

Talking with Baby-Jashina
Talking with Baby-Jashina

Studies have found your voice has a calming effect on your baby because when you speak,  his/her heart rate slows down.  Daily chats, reads and songs boost your baby’s brain power.

Listening to language is a HUGE Literacy step inviting your baby into the verbal world. Your baby’s brain needs to hear the different tones, pitches, vibrations, accents & basic sounds commonly  spoken every day.

Although your voice is the most familiar and soothing to your baby, make sure Daddy, siblings and other loved ones talk, read, and sing with Baby, too. Your baby will connect their voices as a bond of love, comfort, and security.

The Power of Oral Language in Literacy

How do we bring our new, little acrobatic gymnast into the Family Literacy Circle? Communicate with daily oral language.

Chats & Conversations

  • Baby’s Family: Daddy, brother, sister, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, other loved ones, and pets
  • Baby’s Home: her/his room, kitchen, bathroom, yard, etc
  • Daily Life: routines, chores, errands
  • Plans for his/her arrival
  • Special Occasions: traditions, holidays, celebrations
  • Your favorites: places, activities, things, memories
  • Baby’s Name Choices (my baby actually kicked on a specific name when I read the list of choices)

Books, Stories & Songs

  • Read from your Pregnancy journal
  • Read some of your favorite childhood books
  • Read rhyming  books you have just for your new baby
  • Read some of your favorite recipes
  • Have loved ones read to your baby
  • Create stories about your adventures
  • Create family-memory stories
  • Create stories with invented characters
  • Sing songs & lullabies

Talk and sing to your baby every day. Find time during the day or in the evening right before you go to sleep to read and/or tell a story to your baby. You will notice her/him physically reacting to your voice(s). S/he might even remember some of the rhyming and rhythmic verses and stories you’ve read while in utero. Babies have been known to remember music as well.

Beware of Stress Producers

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ~ from Winnie the Pooh by AAMilne

The word stress was coined over 50 years ago by researcher Hans Selye. a Doctor of Medicine & Chemistry. He was studying the effects of “noxious agents” on people.

 I Got This! - Efes
I Got This! – Efes

Dr. John Medina cites Three Different Types of Toxic Stress in his book, Brain Rules for Baby that will hurt your baby’s brain development:

  • Too Frequent  happens every day and is continuing & unrelenting stress, such as -an overly demanding job, chronic illness, no social support, poverty
  • Too Severe is a loss of control during  traumatic circumstances in one’s life, such as – marital separation, divorce, death of a loved one, especially a spouse. loss of a job, criminal assault
  • Too Much for You is an overwhelming feeling  of despair & depression brought about by unexpected or overpowering events.

Staying in the “Happy-Go-Preggo” World

One of the easiest and most effective things you can do during a stress attack is massage that big, beautiful baby carrier of yours. It decreases excessive baby jumping (I thought my ribs were permanently stretched). Your baby will jump or kick during sudden loud noises. A gentle belly rub will help lessen prenatal complications and lower a premature birth rate.

Here are Seven Simple Stress Busters during pregnancy suggested on the website Sparkle People. Here’s the link:


No Stress Here! -Grisguerra
No Stress Here! -Grisguerra
  1. Get a massage
  2. Go for a walk or swim
  3. Call a friend
  4. Write in your journal
  5. Play a quick game
  6. Take a nap
  7. Plan something fun

Just being pregnant can bring stress:

  • the discomfort (oooowww) due to “expansion”,
  • the lack of sleep (crankiness) due to the discomforting expansion,
  • the sometime nagging worries (what if…),
  • the wait (Good Grief! Another MONTH!!!),
  • the anticipation (I’m SO ready),
  • the preparation (do we have enough…)…….

NOT trying to stress you out here…… Stress isn’t good for you AND it hurts your baby’s brain development.

20 Stress Tamers

So, here’s a little freebie I created for you to put on the fridge when even your favorite snack doesn’t help. If “OMG! How Am I Going to Get Through This!!!!!” is taking a hold of your usually happy-go-preggo day, read through this list of 20 Stress Tamers. Then, choose one , several or all suggestions to help calm yourself (and your little angel). You can do the list in a sequence, small grouping, or if you’re having a particularly “Enough Already!!!!” day, repeat the entire Tamers list until you’re once again –  “happy-go-preggo”.

click to download & copy 20 Stress Tamers

  And remember, as we remind ourselves in the nation of TeacherLand- “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”.

Literally…The Home Stretch (or the Third & FINAL Trimester)

In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.  ~ A. Einstein

Come On, Baby! Time to Try on Your Onesie! - Public Domain Pictures
Come On, Baby! Time to Try on Your Onesie! – Public Domain Pictures

YIPPEEEEEE! Now for the FUN months!!! Here’s what’s happening to you & your little swimmer, I mean, diver:


  • Grows from the size of an eggplant to the size of a pineapple
  • Can smell your perfume
  • Smiles during calm music & scowls at loud, raucous music
  • Practices breathing air
  • Begins its descent into the birth canal at 36 weeks


  • Can hear & feel Baby’s heartbeat
  • Can count Baby’s kicks
  • Can see & feel Baby’s movements
  • Needs more rest & Stress Tamers (especially foot & back massages)
  • Needs to practice birth-breathing

I know you’re tired, but walking  those 2 miles EVERY DAY is SOOOOOO VERY GOOD and important for you & your baby now.

