Iowa Students Strive for Million Minutes of Reading

Take a look at this very interesting reading idea from a school in Iowa. Just another creative way to get your kids reading. See the excerpt below or watch the video on WhoTv.

A friendly competition is happening in the halls. Students are buried in books at Centennial Elementary in Altoona. 4th Grade Teacher Jamie Hill says, “They totally see it as a competition. They love it. They’re tracking their minutes on their desk.”

Classes, students, even siblings are vying to be the top reader and help the school reach its goal of a million minutes by the end of the year. Student Callie Bruchert says about reading with her younger sister Ella, “I just like to win, and don’t like to lose, especially since I’m her older sister, so I try and read more.”

The students are just a month in and already more than a third of the way there. They track their minutes at home and in class. Teachers even incorporate other lessons. Hill says, “At first they wanted to use timers, so we talked about looking at the clock, so it’s been good for just kind of going with math too.”

The campaign encourages families to get involved by reading at home. School leaders will also host a family literacy night on October 21st at Centennial. Reading Specialist Kerrie Bernstein says, “We’re inviting families in for the evening to read, and the kids will be doing activities, and the parents will be attending sessions of activities they can do at home with their students and their children.”

Bernstein encourages everyone to read at least 20 minutes a day. She also says families should spend time together looking at books to raise lifelong readers. Bernstein says, “It’s more than just an A or a B this year. I think if we can reach the kids this year, and then they keep reading and then they’re reading for their kids, I mean it just continues on and on and we have people who are more educated adults because they’re readers.”

What a great reading program! What do you think of this idea? How practical is it to implement in your school?

Say hello to our new website and Common Core Reading products!

Last month was National Reading Month, and to celebrate we released two more Common Core aligned, reading products for districts and educators to help students with their ELA programs!

Our NEW ‘Close Reading Portfolio’ provides a series of reading  material and interactive exercises that gives students practice in deriving central ideas and key supporting points in their reading material.


And the NEW ‘Books & Collections’ library comprises nearly 500 English and Spanish titles, and was developed to provide supplemental, grade specific, reading material in History/Social Science and Science topics.


In addition to the above, our popular ‘Guided Reading Program’ is still available on our redesigned website and provides over 130 engaging books and lesson plans, covering comprehension strategies, oral fluency skills, and content in history, science, and language arts.



Free Published Books Released for National Reading Month

But that’s not all… we are also releasing 3 free books in digital format to share with your students!

Just click on the links below to download your free books:

The Golden State, by Susanne Herfurth & Sue Byers, Illustrations by J.R.Craig & Sou Saetern

Ideal for 4th grade, readers can learn about California from this informational text, which includes interesting facts and features about the state.

American Immigrants, by Tony Losongco, Illustrations by Paul Klepac

Written for 5th graders, this non-fiction compares and contrasts the experiences of new Americans during two historical periods of immigration.

Weather, by Michael Contreras, Illustrations by Rae Mendiola

6th graders will love the graphic features in this book that will help them interpret maps and other weather graphics.

Enjoy your classroom reading and don’t forget to share this post with your friends!

My Students Are Begging for More Guided Reading With Snap Learning

Guided reading has never been so engaging. For the past month my students have been enjoying improving their reading skills with Snap Learning’s guided reading program. The program is so user friendly and intuitive for both teachers and students. SnapLearning has thought of everything. As a teacher who has 5 iPads and 27 students I appreciate the little things that Snap Learning did to make it work for everyone! I most appreciate the individual student log in because it makes sharing iPads and the using the program simple! In the past my students participated in small guided reading groups with me, but they have never begged to be in the first group to go until now. My students can’t wait for their turn to be in a guided reading group because each lesson is full of engaging, relevant content that they actually enjoy reading about.


The lessons are packed with interactive content that draw the students in and make them want to read and comprehend. The lessons contain videos and other interactive media that build up their background knowledge and get them excited about reading the passages. The vocabulary instruction is explicit and students go through each word at their own pace, moving on when they are ready, just like the rest of the lesson. Each lesson contains a section for a written response too. My students are writing details and using text evidence in these responses. Writing about what they are reading is such an important skill in the era of CCSS. They are writing with details because they are engaged and motivated to share what they are learning. Speaking of CCSS, the lessons are aligned with CCSS and the informational texts are of very high quality. Students can pick out vocabulary controlled text easily and feel insulted by it in traditional guided reading materials, but that is not a worry with SnapLearning’s guided reading program. My students not only enjoy reading with SnapLeaning’s guided reading program, but they are showing signs of reading improvement in their daily work and progress monitoring! What more could a teacher ask for? I have engaged students who are loving reading and showing improvement in their reading ability thanks to Snap Learning.


HEIDI MORGAN is a 6th grade Reading and Language Arts teacher. She is passionate about technology integration and is always looking for new and innovative ways to create the best 21st century learning environment for her students.

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February 5th is Digital Learning Day!

The growing use of digital media in education is a subject where the conversation often goes back and forth like a swing on a playground.

On one hand we have those who wholeheartedly embrace technology for themselves but hesitate when it comes to “exposing children to too much technology”. On the other hand there are those who have barely touched upon on the value technology can bring to their lives, and often lean on their children for assistance and advice. In between are those who talk about affordability, practicality, and the digital divide.

All of these debates aside, most are in agreement that digital tools are here to stay. And for that reason, we love it when events like Digital Learning Day come around to give us an excuse to talk more about technology in education.

What is Digital Learning Day?

Digital Learning Day is a nationwide celebration of innovative teachers and common-sense, effective applications of digital learning in America’s schools that support teachers, improve learning, and provide options for students to achieve at their highest potential.

SNAP Guided Reading Program and its Proven Effectiveness

SNAP Learning is dedicated to providing educators with quality digital reading material aligned to the Common Core.  The Guided Reading program was designed using a team of reading specialists and practitioners to develop scripted lesson plans that could be used within a seven-to-ten week reading intervention.

The SNAP program includes high quality components that the National Resource Council deemed effective, including reading of continuous text, writing included in every lesson, materials selected based on students’ needs, and ongoing progress monitoring.

Click here to download our Demonstrated Record of Effectiveness which showcases that each component of our lesson sequence will increase students’ reading achievement.

Go Digital! Get 25% off Snap’s Guided Reading Program!

In support of Digital Learning Day we are offering a 25% discount on our guided reading program for one day only: February 5th, 2014.

To learn more about the Guided Reading Program, click here.