Reading Strategies Script

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Good Afternoon!  Today we are going to discuss Reading Strategies.  Reading strategies are defined as strategies to help a child improve reading comprehension and fluency.

I’d like to first address fluency.  Fluency is just “how” a child reads.  How smooth and how fast.  I’ve never been one to feel as if a child needs to read super fast, but the faster and smoother a child reads the better his/her comprehension will be.  The best way to improve a child’s fluency is:

1) Read to your child modeling fluent reading.  This needs to be done for older children as well, as high as sixth grade.  We have found the best time for this is at night.  My daughter, evetho she is 11, still loves to be read to.

2) Have the child read aloud.  Pick a book and have your child read aloud to you.  At night or first thing in the morning is a good time for this.  Don’t correct your child too much, allow them to self correct.  If they are stuck, help them, but give them a couple of seconds to figure it out on their own.

In my humble opinion these two activities will do the must good in helping with fluency.

Now comprehension is another thing.  I have found that questions are good to test overall comprehension, but to keep a child interested and thinking about what they are reading they need more.  Years ago I found a wonderful book, but I haven’t been able to find to in print now.  I’ve also put together many activities of my own.

Any type of lapbook components are good to use. Let me show you one that is really simple to make.  I’m using 4 sheets of construction paper.  I’ve cut them down the middle longwise.  Then I layered the sheets about an inch and folded them down.  This gives you a layered book that you can use for vocabulary words, questions, and many other things.

Another very simple thing you can do is a hand with “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “why”, and “how” written on the fingers and palm.  This is how one looks.  Something like this can be done in minutes and can have your child thinking about the story or scene they are reading with very little effort.

Keeping a reading journal is another way to have your child do something related to their book everyday.  I made this sheet the first year I taught 5th grade.  For each book they read they would make a booklet with at least 10 pages in it.  Then each day they read and do the activity.  Let me read you a couple of the activities.  Day 1 – Illustrate the cover of you reading journal.  Look at your book’s cover for ideas.  Day 4 – Write a summary of the events that have happened so far.  Day 11 – sketch a poster that advertises your book.  Below the book write two sentences that describe the book.  Day 15 – Write a paragraph explaining why you think your book should be made into a movie.  Who would you want to be the star?

A couple of years ago someone showed me how to make a booklet out of a paper bag.  I thought they were so cute.  It also allows your child to use their creative skills.  You can use this book as a mini-book to tell about their book.  They can also be used as a book report, using setting, characters, conflict, resolution and ending.

I have many more of these types of strategies.  Make a web, a picture mural, character map, picture walk, word cards for vocabulary, cause & effect, a banner, a flag, letter to the author, writing an article, advertise-a-book poster, story chart, and a story map.  These are different types of things I have used in the past to keep the children attentive to their reading.  If they know they will do an activity after they read, they will pay attention to their book better.

If you have a reluctant reader or a child that is having trouble with fluency or comprehension, there is a website that has printable books on all levels.  I only have one to show you, but this is an easy way to have shorter books for a child having trouble.  There is a cost for this service, but I have really enjoyed it.  The website is .  This book is level H which is about second grade reading level.  They also have lesson plans for each book with activities and quizzes.

Another good tool to teach both fluency and comprehension is reading “real world” reading.  Newspapers, magazines, newsletters are some “real world” reading you can use. I have had my children do a current events type activity once a week.  This has them looking at things in a more personal way.



“Comprehension Today” by Diane Henderson and Jenepher Snell

“Real-World Reading Comprehension” by Carson-Dellosa Publishing Co.

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Notebooking 101 script

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Good afternoon.  Today we will be discussing notebooking.  The reason I picked this subject is because I think homeschoolers could really benefit from doing this type of study notebook.

There notebooks are called Interactive Student Notebooks, or ISNs for short.  An ISN is a spiral notebook or a binder that is used for one subject.  The student keeps the notebook as part of their learning, studying, and evaluation.  The concept of student interaction is what makes these notebooks unique.  There are no two notebooks that are the same.  The notebook is arranged so that the child gets information from the teacher and then uses that information in a creative way to show they understand the material.

The materials you will need to begin a notebook are: a spiral notebook or binder, scissors, glue or tape, colored pencils, stapler & crayons.

An example of a notebook would be that the teacher might give notes, or questions from a reading in a textbook as the “input”.  The child studies the information and is then told to do some creative work on the “output” page to show they understand.

