Reading Street, Workshop, and focus walls

I will begin this post with an explanation and apology. It will be lengthy (at least for my posts) and rambly…

Last year was my first year in 2nd grade, with Daily 5, Café, and Math Expressions. I pretty much change things up yearly-there is just so much you live and learn, but geez…

Just a note-I thought it was easy to combine D5 workshop with Reading Street. I used the basal, which has some great literature by the way, most every week. I do find this series to be overwhelming and I def. had to pick and choose what elements I was going to utilize. I am very indecisive flexible when it comes to instruction and scheduling in my classroom. If I don’t like how something is going, I change it.

By year’s end my reading workshop looked like this:

*Word sort at seat (did I mention it was our first year with Words Their Way, too) but I LOVE IT so no biggie. If you don’t use it already, use the online stopwatch site for speed sorts…oh my! Be sure to scroll down-the bomb is the class’ personal fav.

*meet at the rug for phonics or vocab minilesson. If there is one thing I found useful in Reading Street it was the word work/phonics lessons. Awesome. I love word ladders. My kiddos used little white boards at the rug. I am pretty sure it was their favorite type of minilesson. We also did dictation sentences using the spelling test section. Since I used WTW, the spelling was a nice tie in to the phonics that week that they had to apply.

*Read to Self (always round 1)

*meet back at the rug for skill or strategy minilesson. I used the basal or other picture book to intro the skills. You can really use it exclusively, but I love books too much. I used the basal like any other picture book. The difference was each kiddo had their own copy! I pull these lessons from any and everywhere. The Lesson Plan SOS ladies are my new go to though!

*Round 2-choice. I had a clipboard with all their little names down the side and daily choices across the top. You can find the original here (I just redid mine a little-like added lots of lines for kids!). They raised their hand when they were ready to tell me their choice and the round was 20-30 mins depending on how many kids I had to meet with. (this is my weak area so I am not going in to depth here. We do use mClass assessing that rocks my the way)

That’s it. We went in to some sort of terrible writing lesson here then Author’s Chair. I am still lost about wiring instruction with 7 year olds at this point…

There are some changes I will make this year however. One is a mini focus wall. I moved my huge Pottery Barn rug to school (after we repainted, it no longer matched and I can’t justify selling it for 1/10th what I paid). I moved my meeting area in front of our tv so I can utilize it more during this time. I love using games during this time. (see the links at the bottom of this post) This left my desk right beside my rug. Since the side is ugly and bare, but magnetic, I made this little focus wall to cutesy it up and be a reminder of what we are working on that week. You can download it for free below.

For now it is going to be the story book cover, the skill, the strategy, and the genre. I am undecided about where to house the vocab words and hf words…I am doing a large word collector and sounds we know boards for vocab. this year.

Focus Wall Mini

More info will come as I think things over more thoroughly. Right now I am still in “I have to get the room situated before I can think about academics” mode. I will also get some pictures of it soon. We were teased with a hot minute to come in and work yesterday before the new hallway tile is waxed. My mom and I worked most of the day, but how much can this gal get done with 3 boys with her…nada!

If you use reading street, here are my delicious bookmarks for resources on the web



  1. Thank you so much for posting this Focus Wall! It is so cute! We use Harcourt Story Town, but I am going to use your idea and certain parts of this...just make it fit to our reading series! So cute! Thanks again for sharing! :)

  2. Thanks for sharing Rachel! :) I printed off some of the mini-posters to incorporate into my wall. I think since it's by the same clip art artist, and it's still brightly colored, that is will work well! Plus, that means I can officially put my genre posters on cabinets to display. If, by some chance, there are genres in the third grade version that aren't represented in the second grade version, would you mind plugging in a new genre page for me in the future?! I get really crazy when things don't match! :) You are awesome!


  3. Hi Rachel, Your focus wall file looks amazing :) When I just tried to download it, Scribd shows that it is private, not public. Is it supposed to be available for download?

    Primary Practice

  4. Patricia-opps! I will change that to public! Amanda-why do you think I remade stuff I already have?? Of course I would add to them!

  5. Thank you for sharing. It is awesome! I started working on a focus wall for Reading Street last year and these will tie in perfectly. I put my spelling words, etc. in small pocket charts that I hung up with Command hooks because my board isn't magnetic.

  6. Thanks, Rachel-you're the best. These posters will be a great addition to the classroom!

    Primary Practice

  7. Rachel,

    Your focus wall is A-ma-zing! Thank you for sharing!!!! Can you tell me what you used in Lettering Delights? I need to make some different titles for my focus wall...we use Houghton Mifflin and have some pretty specific expectations as to what is on our focus wall and I want my titles to match. :) Thank you so much!!!

  8. Hey, I used graphics from Scribble Kids, Scribble Fun, and Scribble Bug, and also Silly Kids (the main stuff)
    Ask me if you need any specifics! Sorry for the delay

  9. Oh my goodness! The free resources that you have posted are absolutely amazing and exactly what I was looking for! Thanks so much. :) P.S. I am your newest follower!

  10. I tried to download your Reading Street Focus wall materials and I was unable to. Is there any way you could email it to me?

  11. Miss Rachel,

    I'm a retired 2nd grade teacher working with my 2nd grade grandson....who does not understand word ladders. He is in the Reading Street series. Where might I find some online?

    Many thanks and keep up the enthusiasm!



notes to the teacher

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