Wednesday, January 21, 2015

SECRET STORIES® Freebie Anchors and "Dean's Treehouse" Guided Reader

currently in the Free Download Window, so grab it now!

Here's a little peak...

Also included is a black and white version...

Plus, a handful of SECRET STORIES anchors to try with your students!

And coming up in the next Free Download Window this week....

SECRET SHAPES Anchor Posters

with SECRETS highlighted (above- 'Mommy e' & 'Superhero o')
I want to also thank Mrs. Johnson and her Kinders  again for sharing such an informative guest post! 

Her detailed descriptions and student video clips show just how easy it is for even KINDERGARTNERS to use the Secrets to attack unknown words in text! I hope she will continue to share more of these special moments, as well as her personal insight as her Kinders continue to plow-ahead in reading and writing over the rest of this year! 

Well that's about all for now, and stay tuned for the next freebie-window to be posted in the next few days! 

Warmest Regards,



  1. The Secret Stories have CHANGED MY LIFE as a first grade teacher, and I am NOT exaggerating! They have transformed (what was) my greatest weakness into my greatest strength! I literally cringe when I think of all of the classes I've taught without them :(

    I used to be so clueless as to how to help my first graders understand all the crazy sounds that letters can make, and now I feel like an expert! Other teachers in my building are always stopping by our classroom to ask for secrets. They even send their 4th and 5th grade students to see if there are any secrets for some of their spelling words! My little first graders feel so important!!!

    Thank you for creating these amazing teacher tools and for supporting their use with your wonderful blog! I have learned more here over the past six months than I have in the last six years teaching in the classroom!

    1. Dear Amber,
      Thanks so much for the wonderful comment, and I completely know how you feel, as I experienced the same thing when trying to explain to my own students all of the different sounds that letters could make!

      But it's true that "necessity is the mother of invention," at least in my case, as my frustration was the motivation behind the SECRETS :)

      You must be doing an amazing job to have become such a resource for your colleagues, and I can only imagine how proud your little guys must feel when the 'big kid' teachers come to THEM for help!!

      I would love for you to capture some video clips of your students to share, and thanks so much again for taking the time to post!

  2. I have just begun using the Secret Stories vowel set with my special education students. It’s truly amazing how my middle school students enjoy and respond to the stories. I know there are lists attached to the package I bought but was wondering if there were any nonsense word lists available for each phonics story.

    Sheri Huelsmann
    Jardine STEM and Career Exploration Academy

  3. Dear Sheri,
    I love to hear that you are using the SECRETS at the middle school level with special ed., and if you think they’re eating up the vowel secrets, just wait until you start giving them the rest…. they will floor you with what they can do, as special ed learners, regardless of grade level, are truly the quintessential ‘backdoor’ learners! Struggling upper level and even adult ed. are actually my favorite groups to share the SECRETS with, as they are often so painfully aware of what they “know” they “don’t know!”

    As for your question, there are no nonsense words included on the SECRET lists in the back of the book, although in revision I would love to include that component, as I do incorporate “making and breaking” nonsense words on the CD in the form of auditory/musical practice. The rapid-paced exercises allow for continually “raising the bar” on learners’ sound-skill retrieval, mimicking the processes of both decoding and encoding, but without the learner-stress.

    To get a better idea of how this looks in the classroom, you can check out this link to the video clips- as well as this blog post- where I go into a lot more detail on using these muscial manipulations to increase learner skill automaticty for both decoding and encoding.

    Thanks for the great question, and please stay in touch as you continue sharing SECRETS with you middle schoolers!! I know that many other teachers would find your experience and insight working with the SECRETS at those grade levels extremely helpful!