Literacy Plan During Your Third Trimester

Your baby is responding more and more to you and his/her loved ones’ voices. Continue speaking, reading, (especially rhyming verses) storytelling, singing & humming with your baby. You’ll be resting more these last few months, so make sure you have a stack of Baby’s books, joke books & magazines, as well as your journal, doodle/drawing paper, pens, pencils & colors near by.  Although my rib-swinger and I were very found of classical music during this time; my visiting family & friends tried not to fall asleep mid-sentence. But, baby & I were calm, relaxed, and breathing deeply.


Want to share your pregnancy stories? Have some helpful tips & info? I would love to hear them.

  Fill out the Contact Me form if you have a question and/or concern, but don’t want to subscribe…..yet.

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Encouraging the FLC with Your Kindergartner’s Writing Skills

This is Part 5 of the Family Literacy Circle’s Five ~ Part Kindergarten Series

Developing & engaging the Writing Skills of your 5-year-old is this post’s focus.  This complex set, yes set, of skills has several components, beginning with the growth & development of your child’s fine motor skills. This can take some time, routine, exercise & patience. As a preparation-overview for helping your child with his/her writing skills, check out the sections: “Writing Activities & The Brain” as well as “Pre-Writing Readiness” in my post, Building Your Family Literacy Circle’s Reading & Writing with Your “I AM FOUR!” Just click on the link below:


THE FINALE~ACT FIVE : Encouraging Your Kindergartner’s Writing Skills

You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Written expression offers an exciting opportunity for your child toFLC Writing Skills see how the worlds of creativity are imagined & invented.

If drawing has been, and continues to be, part of her/his communication, letter formation & words will be easier to approach.

There are many different sensory activities that can encourage this key part of his/her Literacy growth & development.

By the end of Kindergarten, your child’s writing skills should include:

  • writing upper & lower case letters
  • writing her/his first & last names in a legible, readable way
  • using letters & sounds to spell common, frequently-used  words in a legible, readable  way
  • using letters & sounds to attempt spelling less common words in a legible, readable  way
  • writing several sentences without a lot of help from an adult
  • writing responses to topics studied in school, or elsewhere
  • writing about a book s/he has read
  • writing about some of his/her life experiences

Did I just hear a large chorus of OMGs?!?

The expectations in Kindergarten are now what YOU were expected to know at the end of First grade…. Read on for the Common Core’s current list of objectives & expectations for Kindergarten…..

The USA’s Common Core Writing Expectations

From 2011  to 2012 many states & territories of the USA reviewed, adopted & began using the K-12  Common Core Standards for Language & Math in their schools. By 2018, 41 of the 50 states were using these Standard Expectations. Some states revised & re-worded  the Common Core; some states continued to use their own set of Standards. For more specific information, click on the Common Core link below, or visit your state’s website:


And the Common Core Language (Some of Them) & Writing Standards Are……

If your child will be, or is attending school in one of the “Common Core” states/territories, here is a list of Kindergarten’s  Language & Writing Standard Expectations:

Language: Standard English Conventions

  • Writes & speaks using accepted English grammar
  • Prints many upper & lowercase letters
  • Understands & uses questions words
  • Produces & expands complete sentences
  • Uses capitalization, punctuation & spelling with accuracy
  • Capitalizes the first word in a sentence and the pronoun “I”
  • Recognizes & names end punctuation with accuracy
  • Writes a letter or letters for most consonants & short-vowel sounds
  • Spells simple words they way they sound


Language: Vocabulary Growth & Use

  • Sorts common objects into categories
  • Shows an understanding of common verb & adjective opposites
  • Identifies real-life connections between words & their uses


Writing: Types & Purposes

  • Uses drawing, dictating & writing to compose an opinion about a topic or book read; an informative or explanation about a topic; a narrative about one or several events in sequential order
  • Responds to suggestions for editing writing
  • Uses digital tools to produce & publish writing
  • Participates in shared research to produce writing projects

UH HUH!!!! Of course, these are progressive developments taking place throughout the year and continuing on into First Grade.

So, let’s get them grasping that fat red pencil in a way that promotes writing!!!

Strengthening Those Fine Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills-PatrickFore
Fine Motor Skills-PatrickFore

How are your 5 year-old’s finger grasping skills?  Does s/he:

  • Hold a pencil or crayon in a non-fisted grip?
  • Control scissors when intentionally completing a task?
  • Trace lines & basic shapes with accuracy?
  • Copy figures like a circle, square, triangle?

Parents.com has a great article listing the skills your child learned last year as a 4-year-old, either with you or in Pre-School. Check it out by clicking on the link below:


There are lots of FUN activities to share with your child as Fine Motor developmental tools and/or to use as warm-up exercises for pre-writing.

 It is important to remember that drawing and writing, though similar, are not the same. Painting, scribbling & drawing are important steps in the growth & development of writing. Scribbles, in particular, are the early attempts of writing words & thoughts.

A child’s eye sees letters as a combination of curved & straight lines as well as  shapes.  Drawing letters can be a start, but the end result should be automatic when writing letters.  Drawing to form  an image uses a different part of the brain than writing letters to form words.

BLB’s Resource Library includes a page on locating sites with activities & exercises for developing Fine Motor Skills in children, ages 4~6. There are, also, some sites offering free, downloadable, practice skill sheets for tracing, cutting & letter-writing. Here’s the link:


What Are the “Stages of Writing”?

Your child’s beginning, “purposeful” writing may look like scribbling….It is, but it ISN’T to your child. Just ask. You’ll receive several sentences describing what the “writing” is saying. There may even be some random letters and, or symbols included, but they won’t represent accurate sounds to words.

