I can relate. Do you have the book I suggested above from Linda Reif? It's a huge help, to at least model what a letter should sound like and how it might be focused...especially at the 5th grade level. I have also been busy copying good examples from our class for another teacher who is struggling with this as well. The more examples, the better.
However, with your students taking post-it notes while reading, it sounds like you are on the right track. You might just need to give it time!
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