06 Nov

When I was only 21, I taught high school English, speech and drama in Antonito, Colorado. How in the world could I teach minimal English speakers in a language that made no sense to them when they couldn’t read well in Spanish or English?

My journey into the field of reading began with those kids, only a couple years younger than me, and never ended. That first year we started a newspaper, put on plays using a table and chairs as props, and learned how to debate, even competing around Colorado. These kids called forth, and wow, were there ever “a-has.” I think now I was able to do these things by sheer will power, because I certainly didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

That experience was followed by a stint in a grades 9-12 reading lab in Chandler, Arizona, where kids used equipment and very few books. I recall getting called into the principal’s office because I was smuggling books out of my desk drawer. Imagine that. I think I was always a rebel with a cause. It’s hard to imagine I eventually became a K-6 and preschool principal, and ultimately taught school administration as well as reading courses for credential programs.

For many years, in addition to studying reading research, I was fortunate to teach with many teachers in their own classrooms. In fact, that included nearly 600 K-12, special needs, Title I, content area and second language students. Action research made sense to me.

I am passionate about teaching reading and sharing my lifetime of experiences. Your children deserve the best and are capable of becoming extraordinary lifelong readers, exceeding standards set by high stakes testing, understanding all types of reading materials and reading for pleasure.

It’s a fact. Checking out two respected websites NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) and The Nation’s Report Card—here’s what you find. Despite millions of dollars, and more and more mandates, in 2013 only 27% of America’s 4th grade and 26% of 8th grade children reflected proficiency in reading. So what do we do?

We start at the very beginning. Teaching reading does not need to be so complex. What do good readers do? Good readers have a purpose for reading, use background knowledge (schema), make predictions, ask questions, adjust speed according to the materials and respond to text. Continual summarizing is a must.

My Reading Champs mini lessons offer you “how-to” in only a couple of pages per topic. So check out any chapter—no need to read cover to cover. Just pick what you need to know: phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, spelling and correcting reading errors or difficulties, for any level. Make your life easier.


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