Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers


Slice of Life Tuesdays: It’s been a YEAR! #sol19

Lean…Dream/Do…Progress…Venture…Grow. This is my 5th anniversary writing “One Little Word.” Time flies!

After leaning towards my dreams, doing what it took to jump-start my new career and lifestyle, progressing/moving towards my goals, venturing out and taking action…I’m ready to grow.

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” The traditional interview question. I’d have to say that 5 years ago, I did see myself here — a reader, writer, lifelong learner, school librarian, mom, wife, grandma…Now I’m ready to grow.

(That was my post on January 1, 2019 — Almost a year ago!)

Did you forget about me? I never forgot, but I didn’t write on Tuesdays for Slice of Life this whole year. I’m guilty —  put it on the backburner. How could I forget where I came from?

The team at Two Writing Teachers ( are my friends and teammates; they have been since 2014. I’m going back. I miss them!

As I revisit my ONE LITTLE WORD for 2019, Grow, I realize that to grow you need to know where you came from. The “Slicers” have been my family as I’ve grown over the years, and even when I flew from the nest (this year), they asked about me (at #NCTE19) and now I’m flying home for the winter.

The dictionary defines “grow” as a verb — to increase by natural development, as any living organism or part by assimilation of nutriment; increase in size or substance ( I have definitely grown this year in my experience as a librarian, lead reader, writer, and professional development presenter. I love where my career is taking me; I love what I do. I will make sure I share more here with my “Slicer” friends — this exciting adventure of growth and development.

Stay tuned!







SOLSC: Days 15 and 16 are today! Whirlwind Trip to See Laurie Halse Anderson #sol16

Day 15: Chicago! My Nerdy Book Club friends, Kathy and Kelly, and I took a road trip to see Laurie Halse Anderson during Laurie’s SHOUT book tour. It was a fantastic, whirlwind trip and we listened to the conversation with Laurie and Mikki Kendall regarding #MeToo, rape, and culture. We heard from survivors and learned some valuable information that can help everyone to be better humans. My top takeaway was that we need to have these tough conversations with boys and girls, men and women — at home and in school.







It was nice to see Laurie again — we got our “annual” picture (which I realized this year will be semiannual, since she’s coming to #NerdCampMI) and spent time learning about important issues. The girls and I had fun visiting (and running into Sarah Aronson!). “Nerdy Road Trip” doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, we have a great time!

Day 16: Activist! Laurie’s visit to Chicago to talk about SHOUT and Mayor Pete’s accomplishment of reaching his donor goal of 65,000 supporters this weekend (and the sun showing itself!) inspires me. I will continue to advocate for better literacy education in our schools and access to books for all children. Life is good. #weareallhuman


SOLSC: Day 14 #sol19

Happy Birthday to my sister!

Judy is 22 months younger than me, and big and strong and loud (not like me!). I love her so much, but she’s a pain. You know? She would do anything for me and my family. I wish I could have been there for her today.

She’s been fighting a rare form of migraine headache for about a month now (a real pain – not a sibling rivalry pain)! One specialist gave her shots in the neck that made her feel better for about 3 days, but now she has to see a neurologist. I feel badly for her (I’ve had migraines before, so I know what they are like).

I’m thinking of her tonight as I head to sleep. I’m sure she won’t get much. Nite Nite, Judy! Feel better soon!


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SOLSC: Day 13 #sol19 Story Time

When I was in 2nd grade, I got into trouble for “refusing” to line up when my class was leaving the school library. No, I wasn’t a troublemaker.  I didn’t hear my teacher say, “Line up, class.” I didn’t see my peers forming the line. I was simply lost in a book, curled up comfortably in a beanbag chair behind a row of bookshelves.

As a 5th grade teacher, whenever I saw a student curled up in a corner, silently reading, I felt nostalgic. I quietly approached the student and told him or her it was lunchtime or time to switch classes. No trouble. Just information. Each student would wave me off, saying, “Hold on,” or “Just a sec.” The scene reminded me of…me.

I became a reading specialist after years of teaching all subjects in elementary school. I wanted a change. I wanted to read again – spend time reading and teaching reading. I worked with two students in particular I remember well. One was a young girl, just like me, who wanted to read and learn all she could. She loved reading, but she needed help. I introduced her to Building Up, a short text in our curriculum materials about skyscrapers.  She fell in love with buildings and structures, and ended up studying Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, the famous design architects, for research projects.

The other student couldn’t read on grade level, but he wanted to try new books anyway. When we read together, he was happy — he learned about disgusting foods, and how people “croaked”, and fell in love with Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793. 

I attended an NCTE annual conference and was lucky enough to meet Laurie Halse Anderson in person that year. She talked about research for her historical fiction books, her writing process, and her love of students and teachers.  I found out what it felt like to be “in the know” – meeting a favorite author and sharing a love of reading. I shoot a quick picture every time I see Laurie now, to show my students. “You know her?” they ask. I giggle, pinching myself as I take my love of reading and spread the “book love” through the schools where I work.  (Thanks to Penny Kittle for the phrase.)

After (finally) receiving my school librarian certification in 2016, I was hired for my dream job – librarian at a middle school in my community. I love being a librarian — it’s the best way to spread the “book love.” But then, the unthinkable happened.  That middle school dream job was cut. The school closed in June 2018 due to consolidation efforts in the district. I was devastated. How could I go back to teaching in a classroom, when I had finally reached my career goal?

