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Teaching and learning can be hard under normal circumstances. Add to that the dynamics of COVID-19 and delivering high-quality instruction can seem overwhelming. That's why the team of experts at Smekens Education created Literacy eLessons. This library of ready-to-share reading and writing lessons is being built to support remote teaching — and it's totally free. Whether you're an educator, parent, or student, you've got enough on your plate. Let us help lighten your load with Literacy eLessons.
 
 

 
 
 Readers have different voices.

Grades K-1


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Introduce the Reading Voice and Thinking Voice
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Apply Reader Voices to nonfiction text
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Mute the Distracting Voice
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Record reader thoughts
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 2-3


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Introduce the Reading Voice and Thinking Voice
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Apply Reader Voices to nonfiction text
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Apply Reader Voices to all text types
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Mute the Distracting Voice
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Record reader thoughts
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 4-6


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Introduce the Reading Voice and Thinking Voice
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Apply Reader Voices to all text types
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Mute the Distracting Voice
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Record reader thoughts
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 7-12


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Apply the Reading Voice and Thinking Voice to all text types
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Mute the Distracting Voice
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Record thoughts via note-taking
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Record thoughts via annotation
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Record thoughts about multiple texts
Vimeo | YouTube
 
 Readers make inferences.

Grades K-1


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Zoom in to collect multiple text clues
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: See patterns and connections
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Explain inferences in writing
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Read, infer, and write—all in one sitting
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 2-3


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Zoom in to collect multiple text clues
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Look for patterns and relationships
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Explain inferences in writing
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Read, infer, and write—all in one sitting
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 4-6


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Zoom in to collect multiple text clues
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Look for patterns and relationships
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Explain inferences in writing
Vimeo | YouTube 
Lesson 4: Read, infer, and write—all in one sitting 
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 7-12


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Zoom in to collect multiple text clues
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Look for patterns and relationships
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Explain inferences in writing
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Read, infer, and write—all in one sitting
Vimeo | YouTube
 
 Readers retell/summarize.

Grades K-1


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Retell stories orally
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Retell stories in writing
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Retell portions of nonfiction orally
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Retell portions of nonfiction in writing
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Read nonfiction, retell, and write—all in one sitting
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 2-3


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Retell stories orally
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Retell stories in writing
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Summarize literature using story elements
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Retell portions of nonfiction orally
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Retell portions of nonfiction in writing
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 6: Read nonfiction, retell, and write—all in one sitting 
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 4-6


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Paraphrase an author's idea
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Summarize literature using story elements
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Group nonfiction text details in preparation to write a summary
Vimeo | YouTube
  Lesson 4: Summarize sections of nonfiction text
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Read and summarize nonfiction in one sitting
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 7-12


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Paraphrase an author’s idea
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Summarize literature using story elements
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Determine the main idea of literature
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Summarize sections of nonfiction text—with subheadings
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Summarize sections of nonfiction text—without subheadings
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 6: Determine the main idea of nonfiction text
Vimeo | YouTube
 
 Readers question & predict.

Grades K-1


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Predict answers based on text questions
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Preview the text before reading
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Ask (and answer) more questions during reading
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Predict word meanings using nearby clues
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Write about the text incorporating new vocabulary
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 2-3


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Predict answers based on text questions
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Preview the text before reading
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Ask (and answer) more questions during reading 
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Predict word meanings using text features 
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Predict word meanings using clues within the paragraph
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 6: Write about the text incorporating new vocabulary
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 4-6


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Preview the text before reading
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Ask (and answer) more questions during reading
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Adjust thinking for questions of confusion
Vimeo | YouTube
  Lesson 4: Predict word meanings with context clues
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Ask & answer questions before, during, and after reading
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 7-12


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Preview the text before reading
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Ask (and answer) more questions during reading
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Adjust thinking for questions of confusion
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Predict word meanings with context clues
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Evaluate the impact of author word choice
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 6: Ask & answer questions before, during, and after reading
Vimeo | YouTube
 
 Readers track details across a text.