The page set-up:  (see below)

We haven’t started using the Interactive Notebooks yet, but I’m planning on doing one for Science next year.  I already had all my daughter’s subjects and notebooks planned out before I cam across ISNs.  But I truly love the idea.  I can say that I’ve started a little bit of notebook type foldable that she is putting into her reading notebook.  Here is what we’ve done.  (show) She does an online class called, “The American Girl Club” through Curr-click.  They read one book a month.  I found lapbook components for the American Girls, so I thought it would be good for her to put those into her notebooks.  I really didn’t want to do a lapbook per girl.  So this was what I came up with.

We are doing a lapbook to go along with her history.  If you are using “The Story of the World, Vol. I”.  There are lapbook components for the entire book.  I’ll give that website at the end with the other resources.  This is what she has done with that. (show)  We have done the Chap. 1 minibook and we just finished Chap. 8, so we’ve done that one.  And we will do two a week until we catch up.

Now let’s look at the process to begin your notebook. (see below)

To begin your notebook, you should allow your child to decorate a cover for their notebook.  This gives them ownership.  They can also decorate a unit cover whenever you change units.  Her a couple of pictures of covers. (see below)

And here are some examples of the “input/right-hand page and the corresponding “output/left-hand page.  (see below)

Foldables are a great tool that a child can use for their creative page, that output page.  Here are some example of foldables.  Also all the lapbook components I have shown you from can also be used as foldables.

Here are some examples of foldables.  The first one is a “Cause & Effect” foldable.  The next one is different types of flap books.  And the next pictures are of foldables inside a notebook.  These foldables can be used as part of a teacher directed lesson, so they would go on the right hand side of the notebook.  Or they can be used by the student for the left-hand side of the notebook.  (the last picture says, “The Layers of the Atmosphere”)

Now here are my resources for today.  I think this is the largest resource pages I’ve had so far.

Here is my contact information.  If you would like me to send the resources to you just email me and I’ll send all of these to you.

Thanks for being here today and next week we will be discussing “Reading Strategies”.  I hope to see you next week.


Interactive Student Notebooks


The purpose of the interactive notebook is to enable students to be creative, independent thinkers and writers. Interactive notebooks are used for class notes as well as for other activities where the student will be asked to express his/her own ideas and process the information presented in class.


                  • 8.5 / 11 spiral notebook (one that an 8.5 x 11″ sheet of paper can fit into without any trimming)
                  • writing instruments (pencil, pen, colored pencils)
                  • scissors glue stick or tape

Page Set-Up

Left Page – OutputStudent Involvement (Showing Understanding and Creativity) Right Page – InputTeacher Involvement (Given Information)
                  • Brainstorming
                  • Foldables
                  • Concept Maps (Science)
                  • Push/Pull factors
                  • Questions
                  • Process Description (Math)
                  • Character Descriptions
                  • “Wanted” Posters
                  • Eulogy Finish this . . .
                  • Flow Charts, Spectrums
                  • Matrices, Clustering, Spoke
                  • Venn Diagram
                  • T-charts
                  • Cartoons, Caricatures
                  • Graphs
                  • Newscasts


                  • Lecture notes
                  • Procedural notes
                  • Vocabulary
                  • Basic Knowledge Questions
                  • Reading Notes
                  • Movie, Video notes

The Process

                  • Leave several pages at the beginning of the notebook for the table of contents.
                  • Number the pages — odd numbers on the right and even numbers on the left. Students should never continue a right-side page onto the back but should rather staple, tape, or glue on an extra sheet to extend a page.
                  • Keep a master Table of Contents with dates and points possible.
                  • Allow student to decorate cover and make a cover for each unit.
                  • Give material to be covered.  Student can write notes or just put in material on right side of notebook.
                  • On left side of notebook, student uses material in a creative way to show comprehension.

Cover Page    

Unit Cover Page  

Right Side – Input  

Left Side – Output  

Right Side – Input 

Left Side – Output  

Right Side – Input  

Left Side – Output  








Notebook Foldables (for Spirals, Binders, & Composition Books by: Dinah Zike


YouTube Videos: – this guy show a couple of different foldables and how to make them.

The Story of the World lapbook website:

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Double Lapbooks and Lapbooks as Gifts script

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Good afternoon.  Today we will be discussing how to make a double and triple lapbook and how we can make lapbooks into gifts. 


First let me show you how to make a double lapbook.  All it takes is two file folders.  You fold both of them into a single lapbook.  You then glue two of the sides together.  Because you want these to stay together, I recommend using liquid cement.  It brushes on and will last longer than regular glue.  I also recommend using paper clips to keep them together until they dry.  Now as you can see we have double the space in the lapbook for the mini books.


