Reading Corner Makeover

Do you ever have trouble getting your students excited about reading? Sometimes we just need to add a little theme into our reading corner. Then, it becomes a very fun place to visit.

I teamed up with Oriental Trading to makeover a reading corner. I had to come up with a theme. At first, I was not sure how to make it inviting. And then…. I saw their circus/carnival theme!

I am in LOVE with this new reading corner!!! I know that students will need to learn some rules and procedures to using THIS center, like any other. The good news is that it will not be a boring reading corner anymore and students will look forward to reading.


I used a red and white striped table cloth to create the tent swoop and some mint lanterns for a splash of color.

Bulletin Board

You can add an awning. Well, it’s not really and awning, but it’s a good way to decorate the wall space on top of the bulletin board. Just use a red and white striped table skirt to create the look. Then, add a multi-color pennant banner on the bottom of the bulletin board.

Circus Ring Leader

The stand-up poster invites the children to the reading corner. I used the “Come One- Come All” message, but you can use whatever works for you.

Reading Center Sign

This cardboard stand-up sign includes individual signs for the different areas of the carnival. I replaced the second sign with the word READ. I am thinking that the other signs can be replaced with other fun reading words. Another option can be to add words that point the students to different areas of the classroom (restroom, Math Center, Teacher, Writing Center, etc.)

Big Top Directional Sign


The carnival theme alone is FUN. But I want students to take this center seriously and added a table and chairs where students can read their favorite books. A small piece of the table cloth was also used to cover this table. As a bonus, I added the Carnival Inflatable Body Bopper. It comes as a set of two. I’m only using one as a lounging chair. It looks like so much fun! Hmmm. How can students take turns using this lounging chair? Some students will not have trouble sharing. Others may need a little more structure. So if you need to, you can assign students to rotate by either using a timer or setting a schedule. To set a schedule, you just assign one student to the chair about once a week. So, if student A sits in the fun chair on Monday, student B will sit in it the next time that they visit the reading center. This is assuming that you assign students to groups when they rotate centers.


The reading table has a popcorn box full of yellow ducks. They can be used in a couple of ways. One would be to pick a baby chick for every book that they read. Another would be to actually give them a little prize like that for EVERY book that they read on the first week of each month, or so. A huge bag of tiny ducks was already in this classroom but Oriental trading has many little prizes like these that can be used as rewards.

Bowling Sight Words

How about using this giant inflatable bowling set for sight words? Just add the sight words of the week to the bowling pins. The pins are so large that I decided to only use three for now. Students can roll the bowling ball WHEN they are able to read ALL three words.

I hope that this reading corner gave you a little inspiration. You can only see one book shelf in these pictures, but there will be more around the perimeter of this center. Now, go browse the Oriental Trading website and see which theme you would like to use. Here’s a link to their Reading Corners page ūüôā


Self Portrait FREEBIE

I like to plan for self-portraits on the first week of school. They show me each student’s ability when it comes to fine motor skills and attention to detail. A read-aloud is always tied in to this lesson. We talk about things that we will learn in Kindergarten, this year. I also make sure that they understand that everyone CAN learn. It is very important that they believe in themselves and always try their best. Leo the Late Bloomer is a good book to use with this activity.


Here is a free self-portrait template. The download includes two templates in English and two templates in Spanish.


Samples of the Spanish printables. The large face template is a good one to use in a Pre-K classroom on the first day of school. The smaller face template can be used in the Kindergarten classroom where students are able to draw more details.


Back-to-School Books

These are some books that can be used during your Back-to-School unit. I LOVE The Kissing Hand, Froggy Goes to School, Leo the Late Bloomer, and Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom!
Which books do YOU like to read? Are they on this list?

Must Haves Monday

This is Teacher Week on Blog Hoppin.
This is my list of Must Haves for Back To School:
1.  Favorite books for the first week of school.
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2. Camera for First Day of School pictures. You can find one here.

3. A way to keep that Teacher Binder organized. Click on the picture
if you would like to see it in my TPT store.
What are YOUR Must Haves?

The Kissing Hand and Editable Newsletters

The Kissing Hand is one of my favorite books for the first week of school. This is a very good story for  the kids who are not used to school routines yet. With this story, students will see that it is okay to have different emotions about the first day of school.  We love it when the raccoon places his hand on his cheek to feel his mother’s presence and love. After the story, we talk about how WE feel on the first day of school. We also practice kissing the palms of our hands like the little raccoon in the story.  Here is a student book that you can use after reading the story of the Kissing Hand.

I also have this poem that you might like:)
P.S. I am receiving many email requests to share these documents from the google docs url. Thank you so much for passing these on to your teaching friends! You are simply wonderful:)  The best thing to do is to send your friends directly to this website url. As far as I know, that is the only way that these documents can be shared –by clicking on the pictures themselves to take you to the actual links. 
Thank you so much for your support!!!
And here are some super fun Monthly Newsletters that you will love. They are such a good way to communicate with parents. They can also be used as weekly newsletters. Just click on the picture to find out more about this Mega Pack of Editable Monthly Newsletters.

Get your freebie here. This page is from my old version.

Herding Kats Product Swap


I am happy to review a few products by Jennifer from Herding Kats. Not only does she share wonderful resources for your classroom, but she also shares her life stories in a way that draws you in as if you were there along with her. I am always happy to visit her blog and learn something new.

