Literacy Lenses

Focusing on The Literacy Work that Matters

Reading to Make a Difference

By Jenn Hayhurst

On March 21, 2019, Lester Laminack and Katie Kelly joined #G2Great to begin a conversation around their book, Reading to Make a Difference. I have to say, I just love that title, Reading to Make a Difference. There are so many ways that reading can make a difference that it boggles my mind and stirs my soul. It makes me dizzy to think about the endless potential for positive change that is possible when teachers view reading as a call to action. The chat began with meaningful reflections as teachers celebrated book choice, writing, and the sheer joy that comes with intentional learning:

As I read these tweets I am struck by the varied perspectives and I kept thinking about how Lester and Katie’s work was inspired by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s piece, Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors.


We look to books to help us understand ourselves and the world. Books are indeed a mirror, they reflect a reader’s own story back to them as they read to find clarity and validation. These are the important moments for readers, this process is part of forming a secure identity. As they journey down this path to self-discovery, it is only natural that they begin to question: How am I different? How am I the same? What can I learn from all of this?


The windows we shape in our classrooms are constructed by the libraries we keep. It is time that we all ask ourselves, am I willing to take a stand for equity? Will I expand my classroom library to greet and embrace all my students? There are so many stories to tell and it is vital that we provide access to them. Children are broadening their understanding of the world as they look to find new possibilities and greater awareness for the complexities of life. Trust that the books we offer them can help with this work.

Sliding Glass Doors

Books are here to inspire us. They are foundational for opportunities to grow. They can unlock the potential for new experiences. We can teach our students to seize these opportunities through the relevant work that can come with reading a great book. What can I do with my learning? If we live the life of an authentic learner we can show them how to slide that glass door open, to step through and create something substantial. This is how we lift the words off the page and into our hearts and minds. Literacy is transformative.

Thank you, Lester and Katie for your beautiful book. It is a great resource for teachers to read, reflect, and create. I hope you will all continue to dig deeper into this work and continue grow your practice. Here are some helpful links that can keep the learning going:

Heinemann Podcast: Reading to Make a Difference

A First Look Inside Reading to Make a Difference

#BOWTIE: Creating Environments that Work for Kids

Guest bloggers Kitty Donohoe, Brent Gilson, and Jill Davidson with Mary Howard

#G2Great was once again abuzz with excitement when our good friends and newly reorganized #BOWTIE students took the seat of honor at the #G2Great guest host table for the eighth time: 12/13/184/26/183/8/185/25/173/6/1712/17/176/9/16 (Sam Fremin). They have been our guest hosts more than any other guest in our four year chat history, which tells you how much we think of them. On 3/14/19, we gathered together to explore Creating Environments that Work for Kids

#BOWTIE are middle school and high school students who write and talk about education under the support of teacher, Jason Augustowski. They share their ideas about education at national conferences like NCTE, write blog posts and read professional texts to extend their understandings. It’s fitting that #BOWTIE is an acronym for Bringing Our “Why” (because) Teachers Include Everyone since they have become professional co-conspirators who offer reflective insight about the teaching/learning process.

Educational commitment is apparent each time #BOWTIE joins #G2Great. They choose the topic, write questions and lead our dialogue. Eighteen students joined us this week: Erik Bright (grade 9); Gabriella David (grade 9); Aaron Eichenlaub (grade 8); Ben Fremin (grade 8); Sam Fremin (grade 12); Sean Hamidi (grade 10); Nihar Kandarpa (grade 9); Chrysa (grade 9) Sarah Lehner (grade 8); Jack Martinez (grade 9); Leila Mohajer (grade 9); Jason Nguyen (grade 9); Joseph O’Such (grade 11); Sabrina Rice (grade 8); Elizabeth Salmon (grade 8); Christian Sporre (grade 11); Giana Woodson (grade 8); Anya Passino (grade 9). I love this picture taken just before the chat started:

For our eighth #BOWTIE – #G2Great thought merger, we invited friends who think as highly of these young men and women and we do. We are so grateful to Kitty DonohoeBrent Gilson and Jill Davidson for sharing their thoughts around five questions:

What could educators do to create an environment that truly works for kids?

Kitty Donohoe

After engaging in conversation with the inspiring #BOWTIE students, I recollected a favorite quote of Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” It is easy to conjure an image of the proverbial old-fashioned teacher who doesn’t smile until winter break. However, as in all things, there needs to be a balance in life.  The students talked about how much they loved hearing stories from their teachers about what life was like for them at the same age. Humor and a sense of mutual respect that needed to be earned was important to the students. On that first day of school, dynamic relationship building has more merit than a static syllabus. After all, what transcends is the relationships built, not a set of rules and a grim-faced teacher.

