Mini Lessons


   I have been trying to get a 10 minute reading mini lesson in at the beginning of  reading.  It has been a fun challenge to figure out where I am going with each mini lesson and how much I can teach in 10 minutes!  I have been trying to incorporate our anthology (basal) into the mini lessons.  I use the anthology to assess the skill I am teaching in the mini lesson. I am currently reading Mosaic of Thought by Keen and Zimmerman.  I am sure this will change my view of teaching skills during mini lessons!  But for now, it is working.



Where Do You Have Mini Lessons?


Book Lists


Mini Lessons


Reading Mini Lessons Links


Writing Mini Lessons Links


Where Do You Have Mini Lessons?

I usually have mine in front of the room or in front of my easel on the carpet; it depends on what I am teaching!  I really like to have my lessons on the carpet for two reasons: 1.) Students have to stand up and move and get some of the restlessness out and 2.) It builds a sense of community with all of us sitting close together learning about the same things.


My second year of teaching I pulled an easel (literally) out of the trash.  I took the legs apart and tried to make it balance and  repainted it.  I did all of this at school- and was quite proud of myself.  I used it for two years. This summer  I asked my handy father to fix it up for me and it is BEAUTIFUL!


Here is a front view.  My dad added cups on hooks to store pens and markers and such.

Here is a side view.  You can see the two shelves my dad added for extra storage.


Here is a back view.  The long silver bar will be where I drape all my loose leaf chart paper.

I love it!  I am going to get a bucket and store charts on the bottom shelf along with my tub of magnetic letters for making words.



Book Lists

Book List by Deb Smith from the Reading Lady website

Huge list of books to use with MOT strategies- Click on the first link at the top

List of Books For Writing Crafts and Reading Skills

Another Book List For Reading and Writing


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 Mini Lessons


***Here is a great link to picture of anchor charts created during mini lessons by Holly Nowalk****


Reading Mini Lessons


Making Connections- This page is JUST getting started.  I have the primary unit up for the most part and the secondary unit will be coming soon!


Questioning Mini Lessons- printable lessons, resources and book lists!  Big page!


Inferencing Mini Lessons- HUGE unit with tons of graphic organizers and printables!


Cause and Effect Mini Lessons

                        Cause and Effect Index Cards for Matching

                        Cause and Effect signs



Author's Purpose Mini Lessons

                        Time for Kids Link (Authors Purpose- to persuade)



Fact and Opinion Mini Lessons

                         Fact and Opinion Game (see lessons above for directions)

                         Fact and Opinion Game Answer Key

                         Fact and Opinion Sorting Activity (see lessons above for directions)


Plot Mini Lessons

                        Plot index cards for labeling chart- Print these out on card stock and laminate for durability

                        Plot chart

                        Thank You, Mr. Falkner cards-(see lesson above for directions).  Double check these- I wrote them off the top of my head! 


Third Grade- Week Long Units

I am currently in the process of writing several of my reading units for the beginning of the year.  I am basing these on what my past students need, my grade level curriculum map and past lessons.  Of course I will "tweak" these lessons as needed to meet my current student's needs!  Some of the lessons may look very familiar and are shortened units of the ones above.  We "recycle' these units several times throughout the school year. Please note not all of the ideas are completely original and may be adapted from other sites (I just wish I could remember from where! : (.  If you see something and recognize the "owner" please let me know!).


Retelling Unit- I wrote these lessons for the beginning of the school year in third grade.  It has been my experience that many readers forget basic story grammar when retelling a story.  Hopefully these lessons will cement it and also give a s visual cue to help them.

retelling graphic organizer from summer school

retelling story frame poster

retelling hand graphic organizer


Questioning Unit- This is slightly longer than a week.  The documents needed for these units are listed below.

 Petite Rouge By Artell power point

Questioning Chart, Questioning Coding Chart, Questioning Flip Flap books


Making Connections- This is also a shortened unit form above.

Text toText Bridge Worksheet

connections summary frame worksheet



Making Predictions- I have noticed some of my more younger readers tend to make predictions that are not based on the text.  hopefully these lessons will take care of that!


Inference- Shorter unit that includes poetry.  This is a topic that is hit OFTEN!!!!!!!!!!

Categories Power Point Game

Poetry Inference Books  (these are leveled- I made these to match my students but they are NOT technically leveled- I just "eye balled" them!).  I DID NOT write the poems.  I found them from various places online, like here, and compiled them.

below grade level

mostly on grade level

slightly above grade level

Inference Game board template from JC Schools

Inference Task Cards from Proteacher





Reading Strategy Posters shared by Tiffany Edelen (These are great- I just printed them for my own classroom!)


Writing Mini Lessons

Encouraging Students to be Descriptive in Writing Using Similes- This is a writing unit that a very talented first grade teacher at my school created.  I simply adapted some of the ideas and many I borrowed EXACTLY as she created them.  These lessons are to encourage students to become more descriptive in their writing by using similes and noticing how authors use similes to paint a picture in the readers mind.

Here is a picture of the end result:



Writing a Response to Literature- I wrote this for a staff development I did at school on writing with a colleague. It is a little different than many response to reading units since I focused on a character analysis paragraph rather than writing text connections.  Most the teachers at my school were comfortable with this already, so I tried a different direction.  You will need the character inference graphic organizer for this unit.


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Mini Lesson Links for Reading

Great fourth grade reading mini lessons for fourth grade written by Mrs. Cervone. I will definitely be looking at these when I teach determining importance- too bad I had already  completed the units on connections and questioning because these look great too!

Great list of books to support MANY different skills and strategies taught during mini lessons

Excellent resource with many links and ideas!

This website has tons of information.  It has reporting and assessment forms as well as lesson plan ideas.

What to do lessons on...

For third grade.

Ideas for WHAT to teach in a mini lesson.

This wonderful site lists books to use in different writers workshop mini lessons. Not only will you get ideas for mini lessons, but a text to match!!!


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Mini Lesson Links for Writing

As far as writing, I get almost ALL of my writing lessons from the Ralph Fletcher book Craft Lessons.  I love this book.  I usually get the idea for my mini lessons there and then stretch them out with other ideas.

Holy Moly!  This site is awesome!  it has lessons specifically geared to each of the six traits!  Very user friendly and detailed!  This is a must see!

For older students, but can be adapted to other ages.

Ideas  for writing.

Here is a list of mini lessons that are appropriate for third grade and can easily be adapted for upper grades.


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Graphics are from