Books to Use When Teaching Parts of Speech

Cover image of bookshelf

Books to Teach Parts of Speech

I like to find as many ways as possible to make things fun in school. Teaching some topics can be a little blah, so I love using books to teach parts of speech! The following images can all be clicked on and you can get more info at Amazon, but these are some of my favorites! 


Julia Cook is known for her books that present SEL topics in a way that students can connect with. This one, It's Hard to be a Verb, where a child has trouble controlling his body and calming it down. Definitely worth a look!
cover of It's Hard to be a Verb books


Brian Cleary has been one of my favorite authors of kids' non-fiction texts! These books have cute, fun pictures, and are engaging due to their fun rhyming sentences. They are great read alouds and easy to incorporate into reading workshop lessons too.

A Mink, a Fink, A skating rink book         


Michael Dahl is new to me, but I found his cute and fun books about parts of speech that all are titled: "If you were a ". Check out the cute covers below.


Ruth Heller is known for her gorgeous illustrations. Did you know she also has written several books focused on parts of speech? Below are just three books that use beautiful language to share and teach students.
Up, up and away cover
Many Luscious Lollipops cover               Merry go Round book  


These books are a neat way to discuss and read about nouns, verbs and collective nouns with students!

  ..         Collective Nouns


My second graders LOVED doing MadLibs! They really cemented their understanding of parts of speech after a few months work on MadLibs as a class. Also there was at some point (hopefully still is ) a free Mad Libs app! Give it a try.
                                 Mad Libs Junior cover      Mad Libs cover 2 

So these are some my top picks for books to teach parts of speech. What is your favorite?
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How do Interactive Notebooks Keep Students Engaged?

INB sample page

How Interactive Notebooks Keep Students Engaged


It's in the title! They are interactive and kids are not just reading and checking things off or writing a one word answer. Let's peek at an example. Here in this activity for types of sentences, students cut out the flap book, cut the flaps and use their knowledge of what each type of sentence is (or turn back to the previous INB (interactive notebook) page that reminds them). Then they find a sentence in their text that matches and record it under the flap. Students are reading, referring, cutting, glueing, remembering, searching, and writing!
Types of sentences INB page


Yep, interactive notebooks have a good amount of variety compared to traditional "seat work" (as Ramona Quimby calls it in Ramona the Pest). Look at the options: flap books, cut and sort, brainstorms, hunts/searches, and foldables!

INB samplesINB samples


Simply put, INBS are pretty engaging! I saw it for five years with my own second graders. They got to work faster, stayed on task longer, and were more engaged with activities like these fun foldables which kind of fool them into working, when it seems just fun! Also, the sentences and option included are often interesting to students, such as sentences about relatives visiting, Halloween, sports, school, and cats and dogs!

capital letter hunt INB page


For more a visual bang, you can copy them on Astrobrights like I did for my second graders, or even using white paper, the visuals are clean and clear. Some pages are coloring friendly too and explicitly say to color in something after you fill it in. INBs can vary in style, but for the ones I create, I like to keep the font easy to read and use simple shapes and borders and avoid clip art that clutters the visuals. Students can get distracted, and though I love fonts, we don't want them to lose focus because of a font, cluttered page or crazy border.

setting INB page


INBs are a fun change for student compared to a traditional print-and-go worksheet like the one below from my Now and Ben supplemental resources for Journeys week 30. For the nouns / not nouns flap book, students cut out words and glue then under the correct label. Possibly more interesting than the activity on the left.

Adjectives and adverbs page from Now and Ben resourcesnouns and not nouns INB page

Do you think those characteristics of interactive notebooks would keep students engaged, too? If so, check out these 5 INB options (or comment and let me know a favorite you have seen!).

Dos and Don'ts of Teaching Phonics

Teaching phonics can be overwhelming, especially for newer teachers, those of you who just changed grade level, or if you don't have a program in place. So, to help, let's talk the do's and don't of teaching phonics!


Let's go over the don'ts first!

Don't be Boring

Haha, right? Obviously! There are so many awesome ways to make phonics fun and engaging! Games, hands-on activities and more. Check out all my ideas here at this blog post called Fun Ways to Practice Phonics.

Here's a couple of  examples I do with my first and second graders. Magnetic letters seem basic but they love it! Pom poms, Play Doh, buttons and more are great ways to make it fun too!

Don't Skip the Review

If you have a phonics program at your school such as Fundations or Words their Way, they will incorporate review. If not, I'd recommend each week you spend at least some time over the course of 2-3 days (if you do a phonics lesson daily, which I also recommend) incorporate review words and patterns.

