Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Classic Post: Joy Cowley's Smarty Pants Books and Shared Reading—with FREE Download!

This is a guest post by blogger Elizabeth Hall that originally ran in February 2014. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog,   Kickin' It in Kindergarten , for more of her writing, or   you can click here to see her other contributions to our blog !

Shared Reading with Smarty Pants

Smarty Pants   is a shared reading that my students have always enjoyed. Hearing them laugh while I read is always a plus in my mind. I was so thrilled to receive a new version starring Smarty Pants,   Smarty Pants at the Circus . It was the perfect way to wrap up our week after reading the big book   Smarty Pants.

Shared reading is such a powerful way to develop vital fundamental literary skills. I have, as we all do, students who vary in range in terms of their reading skills. However, many of them are lacking important skills that are taught during a shared read. Re-telling, fluency, and inferring are just a few of the skills that we might cover in one book. Different skills are addressed using the same story throughout the week.

Fluency is a huge component for young readers. It is especially important for struggling readers. We all know that readers need a balanced diet of “just right” books. The   Smarty Pants   books have been perfect for my students because they can read them. By the end of the week, maybe the book is memorized, but that’s developmental. It’s part of growing readers. Even if they have just memorized the words, it builds confidence. We pull out all of the stops—pointers, flashlight fingers, “witchy” fingers, etc. We do these things in order to support the skill we want the students to practice.

After we read   Smarty Pants   and   Smarty Pants at The Circus , we completed a bubble map of adjectives to describe Smarty Pants. We did it whole group on our Smart board, but it can also be done individually. Download your own copy of the Smarty Pants Bubble Map at the bottom of this page!

If shared reading is not already a part of your literacy instruction, I highly encourage you to look into ways to incorporate it. It can be through a morning message or a meaningful big book. Characters like   Smarty Pants and Mrs. Wishy-Washy  are perfect because students love them and think they are hilarious. Find a way to make it work in your room. I promise you will not be disappointed!


Author Bio

This is my fifth year as a kindergarten teacher. The best part of kindergarten is watching a child fall in love with reading. It has become my passion to show children the possibilities and amazing adventures literature can offer. I love watching their eyes light up when they tell me they can read their favorite book, or they can’t wait to go back to the library! I have the best job in the world!

I am so lucky to have such a wonderful support system in and out of school. My family lives close and I get to spend a lot of time with them! While I am not at school, I enjoy running, teaching spin class, swimming, playing kickball, spending time with my husband, and traveling. I also have a sheltie named Maggie, which is spoiled rotten. I am married to the best guy in the world, work with wonderful people, and have fabulous students!


To download Elizabeth's Smarty Pants Bubble Map, click the worksheet image below. To learn more about the Joy Cowley Collection, which contains the Smarty Pants books, Mrs. Wishy-Washy books, and more, click the information sheet image below to download series highlights and key features.