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Reading Wonders Curriculum in my Classroom (with freebies)

My school has recently adopted the McGraw-Hill Reading Wonders Program.  This is our first year using the program, and there has been a bit of a learning curve.  I've been using the program for the last 3 weeks and figuring out a way to best use it in my special education resource room.

It's taken some tweaking (and I'm sure I'll keep making changes throughout the year), but I have found a general routine that is semi-working.

I start each with these planning pages to help me get a good idea of what skills I'm teaching.  I feel like the pacing in the Reading Wonders program is WAY overwhelming and unrealistic (at least with my students).  I'd love to watch a lesson where they do everything in the program and stick with the time lines as suggested.

These lesson planning sheets help keep me on track and make sure I hit the major skills each week.

You can download the overview sheet from my friend Corinna at Surfin' Through Second {here} and you can read about how she's using Wonders in her classroom.  You can download my lesson planning sheet {here}.

My school has purchased the Reading Wonders intervention program, WondersWorks.  However, I only have one interactive workbook and 8 students.  So I've been doing a lot of supplementing.  One thing I don't like about the Reading Wonders program is the lack of hands-on centers and activities.   So I've started supplemental packs for each unit to give my students more visuals and practice.

I keep my morning routine pretty similar each day.  We do the phonemic awareness activity, review our sounds, practice decoding our phonics patterns, and use our SnapWords cards to practice our sight words.

As a group, we'll do some of the center activities found in my Reading Wonders units.  This is from Unit 1 Week 3 and focuses on sorting words with blends by the short vowel sound.

I also try to throw in some kind of activity that has us work on sorting, writing, or building words.  Making Words is our favorite activity so far.  I use these folders for the word building but use the Making Words activities from my supplemental units (beginning at Unit 1 Week 3).  Doing it on the carpet was perfect since the velcro on the letters sticks.  This way none of my students lose their letters.  :)
Or we might work on some of comprehension skills for the story, such as this visualizing strategy.

I try to do at least one writing about what we have read activity each week.  My students need extra support when writing and responding, so I made these freebie reading response sheets to go with Unit 1.

You can download them as a FREEBIE by clicking on the picture below.

It did take me a bit to figure out how I was going to assess my students.  The on-level and approaching tests are just too hard for my kiddos.  I have one who can semi-do the approaching level tests but needs support to get all the way through the test.  Those tests are REALLY long!

The weekly assessment in the WondersWork program is too difficult for my students to read independently, too!  I also didn't like the questioning format of the tests.  The directions would tell students to draw a box around the words that tell them so-and-so was sad.  Or some weird direction like that.  My students can't read the text!

I decided to take the passage from the WondersWork program but redo the questions.  I retyped the questions into multiple choice and added more questions.  I read the test and questions aloud to my students and this way I can assess their listening comprehension.  I may or may not upload these for you guys depending on how I feel it's working out.

I wanted to make sure my parents understood the level their student was being assessed on.  I made this quick sheet that I attach to the students' tests.  For the student who got 8/8 questions correct, I will give him the approaching level test (with me reading it aloud to him) next week and see how he does.

Since my students are struggling readers, I also want to make sure they are mastering the sight words and phonics patterns.  I made these Quick Checks to help me assess their progress each week.

I'm working on finishing the quick checks and uploading them to my TpT store.

For small group reading, I have been using the leveled readers from the WondersWorks program.  I will say that I've had a hard time figuring out how to fit it all in.  I do need to plan better so that I get more small group and one-on-one reading time with my students.  There's so much to do for the program that it can feel very overwhelming.

If you're interested in checking out my Reading Wonders units, you can download my sample Smart Start unit as a FREEBIE by clicking on the picture below.

You can also check out my activities for Unit 1 Week 1 by clicking on the picture below.

I will be making units to supplement each week of the Reading Wonders program.  I have currently finished all the way through Unit 2 Week 3.  

I hope this gives you a glimpse of how I'm using this program in my classroom.  It's definitely been a bit of trial and error to figure out a system.  I'm still working out some kinks but starting to feel like I'm finally getting into a groove.


  1. Those quick checks look AWESOME! I loved reading this & getting ideas :) I also use Snap Words... they are the bomb! Thanks for the freebie! Jen

    1. Jen - I sent you a message through your FB. We need to chat and bounce ideas off each other!

  2. I love your lesson planning sheet! That is a great way to map the week. Thanks for sharing!

    EduKate and Inspire

  3. We start school with students on Tuesday. Thanks so much for all of your tips. I'm glad you are several weeks ahead of us. I'm going to share your post with my colleagues that teach 2nd grade.

    BTW - where did your students fall after completing the placement test. We were told by Wonders trainers that wonder Works is for students 2 years below grade level.

    1. Hi Jen. Our trainers told us to not do the placement test this year since we do DIBELS. I'm not sure if we'll be doing the placement test next year or not. My kids are 1-2 years below grade level. I'm mostly pulling some stuff from WondersWorks and some stuff from the regular program and then using stuff I make to supplement. LOL. It's been some of this and some of that.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. We also use DIBELS. We are going to DIBEL all of the students and use the Wonders fluency running record passages this year. Then we will compare and decide if we still need to use DIBELS next year. I'll let you know how the placement tests go. The 2nd-5th grade teachers are administering to the whole group, but the K and 1st placements tests need to be given 1 on 1. So the Reading Dept. will be assessing K and 1 after Start Smart in about 2 weeks.

  4. Do you have your tests available yet on TPT that you have created? The tests are WAY TO HARD for my students. This is our first year for the program. Did you find that sometimes the writing portion that is in the book is to hard for your students as well? Thank you so much!

  5. Do you have your tests available yet on TPT that you have created? The tests are WAY TO HARD for my students. This is our first year for the program. Did you find that sometimes the writing portion that is in the book is to hard for your students as well? Thank you so much!

  6. What do you do with your lowest struggling readers? Many of whom are ELL students - like those that have little to no foundational skills? Some of my students have no foundational skill starting first grade (impossible for them to use Reading Wonders from the start, or even Wonder Works which is supposed to be 2 years below grade level). What does your school do for those students?

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  10. Our school is using Wonders reading curriculum. I teach 4th and 5th grade special education. I currently use Reading Mastery. What are your thoughts.

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