Don't NOT have a Plan

If you use a phonics program, a weekly and yearly schedule will be outlined for you. If not, you need to plan ahead because you will need to teach it systematcially (see the Dos section). Whitney at First Grade Roundup has a detailed explanation  of her weekly phonics plans at this blog post that might help you!


Use Different Modalities

This can be part of making it fun! Students can talk, speak, write, draw, use manipulatives (Wikki Stix, buttons, beads, Play Doh, Magnets, write letters in shaving cream and so much more!

Have a Plan and be sure to Review

I am not going to repeat myself here because I have given you some info in the Don't section. Check back up there.

Teach Syllabication Rules

Simply, make sure you teach students eventually (maybe first or second grade, but every learner is unique) syllabication rules so that they can decode multisyllabic words. Freebies are available to help you and students. Just search "syllables" or "syllabication" on TPT.

Teach it Systematically and Explicitly 

To teach systematically, it means using a specific scope and sequence. So for beginning readers who are prepared to learn short vowels, you don't want to teach assorted word families like -all or -ate . You start with short a words like cat and bat and move on. Lessons would start out easier and gradually became more complex, including review!

Teaching explicitly means you directly instruct students about letters first and words and spelling patterns. Use clear information and thinking aloud and to help students attain strategies for reading and writing.

Teach it in Multiple Ways

Yes, teaching your regular phonics lessons and addressing it during Guided Reading or small group instruction is essential, but, also use stories and other literacy activities to incorporate phonics activities and help students make connections!

Make it fun!

Head over to my blog post for a bunch of ideas, but you can also try the word riddles I create called Mystery Words! Here is an example of a freebie focused on double consonants. If you grab it, and can leave short feedback, I'd appreciate it! Clicking on the image will bring you to it on TPT.

Teaching SEL During the Pandemic

child meditating

Things in our world are certainly stressful, aren't they? And many of us are going to focus on teaching SEL during the pandemic. our students (and us teachers) need social emotional learning  more than ever. I decided to use this space today to talk about some tools, resources, and ideas to support you while you're trying to teach SEL.


Mindful Minute

One way you can incorporate SEL into lessons, whether digital or in person, is to start your lessons with a mindful minute.  Some suggestions for mindful minutes are using relaxing breathing techniques with children such as Figure 8 breathing, or rainbow breaths, doing  a yoga minute, a few stretches or anything similar. The Calm app is also great for these.

Dialogue with Students

Find a way to maintain a dialogue with students about their feelings. Some suggestions are:
  1.  Meet with students in person or virtual 1 on 1 once a week or every other week. 
  2. Use Google Classroom announcements for whole class chats
  3. Check in with small during during instruction
  4. Private messaging with students through classroom
  5. With younger students, connect with parents weekly
  6. Use Poetry and writing prompts for students to express themselves. See below for writing prompt ideas. 

Give Students Assignments Centering around SEL/ Mindfulness

Assign or give optional activities like:

  1. Coloring/drawing/Art
  2. Reading
  3. Spend time outside
  4. Go on a SEL/Mindful Scavenger Hunt
  5. Free journal writing
  6. Practicing breathing or meditation
  7. Listening to music


Class Dojo

Class Dojo has some wonderful SEL resources, including the mindfulness series with the cute monster, Mojo! Mojo learns about stress and tough feelings and how to manage them!

 Empatico is a terrific website  that connects classroom from all over the world with virtual meet ups. These meet ups foster empathy and building SEL skills. Their website has a lot of amazing resources for teachers and families, specifically during this pandemic.

Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind is a website from Australia and has a  website and and an app! They offer relaxing body scans, meditations, relaxation videos and prompts and many things you can do at home and at school.  It is applicable for kids of all ages and adults, teachers and parents.

Writing Prompts

Let's talk writing prompts!  This summer, I created some writing prompts (digital and printable options) for students to help them identify feelings, process feelings, and develop empathy and problem solving skills. These images will give you a sneak peek and if you click on any they will go to the listing on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Digital SEL writing prompts coverPrintable SEL writing prompts cover
example of digital SEL writing promptexample of digital SEL writing promptexample of digital SEL writing prompt

printable examplesPrintable examples

You also might want to about some conversation starters that you can use to help students develop SEL skills online or in person Check out my blog about it here.

Also, you need to take care of yourself too. You can't pour from an empty cup! Check out my blog post with ideas on teacher self care here.

Did you find some ideas that will help you when teaching SEL during the pandemic? I hope so!