In the next stage of writing ~ Letter Strings~ your child will chose legible, random letters and write them in the correct progression-left to right. S/he will read the writing back to you from top to bottom. However, the letters s/he has chosen do not correspond with the sounds in the words written.

The final stage before your child is actually connecting letters & sounds into words is when s/he copies the words s/he sees, known as Environmental Print. S/he usually doesn’t know what the words are and they don’t form a sentence.

These  important stages, when encouraged and praised, will lead to your child’s ability to construct meaningful words into sentences.

Keep reading for some tips to encourage these important early stages of writing.

Call Those Scribbles ” Writing”

Kinder Pre-Writing Stage-EfraimStochter
Kinder Pre-Writing Stage-EfraimStochter

If your child enjoys drawing and attempts to “write” about her/his pictures, take that as a positive sign! Those “scribblings” are meaningful. You can encourage your child to make those “words” say something with an interactive conversation. When given a specific answer, write it down on the picture (with permission, of course).

You can, also, have your child help you write lists and notes. Be sure to take and send them once “written”. Write notes to each other.

Make sure to include fill-able writing forms in your child’s Pretend Play scenarios.

Use colorful sticky-notes to label things around the house.  Point and use these words in your interactive writings about events, routines & descriptions.

Your child can tell you sentences to write and, then, have him/her make a drawing to go with the sentences. Make a collection book of these writings to read together. SO FUN!!!

If s/he enjoys tracing letters, numbers & shapes ~ YAY!!! If you see random letters (some from her/his name) included in his/her descriptions ~ WooHoo!! Time to set up a Writing Nook.

Setting Up A Writing Nook for Your Budding Writer

Writing Supplies-AnnCA
Writing Supplies-AnnCA

First of all, make sure your child’s writing space includes a hard surface like a lap-desk, clipboard and/or table. Organize some of these materials in containers on a shelf or stacked crates:

  • pencils- colored & regular
  • crayons- glittered & regular
  • markers- water-based, fine & regular point
  • papers- 8×11″, lined, unlined, colored & white
  • papers- large, colored construction, manilla & newsprint
  • wallpaper- murals for pic ideas & deco for book covers
  • pre-made blank books & list pads
  • dry erase board with dry erase markers
  • cookie sheet & magnetic letters
  • pictured vocab cards & picture dictionary
  • blank cards & envelopes
  • stamps & stickers
  • glue sticks, tape & scissors

Hang an alphabet chart nearby with a few Writing Ideas containers.

  • The “Mystery Writer”container can have “hidden” choice strips for surprise prompts, like “The Big Red Truck” or “The Giant Ladybug”. 
  • You can, also, have a container with a stack of “Sentence Beginners” strips , like “I like to eat…..”, “I can draw…….”, “Outside I can see……..”, “I can play….”
  • A List-In 2 Me” Tin can have one -word cards as choices, like colors, toys, foods, clothes, friends, animals, family, celebrations
  • A “Travel Agent” container can hold pictures of places from around the world, vacation spots, habitats, the community
  • Include some Handwriting Practice sheets, too

Deb @learnwithplayathome collected some ideas from a variety of contributors.  Click on the link below :


Join the Writing Nook, too, for modeling, actual writing, interactive writing, and sharing/reading what you are writing on your paper, cards, notepad, journal, etc.

You Are Your Child’s First Writing Teacher

Heart of Letters-GDJ
Heart of Letters-GDJ

In addition to Writing & Reading a Daily Morning message to your child  plus labeling house item together on sticky notes, there are many other writing activities you can do together.

Scholastic Parents & I have several suggestions for ways to “slip writing into everyday play”:

  • Make simple signs for block-built structures & Lego creations
  • Write lists together for going on errands.
  • Take pictures of Environmental Print while out & about, so you & your child can compile a  “World~Words” book together
  • Use letter stamps on play dough to explore letters & write words
  • Create simple menus & signs for Pretend Play restaurants, like Pizza Parlor, Cozy Cafe, Breakfast Bistro,  Sandwich Stand, Blue Plate Diner
  • Write name tags for different roles during a variety of Pretend Play scenarios
  • Use chunky sidewalk chalk on the driveway to create murals, game frames, designs, messages, floor plans, city-scapes, neighborhoods, pretend play scenery
  • Compose invitations for playroom tea parties, backyard picnics, fashion shows, plays, concerts, art exhibits, readings (especially authored storybooks)
  • Encourage your child to sign his/her paintings, drawings & other creations

As your child’s Kindergarten year progresses, try to include more school-objective expectations as writing activities into the Family Literacy Circle.

And On A More Serious Note…..

Letters To Words To Sentences To........-973894
Letters To Words To Sentences To……

Your Kindergartner’s teacher has probably presented a few Writing Structure expectations for her Sentence Writers to follow:

  • Sentences begin with a capital letter~ reinforce the differences using the alphabet letters chart.
  • Sentences end with an stop mark~make mini emoji-like faces on cards to go with each one.
  • Each word in a sentence is followed by a space~use a finger or thin craft stick to help with this skill.
  • Write letters as neatly as possible~handwriting letter practice will help with this.
  • Read the sentence to see if it makes sense~re-read, if necessary for accuracy.