Another fun thing to do is to make a pocket between the lapbooks.  To do this you brush the glue on the three sides of the flaps, leaving the outer flap without glue.  This creates the pocket.  This is a wonderful place to put anything the child would like to include to remember the year.  In a double lapbook you would have one pocket, but in the triple lapbook you could have two pockets.


To make a triple lapbook, the principal is the same.  You just add one more lapbook on the end.  I’m not sure if you could go one more or not.  I haven’t tried.  But the triple lapbook closes up nicely. I’ve put together one for you to see.  You can even use these as a mini science project type board.  They stand up really nice.  This is how you close the lapbook.  Now you have three large areas and six small areas to work with.


These can be used as gifts as well.  The one I’m working on is for a girl and it’s a journaling project.  Eventho its past the first of the year, I wanted to show you how I have put this one together.  I just happened to have pastel paper that went well with the file folders. I found the file folders at The Dollar Tree for only a $1 for the three.  This lapbook is a year’s worth of journaling.  The child will journal what happens during each month of the year.  It’s not a great amount of journaling, but it does get journaling started. I’ve also put together some extra things in the smaller spaces. 


To make the monthly books, I went to and got three of the simple fold books.  I used the ones that said “skinny”, because you want to be able to put four mini books per lapbook.  As you can see I wasn’t trying to be uniform, but just fit them onto the page.  The larger simple fold books are too big for the lapbook. I used two different methods for the mini books.  For the first one, I printed out two of the books, cut them out and then put them together.  Like this one.  The other type I printed out one book, then I took some notebook paper and traced around the mini book a couple of times. I cut out the paper smaller than the mini book and then put them inside the mini book as its pages.  You can use either of these methods or both.  I write each month’s name on a mini book and put them in the lapbook. 


The extra things I came up with were


New Year’s Resolutions

My Goals for this Year

My Summer Plans

My Goals for this School Year

My Birthday

My Year in Review


These will go on the flaps like this.  I’m putting summer plans and goals for the school year in the middle lapbook since that is where those months are.  The My birthday and year in review will go in the last lapbook.  


There are many other ways that you could make these into gifts.  A baby book journal, A summer fun journal.  Using pockets and the mini books you could make a wonderful picture album.  You could even make it a scrapbook.

I do have the lapbook Resource for sale.  This is a lapbook I made with about 15 different minibooks displayed in it. The resource is for sale for $10 using my paypal account (  Please email me and let me know you have bought it and what address to send the resource.


I hope you enjoyed this webcast and I hope you can use some of the information.  Remember next week my topic will be Notebooking 101.

Geography Curriculum script

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Good afternoon,  I’m so glad you could join us today.  We’ll be talking about Geography and I’ll be showing you the curriculum that I wrote.  It’s a United States geography curriculum for grades 2nd through about 6th grade.  You could probably use it for 7th and 8th also.

But before we begin I’d like to thank everyone that participated last week in the Planning webinar.  That was my biggest audience to date.  Also for those of you that ask about the links, if for some reason you did not hear from me, please email me again.  I think I answered everyone, but I could have missed someone.

Today we are talking about Geography.  I’d like to tell you why I decided to write this curriculum.  While I was teaching in the public school, I saw so many children that didn’t know a state from a city.  And this was in 5th grade.  I don’t know how many times I asked for a state and got things like Atlanta, Chicago, or LA.  So I decided I wanted children to explore each and every state.

This curriculum is designed to explore a state a week.  So you aren’t getting into minute detail about each state, but an overview.  Here is the outline for the weekly assignments.  This should take less than 20 min. a day.  Now there a number of components of this curriculum.  You have the

1) report

2) the large wall map

3) the flashcards

4) passport

I also have a breakdown of the states if you want to go from one state to the next closes state and go all through the country like that.  The other option is to allow your children to pick the next state.  Just know the second option will be harder on your wall map because there will be lines everywhere.  Like ours.

Now how this works is the children will pick a state or you will use the next state on the list.  They will use Google maps or an Atlas to find the route between the state they just finished and the next state’s captial.  They will draw this route on the big wall map.  This map can be printed from a website.  I will give you that website at the end.  Then they will work through a report on the state.  Here are the pages of the report.  They will also do a page about a famous person from the state.

After the report is finished, they will color in the state on the wall map and put a stamp in their passport.  The stamps can be printed on plain paper and then glued into the passport or they can be printed on sticker paper.

The report is designed so that you print a report, a famous person sheet, and a one page map for each state.

The curriculum is for sale for $10.50.  You can send the payment to my PayPal account using this email address:

Then please email and let me know you have sent the payment and I will send the file to your address.