Grades K-1


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Track the actions of a single character
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Track the dialogue of a single character
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Track the thoughts of a single character
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Infer how characters change & explain it in writing
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Read, infer, & write about characters—all in one sitting
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 2-3


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Track the actions of a single character from beginning to end
Vimeo | YouTube 
Lesson 2: Track what a character says & thinks/feels
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Infer a character’s traits 
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Infer how & why characters change 
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Infer the author’s life lesson/theme told through the character
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 6: Explain in writing the theme/central message
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 4-6


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Track the actions of a single character from beginning to end
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Track what a character does, says and thinks
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Infer a character’s trait (personality)
Vimeo | YouTube
  Lesson 4: Infer how & why characters change
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Infer the author’s message told through the character
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 6: Explain the theme/central message in writing
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 7-12


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Track the actions of a single character from beginning to end
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Track what a character does, says and thinks
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Infer the relationship between characters
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Infer a character’s trait (personality)
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Infer the theme told through the character
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 6: Explain the theme/central message in writing
Vimeo | YouTube
 
 Readers juggle multiple texts.

Grades K-1


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Compare text details across the rows of a T-Chart
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Compare literature using story elements
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Explain comparative thinking in writing— Literature
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Infer categories of comparison for nonfiction texts/topics
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Explain comparative thinking in writing— Informational Text
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 2-3


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Compare text details across the rows of a T-Chart
Vimeo | YouTube 
Lesson 2: Compare literature using story elements
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Explain comparative thinking in writing— Literature 
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Infer categories of comparison for nonfiction texts/topics 
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Explain comparative thinking in writing— Informational Text
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 4-6


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Compare text details across the rows of a T-Chart
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Compare literature using story elements
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Explain comparative thinking in writing— Literature
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Infer categories of comparison for nonfiction texts/topics
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Explain comparative thinking in writing— Informational Text
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 7-12


Literacy Lessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Compare text details across the rows of a T-Chart
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 2: Compare literature using story elements
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Explain comparative thinking in writing— Literature
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 4: Infer categories of comparison for nonfiction texts/topics
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Explain comparative thinking in writing— Informational Text
Vimeo | YouTube
 
 
 Social Emotional Learning Lessons
 
 
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 1: Identify Mindfulness
Vimeo | YouTube
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 2: Recognize Feelings
Vimeo | YouTube
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 3: Express Feelings
Vimeo | YouTube
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 4: List and Organize Character Traits
Vimeo | YouTube
 
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 5: Write with details about Character Traits
Vimeo | YouTube
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 6: Set a Character Trait Goal 
Vimeo | YouTube
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 7: Understanding Growth Mindset 
Vimeo | YouTube
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 8: Writing a Self-Awareness Checklist 
Vimeo | YouTube
 
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 9: Identifying Coping Strategies
Vimeo | YouTube
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 10: Using 5 Senses to Discover Coping Strategies 
Vimeo | YouTube
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 11: How to Become Resilient 
Vimeo | YouTube
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 12: Learning the Importance of Being Kind 
Vimeo | YouTube
 
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 13: Understanding How to Perspective-Take
Vimeo | YouTube
Literacy eLessons by Smekens Education

Lesson 14: Showing Empathy 
Vimeo | YouTube
   

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Literacy Lessons video on computer
Support for Remote Teaching
Recording Lessons for Class
Literacy Lessons video on computer
Best Practices in Action
What every Literacy eLesson from Smekens Education has in common
 
1. Each lesson is short and focused.
Each mini-lesson video focuses on a narrow facet of a single skill in the series. 
2. Each lesson has four parts.
The four research-based components of an effective mini-lesson are in included in each video lesson.
3. Each lesson uses an anchor chart.
By using an instructional chart that grows throughout the series, students are reminded of key points.
4. Each lesson is part of a scaffold.
Initial skills set a foundation for more complex instruction to follow.  
 