Here’s an 8×11″  Writing Checklist Mini-Poster to hang up in your child’s Writing Nook. Just click on the link below, download & print:


Once your young writer knows most of the alphabet with their letter sounds, s/he will using that knowledge to spell words during written composition. Try not to correct too much. Instead, help him/her learn how to use  a sight & vocabulary word chart/cards, word family lists, and a simple picture dictionary as well as word-sound stretching. 

Using these skills will help your child meet the high expectations that are currently part of your Kindergartner’s Writing Goals for the year: writing fiction & nonfiction stories (the narrative), writing a book review ( the opinion), and writing directions (the informative, or how-to)……

Yes, Seriously…..Continued….

My Story-PanXiaozhen
My Story-PanXiaozhen

I heard that collective GASP!!!! Believe me, many educators were/are part of that concern…..but that is a whole ‘nother convo-post.

Back to the ” informative” part of this section….

So, YES ~  3 main types of writing (several varieties are part of the “main types”) with several (usually about five) complete, related sentences on a topic, using minimal adult/teacher intervention are the Common Core Writing expectations by the completion of Kindergarten……

YES…5 Different Pieces of Writing….

How-To Draw A Face-RawPixel
How-To Draw A Face-RawPixel

The Narrative can be a personal, nonfiction story about an event in your child’s life. Think celebrations, holidays, vacations, younger/older siblings & relatives, friendships, growing experiences, etc. The other piece of story-telling your Kindergartner is expected to compose is a simple fictional piece, complete with a setting, characters, events  as well as  a problem to be solved.

The Informative can be a How-To, or Instructional sequence describing the way to make or do something. Think how to ride a bike, how to brush one’s teeth, how to make a breakfast cereal bowl, how to build a sheet-tent, etc. The other part of this expectation has to do with sharing learned, nonfictional facts about a subject. Think bears, apple trees, community helpers, parts of a flower, holidays, seasons, etc.

An Opinion is usually written about books being read as a class, by the teacher and/or independently by your emergent reader.

Graphic organizers can help with this process. I created a few as a PDF for you to use. Just click on the link below to download & print:

5 GOs for K Wtg

And as rigorous as this sounds, many 5 (soon to be 6)-year-olds are able to accomplish this. The growth from beginning Kindergarten (think Pre-K) to the  end of Kindergarten (think Pre-First) is HUGE and amazing!!!

However, some writers are reluctant, especially at this level….well at any level, really…. As a PUBLISHED author~it’s called a Block….

This Is TOO HARD!!!!!

You can make anything by writing. ~ C.S. Lewis

Several factors can contribute to your child’s reluctance to putting the pencil-to-the-paper:

  • S/he is not confident with his/her knowledge of what the letters are, how the letters look, and/or how to form the letters on the paper.
  • S/he is struggling with grasping a writing tool  and, then, using it to form the letters on paper.
  • S/he becomes frustrated when trying to choose what to write about.

Continue practicing the alphabet with fun, hands-on activities. You can find some ideas from a number of websites. BLB’s Resource Library has a page to help with that. Just click on the link below:


BLB Shop has a download & print ABC Activities product, too. Here’s the link to these games:


If Fine Motor skills are part of your child’s struggle with writing, click on the several  links provided in the “Strengthening Those Fine Motor Skills” section of this post.

Remember to show your child  the importance of writing throughout the day as you write notes, lists, calendar appointments, etc.   Your interactive writing with your child is, also, very instrumental in the actual writing process of literacy.

HEY!!!! I CAN Write Words & Sentences!

Letting your reluctant writer set the pace for her/his learning is one of the keys to putting that pencil (or any writing tool)-to-the-paper. Instead of specific lessons, blend writing into everyday activities & especially during play, like labeling things, making signs, filling out Pretend Play lists & forms.

Every Picture Is A Story-Blake Campbell
Every Picture Is A Story-Blake Campbell

One of the easiest ways to start the writing process is to begin with a drawing your child has created. Label parts of the picture with post-its, describe what the picture is telling, give the picture a title, and, then, write some simple sentences together.

Another fun way to get the writing “juices” flowing is to use the rhyming activity the Word Families encourage. Use those words as a basis for a song to be performed on the Family Stage in Concert or as a verse to be shared during a Poetry Reading with other family poets.

Need a few Writing Tool Kits to include in your child’s Home Writing Nook?

BLB Shop can help! Just click on the links below to check them out:



Celebration Power

Probably one of the most powerful ways to engage your “budding” author is through the  Interactive Journal. This personal – written dialogue between you & your child can be quite a surprising way to learn as well as discover thoughts, feelings & knowledge. It is a very successful Literacy tool for writing (and parenting…..).

Need some other ideas, tips and/or suggestions? The post from Creekside Learning lists as for First through Third, but there are some FUN ideas you can use with your Kindergartner. Click on the link to read:



Well,  not a lot of Writer’s Block here (or on any of my other Posts for that matter)….. Hope you found some usable info. Writing in Kindergarten can be a struggle…..

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Enriching the FLC with Your First Grader’s Writing Skills

And NOW….The Final Post in FLC’s  5~Part First Grader’s Series….

Enriching the FLC with your First Grader’s Writing Skills has its challenges and rewards…..

Wish you (or someone) could record all those wonderful new ideas & vocabulary words your incredibly bright First Grader is sharing?

Writing them down would take more than a considerable amount of time…

However, encouraging the source of all that growth to write down all those ideas & words shouldn’t be too difficult…Should it ?!?!?

Part FIVE: The Hard-Won Skill of Writing

Teach children what to think and you limit their ideas. Teach children how to think and their ideas are unlimited. ~ Sandra Parks

What favorite story, or stories do you tirelessly read again & again?

