Welcome to my blog on teaching reading. I began teaching reading for the first time 36 years ago when I started my first job as a grade 3 classroom teacher in a small town in Massachusetts. Like many new teachers, the challenge of teaching reading was immediate and overwhelming. There were three students who could not even read the pre-primer and then students that could read anything and everything. There were many wonderful resources for the children who could read, but there was nothing for the children who could not. I spent the year trying so hard to teach those three children how to read and failed miserably.
I began taking courses in reading at the University of Massachusetts where I earned my Ed.D, but it wasn’t until I trained in Reading Recovery that I started to really understand how to teach struggling readers. I also discovered there were just not enough good books to teach beginning readers. Beginning readers need loads of quality text. Stories that would engage them but at the same time support their early literacy behaviors. I began writing a little and illustrating them with black and white pictures of family and friends. We printed them up and made them available to local teachers and to our surprise, from word of mouth, we soon had orders coming in from across the country. I often write about my dogs, Bella, Rosie, Jack and Daisy. I love getting letters from children who ask me the funniest questions about the dogs.
Most recently I have been working with Jan Richardson on a new system for guided reading based on her best selling book, The Next Step in Guided Reading. We have been writing lesson plans to go with Pioneer Valley books. The first kit for Kindergarten should be available in January 2016 with Grade 1 to follow in April and Grade 2 in the summer.
I hope my blog will help you in your teaching. I welcome comments, questions and suggestions.