Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers


Slice of Life Tuesday: Vote!


Slice of Life Small LogoI voted last Saturday. My husband, oldest daughter and I worked out, then decided to walk a block from the gym to the County-City building and do our civic duty on a beautiful November day (rare in Indiana!).

When we left, my daughter stated, “It’s not even 11 am, and I feel like I’ve been so productive today.” Yes, it felt good to be able to vote, to speak up, to contribute to society.

Vote today! Be grateful that you are able to contribute to your society, your country, in this simple way.



Slice of Life Tuesdays: Happy Birthday, Jake!

Slice of Life Small LogoJake the poodle is 15! From what I know about poodles, they usually live between 10-12 years, so Jake is an old man! Here is Jake’s birthday story:

I made it downstairs; it’s getting harder and harder to trudge down those 12 steps. I always miss the last one now. I can’t remember numbers after 10, so I trip every time. Oof! And that carpet is the same color all the way down; it burns my eyes to squint so much. I wish they’d give me a color strip or something so I could focus.

Once I got to the bottom of the stairs, I saw Ashley. I was so excited! She’s never home anymore — always working. She smacked her knees and bid me over to the couch, “Come ‘ere, boy! Happy Birthday!” I wagged my tail because I was so happy. She giggled at me and gave me a bite of her donut. (Oops! We weren’t supposed to tell Mom!) I wound up and jumped with all my might to sit by Ashley on the comfy cushions. Ouch! My knee still hurt from rolling down the hill this summer. I forgot! I yelped, and Ashley pat me on the head and gave me another bite. Yum! Doesn’t hurt so bad now.

Well all that excitement made me tired! I yawned and snuggled myself next to the blue blanket. Soft! Cozy! Wonderful! Time for a nap. jakeyawnsoct2016jpg

I was startled when I heard the door upstairs open. Mom and Dad are home! I looked up and saw people walking around, so I decided to see who else remembered today was my celebration. I hobbled up the stairs, turned the corner by the refrigerator, and found Mom. “Happy Birthday, Boy!” She gave me a short massage on my graying ears — Aah! I couldn’t see the treat she dropped on the floor, but she pointed her toe at it and I gobbled it up! Canine Carryouts with cheese are my favorite. Then I watched from my post, the cabinet at the corner of the kitchen. I sat nicely and looked at Mom with my adorable (blinding) eyes. She saw me. She walked to my cabinet and got out the big yellow bag. I forgot, I AM hungry!

After lunch, I was sleepy again. Dad let me outside — it’s such a nice day, but really too cold for me anymore. I shivered on the step for at least 10 minutes. I swear he doesn’t keep track of the time. I had to bark again. I hate that, and so do the humans. I don’t mean to be rude, but sometimes I have to remind them that I’m old and I can’t handle the outside like I used to. After that fall I took when I dislocated my knee, I just don’t have as much fun outdoors.

Well I got back inside — Dad gave me a treat, too! Wow! They MUST love me on my birthday! However (urp), I now have a tummy ache, so I’ll go under the table and hide. Don’t want to get into trouble for throwing up anywhere.

After another short nap, I felt like playing. Outside time with Mom is better than being alone. We ran around a little bit, but I get tired so fast. These old legs just cannot handle the chase. Back inside for some cool water and — you guessed it! — another nap. But this time it was getting dark. I waited for Mom to say the words. I was ready for it.

Dad was watching sports again. He loves that tv. I don’t like all the yelling. That’s a game? So annoying — all the yelling. I can’t see the screen anyway, so I don’t pay much attention when the tube is on. I guessed Mom had enough yelling, too. When Mom said, “Time for bed,” I was already on the way to my pillow in the quiet master bedroom. I love sleeping with Mom. I’m too small to be on the bed anymore (she’s afraid I’ll jump off and break my leg), but I love my doggie pillow. What a nice birthday that was! Good night, humans. See you at 3:00 am. (he he)

Happy Birthday, Jake!



Slice of Life Tuesday: Book Birthdays

books_zackdelacruzjustmyluckSlice of Life Small Logo

So many new book birthdays today;books_asheshistorical3

“So little time,” I have to say.

I want to sit and read the books.

I want to read without the dirty looks!bookbirthdayoct4

If I had all the time in the world,

You’d find me curled, furled…


Images from John Schu’s Book Release Calendar 2016 and


Slice of Life Tuesday:

Football Dreams

I would love to be able to attend every Notre Dame home football game as a season-ticket holder, but alas! I am not. So when my husband came home with tickets to Saturday’s game, I was excited to attend.

Even though I had been sick all week, I didn’t want to miss the chance to be in the crowd. We waited until 2:30 to decide to get into the car. It had rained all morning, and the threat was still imminent. But at 2:35, we packed up the car, made sure tickets were in hand, and drove to Edison Road. My daughter is on vacation this week, so we had a free parking spot! Nice!

We walked to campus and found our seats. A cool breeze swept through the stadium. Clouds rolled by, some dark and some white and fluffy. Would it rain? Yes. In the first half, it sprinkled for a few minutes at a time. Then the blue sky appeared and Notre Dame scored.

Notre Dame won the game! It was nice to get out of the house on a Saturday and be a part of the action, instead of watching on TV. I hope to get more tickets this year. Football season is a blast!



