5th Grade Reading Strategies

I created the following reading log and reading strategies guide for my 5th grade students to use for their evening reading assignments. Feel free to download and use with your own class. Click on the image to download via Dropbox.

Student Reading Strategies Form


Student Reading Log

Students circle one of the three strategies in the final box. If they choose visualization, they draw a picture in the box, along with a short response.


Have your students write the page range they are assigned to read ahead of time. They will fill in the # of minutes it took them to read that section in the “# min” field. I included this field to monitor student reading rate.

The reading strategies form I created was adapted from Mendhamboro.org for use in my classroom.

Explore the Genius of Dr. Seuss This Read Across America Day – A Dr. Seuss WebQuest

Last year hundreds of students used the Dr. Seuss WebQuest I created for Read Across America Day. I posted this WebQuest on the blog for the same reason I post everything else – I hoped someone besides myself and my class could utilize my work. Well, I’ve been blown away by its popularity, and I’ve updated it so that it can be better utilized by teachers and classes outside of my own.

I’ve received over 300 survey submissions, and it’s been on my to-do list for quite some time to update the webquest to include survey results, making it more engaging and fun. I finally had time to do so this week. Now, when you submit a survey, you’re led to a results page. Also, since last year, a few links have gone by the wayside. They’ve either been replaced or removed, so everything is fully functioning and ready to go for this year’s Read Across America Day.

It’s time for your class to complete the Dr. Seuss WebQuest (pictured below) and get to know the writer, poet and cartoonist known as Dr. Seuss better than ever. They will explore his books and characters, and even create a Dr. Seuss inspired character of their own! Click HERE to begin.

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Purpose: Students complete a WebQuest to learn more about Dr. Seuss and his books. They then use this to inspire them to create their own Dr. Suess characters. This WebQuest is motivating to students as it allows students to explore and learn at their own pace.


  • Students will use online resources to learn about Theodor Seuss Geisel, the writer, poet and cartoonist known as Dr. Seuss.
  • Students will explore books written by Dr. Seuss, discovering new books and reflecting on personal favorites.
  • Students will create their own imaginative Dr. Seuss inspired character.
  • Students exercise technology skills to compile learned information in a Microsoft Word document. Students will: create a bulleted list, insert a table, use shading to fill table background, use text alignment tools and insert headers.

Historical Fiction Book Clubs – Free WebQuest

We’re starting historical fiction book clubs in my class this week. This will be the first year I’m doing books clubs for the historical fiction genre – we read Blood on the River as a whole-class novel study and I usually move on to another genre afterwards. This year, I’m doing great on time and have the opportunity to add another club. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and it’s one that kids tend to look over most frequently when searching for a book in my classroom.

I’m thinking I’ve found some great books to hook them! Sophia’s War, The Sign of the Beaver, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, and Zane and the Hurricane all made the cut.

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I put a WebQuest together for students to complete before beginning their assigned novel. The students click on their assigned book and then progress through four steps. Within the WebQuest, students read the information from the back of the book and analyze the cover to make predictions, learn more about the author of their novel, and learn some important historical background information. Click here to view my Historical Fiction Book Club WebQuest. It’d be a long and boring post if went through each step to complete the WebQuest, so I won’t do that. It’s self explanatory – my 5th graders completed it yesterday and all went smoothly. I had them work with partners which made if more fun. They were able to discuss each section and hear another person’s ideas; I loved the conversations I heard as I circled the room. We got through the first three steps in class and students completed the fourth step for homework. I hope you can use all or part of it with your class. Click through and explore!

I hope to post the guide I created for Sophia’s War soon. I just have to proofread it before sending it out into the world with my name on it. 😀

Looking for another 5th grade historical fiction recommendation? As I mentioned earlier, we read Blood on the River as a whole-class novel study. This is a fantastic book that pairs wonderfully with 5th grade Social Studies. If you’re looking for another great historical fiction novel to use, Blood on the River is the best! My class loves it each year.

Because of Mr. Terupt: Free Novel Study Guide

61Ktetz+JQLOverview: Because of Mr. Terupt is a realistic fiction novel written in the first person from the perspective of seven students in Mr. Terupt’s 5th grade class. Mr. Terupt is a new teacher at Snow Hill School, but the students quickly learn that he is a special teacher. The book is separated into two parts. In Part One, we get to know Mr. Terupt through the eyes of seven of his students. Part Two begins after a tragic accident at school. After the accident, the class copes with their teacher’s condition and their role in causing the accident. The accident brings the class together and teaches each of the seven main characters an important lesson.

Themes: change, forgiveness and personal responsibility

This novel can be a great tool to teach narrator’s voice, point of view, figurative language, foreshadowing, and themes of change, forgiveness and personal responsibility.

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This upcoming school year, I’ll be using Because of Mr. Terupt as a novel study in one of my realistic fiction book clubs. Since I didn’t find a guide that met my needs, I created my own. Click HERE to view and download my free guide. This guide contains vocabulary, figurative language, and comprehension and inference questions for each section. Graphic organizers are also included and can be accessed within the pdf.