Which author do you trust to transform dull, dry facts into fascinating information?

What cookbook(s) and/or manual(s) do you refer to constantly with easy-to-follow directions that always bring great results?

Do you have a favorite editor and/or critic whose opinion you value, even when you don’t share the same view(s) about certain topics ?

You are one of the reasons why writers write !

Not only do writers love to write (on most days), they, also, write to share ideas, important events & teach. They want to share & communicate their  experiences, feelings & information. They love to ask questions & solve mysteries or problems.

As a writer, you tell your story as only you can. Whether reflecting, explaining, judging, exploring, learning, interpreting, problem solving, and/or taking a stand, your words are your words are your words…

As a parent & writer,  encourage your young scribe to see & use the power of Written Expression for his/her self and/or to share with others. How  ~ by modeling with everyday examples.

Soooo…Are You A Writer ?

Does your child see you write ?

Everyday Writing
Everyday Writing

Not only do you show your child how writing helps with daily life, it, also, helps to have a variety of the printed words scattered throughout the home: magazines, cookbooks, manuals, newspapers, cartoons, advertisement slicks, comics, posters, dictionaries, and. of course, many different kinds of books.

Is your child writing everyday ? I’m sure s/he is trying to read EVERYTHING in sight….oh yeah….

Yes, Your Child Needs to Write Everyday

Some time during the day , engage your child is some type of writing activity. It can be a Free Write about anything s/he is interested in exploring, feeling good or bad about,  and/or asking for more information.

Practice, practice, practice ~ and remember to encourage your writer to slow down, otherwise….

Try to make it a “routine” event. You may want to collect these writings into a box and/or scrapbook :

  • Give him/her a personal calendar to record special dates, like holidays, celebrations, birthdays, vacations, play-dates, field trips, memories, etc.
  • Have her/him write Thank-You cards , notes & letters.

BLB Shop has a Writing Literacy Tool~Lists, Labels & Love Notes– to help engage your young writer. Just click on the link below:


  • Make sure s/he has a “Storybook” spiral for writing those creative tales with different, colorful writing tools.
  • Add another “Info & Data Collection” notebook with Topic Tabs for research finds & new information. 

Here are some other suggestions from a First Grade Teacher @ primaryjunction.net:

  • Create a Family newspaper to record weekly activities, articles & upcoming events. You may want to include a comic strip, an advice column with  some want ads & an advertisement or two.
  • Enlist your child to help write shopping & to-do lists.
  • Play word games like Wheel of Fortune & Hangman while waiting in an office.
  • Make sure to Publish, Display & Share completed stories, posters, reports, etc.

One of the BEST ways I discovered to engage children in writing is with an Interactive Journal. Prepare yourself for some “eye-openers !”

Your Child’s Favorite Writing Activity

The Interactive Journal-Hires
The Interactive Journal-Hires

Whether you and/or some other family member participates in this very effective writing activity, the results will prove to be insightful, entertaining &, at times, hilarious.

A simple lined or unlined journal provides numerous opportunities for you & your budding author to share feelings, information, reflections, memories, problems and interactive solutions to life’s daily moments.

Usually written before “lights out”, your child will not only tell you about his/her thoughts, but also, ask you some interesting questions. You, then, answer the question(s) while s/he sleeps, respond with some comments & ask some questions of your own ~ which may, or may not, be answered.

This form of writing is a powerful communication tool and will, definitely engage your young writer. Include drawings with a variety of text lettering & messaging for emphasis & amusement.

Random ramblings are especially welcome. Here are a few ideas. Just click on this PDF link: INTERACTIVE Journal Prompts

You’ll be keeping these “talks”~

So, What Are the Writing Expectations for My First Grader ?

At the beginning of First Grade, your Summer-of-Growth Kindergartner can decide (without your prompting) when to read & when to write (even though they occur simultaneously)…

S/he is able to sound out the “big” sounds & write them down when trying to spell words while writing thoughts.

S/he is even trying to use capital letters & punctuation ~ amazing, huh?!?

At the end of First Grade, s/he is probably printing very legibly when expressing thoughts in stories, journals & notes.

S/he will frequently spell familiar words correctly AND begin sentences with capital letters as well as end those sentences with a punctuation mark (most of the time….when s/he remembers to do so…).

How did this happen, you may ask….

Your First grader is writing in the classroom ALL DAY LONG ~ in all subject areas ~ math, science, social studies, health. S/he writes during trips to the Media Center, Art, Music & occasionally  in P.E.

Here’s a wonderful example of a classroom Writing Workshop, posted by Chandra, a primary teacher & parent, on her website teachingwithcrayonsandcurls:


AND, if your school district follows the Common Core, here are the Writing & Language expectations for your First Grader. Keep in mind, some of these objectives began in Kindergarten & will continue in the years to come.

The Common Core’s Writing Expectations

Writing in School-Sobima
Writing in School-Sobima

Language & Writing, as well as Reading, are heavily linked together within the Common Core’s Expectations & Objectives for First Graders.

“With the guidance & support from adults” s/he will be writing & editing opinion pieces, informative, or explanatory text and sequenced narratives, or stories.

Each form of writing has a specific process for your young writer to follow. S/he is expected to include reasons to support opinions, facts to support informational topics, and sequential details to support stories.

