I am thrilled to have my esteemed colleague, Katherine Casey, as my first guest blogger! Katherine is a nationally-acclaimed literacy coach and author of Literacy Coaching: The Essentials, and will lead the Promise of Coaching Institute in Seattle (January 8-9, 2009) and Portland (January 29-30, 2009).
For her first guest blog, I have asked Katherine to share a little bit about what she’s been reading:
What professional texts are you currently reading? Your thoughts on them?
My stack of professional texts keeps growing as I try to keep up with the fantastic new titles being published. Right now I’m reading texts to shore up some of my areas of weakness – early childhood and high school.
Katie Wood Ray and Matt Glover’s Already Ready: Nurturing Writings in Preschool and Kindergarten brought tears to my eyes within a few pages. What I found moving is the deep respect Ray and Glover have for very young children as readers, writers, and learners. This book is a must read for all educators who come in contact with young children.
I’m a big fan of Emily Kissner’s Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Retelling: Skills for Better Reading, Writing, and Test Taking and just received her newly published The Forest AND the Trees: Helping Readers Identify Important Details in Texts and Tests. I’m only a third of the way through the text and it looks like a post-it pad and highlighter exploded on the pages. There are many practical, elegant lessons to try.
Do you ever find yourself mourning the education you wish you could have had? I attended an “excellent” public high school in a town with “outstanding” test scores, lots of AP classes, and college bound students. I was expected to read and write a great deal, yet was not actually taught how to read critically and write effectively. Harvey Daniels, Steven Zemelman, and Nancy Steineke’s Content-Area Writing: Every Teachers Guide made it painfully obvious how lacking my high school education was. Their lesson ideas are fantastic! I taught a few while coaching at a high school this summer and not only did my students learn to write more strategically, I learned as well and actually looked forward to working with the high school students each day so that we could learn together.
A number of the school districts with which I work are using Fountas and Pinnell’s The Continuum of Literacy Learning, Grades K-8: Behaviors and Understandings to Notice, Teach, and Support. What a rich, valuable resource!