Unpacking Geodes®: Engaging Early Readers and Building Lasting Knowledge

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When I was an elementary school teacher, I absolutely delighted in building a reading haven for my students. To me, the classroom library was not just a home for bound pages but for shelves that contained captivating stories and eye-opening facts. It’s where my students could go to be transported to a different place and time, put on the shoes of their favorite characters, and experience worlds both familiar and new. As a teacher, I knew my responsibility was to honor the interests of my students while ensuring that they had access to grade-level content that engaged them in productive struggle.

This is exactly why I fell in love with Geodes. Developed by Great Minds® in collaboration with Wilson Language Training®, Geodes are a collection of breakthrough books (known as Readables) that are stunningly illustrated and feature a diverse array of characters and stories from the peach groves in Georgia all the way to the rice paddies in China. They are carefully designed to reinforce phonics skills and build vocabulary. Students aren’t just learning to read, they’re developing knowledge while reading diverse narratives that provide windows into new perspectives, mirrors that represent students’ lived experiences, and sliding glass doors to immerse themselves in new experiences.

When teachers bring Geodes into the classroom, they bring in more than just pretty books. They pave the road to reading for emerging readers, open access to hubs of knowledge, put phonics skills into practice, and allow students to illustrate their experiences with new vocabulary words.

So what do you get when you choose knowledge? Let’s unpack a box of Geodes together to find out.

A Sea of Unique Books

Geodes comprise three grade levels: Level K, Level 1, and Level 2. Each level contains four modules that center on a rich topic that sparks students’ interest. For those of you who are using Wit & Wisdom® for English language arts instruction, you will see that we’ve aligned Geodes and Wit & Wisdom module topics. Geodes contain an array of literary, literary nonfiction, and informational texts that have been carefully researched and fact-checked, you can rely on Geodes to give students knowledge about new places, cultures, and creatures.

As a treat, your Geodes collection also includes a real geode! Teachers can put the geode on display to introduce the exciting new books and remind students of the amazing discoveries they will encounter inside each book.

Geodes Book AnnotationLevel K

In Level K, your students will zip across the sky with Amelia Earhart in Fly, Amelia, Fly; team up with Alexander the cat in Museum Cat to protect the Hermitage Museum in Russia; and snorkel through the waters of Australia in The Great Reef. Adventure abounds in each of the modules as your students work their way through the books.

Level K contains a total of 48 unique titles with 8 books each in Modules 1 and 2, and 16 books each in Modules 3 and 4. The first half of Level K contains Wordless Picture Books, which boost students’ knowledge of story structure and vocabulary, and Sound Search Books, which grow students’ letter-sound awareness. The second half of Level K contains Duet Books for children to read along with an adult while building their decoding and word recognition skills. View the Module Map.

Your Level K collection includes the following:

  • 6 color copies of each title (384 total books)
  • 20 copies of each of the 12 My Geodes™ print books (240 total books)
  • 1 copy of Inside Geodes™ (teacher guide)

Level 1

Grade 1 students can analyze the different ways that wind affects life on earth and how wind energy can be used to generate power in Towers of Nashtifanor. Bee Waggle and Super Spiny Mouse are just two examples of the many books that let students discover intriguing animal traits and behaviors.

The Level 1 Geodes set contains 64 unique titles organized into four modules. With beautiful artwork and engaging topics, these texts help students genuinely enjoy exercising their growing phonetic skills. View the Module Map.

Your Level 1 collection includes the following:

  • 6 color copies of each title (384 total books)
  • 20 copies of each of the 16 My Geodes print books (320 total books)
  • 1 copy of Inside Geodes

Level 2

Level 2 Geodes are also a set of 64 unique books. Students will explore the four seasons around the world in books such as Seed Stash and Daytime Darkness. They’ll see into the lives of Native Americans in books covering the westward expansion of the United States, learn about civil rights heroes and examine their impact on equality and justice in the United States, and wrap up their tour of Level 2 by learning where food comes from and how it fuels our bodies as well as our communities. By this level, students have gained confidence in their reading skills and continue to expand their phonetic understanding and reading stamina. View the Module Map.

Your Level 2 collection includes the following:

  • 6 color copies of each title (384 total books)
  • 20 copies of each of the 16 My Geodes print books (320 total books)
  • 1 copy of Inside Geodes

While their complexity increases with each module, texts remain at least 80 percent decodable as aligned with the Wilson Fundations® scope and sequence. At their core, Geodes were created to provide students with decoding practice, so teachers can successfully pair them with any foundational phonics program their schools have already approved.

Broadening Learning with Primary Resources

With Geodes, your students will explore art, world cultures, science, history, and storytelling. They will view 109 maps, 75 diagrams and tables, and take a close look at 701 photographs with 153 historical images.

Geodes_HighlightsFlashcards to Reinforce Vocabulary

Did you know that Inside Geodes provides optional flash cards? These cards provide additional support when teachers introduce the Oral Recurring Content Words for Modules 3 and 4 in Level K and the Recurring Content Words for each module in Levels 1 and 2. The flash cards are intended to be copied for repeated classroom use.

Inside Geodes: Companion Teacher Guide

Geodes-Inside Geodes

Inside Geodes is a teacher resource that provides a comprehensive introduction to each level’s module design and components. Each book has an accompanying Book Note with flexible teaching opportunities. This design emphasizes the teacher’s role in understanding students’ needs and planning instruction accordingly. In these Book Notes, you can find vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, image discussion guides, response journal prompts, and teachable moments. 

Professional Learning with Geodes Experts and Educators

In addition to Inside Geodes, the teacher–writers and experts at Great Minds have created a professional development session designed to help educators understand how to use Geodes to ensure that your students are building both their knowledge and their reading skills—whether you are working with students in whole groups, small groups, or one on one. You can learn more about this add-on offering here.

Supporting Families and Multilingual Learners

For young readers, the only thing more exciting than reading a Geodes book is sharing what they discovered inside with their families. In addition to the Family Tip Sheets that can be shared with caregivers (provided in the teacher guide), each Geodes book extends learning through a More section that gives students an opportunity to build additional knowledge and vocabulary. This More section is available in both English and Spanish in My Geodes.

Beyond the Classroom with My Geodes

Geodes-Digital-Laptop-TabletAs a companion to the Geodes classroom library, My Geodes paves the way for this shared experience through take-home books that include all the titles for each module in black-and-white print books available as part of the Geodes classroom library. Students can practice their reading at home and share the rich knowledge they are building with family members.

Teachers can use Geodes in multiple ways, depending on the needs of their classroom. Here are a few possible scenarios:

  • If a teacher wants to introduce the books in a whole group setting, there are enough My Geodes to have each student read a text.
  • Are your students ready to partner read? Teachers can pair students and have them read the texts together.
  • To use Geodes for small group instruction, teachers can group students according to their reading “hurdle,” tailoring the instruction to develop accuracy, fluency, and/or comprehension based on similar student needs.
  • Many students work one on one with their teachers, literacy coach, or a tutor. Geodes offer a vibrant knowledge-building alternative to the more generic lackluster decodables.

Now that you’ve toured Geodes, you’re ready to get started. Happy reading!

Topics: Featured knowledge building