Slice of Life Tuesdays: Peanut Butter and the Middle School Mess

Slice of Life Small LogoDISCLAIMER: The following story is my on-demand writing done with my 6th grade class after the mini lesson, “Add Some Spice” to the Narrative Arc with tension/conflict. Students were able to choose a type of conflict and use tension to move the plot along so that readers will want to turn the pages. This is my draft based on the true story, with a little added spice!


The worst argument I ever had with my sister was a summer day after my mom went back to work. We were both old enough to know better. Middle school students are supposed to be able to handle Mom going to work, and we knew what we were supposed to do in case of an emergency. This was NOT an emergency.

My sister and I were doing chores and she did not finish the dishes. She said she was going out for a bike ride, but I reminded her that we were not supposed to leave the house without job being done. She said she would do them when she got back. I blocked the door to the garage so she could not leave. First mistake.

Judy pushed me into the desk, and I fell backwards. She’s taller than me, so I had to think fast. I reached into the cupboard and pulled out the jar of Jif Peanut Butter. Second mistake.

I opened the jar and scooped up handful of peanut butter. I lunged towards Judy and smeared the goop into her long black hair. She screamed bloody murder! She grabbed the jar and dug into the middle, then covered my face with brown sticky peanut butter. I screamed, heading to the phone that was on the desk. I dialed my mom’s work number. Third mistake.

My mom heard both sides of the drama through her earpiece at her cubicle, and so did all her co-workers! She was so embarrassed that she excused herself, saying that one of us had fallen down and needed help. Thankfully, her boss allowed her to leave work so she could “deal with us.”

She dealt all right! She dealt out smacks on our rear-ends, more cleaning duties, and a week’s grounding to both of us. I vowed never again to worry about what my sister was doing while my mom was at work. I did my own chores and kept out of trouble the rest of my middle school days.

Responsibility is a hard lesson, but learning to stay out of other people’s business is even harder. Especially when it’s your little sister.



Slice of Life Tuesday: My Goals for Reading Class

My conversation with a student today went something like this:

Student: “I hate reading.”

Me: “Wait, I know that’s not true. You like reading texts from your friends, right?”

S: (giggle)

Me: “You like reading Facebook posts, right?”

S: “Yeah, but I don’t read them; I just look at them.”

Me: “Wait. You understand what the message means when you look at it, right?”

S: “Yeah.”

Me: “Then you must like reading!”

S: “OK, I don’t like assigned class reading.”

Me: “We’re going to change the way reading class looks to you. I promise.”

My goals for reading class this year:

  1. I want my students to like reading.
  2. I want my students to read during reading time.
  3. I want to help my students become better readers by reading aloud, by helping them comprehend by using strategies that make sense, and by guiding them to talk and write about their reading.

Hopefully, we’re on our way!



Slice of Life Tuesdays: Rain Delay

Our city had some water troubles. A record 8.6 inches of rain fell between 7 am Monday to 7 am Tuesday. Bad for the drivers, but no real damage like other states this past week. My husband had several detours this morning while heading to work, but we were ok. I thought about it again…

Last night before bed, I heard a “drip, drip, drip” coming from above my head. I thought I was just hearing things, so I went back to scratching Jake’s belly (old dog still loves Mom). Then I heard it again. What? I got up and walked around the room. Yep, “drip” – right on my head! The new roof was leaking. Called for service. Thank goodness it wasn’t too bad, so I went off to work this morning. Didn’t think anything of it. It will be fixed, and we can move along with our week. I thought about it again…

As I walked into school, I saw several people walking around with vacuum cleaners, and heard a buzz of chitter chatter in the hallway. Hmm.

“Rain poured all night.”

“Yeah, record-breaking 8.6 inches.”


“Awe, man!”

I turned the key to my classroom and felt my toes get wet. Crud! Water had filled my classroom. “Thank goodness there’s no kids today,” said the engineer. Yeah.

I waded around in ankle-deep water to move boxes and tables, and check out the damage. Not really a problem — most of the books were put away on the shelves already, and I only lost 2 boxes of books and 2 boxes of new chart paper. My new rug was hanging outside on a pole (Thanks, Miss Vanessa!) to dry before students come tomorrow.

Our meeting was fine, and I got my rosters organized, decorated the show case, and counted textbooks and locker numbers. Now I’m ready. Tomorrow will come early.

I’m beat. Let’s pray it stays dry. Good night!




Slice of Life Tuesdays: Ready to Go! (?)

Slice of Life Small LogoAm I ready?

Yes. Tomorrow is the back-to-school staff retreat where my school colleagues will meet and prepare for the new year. We have several new staff members this year, and I am ready to meet everyone and get started. Today I finished my part of the PD on reading instruction, so I can’t wait to see how that goes.

No. Summer is over? No! I still haven’t finished the landscaping project on the front yard, and I wanted to relax a little more before heading into the stress of school. (Ok, I’ll be honest. The stress will start with setting an alarm in the mornings!)

Are YOU ready for the school year? Have a great one!


Slice of Life Tuesday: Enjoying the Last of Summer

Slice of Life Small LogoI’m spending this week reading; I have too many books left to read before summer ends. I’m running out of time! BookStack072616

The last few days of summer — mixing back-to-school prep with naps (what will I do without my naps?), doctor/dentist appointments for everyone, and working on those jobs at home that need to be done.

I am hoping that you, too, are enjoying your last days of summer. Have some fun!