 

Meet Your Teachers
 
Kristina Smekens, President & Lead Consultant for Smekens Education
Kristina Smekens
President and Lead Consultant
Kristi McCullough, Literacy Consultant for Smekens Education
Kristi McCullough
Literacy Consultant
Bridget Longmeier, Remote Coach for Smekens Education
Bridget Longmeier
Remote Coach
Shona Lansdell, Literacy Consultant for Smekens Education
Shona Lansdell
Literacy Consultant
 

About Smekens Education

For more than a dozen years, the literacy experts at Smekens Education have built a reputation for providing practical and engaging professional development for K-12 teachers. During that time, we’ve worked with hundreds of schools and thousands of teachers to equip educators with innovative ideas for leading literacy instruction. A Technical Assistance Partner with the Indiana Department of Education, Smekens helps educators boost achievement in reading and writing with strategies that are practical and research-based.

 

 

Ongoing Professional Support
 


Strategies for Remote Teaching
Teaching remotely is overwhelming. But with practical, best-practice strategies from Smekens Education, educators can learn to pivot instead of panic.
LEARN MORE


Continuing Education for Teachers
Educators who subscribe to webPD can earn continuing education credit with more than 200 relevant and engaging PD videos. 
LEARN MORE


Graduate-Level Credit for Teachers
Online workshops from webAcademy allow educators to learn practical, best-practice strategies AND earn graduate-level credit at the same time. 
LEARN MORE


Parent Resources
Family resources that are simple and effective can keep kids learning during COVID-19. And when delivered directly to households, everyone wins.
LEARN MORE 
 
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I find the lesson resources?

Where do I find the lesson resources?

Each Literacy eLessons video includes downloadable resources for teachers and students.

A link to download each resource is included in the description area beneath the video. Click "read more" to see a full listing of video resources.


What if my video won't play?

What if my video won't play?

If your students are unable to watch lesson videos on a school-issued device, reach out to your building tech staff to make Vimeo or YouTube unrestricted.

Having trouble playing the lesson video? Here are suggested fixes from Vimeo.com:

Check your bandwidth
We require network speeds of 500 kbps or higher in order to stream our lowest playback quality (240p). You can use this speed test to get a general sense of your internet speed during the time of the issue. Keep in mind that bandwidth can fluctuate, especially on Wifi or cellular networks.

Disable any browser extensions, plugins, or add ons
Third-party programs can sometimes cause issues during playback— including blocked video segments, dropped frames, buffering, etc. If you're having trouble, try disabling any active extensions one by one to find the culprit. You can also open your video within an incognito or private window of your browser for testing.

Restart your router and modem
Resetting your router or modem can help to refresh your connection and improve playback performance. Try disconnecting the power cord and then reconnecting to perform a hard reboot.

Update your browser
Browser software is constantly being improved upon. Make sure you are using the latest version of your browser for peak performance.

Close excess browser tabs or applications
Keeping too many applications open can make everything run slower, including video playback. Especially on a mobile device, it’s easy to forget which apps are running. Make sure that you completely close or disable apps instead of just minimizing their windows.

Clear your browser’s cache
Although this may sound simple, refreshing your cache can help with many different issues, including playback.
Can I embed these videos?

Can I embed these videos?

You are welcome to embed these videos within your school's learning management system! In Vimeo and YouTube, click “share” on the video page to find the embed code.
Do I watch these lessons with students?

Do I watch these lessons with students?

Teachers can use these video lessons in a variety of ways. You could show the lesson video during a whole-class Zoom call, but most teachers will likely forward the video link directly to their students. Since each video ends with a task, start by previewing the lesson to determine whether or not the recommended task is appropriate for your students.
Should students watch a lesson in one day?

Should students watch a lesson in one day?

Because the videos are short, expecting students to view one video for each instructional day is reasonable. Most videos are 15-20 minutes in length, but some are slightly longer near the end of the lesson series. These longer videos bring all the skills together that were rolled out during the previous mini-lessons which adds to the length. We do recommend that a lesson video be watched in one day as it ends with an intentional task that allows students to practice what they learned in the lesson.