Elementary ELA Newsletter June 2020

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ELAOK: Elementary

June 2020

In this issue:

EngageOK in the Cloud, July 14-17

EngageOK in the cloud

EngageOK will be back again in July, but this time it will be virtual.  There are numerous topics, including meeting the needs of at-risk students, grading for equity, teaching the Tulsa Race Massacre, and using the OKMath Framework to increase student engagement.

 We also have several ELA-related topics, and they are all on different days and times for educators who want to attend multiple sessions.  The schedule is listed below:

  • Wednesday, July 15, 10:30 a.m. - "Supporting Effective Early Reading Instruction through RSA and Evidence" presented by Melissa Ahlgrim, Director of RSA
  • Wednesday, July 15, 1:00 p.m. - "Dyslexia:  Definition, Eligibility, and Intervention Frameworks for Teachers" presented by Michele DeBerry, Program Specialist, Special Education Services
  • Thursday, July 16, 10:30 a.m. - "Effective Literacy in Early Childhood" presented by Jennifer McKay, Senior Director of Early Childhood
  • Thursday, July 16, 1:00 p.m. - "Providing Feedback on the Oklahoma Academic Standards for English Language Arts" presented by Jason Stephenson and Deb Wade, Directors of Secondary and Elementary ELA
  • Friday, July 17, 10:30 a.m. - "Effective Literacy in the Intermediate Grades" presented by Deb Wade, Director of Elementary ELA

Click on the EngageOK in the Cloud link to see the entire agenda and register for the event.

Grades 3-5 Summer Virtual Meetings

We will still be holding monthly meetings during the summer for Grades 3-5.  The information for our June and July meetings is listed below (the passwords will be sent in future newsletters):

We plan to use these meetings to check in on one another, see how our districts and schools are gearing up for learning in the fall, and discuss upcoming professional learning opportunities.  I hope you are able to attend!

RSA Resources: National Center on Improving Literacy

National Center on Improving Literacy

We have all been flooded with resources lately. Sometimes it is difficult to know which resources to rely on and which resources might not be worth our time. If you are looking for a website grounded in research and best practices for struggling readers, check out the National Center on Improving Literacy (NCIL).

The mission of NCIL is to increase access to, and use of, evidence-based approaches to screen, identify, and teach students with literacy-related disabilities, including dyslexia. The website is well-organized in order to easily find resources for schools as well as families. The resources are also helpful for any teacher who has a student who is struggling with reading, whether they have a reading disability or not. You can access the website at https://improvingliteracy.org/

Documenting COVID-19 in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Historical Society

Since 1893, the Oklahoma Historical Society has had the goal to collect, preserve, and share Oklahoma History.  This website already offers excellent resources for teachers to use in their classrooms, but now they are asking for help in documenting how COVID-19 has affected Oklahomans.  By sharing your experiences, you can help future generations understand how this pandemic changed the way we work, play, learn, and interact with others. These stories may be included in future exhibits, shared online, and preserved for researchers.  

Click on this online form for more information on how to share a story. You could submit something yourself, or use this as a project for your students. 

Word Challenge

Merriam-Webster created this challenge and shared it on both Twitter and Instagram.  Use it sharpen your own word skills, as a fun way to build vocabulary with your students, or both!  

Merriam Webster 30-Day Word Challenge

#Bookaday Challenge

Book a Day Challenge

Recently I read a blog by Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer.  Entitled "Reading or Not, Here We Go: A Social Distancing #Bookaday Challenge", it spoke to how even avid readers (including Miller herself) have struggled to find joy in reading during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It was in this blog that she offered up her annual book-a-day challenge as a way to "remember and celebrate what we love about reading in the first place".  

The rules for the challenge are simple:

  • You set your own start date and end date.
  • Read one book per day for each day of your summer vacation. This is an average, so if it takes you a week to read a long book, you can balance it out with some picture books or early reader books.
  • Any book qualifies including picture books, nonfiction, professional books, audio books, graphic novels, poetry anthologies, or fiction—children’s, youth, or adult titles.
  • Keep a list of the books you read and share them often via a social networking site like goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Use the #bookaday hashtag to find other participants and share your recommendations. You do not have to post reviews, but you can if you wish. Titles will do.

This challenge takes place in the summer, not only as a way to keep reading as a priority in our lives, but also as a way to discover meaningful and helpful texts to use in the upcoming school year. Start your #bookaday challenge today!

Monthly Features

Writing Prompt of the Month

Jason Reynolds is the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, and he has created a video series called Write.  Right.  Rite.  This series, presented by the Library of Congress, highlights Reynolds' passion for storytelling in short, high-energy video clips.  At the end of each video, he shares a prompt that encourages young people to be creative.  Click on the link to the his video series for some great new writing prompts.  

Jason Reynolds

Reading Quote of the Month

Donalyn Miller

"Ultimately, the measure of a reading life isn’t how many books we read. We measure our reading lives in experiences, knowledge gained, the conversations and relationships we have with other readers, or the further reading, inquiry, or action our reading experiences spark."


Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer