Packing Your Instructional Toolkit

Updated: Jul 3


Every teacher has an instructional toolkit or what some might call a bag of tricks. A little grab bag to pull from when a teachable moment comes to light. Mine was a file cabinet and a series of chaotically organized binders.


Teaching is HARD!

Teaching takes a LOT of time…personal time!

Teaching takes energy!

Lots of Energy!


That's why this one is all about packing your instructional toolkit one resource at a time.


Let's get straight to tips, tricks, & strategies to pump up your literacy instruction, refresh what you are already doing and bring to light the inspiration you might need to keep moving forward in building strong readers and writers.


So let’s jump right into adding a few tools to your instructional toolkit from the Literacy Treasures FREE Resource Library. Let's get to it!

You can listen right here.

5 Steps to Planning Minilessons That Will Ignite and Engage Your Readers


This is a self-guided little resource tool where you have access to a minilesson planning cheat sheet along with ideas for minilessons.


If you are new to minilessons or you already conduct minilessons, this little resource will help you out.


It takes you through the structure of a minilesson using an infographic that guides you through the importance of each part of the minilesson: Connection, Teaching Point, Active Engagement & Link (to independent reading work).


Want a minilesson cheat sheet that you can use to quickly guide your thinking through planning a minilesson for your readers or writers…it’s in there.

Readers' Notebook Tab Dividers


A reader’s notebook IS a reader’s toolkit. Something a reader uses to record new learning, jot notes about their thinking and get guidance from while independent reading.


The Readers’ Notebook Tab Dividers: Section labels that are ready to print and go for creating Readers Notebooks.


Within this print and go resource, you can decide which sections you want your readers to have and get those organized into your readers notebooks.

Evaluating Student Reading Artifacts for Growth Possibilities


This little cheat sheet has guiding questions to use while you are reviewing student reading artifacts for growth and possibilities for improvement.


When you are looking through student work or informal assessment tools it’s important to know what you are looking for.


This little tool provides guiding questions for informally assessing stop and jots about reading, longer written responses, running records, conferring notes, engagement inventories, interest surveys and how readers engage in conversations about books.


I know it sounds simple, just guiding questions, but it was always helpful to have these little thought provokers jotted down in my lesson plan notebook. This little cheat sheet was my answer!

Exit Tickets: A Cheat Sheet for Analyzing and Assessing Student Exit Slips


With this you will find, 3 actionable steps for reviewing exit slips and determining the next steps for your instruction.

  • Step one: Divide the exit tickets into 3 groups that represent 3 different levels of understanding.

  • Step Two: ask yourself a couple guiding questions about those exit ticket groups.

  • Step Three: Determine your next Instructional actions. This step provides tips and ideas to follow regarding your current instruction based on which level of understanding the majority of your students fall under for that specific concept or skill.

This little cheat sheet is a gold mine and time saver for informally assessing the little nuggets of gold your readers and writers are giving you at the end of a lesson. (or your mathematicians, historians or scientists…just sayin)

Mapping Out A Schedule for Small Group and Individual Conferences


Readers’ & Writer’s Workshop moves fast!


How can you fit it all in: Minilesson, Independent work, Small group instruction and conferring?


Enter the template and guide for Mapping Out a Schedule for Small groups and Individual conferences. It’s always a good idea to have a plan for what groups you need to meet and who you think you may be conferring with that day.


This little planning tool will help you maximize time within Reading and Writing Workshop.

Intentional Read Aloud Planning Tool


Read aloud is crucial for any age group. I’ve had high school and middle school teachers tell me that their students love when the teacher reads aloud.


It’s not just an elementary thing. That’s why it’s essential to have a read aloud plan.


The Intentional Read Aloud Planning Tool is a little infographic reminder of the kinds of experiences that readers should be experiencing during a read aloud.


Read aloud is more than just a 'sit and git' experience. Read aloud is where the proficient reader in the room models what proficient readers do.


This reading experience can frontload your future instruction with intentional stopping points for you to think aloud or intentional thinking stems to have readers turn and talk for a minute along with intentional stopping points to jot or sketch out a quick thought or reaction.


These intentional read aloud practices will show readers what a proficient reader does each and every time they encounter a text.

Text Dependent Analysis Plan for Building Stop and Jots Into Analytical Written Reading Responses


This little tool will guide and inspire your curriculum planning to help your readers build their skills towards writing those longer responses.


Your readers (and writers) need guidance and a full understanding of how to take their little stop and jots from independent reading and use those to create longer written responses.


Readers need a variety of reading experiences throughout the school year to help them build those jots into longer written responses.


This little curriculum planning tool a great visual reminder to keep in your lesson plan book.

A Guide for Using Mentor Texts


Gathering mentor texts to use when illustrating a specific skill or strategy with your readers is an everchanging landscape. There are so many great texts out there.


It’s important to keep a growing record of a variety of texts you can use to spotlight relevant reading skills and strategies.


A Guide for Using Mentor Texts in Reading is a planning tool that is included in the FREE Resource Library.


You can index possible skills and strategies to spotlight within possible mentor texts. With this tool, you will create a growing library of mentor texts from which you can pull for any teachable moment

Two Word Strategy printable activity


Linda Hoyt created the Two Word Strategy for responding to reading (or ANY learning). This versatile little strategy activity will elevate your learners’ thinking.


It can be used at any time and in any subject area! Learners are asked to write down two words (only two words) to describe or represent their learning or thinking at that moment.

They are then asked to write a sentence or two for each word to explain why that word was chosen.

This strategy really nudges learners to deepen their thinking. When learners first start using Two Word Strategy their words may be surface level but don’t let that stop you from using it over and over because you will find after discussions and nudges that their words chosen will go deeper into their thinking. Give it a try!



WOW! Look at all the FREE resources you could pack into your instructional toolkit.


And that's not even all!


There are more resources inside the Literacy Treasures FREE Resource Library that haven't even been mentioned.


Until next time…


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Here at Literacy Treasures, I LOVE to talk about reading and writing and share with teachers all that I've learned about what it takes to build strong readers and writers. I have immersed myself in the research of Lucy Calkins, Jennifer Serravallo, Stephanie Harvey, Debbie Miller, Carl Anderson, Gay Su Pinnell, Irene Fountas and so many others.  Every resource, strategy, tool, minilesson and teaching tip that is shared on Literacy Treasures is rooted in this research