Brent Gilson

This past week we discussed creating environments that work for kids and I am grateful to have the chance to reflect back on the chat and my own thoughts on what we as educators can do to create the best environment for our students. When we are looking at classroom culture and creating a space that works for our students to feel safe to learn and collaborate I can’t help but think the first steps should always be hearing from our students. Being vulnerable enough as an instructor to admit that we don’t have all the answers allows our students to feel like partners in creating the best classroom environment. Collaboration with peers and with students and teachers will increase if we show this vulnerability (Suzy Rolander) It reminds me of how Pernille Ripp asks her students to tell her about what makes reading fun and what makes it suck. Their thoughts inform her practice and her example has helped me to take the same leap. What we learn from our students is priceless. I recently blogged about giving my students a chance to reflect on reading practices and it was eye-opening and helpful to me in creating an environment that is working for my students.

Jill Davidson

For me, the key word here is “create.” Creating an atmosphere that supports and engages all the learners in a classroom requires intention and reflection. We cannot develop an environment that works for all learners without inviting students’ voices into the conversation. Ask students for input on designing both the space and the learning that will take place within it. Regular debriefs on what is working and what needs to change give students an opportunity to identify their learning needs and articulate how the environment can help meet those needs. The learning environment encompasses much more than the physical space. Educators can actively participate in creating and sustaining a supportive atmosphere for learning by modeling the kind of learning that will happen in the classroom: sharing their own learning, taking risks as a learner, and being open about their curiosities and interests. One key theme that emerged from the chat was how much students appreciate a teacher who interacts with them as a collaborator and fellow learner.  

What are some “environment take-aways” you learned from our #BOWTIE chat?

Kitty Donohoe

The relationship building environment is the heart of what matters. Thus, a teacher conveying the verbal and nonverbal messages to students of being present to them and that they matter, should be foremost in a classroom.  The physical environment also has importance. Are desks clustered to foster collaborative learning? Is the classroom one that invites student choice in projects? Are partnerships encouraged so that students can learn from each other, thus making the whole greater than the sum of its parts? Is inclusivity modeled by all? Can students see their faces reflected in classroom libraries? All of these and many more components matter.

Brent Gilson

As we discussed the classroom environment the idea of balancing the fun-loving freedom with purposeful workspace came up often. I hope in my classroom that a foundation of mutual respect will take us much further than any “rules” will. A common thread among posts came up in that students need clear expectations and the sense that there will be follow through. Students need communication and clarity in what the expectations are. Reducing expectations only to then have to come down harder later is only going to serve to disrupt the space and the relationships that we have with our students. After the chat this week I really sat and thought about where my line is and how much I erase it in an effort to give infinite chances. It led to some tough conversations and hopefully, the concerns I had Thursday evening will be a thing of less frequency going forward.  

Jill Davidson

Throughout the chat the importance of safe, equitable, and inclusive spaces came out loud and clear. Students value classrooms and schools where they feel they have a say in their own learning and where all voices and perspectives are valued equally. They want to learn in environments that make them feel seen and heard. The importance of using reading, writing, speaking, and listening to learn about others and ourselves surfaced over and over during the conversation. Another key take-away for me was the reminder of how educators set the tone for the environment. Students appreciate having teachers who take the time to get to know them and who make relationship-building a priority.  

How do educators benefit by viewing our teaching from a student lens?

Kitty Donohoe

I remember that when I was a first year teacher, a parent asked me where I bought my shoes because her daughter wanted a pair just like them!  I was so surprised. But then I thought, of course, it is all about viewpoint. My primary aged students sat on the rug in front of me and my shoes are front and center.  If my shoes were front and center, well then certainly there were even more important things that I needed to think about from their perspective. Teachers need to always remember what it is like to be a student. We have more power over a young person’s life than we sometimes realize.  It is a sacred trust. Educators always need to understand that for a certain part of their life, these young people are a primary responsibility for us. This can never be taken for granted. And, it is easy to overlook their perspective. By hearing from the Bowtie students, it was a lovely reminder about how by building trust, teachers can give students more agency in the classroom. The more responsibility students have, the more their confidence can grow, and the more engaged they will become in the learning community.

Brent Gilson

When we take the time to look at things from a student lens I think we can really, if we are truly open to it, change the way we teach. So often in University, we were told to have all these intricate plans to make sure we keep our students captivated but too often they are just captive.  When we look at the tasks we assign, or even do them we see if the activity is worthy of our students. We start to see the points that might get them caught up and can be proactive versus reactive.