I just discovered that she has this amazing Back to School unit:  Forest Themed Unit for Back to School or Fall.  I was pleased to see that it covers a variety of activities for language arts, math and science. A bonus to this unit is that these activities may be introduced during whole group or small group time. Then, the teacher may place them in centers for extra practice. They may also be used in pocket charts or sent home for review of target skills. Students may work on the activities independently or in groups of two.

Take a look at the activities that you will find in the unit.

1- Alphabet Match Game: These alphabet cards feature a precious raccoon that will go well with The Kissing Hand book. This game helps students identify letter names and become familiar with upper and lower case letters.  Beginning readers can work with two sets of cards. All they would have to do is  to simply match the upper case to upper case letters or lower case to lower case letters. The more advanced students can match the upper to lower case alphabet cards. These cards also come in handy for sequencing the alphabet. Beginners can look at an alphabet chart for guidance. Advanced students can sequence the alphabet cards without support.

Here is a 5 year old matching the upper to lower case alphabet cards side by side.
You can choose either the upper case or lower case alphabet for this sequencing activity.

2- Rhyming Cards: These can be used in 2 simple ways. *You can select 4 rhyming pairs to play a concentration game or match the rhyming cards in the pocket chart. Rhyming is such an important skill. I like how these cards only include pictures without the words. Students can concentrate on naming the pictures and listening for patterns in words. When they hear two words that end the same, they pair them up as rhyming words.

Here, you can see the pairing up of bat with hat .

3- Student book: This book features the words “I”, “see”, “one”, “two”,  “three”. The sight words “I” and “see” are repeated on every page. It is easy for the students to read the unknown words by looking at the picture clues on the page. This makes for a predictable reading pattern that is easy to follow.

My sweet niece enjoyed this book. First, she colored the pictures in the book while naming the object. Then, she counted the number of objects on that page. Finally, she was able to use the repetitive and predictable pattern to read this book independently. She has never been in school before, but felt very proud and successful with this activity.

4- Number cards 1-20: Whether you are working on identifying number skills or number sequencing skills, these cute cards will come in handy. They can be sequenced in the pocket chart, on the table or on the floor. Make sure to instruct your students to name the number as the card is placed in the chart. This will help them keep track of the number that they are on plus practice one-to-one correspondence.

5- Count and Match cards: Students will be able to practice their counting skills with the acorn cards. Then, they will need to match the quantity of acorns to the corresponding number cards. This activity will be wonderful to use as a review in the beginning of the school year. It will also be great as a differentiation activity throughout the year while more advanced students are ready to move on to more challenging activities. I can definitely see this in a center year-round.

6- Patterns: Another skill covered in this unit is working with patterns. Students will be able to read and complete AB, ABC and AABB patterns using these adorable raccoons. Since the raccoons look alike, students will learn to pay attention to detail to find the pattern.

7- Roll and Graph Forest Animals: There is a dice of forest animals provided. Students roll the dice and graph the results. Wow! Dice games seem to motivate the little ones into learning. When using this with a group of two students, you will notice that kids wait anxiously for their turn at rolling the dice but are equally excited at graphing the results with crayons.

8- Science: Students sort diurnal and nocturnal pictures of animals. This is an activity that must be introduced to the class before they are expected to work on it independently in a center. But, once they are familiar with the terms and animals, sorting them out will become a breeze.

If you are in need of small but challenging games to practice target skills, you will be happy with this following product. It provides extension activities that may be used by students depending on their ability.  These include exercises for the terms of more than, less than and equal to. Your more advanced mathematicians might enjoy using the graph results to create addition sentences in the recording sheet that is provided. It’s a nice game for your Apple unit. 

A third product that we were able to look at is the Pirate Roll and Cover. This one is not only educational but also a lot of fun for the little ones. The game can be played by one or two players. This would be a good independent activity once your students are familiar with addition and subtraction. It also includes activities for use with 3 dice for those students who might need something more challenging. Fun! Fun!!
Roll the dice.
Write the addition sentence on the recording sheet.

Add the two dice and cover the sum on this fun addition mat. 

As you can see, Jennifer provides wonderful resources for your Kindergarten classroom. I am very pleased with every product that we were able to review. They cover many of the skills that our Kinders work on all year long. If you like what you see, then head on over to her store and add these items to your wish list.

Alphabet Activities

This is an activity to meet the Common Core Standards for Reading in Kindergarten. K.RFS.1 states that  students will recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet. You can use this resource as stated below to practice these skills.

It fits right in on the first week of school when you read Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom or year-round.

How to use:
can match uppercase letters to the corresponding lowercase letters. Use the
attached mat to place the cards in the boxes.
can sequence the upper or lowercase letters in correct order. Use in the pocket
chart or on the carpet. This is also a good way to retell the story.
one of the mats in the listening center and provide magnetic letters. Students
place the correct letters on the mat as they listen to the story.
the letter cards around the room. Students go for a letter hunt. They return to
the carpet and show and tell about the letter that they found. (Example: I
found the letter ‚ÄúA‚ÄĚ- acorn and airplane start with ‚ÄúA‚ÄĚ) OR (Abel‚Äôs name starts
with ‚ÄúA‚ÄĚ)
the letter cards to for a graph.  Teacher
lines the letter cards on a bulletin board or butcher paper. Students write
their names on an index card and place it under the first letter in their
student is given a letter card. As the teacher reads the story “Chicka Chicka
Boom Boom,‚ÄĚ the student raises the corresponding card.
use magnetic letters or letter tiles to find the letters in their names. They
mix up the letters on the given mat. Then, they will build their names under
the coconut tree.