During the writing & editing process, s/he needs to “demonstrate command” of “standard English grammar”. Some of these include:

  • printing all upper & lowercase letters with accuracy
  • using common, proper & possessive nouns
  • using singular & plural nouns with verb agreement
  • using pronouns
  • using past, present & future verbs with accuracy

S/he, also, is expected to “demonstrate command” of “standard English capitalization, punctuation & spelling” (at grade level).

Here’s a Parent-friendly version of  the Common Core’s ELA guidelines for First Grade. Just  click on the link below:


You can help your First Grader’s growth & development with some of these specific Writing Literacy Skills at home.

How Do I Build Some of These Skills at Home ?

These are some of the Writing Skills you can help your child master at home:

  • You child should be able to read his/her own writing ~ need some handwriting practice sheets? AtoZ is a great website to explore for teacher tools. You can custom-make sheets to match your child’s handwriting needs while writing spelling words & sentences. Just click on the link below:


  • S/he should be writing & editing lists, letters & stories, using complete sentences. Here a short PDF Writing Checklist link: 

My Checklist for Perfect Writing

  • S/he should be spelling sight words & spelling list words with accuracy. BLB Shop has a Literacy Tool to help your child learn how to spell those words. Just click on the link below:


I created a PDF with Spelling Activity ideas, including several I used with my K~3 students as part of their Weekly Spelling Homework:

Spelling Activity Ideas

Hope these ideas help, especially with the FOUR FORMS OF WRITING!!!! Not talking about Lists, Labels, Letters & Love Notes…..

Those 4 Forms of Writing

Write! Read! Write! - Klimkin
Write! Read! Write! – Klimkin

Regardless of which Form your child is writing, each one should start with a Main Idea, or Topic sentence & end with a Conclusion sentence.

Each Form of writing  should have a beginning, middle  &   an ending.

Informative writing should include 3-5 facts about the Topic. Narrative writing should include at least 3 interesting events within the story. Opinion writing should have 3 or more reasons to support the opinion. How-To writing needs an order of specific steps for someone to follow.

BLB Shop has an easy-to-use, step-by-step  Primary Writing Toolkit to help you help your child with these specific Forms of writing. Just click on the link below:


Reading to Writing to Reading

If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then, you must write it. ~ Toni Morrison

Sometimes writing or thinking about what to write can be frustrating. Talk about a blank slate……

So, sometimes repeating, repeating & yes, more repeating can shake up those creative juices. BLB’s Library has a Resource for getting those juices flowing, using repetitive books:


Here’s a PDF with beginning sentence Repetitive Prompts & Book Title ideas:

I Can R, W & D Bks Repetitive Prompts.

And if you need more, complete with Book Templates, check out this product in BLB’s Shop:


Is your youngster still struggling with her/his Writing Skills? Read on….

YIKES! My Bright Child Hates to Write!!!!!

There are several reasons why your young creative child may be reluctant to write. Hand strength, or the lack of it, could be the cause. Tuning up those Fine Motor Skills can help. Try weaving baskets, forming pottery, working wood, playing a musical instrument, building models, and creating jewelry  . BLB Library has a Resource listing several websites with LOTS of other ideas:


Don’t push too hard…read some books together about writing. BLB Library has a Resource for that, too:   

Reading About Writing: 15 Books to encourage Your Young Author’s Writing Skills

Talk about ideas together. Wordless books with their incredible drawings can inspire stories created for a potential writer. Here’s a list of some beauties: 

  More Wonderful Wordless Picture Books for Readers, Ages 5~8

    A Simple Motivator: Writing in Drawings

Drawing to Write- Cienpies Design
Drawing to Write- Cienpies Design

Most of my beginning writers couldn’t wait to get their words inside the picture. Here’s a PDF I created just for this concept:

Seasonal Story Starters

And once you feel your young author has sharpened her/his pencils, but needs to SEE images before writing about them, BLB Shop has a great Story Starter Tool for doing just that. Just click on the link below:



Can you tell I like to write ?!?!? I hope you have found some useful information regarding this extremely important Literacy Skill. Yes, it is complex and, sometimes, frustrating ~ even for those of us who love to write. But it a VERY necessary component of  life!

Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

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Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Writing Skills

 Upgrading The Family Literacy Circle with Your Second Grader

If your soon-to-be Second Grader’s vocabulary & reading skills have progressed over the summer, pat yourself on the back because those daily reading sessions have worked. Even s/he is surprised (YAY for the Family Literacy Circle !).

Now……How are those Writing Skills coming along ?

Unless your child LOVES to write…..prepare for a Super-Sized learning curve with Super-Sized expectations in your Second Grader’s Writing Workshop.

Got your Family Literacy Circle Writing Center ready?

Here are some suggestions for your young author’s Writing Space:

Home Wtg Space Checklist

This is Part Five :

Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Writing Skills

Your Second Grade Writer

Sometime this summer, inventory the following Writing & Spelling Skills with your soon-to-be Second Grader:

  • Writes last name with accuracy
  • Writes messages using phrases & sentences
  • Writes simple stories with a beginning, middle & ending
  • Recognizes & uses print conventions when writing:  end punctuation, grammar, nouns/verbs
  • Spells common grade-level words with accuracy
  • Locates known & unknown words in a picture dictionary
  • Recognizes & uses phonetic rules to spell unknown words
  • Understands & identifies the differences between a noun & a verb
  • Can write a simple, complete sentence
  • Understands compound words
  • Identifies some prefixes & suffixes
  • Identifies regular & some irregular plurals
  • Understands the meanings of synonyms & antonyms

Yeah! And there will be MORE  to learn in the Writing Arena throughout the year….

