Literacy eLessons

Quick Lesson Videos for K-12 Students

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Teaching and learning can be hard under normal circumstances. Add to that the dynamics of remote teaching 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.

2020 Educator Growth Day

Readers have different voices.

Grades K-1

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

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

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

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
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Lesson 4: Record thoughts via annotation
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Lesson 5: Record thoughts about multiple texts
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Readers make inferences.

Grades K-1

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

Grades 2-3

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

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

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

Prepare & Execute Remote Teaching
3-hour virtual workshops with Kristina Smekens

Readers retell/summarize.

Grades K-1

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

Grades 2-3

Lesson 1: Retell stories orally
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Lesson 2: Retell stories in writing
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 3: Summarize literature using story elements
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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

Lesson 1: Paraphrase an author’s idea
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Lesson 2: Summarize literature using story elements
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Lesson 3: Group nonfiction text details in preparation to write a summary
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Lesson 4: Summarize sections of nonfiction text
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Lesson 5: Read and summarize nonfiction in one sitting
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Grades 7-12

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
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Lesson 4: Summarize sections of nonfiction text—with subheadings
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Lesson 5: Summarize sections of nonfiction text—without subheadings
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Lesson 6: Determine the main idea of nonfiction text
Vimeo | YouTube

Readers question & predict.

Grades K-1

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

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
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Lesson 5: Predict word meanings using clues within the paragraph
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Lesson 6: Write about the text incorporating new vocabulary
Vimeo | YouTube

Grades 4-6

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
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Lesson 4: Predict word meanings with context clues
Vimeo | YouTube
Lesson 5: Ask & answer questions before, during, and after reading
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Grades 7-12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prepare & Execute Remote Teaching
3-hour virtual workshops with Kristina Smekens

Social-Emotional Learning Lessons

Lesson 1: Identify Mindfulness
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 2: Recognize Feelings
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 3: Express Feelings
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 4: List and Organize Character Traits
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 5: Write with details about Character Traits
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 6: Set a Character Trait Goal
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 7: Understanding Growth Mindset
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 8: Writing a Self-Awareness Checklist
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 9: Identifying Coping Strategies
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 10: Using 5 Senses to Discover Coping Strategies
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 11: How to Become Resilient
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 12: Learning the Importance of Being Kind
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 13: Understanding How to Perspective-Take
Vimeo | YouTube

Lesson 14: Showing Empathy
Vimeo | YouTube

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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

Kristi McCullough
Literacy Consultant

Bridget Longmeier
Remote Coach

Shona Lansdell
Literacy Consultant

Ongoing Professional Support

Strategies for Remote Teaching
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Prepare & Execute Remote Teaching
3-hour virtual workshops with Kristina Smekens

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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?

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?

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?

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?

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.