Becoming a librarian brought new possibilities and new opportunities to my life. I started professional development sessions called “Picture Books are Perfect” – a series of sessions about how reading aloud and independent reading changes lives, and how picture books can help meet state standards, even in middle school and high school. With joy and relief (after nervously searching all summer), I also accepted a school librarian position at our district’s fine arts academy middle school! I continue living the dream as a school librarian, and I am happily employed again as the “book lady” for three schools today.

Libraries are important in schools, and certified librarians are needed to bring joyful and meaningful reading opportunities to children. I continue to advocate for real reading of books in schools. It is my pleasure to be able to provide literacy learning for students in my schools. I love the smell and feel of new books in each library shipment; I turn the books over and over in my hands, marveling at the cover art, reading back cover descriptions, perusing the first few pages, and searching for awards stickers. I’ve taught my students to do the same. We discuss plot, characters, perspectives, and theme in the library. I talk about meeting authors and attending author visits in the community. I invite my students and their parents to head to our new indie bookstore in town, and I pick up books to share at school.

I love being a librarian. But there’s something I love even more…

I love watching students fall in love with reading.


SOLSC: Day 11 #sol19

Just now I sat down to read some posts and cool down from my 6th cardio workout this month. I’m trying to reclaim my body, nutrition, and life benefits. When I sat down, I felt like writing, but honestly, I’d rather go to bed now. It’s National Nap Day, so my brain thinks I need a nap. But no! It’s still light outside (thanks to the time change in Indiana)! So I’ll stay awake until bedtime and write. What a way to wind down!

Have a nice evening!

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SOLSC: Day 10 #sol19

This weekend was fast and furious, slow and easy — and gone already! My husband was off work again today, so we went to Captain Marvel — the movie we’ve been waiting for. I liked it, and of course, I was left with some unanswered questions. The short tribute to Stan Lee was a nice touch. I won’t spoil it for you — decide yourself when you see it. I was left feeling the GIRL POWER — yes!

Pic from (Captain Marvel movie poster – March 10, 2019)


SOLSC: Day 9 #sol19

My husband was off work today, so we decided to go to the local home show — 100+ vendors and companies ready to give estimates on anything you could possibly want for your home. We got several ideas and left with the following plans:

*Landscaping for the entire back yard, including plants, pavers, and water features.

*Sunroom/4 Season addition, which will be the new exercise and workout room, complete with a spa hot tub.

*Fire pit and gathering area, with sitting area and a dining table, which will also serve as an outdoor grill area.

*Patio sliding door and new windows

*Masonry project with 2 new columns for the front patio (brick on the bottom, tiered to a designed column that matches the roof color)

*Lawn mowers (two: one for the front yard and a riding mower for the back yard)

Anything else we need? Oh, yeah. A few extra jobs to pay for all of this! LOL! We had a good time, and that was the point of this Saturday. Now we are home, enjoying movies on Netflix while it rains outside, and we are fine with what we have.



SOLSC: Day 7 Absent Day 8 Weekend! #sol19

Well, I’ve done it again. I wasn’t feel well last night, and I went to bed. NyQuil helped me sleep, so I could get up and work at two schools today. Now I’m back home: work, dishes, laundry, and weekend planning. I can’t wait to relax and read, go to the home show, and maybe see a movie. I have quite a stack of books again (how am I always behind?). Let me tell you about three books I’m reading next:

  1. Another by Christian Robinson — This wordless picture book opens with a young girl and her cat, sleeping. Well, the cat is not sleeping. The cat is looking at a light that appears on the wall. It looks like an oval, but then another cat comes through it and into the bedroom. Another dimension? What will be there? Of course, one must explore. This book is pure fun and games! I can’t even imagine how much time it took to set those punch-out dots in place for that bright red hill in the middle spread. Don’t forget to run your hand over the front cover (it’s textured) and definitely don’t forget to take off the jacket and see what lies underneath. ANOTHER text that’s fun for the whole family.
  2. The Silence Between Us (ARC) by Alison Gervais — I’ve marveled at this cover for 2 days now; it’s beautiful. The back cover captured my interest. “Maya Harris’s world is turned upside down when she moves and has to leave Pratt School for the Deaf and attend a hearing school for the first time…As if changing schools senior year wasn’t bad enough…” I’m hooked already. I’m sure this will be a title I love. Thank you to BLINK YA BOOKS for the copy! (Publishing date August 13, 2019)
  3. Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg — Our very own “Mayor Pete” is now looking at a presidential bid in 2020. His memoir/hope-for-the-future is out now, and I can’t wait to learn more about him. Pete is a genuinely nice person and intelligent human, and I am happy to support his literary efforts.


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SOLSC: Day 6 #sol19

Good evening,

Sometimes chores come first. This evening was that time. Groceries, laundry, dishes…all must-finish work that has to be done to move forward this week. That leaves little time for writing.

The question from the Slice of Life team is “How’s it going?” (Reminds me of Carl Anderson and writing workshop!) “Well, it’s going,” I say today. I love that this challenge helps me to at least sit down for a few minutes before bedtime and connect with people.

I hope you had a great day — not too full of chores, but full of cheer!