Oh ! A quick word or two about Handwriting…..

The Labors of Legible Handwriting

Picking up a paper using those fine motors skills is easy compared to the complex set of muscles (brain included) needed to write thoughts, grasping a #2 pencil onto that piece of paper in a clear, readable way.

Those skills ~ still growing and developing~ can be “nurtured” in several ways. Seemingly, “mindless” practice is one of them, but they are part of your Second Grader’s Writing Skills.

Click on this link to access a Resource on Fine Motor Skills from BLB’s Library :

Fine Motor Skills Resource Sites: Activities & Exercises for Ages 4~6

Here are a few other Handwriting~specific sites :




Writing & Reading Together

If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it. ~ Toni Morrison

Writing Dreams-MysticArtDesign
Writing Dreams-MysticArtDesign

Is your child choosing to use reading and writing for different purposes without your input?

BLB’s Library has a Resource List of books about writing for your hesitant writer. Just click on the link below:

Reading About Writing: 15 Books to Encourage Your Young Author’s Writing Skills

Engaging your child to draw pictures of the words s/he is reading can be a stepping stone into the Writing Process. S/he may decide the story should be written differently and will “edit” the text (YAY!) in a creative way.

Using Dialogue clouds in those character  pictures is definitely writing. Think comic books and cartoon strips.

Here are some book title ideas in this little freebie~ Read, Write and Draw Books :

I Can R, W & D Bks Repetitive Prompts

You can, also, find additional RW&D books in BLB Shop. Here’s the link:


Or, maybe, “reading” some Wordless Picture Books together may inspire a story or five. BLB’s Library has a Book List Resource for you:

More Wonderful Wordless Picture Books for Readers, Ages 5~8

Time to Make A Book ?!?

Yes, You Can Be A Bookmaker!

Record your child’s imaginings & help him/her write it/them down on pages to be bound into a book, using card-stock, paper & binding materials. Here are a few DIY bookmaking sites:



If you & yours want a “serious” book-bound presentation, this website can help you with that:


Engaging your child in the fun and creative process of story telling is a very productive way to inspire writing. However, your Second Grader’s Writing Skills will include learning and mastering many other writing elements this year

Second Grade Writing Expectations & Objectives

If your campus follows the Common Core, there are two major components of the Writing Process: Language, or Standard English Conventions, and the actual Writing Purposes.

Here’s a General Overview, listing the Second Grader’s Writing Skills Expectations for Language Usage & Composition:

2nd grade ELA Writing CC

You may want to check out this ELA Common Core PDF link for Parents:


I’ll get into a little (haha) more detail on these 2 HUGE topics, beginning with Standard English, or Grammar.

Good Grief, Grammar !!!

No one is perfect ~ that’s why pencils have erasers. ~ Wolfgang Riebe

I Got, I Mean, I Use Good Grammar ! -Elementus
I Got, I Mean, I Use Good Grammar ! -Elementus

Informal speech, also known as slang, colloquialisms, street talk, jargon, lingo and, even, dialect, can make learning “proper”, or Standard English confusing. Heard in peer groups, media and read in “literature”, expecting your child to use good grammar while speaking can be frustrating.

And in writing….oh my…..

Here are a few of my Freebie Helpers with a BLB’s Shop Product:

NOUNS:    Collective Nouns 

 Choose A Category : Sorting Words Into Different Groups

VERBS:    One Frog Hops

CAPITALIZATION: Make That Letter A Capital

I, also, created a 100+ page Grammar Handbook that includes lots of activities for learning & practicing Good Grammar with a Sentence Builder component, using Adjectives & Adverbs. You can preview it in my TpT Shop. Here’s the product link:


And, although Vocabulary is listed as more of a Reading Skill, I’d like to chat a little (again, haha) about it’s significant role in writing ~ choosing the exact words to express exactly what you want to say.

Here’s What I Want to Say…..

My Vocabulary -SharonAng
My Vocabulary -SharonAng

Although reading plays a large role in Vocabulary Acquisition, knowing which words you want to use in your writing, how to find them, and how to spell them correctly definitely takes some practice. It is a skill good writers learn through lots of repetition and review.

Using a Picture Dictionary is more appropriate for Second graders than teaching the actual Dictionary skills. Even my Third Graders found learning how to use a dictionary challenging. Again, practice, practice, practice. 

Click on the link below for ideas and games to help teach your Second Grader how to use a dictionary:


Synonym, Antonym, Homonym Lists can help as well as Adjective & Adverb Lists. Here are a few sites with Primary Level Words:



I have several products available in my BLB Shop:

PREFIXES & SUFFIXES:     WORD FIXES: Contractions, Prefixes & Suffixes Literacy Activities


VOCABULARY:  WOW WORDS in Second Grade: 25+ Learning Games & Activities

I, also, have a few SPELLING Freebies:

Spelling Activity Ideas  &   ABC Order 

Yes, ALL of this in a Written Expression or Ten….yes, at least 10 by the end of Second Grade…..

The Storyteller Becomes The Author

Write the kind of story you would like to read. ~ Meg Cabot

Writing to Read-Pexels261967
Writing to Read-Pexels261967

Your youngster has been inventing & writing stories since Kindergarten. This year those stories will be following certain guidelines to meet Expectations. Her/his editing skills, as well as, paragraph construction play heavily into meeting those expectations.

Believe it or not, within the first few weeks of school, your Second Grader’s Writing Skills will help him/her produce more complex and interesting stories, opinions and reports.