A suggested sequence is provided with the guide. The assignments in bold show the chapters I’ve intentionally chosen to read with this realistic fiction reading group. When you schedule your guided reading sessions, I recommend you schedule to meet with your students on the bolded assignment days. Areas highlighted in blue indicate that a resource is included within the pdf (blue page numbers refer to the pages in the pdf, not novel pages).

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This novel has been broken up into 10 sections. Each section is limited to one page to keep it easy-to-use. A chapter summary, vocabulary list, list of figurative language, as well as comprehension and inference questions are included in each section. Also, a page number is included for each vocabulary word and sentence of figurative language to make it easy for you to find in context. Page numbers are included for the comprehension and inference questions as well.

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The guide includes several optional assignments that target figurative language, foreshadowing and comprehension.

Mr. Terupt Assignments

Click HERE if you’d like to view or download my guide. I hope you find it helpful!

Have You Discovered BiblioNasium Yet?

I think I just found a gem. And I’m really excited about it. Really.

As I was on my own Goodreads account yesterday, I was wishing that they’d create a classroom version – an area for me to create a private group safe for my fifth grade kiddos to explore books and read each other’s book reviews. Figuring that I can’t be the only teacher who’s had this thought, I started a Google search and discovered BiblioNasium, a “cool new reading community for kids.”

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I’ve done some exploring on the website, set up my own class and added a sample student so I could see how the site works as both a teacher and a student. In the past, I’ve encouraged my students to share book reviews on our class blog, but I think BiblioNasium is going to be better for a few reasons.

  1. BiblioNasium can keep track of all the books that students read during the school year, making it easy for me to view their progress and book interests.
  2. Students can view one another’s shelves. This means they can see which books their classmates have read during the school year and view their recommendations.
  3. Students can search specific books. If a classmate has written a review for the book, it will show up in the search.

Using BiblioNasium will put all of my students book reviews in one place. It’ll make it easier for my students to share and recommend books to one another, and I’m pretty sure that it will be a motivating factor and feel a bit rewarding for students to add a completed book to a shelf. Anyone within the class can also send recommendations to each other. So, if you think a book would be fitting for another student you can recommend it to them and it will show on their “my recommendations” shelf. Pretty cool!

In addition to organizing the books a student reads and recommends, the site can also be used for reading logs. Instead of paper logs, you can convert to digital. It’s easy for students to record their minutes and it can’t get lost. And it’s just as easy for the teacher to pull a reading log report. It looks like BiblioNasium is exactly what I was hoping to find. This year, I’ll be saying goodbye to the index-card review system and paper reading logs I’ve been using and giving BiblioNasium a try.

Best of all, this resource is ad-free, kid friendly, and FREE!

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When students log into their accounts for the first time, they must read and agree to the BiblioNasium Honors Code. As I said, super kid-friendly, right? The honors code reinforces internet safety and proper online etiquette.

See, what I told you? A gem. I’m pretty sure I found a gem. 😀

I can’t wait to try it out this year. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Absolutely Almost Read Aloud Guide


I just finished reading Absolutely Almost. And. It. Was. Good. This is a must-read for upper elementary school teachers, parents and students.

This is a character-driven realistic fiction novel with an unlikely protagonist, Albie. Albie is a fifth grader who is “absolutely almost”; he struggles doing well in school, being “cool”, or finding something he is a good at. Throughout his life, he’s always been an almost — almost good enough, almost ready. This is a book about being average. To Albie, nothing comes easily.

I follow a reading blog by Katherine Sokolowski who sums Albie up perfectly — “School is hard for Albie. He tries, and tries, but nothing comes easy. Not reading, not writing, not math. He’s not an artist, not a jock, he’s just Albie. He’s good, and kind, and loyal, but he does not stand out. For the most part, he’s ok with that, but his parents aren’t. Albie struggles against their expectations and tries to figure out where he fits in. He is aided by a new babysitter, Calista, who sees Albie for the wonderful person he truly is.”

In this novel, Lisa Graff offers an honest portrayal of a low-average student in a school (and world) where honors is the expectation. This book allows the reader to see inside the mind of a student who is struggling academically, to see that learning doesn’t come easily to us all. Through this novel, students are able to hear the thoughts of an ordinary kid who struggles to meet his parents expectations and understand where he fits in. In the end, we learn that Albie does have a strength, just not the conventional academic kind.

This novel also has many ties to Wonder, so many connections can be drawn. My class read Wonder over the summer, and The Julian Chapter was our first class read aloud. I’m looking forward to keeping the theme of kindness going with this novel, as well as discussing the similarities and differences of the protagonists.

Currently, there aren’t any guides or read aloud resources to use with this novel. I put a guide together for myself. Please feel free to use it and adapt it as you see fit. I hope you find it helpful! Click here to view my guide.