Jill Davidson

Viewing teaching (and learning) from a student lens helps us be responsive and empathetic educators. We often talk about “authentic learning,” and to be truly authentic classroom activities must reflect the lives of the learners. Do the texts students are reading and creating reflect their world outside of the classroom? Are students writing about topics that are meaningful to them for an audience beyond the teacher? Is the use of technology purposeful in that it extends and expands learning rather than being an add-on? Considering the learning environment from the student perspective encourages us to find opportunities to increase engagement and agency. We can look for the places where we are making decisions for students’ learning that they can be making for themselves. We can reflect on where student voice and choice can be amplified. It is essential that students have a say in what they will learn and how they will learn it.

What is one way #BOWTIE has inspired your professional understandings?

Kitty Donohoe

It is always important to reflect on one’s practice as an educator.  And what better way to do this than by hearing from young people? The BOWTIE students are remarkable.  During the chat and afterwards, as I was thinking about their insights, I was struck by how much wisdom these young students have. They made me think about how important dialogue is with students.  By listening with an open heart, a teacher truly can have more impact. Student voices are important to reflect back to teachers what works from a younger perspective. So in essence, it made me think about always going back to the source. In my case, I am working with second graders. Their thoughts matter.  They are more aware of what it is to be seven or eight than I am, thus, go to the experts for insights!

Brent Gilson

I have had the pleasure of joining in on a number of chats that the formerly #bowtieboys now rebranded as #BOWTIE have hosted on Twitter and attended a few of their sessions at NCTE this year and am always impressed by their passion and dedication to taking steps forward in education. This #bowtie chat really helped me to see that I am not really doing my students favours by constantly moving the goal line closer. I have read articles about lawnmower or snowplow parents that just get everything out of their students way and through this chat I see that I at times do that for my students when they reach a tough spot. Seeing these students discuss topics that are important to them in such an open and educated way makes me see that my students don’t need me to guide them as much. That we need to look at learning as even more of a partnership where I provide them with support and guidance but also step back to let them problem solve more.

Jill Davidson

The themes of relationship-building, collaboration, and community that surfaced from this discussion have reinforced my passion for using talk as a way to grow learning. The majority of talk happening in the classroom should be from the students. They want to discuss important topics, share ideas, develop new understandings, and consider alternate perspectives. Again, establishing an environment where student talk is at the forefront takes careful planning. Everything from the physical set-up to the curricular materials must be selected with student talk in mind. Students need time and space to gather and discuss, but they also need engaging texts that give them something to talk about!

What advice/feedback do you have for #BOWTIE as a result of our chat, perusing their blogs or personally seeing them present at a conference?

Kitty Donohoe

To quote Bob Dylan:  “May you stay forever young.”  Your wisdom, courage, and dedication shine through in your Twitter conversations.  You are our future and because I know that, I am at peace. Stay close to that vibrancy and tenacity that you exhibit your whole life for really, that is what life is all about.  Thank you for letting me learn so very much from you.

Brent Gilson

Having participated and witnessed live the magic that is #bowtie first I would like to say that I think all teachers need the experience. They opened my eyes to the potential my students have to use their own voices and advocate for themselves. The passion in promoting voice/choice and helping educators take into account a different perspective is admirable. We often talk about stakeholders in education and I believe that to truly have a conversation that places all stakeholders as equal partners we need to fully listen and the #BOWTIE kids are speaking loud and clear, and teachers should be grateful.

Jill Davidson

Don’t stop putting your voices into the world. We have so much to learn from our students! Thank you for posing questions that invite us to reflect and for sharing your insights and experiences.

Mary’s Closing Thoughts

Since our first #G2Great chat January 8, 2015, co-moderators Fran, ValJennAmy (and Mary) have been committed to creating a space for learning in the company of others. Our goal from the beginning was to nurture an invitational culture of joyful dialogue where we could grow side-by-side twitter style. It’s apparent when looking back on the chat dialogue that these amazing students epitomize that vision. They understand that our day-to-day professional choices matter and that the quality of our choices rises from deep professional reflection that often leads to intentional shifts in thinking with students in mind. 

One of the things that inspires me about our #BOWTIE friends is how generously they are willing to make their thinking public so that we can see our teaching through their wise eyes. Using their words, they hold up a reflective mirror for each of us so that we may design (and re-design) the best possible experiences for our students possible so that we can see our teaching in a new light.