Does s/he keep a journal or diary at home ?

S/he will probably be excited about an upcoming Research Project (aren’t you?). YAY! It’s Our Family Tree Project !!!

And, yes, there’s more….

The Second Grade Writing Experience

Writing About This & That!-SarahJane
Writing About This & That!-SarahJane

There are more than a few writing assignments s/he will be given during Second Grade. Here’s a list of Written Expressions (with some helpful Resource links  ) your child will be composing this year:

  • The 5~Sentence Paragraph Formula ~ topic sentence, 3+ topic-supporting sentences, and a conclusion sentence, which re-states the beginning topic sentence


  • Narrative, or story ~  real, imagined real-life and/or total fantasy

Seasonal Story Starters


  • Informative, or report ~  nonfiction, singular topics supported with specific  facts and/or details relating to the topic

I Understand Informational Text Features

  • Persuasive, or  opinion ~ feelings about a specific subject with details to support the specific feeling

Opinion Wtg K-2

  • Research ~ group, partner and/or independent projects involving the use of several resources to support a nonfiction Main Topic

Upgrading The FLC with Your Second Grader’s Research Project Skills

  • Letters ~ recognizing & using the specific parts of a letter

It’s in the Mail

  • Journals ~ a daily free-write, usually, for expressing thoughts on a variety of subjects, including reading responses, math problem solving & science observations

INTERACTIVE Journal Prompts

  • Poetry ~ identifying & selecting some of these styles for composition : acrostic, limerick, concrete (shapes), sensory, haiku & cinquain

50 Beginning Rhyming Words

Poetry Collections for K~5


Your child’s teacher may introduce the Explanatory, or How-To form of Writing. Directions and recipes are examples of this type of writing.

Editor, Please!

The first draft is just you telling yourself the story. ~ Terry Pratchett

Editor Time-MasterStudio
Editor Time-MasterStudio

The Writing Stages usually taught in the classroom are :

  • Pre-writing~the brainsorm & research
  • Organizing~thoughts & sequence
  • Sloppy Copy~ the first draft
  •   Revising~ sentence building

and then, the tiresome, but, oh so necessary,

  • Editing~ grammar, punctuation, capitalization,  & spell check for accuracy

All these steps are taken BEFORE a piece of Writing is ready to be published into ~ The Final Copy.

Need a few suggestions ?

BLB’s Revise & Edit Resources

Here are some Resources to help your Second Grade Writer with the Revising & Editing Processes:

  • Sentence Builders:

Asking & Exciting Beginnings

Words Can Make Sentences: Lists, Labels & Love Notes as Writing Literacy Tools

2nd grade HFW Lists & Games

WOW WORDS in Second Grade: 25+ Learning Games & Activities


WORD FIXES: Contractions, Prefixes & Suffixes Literacy Activities

  • Editing Tools:

Choose A Category : Sorting Words Into Different Groups

One Frog Hops

Collective Nouns

Make That Letter A Capital

Spelling Activity Ideas

ABC Order

To the FINAL COPY & PUBLISH !!!! Share with your family, share with your friends, share with your cuddlies, share with your class ! And take a BOW!

A Definite Call to Your Family Literacy Circle 

You  encourage your Second Grader’s Writing Skills when s/he sees you :

Everyday Writing
Everyday Writing

You, also, encourage those rapidly growing memory skills, which are engaging her/him in thinking with more complexity and depth. Check out this Growth Mindset Tools Chart:

If you are participating in an Interactive Journal (see link above), you are already seeing lots of growth in your Second Grader’s writing skills.

If your child writes~and mails~ Thank You notes, greeting cards, and friendly letters to others, s/he is experiencing a personal sense of pride in her/his writing abilities.

Have the two of you created a story book together?  How about an alphabet book on animals, plants, foods, toys, etc?

Do you know how your child feels about writing ?

A Writing Attitude Survey

If your child is a Reluctant Writer, you may want to have an informal “writing attitude survey” chat with him/her.

Have this list of statements in front of you so you can record his/her responses, like never, sometimes, and/or always.

A “Sometimes” response might need some clarification ~ does it depend on the day, the subject, some hand cramps, rather doing something else, etc.

  • Do you think you are a good writer ?
  • Do you enjoy writing at school ?
  • Do you like writing at home ?
  • Is it easy to think of things to write about ?
  • Do you like to write about real-life or make-believe ?
  • Do you like to read your writing to others ?
  • What do they think about your writing ?
  • How do you feel when it’s time to write ?
  • Which do you like better : reading or writing ?
  • How do you feel about editing your work: grammar, spelling, etc ?

And now for a few more FLC Writing Resources…

Home Writing Helpers

BLB Library has an Inquiry Resource:

Inquiry Investigations: Authors, Books & Websites for Your Child’s Exploration & Discovery

And some Freebies:

KQRL Template

Home Research Projects

Kris Bales of Thought Co’s Second Grade Writing Prompts

My Checklist for Perfect Writing

With several BLB Shop Products:


OH YAY! A RESEARCH PROJECT!: Processes, Templates & Resources

Plus, a Homework Hotline Helper resource from BLB’s Library:

Your Homework Help HOTLINE : Parent Involvement Strategies

So, that concludes the FLC’s Second Grade Series.

I have a new & exciting Series in the Vault ready to be released. I created it for the Independent Third Grader and above. However, your Second Grader might enjoy  these activities as well.

Hope to see you then! Thank you for reading!

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