Responding to Text Questions using Evidence Based Terms

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Within the common core standards, students are expected to reference the text when answering questions. Each written response question they answer ends with, “Use evidence from the text to support your answer.” But, students don’t always know how start a text based evidence answer. Below are some examples of phrases students could use to start their answers to evidence based questions. (Some of these phrases came from a fellow teacher who uses a site called The Teacher Next Door.)


The author wrote…

According to the text…

In the text, it said…

One example from the text is…

Based on what I read…

On page___, I noticed…

In paragraph___, it said…

For example…

I know this because…



Responding to Texts in the Common Core

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Now that Common Core standards have taken over in the classroom, the questions students are answering about literature have changed dramatically. No more questions as simple as: Who is the main character? What is the setting? What is the problem and solution? Although I feel those questions are still quite valuable in determining whether the student understands the basics of a text, there are questions that are much more in depth that your students should also be able to answer. Below is a sample of fiction and non-fiction responses to text:

Responses to a Fiction Text

  • Summarize what you read today. What were the most important events? Did you learn anything new about the characters?
  • Is what you read believable? Why or why not?
  • Pretend you are interviewing the main character. What two questions would you ask?
  • Is there anything you would change in this story? What would it be? Why would you change it?
  • Would you like to be a character in this story? Why or why not? Which character would you be and why?


Responses to Non-Fiction Text

  • What is the main idea of the text you read?
  • Why did the author probably write this selection? How do you know?
  • How and where could you find out more information about the topic you read today? What else would you like to know about the topic?
  • Were there any text features (graphs, pictures/captions, headings, vocabulary) that helped you better understand your reading? What were they and how did they help you?
  • Did you find any interesting words while you were reading? What were they? Look up the definition of your words. Write the words in a sentences.


Free Typing Programs for Kids

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Do you know any free typing programs for kids?



Yes, definitely. Try the games on I tried a few of these games this morning and they are fun and interactive. I also like that the beginner level of each game has students typing using just the home keys. This is a good place to start when learning to type.

Why is typing important for your kids? Unlike the old standardized tests where kids used a number 2 pencil and filled in bubbles, the new standardized tests are all computerized. This means that your student needs to not only be able to read, interpret and answer the question, but he or she also needs to be able to type the answer on the computer. Knowing the location of the keys on the keyboard and how to navigate a mouse are very important skills for all students in elementary school.

Besides testing, children will need to know how to use a computer once they enter middle school and go on to high school and college. They will be required to type papers and find information on computers. Parent The more familiar they are with the keyboard and the mouse, the easier this will be for them.

So, start your kids off early on keyboarding skills with this fun online game.

Chapter Books for Kindergarten thru Second Graders

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It’s important at this age to let your child read some independently, but also to read aloud with you. A good way to do this is to have your child read several pages to themselves. Then discuss with your child what happened on those pages.   Then, sit with your child and do some shared reading. This means you read a page and then your child reads a page. This way you model fluent and expressive reading for your child. You can monitor their fluency and expression. You can also see if your child is getting stuck on words and what strategies your child is using to figure out the challenging words. By doing shared reading, you can decide if the book is too easy, too challenging, or just right for your child’s reading and comprehension ability.


The Magic Tree House series

Ivy and Bean series

Nancy Drew and the Clue series

Judy Moody series

Junie B. Jones series

Cam Jansen series

Frog and Toad series

Nate the Great series

Henry and Mudge series

Rainbow Magic series

The Ramona Quinby series

Reading and Writing Milestones

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Most parents know the milestones their babies should be meeting. When to crawl, when to sit up, when to talk, etc. But, do you know if your child is meeting the milestones for reading and writing once they are in elementary school? Check out this great website I stumbled across. It identifies and explains milestones for reading, writing, and more from toddlers to third graders.

20 Minutes a Day

imagesBVIAWKEOThis is an excellent article about why teachers are always telling your child he or she has 20 minutes of reading homework each evening. I think the key is not to make reading a homework assignment, but to make it a fun family time each day. Everyone can do their 20 minutes of reading at the same time, either reading a book together or reading separately, but in the same general area. Your children should see you reading as well. What a fun way to spend family time!

Boys and Reading

untitled (53)This is a great article by  Brian Sztabnik  (AP Literature teacher from Miller Place, NY) about how to get boys more interested in reading. The three suggestions from the author seem like things we as teachers should know, and I would bet most of us do know. However, are we doing what is suggested?


  1. Do you have books that are geared toward boys in your classroom?
  2. Do you have books with boys as characters in your classroom? Or do you have books with characters boys can relate to?
  3. Have you asked the boys in your class what books they would like to read? What topics are they interested in reading more about?

In my Kindergarten class, I have more boys than girls. The girls will read just about anything, but the boys are pickier. Some of their favorites are non-fiction books about animals, machine and how they work, and sports. But, they also like books about the topics we are studying. And, if I read a book out loud and then ask a boy if he would like to read it by himself, he almost always says yes. Then the other boys line up to read the same book. Must be something about reading a book the teacher read to the whole class.

Bottom line, boys can be taught to enjoy reading just as much as girls. But, they must have books they enjoy and books they can relate to.



“40 percent of children who are no longer read to aloud say they wish their parents had continued. Their No. 1 reason was because “it was a special time with my parents.”


Wow, if only we could listen to our kids more, we would help them read and feel close to us all at the same time. This article is a fantastic read. It discusses the most common mistake parents make dealing with reading.

When our kids are babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners, we read to them any chance we get. We know they are learning so much about the world through books and that they can’t read them by themselves, so we read to them. But, what happens as soon as your kindergartner learns to read. Reading becomes homework or a timed activity that must be completed, rather than engaging, quality time with books and parents.

At a reading conference I attended last year the speaker spoke about this topic. I was so happy that she did. At the time I was teaching third grade, and it was nearly impossible to fit in everything I was supposed to teach in a day. However, even with my very tight schedule, I still made time for read aloud every day after lunch. Now, some days it was only 5 minutes and other days it was a little longer. But, I cherished that time and would not let anything stand in the way of reading to my class. Yes, they all knew how to read and were very good at it.   But, as I read to them, we went on adventures together, learned about new things, and shared quality time as a class. That time with my class was so valuable.

Be sure to make reading with your children a priority at home. Don’t make it about school, and timers, and homework. Make it about spending quality time with your children learning and exploring books together.

Book List for Reluctant Readers

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I saw this article posted on Facebook and thought it might be helpful to some parents with reluctant readers. I have read some of these books and the kids definitely like them. I like what the author says about reading books in a series, “I read aloud 10 of them to my daughter and she went on to read 40 more by herself, she took to them with real pleasure and joy.” Find a series that your child likes and you will have a reader!

A Great Website for Book Suggestions

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Did you know that James Patterson has a website for kids? I didn’t either until my mom sent me the link after reading one of his books. The website is It has book lists for children ages 0-10 and up. The lists are divided into categories to make it easier for you to find books appropriate for your child’s level. I especially liked this book list: I-Hated-to-Read-Til-I-Read-This Booklist for Boys. Finding books that the boys I tutor are interested in reading is always a challenge. This list will help me greatly. Check out the site and choose some good books for your child to read!