Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest Post: The Secret Stories

Hi Everyone!
I am so excited to be here at MRS. Kerri and her Krazy Kindergarten today!

I'm Laura

and I blog over at

While Kerri is away on her fabulous honeymoon in Hawaii ( SO Jealous!), she has asked me to do a guest post today. So here I am =)

Today, I am going to introduce you to The Secret Stories.

Several years ago, I was asked to attend a conference and report back with my opinions of this product and let my principal know if it was worth bringing in to our early grades.
I didn't know what to expect and I didn't know anything about the program.
When Katie Garner came out and started presenting, within the first 5 minutes of her speech, I was hooked. 

Here is what I learned that day.
Secret Stories are developed to help the student learn through visual, auditory and kinesthetic means.
They see a picture of two letters put together in a silly scene, while listening to the teacher tell the story and learning actions with their hands or bodies to help them remember those sounds.

We all know that our lovely English language is a bit screwy. Not everything is spelled out simply and phonetically. Unfortunately, the word "was" is not spelled "wuz" like it sounds!
This is a hard concept to teach our kiddos, but Secret Stories make it a little bit easier.

One of the best things Katie said during that presentation was that with Secret Stories there are no more teachers saying, "It just just just have to remember." 
This gives them a better way TO remember. It gives them a better answer to their WHY question.

Here is an example:
This is one of my favorites and it's funny to watch the kiddos when they get it and are sounding out their words by themselves. You'll see why after you hear read the story.
Usually students can figure out that sounds don't make sense on their own. You know when they do because that's usually the time that they ask you, "what letter makes this sound?" or "how do you spell this word?" When those questions start flowing, that's when you show them the story.

Student asks, "how do you spell the word bird?"
Teacher says, " well, you know the /b/ sound at the beginning and the /d/ sound at the end, so let's see if their is a secret to figuring out the middle sound."

I have all of my secrets posted on one of my walls. It looks overwhelming, but it's really not. 
I point to the poster with these three cars and say:
"er, ir and ur love love love to drive their cars, but they are horribly, terrible drivers. They have to slam on their brakes and say 'errrrrrrrrr'."
At this time, not only are you showing them the poster and telling them the story, but you are holding your hands like they are on a steering wheel and picking up your foot and slamming it on the brake and the students are doing the same thing!
They see it, they hear it, they do it, they know it!

So why is it funny to watch the kiddos...when they are left to writing or reading on their own, you can see what sounds they are working on because they are pointing at a word and the next thing you know, their hands are on that wheel and their foot is stomping the brake on the floor. They aren't yelling it out, they aren't going crazy...they are doing it silently to themselves. 
It's amazing!

The stories are shared on a need to know basis, there are even a couple of stories that I might not get to one year because they aren't ready for it yet. However, my next year we might go through all of them because some of my kiddos are ready for them.

If you still need some convincing of this program, you need to go check out her SITE. Visit the Secret Stories Effects to look at kinder or 1st grade writing samples. You can also view a video of kinder and first students reading and even competing in a spelling bee (no CVC words here!). Lastly, you can read teacher and administrator testimonials to this program.

I highly recommend The Secret Stories for your room. My testimonial, I moved to a new school this year and wasn't able to bring my stories with me. It was the first year, after 3, that I was not able to do it and y'all, there was a BIG difference in my kiddos. I even tried to incorporate the stories on my own, but it just wasn't the same without the posters to add the 3rd element of visual. If you can't afford it, ask your principal to look in to it for you. If he/she sees how well it works in your room, then your co-workers might buy in to the program as well.
It is well worth it!

Thanks for reading and I'd love for you to come and visit me over at Kinder Kraziness.


  1. There is definitely something more powerful about teaching a concept that engages more of the senses. Combining the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic makes a difference. Thanks for sharing!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. I am so glad you posted about this today. I have them on our order form for next year. I am crossing my fingers that we do get them.


  3. Great post, Laura! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for the mention, Laura! It's so great to hear your insight and how you are using the SECRETS in your classroom!!

  5. This is a fantastic idea and product! Thank you for sharing!