We are so grateful to #BOWTIE students and teacher, Jason Augustowski for helping us to be the best version of ourselves. (Note: Please join us on 4/25/19 when they return to #G2Great) 

Tweets from our incredible #BOWTIE contributors

The Ramped-Up Read Aloud: What to Notice as You Turn the Page

by Mary Howard

Your enthusiastic #G2great co-moderators, Fran, Val, Jenn, Amy (and Mary) have long held the topic of read aloud very near and dear to our collective hearts. Our excitement was once again elevated as first grade teacher Maria Walther joined another read aloud celebration as first-time guest host on 3/7/19. An engaging conversation quickly ensued as soon as we opened the #G2Great twitter gate to celebrate her new book, The Ramped-Up Read Aloud: What to Notice as You Turn the Page (Corwin, 2018)

When I first held Maria’s book in my hands, I opened to the first page where the heading in bolded caps reached out and grabbed me by the heartstrings: 


My eyes moved excitedly down the page as I happily highlighted her words: 

First and foremost, a read aloud should be a joyful celebration for all. For you, for your students, and indirectly, for the author and illustrator who toiled over each word and every image that lies on and between the covers of the book. (Maria Walther, p 1)

Already held in joyful readerly captivity, Maria’s next sentence elevated my state of being:

In my mind, a picture book is a piece of art created to be cherished and applauded. Right from the start, I give you permission to simply READ ALOUD–no questions, no stopping, no after-reading conversations.

Well that didn’t take long. I hadn’t even left the first page and already JOY was the emotional hook that kept my face glued to each page that followed all the way to the end.

Before our chat began, I asked Maria to reflect on three essential questions. Her responses to those questions are so connected to my heartstring theme of READ ALOUD = JOY! that I’m going to approach this post a little differently. First, I’ll share Maria’s response to each question followed by my own reflection that keeps the joy theme at the center and then share one tweet. Before I share the joy path I’m taking in this post, let me start with a tweet from Maria that reinforced my chosen direction and made my joyful heart go pitter patter:

Ahh, the joy of Maria’s carefully crafted words reminding us to walk along a path that is not riddled with thorns of compliant dissemination but one that is lined with “a well-chosen read aloud surrounded by rich conversations.” And so we continue along a joyful read aloud journey through Maria’s words.

What motivated you to write this book? What impact did you hope that it would have in the professional world?

In the 1980s, I stepped into Estelle Von Zellen’s children’s bookstore housed in the basement of her DeKalb, IL home. The first book I purchased for my classroom was The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood. I love reading that book aloud to show children how Don Wood uses shifting perspective and changes in light to enhance Audrey’s cumulative story. Since that day, I’ve been hooked on picture books and have spent my 33-year career reading them aloud to children. I’m fascinated by the artistic process of creating a picture book and believe that if we give children opportunities to notice and discuss books, we can enrich their reading and writing lives. 

I was motivated to write this book to give busy teachers an inside look into picture books and the ways they promote thinking and conversations. For each of the 101 featured books, I share the insights I discovered while reading, rereading, and researching each book so that teachers, librarians, or caregivers can pass those tidbits on to young listeners. 

I’m hoping that Ramped-Up will remind teachers (and their administrators), librarians, and perhaps some parents that read aloud experiences are a necessity for every child. I want this book to nudge them to carve out time every day to read aloud.

READ ALOUD = JOY! Reflection from Mary

Mission accomplished, Maria! Simply acknowledging that we value read aloud is not enough. To view read aloud through the lens of JOY requires us to give it a place of honor in every day as we refuse to allow both real and perceived outside demands to thwart our path forward. When we are so “hooked on picture books” that we can’t let a single day go without reading them, we demonstrate joy through our actions as we keep read aloud at the center of our efforts on a daily basis. It is then and only then that this joy becomes so contagious that it spreads from child to child. Our gift to children of this shared book love will deepen with each new picture book we read aloud that follows where joy continues to grow across the learning year. On page 1 Maria shares an image of her read aloud tally so I was excited to see this tweet below. This visual reference illustrates a constant reminder that we do indeed champion read aloud not just by our words but by making a conscious choice to celebrate read aloud in the company of children day after day. 

What are your BIG takeaways from your book that you hope teachers will embrace in their teaching practices?

Read Aloud=JOY. I want teachers to embrace joyful read aloud practices and add their favorite titles to the ones I’ve included in this book. I hope that they view read aloud as one of the many ways they can promote books and reading. I want them to spread the word that read aloud is the mainstay of a vibrant literacy community. During read aloud, I hope teacher notice that it only takes a few open-ended questions or invitations to question, think, or notice in order to surround read aloud with rich conversations.

READ ALOUD = JOY! Reflection from Mary

There’s that phrase I have come to love followed by her desire that teachers will ‘embrace joyful read aloud’. Maria is a master “noticer” of what authors and illustrators do to bring the picture book experience to life and how this artistic process can inform our read aloud choices. Maria shares her thoughtful insights with us through 101 picture book conversations in two-page spreads of joyful possibilities that offer a stepping stone for breathing new life into the read aloud experience. In an age where scripted read alouds suck the very life force out of beautiful books, Maria’s flexible open-ended insights offer a gentle nudge that invite teachers to enter the book experience as a thoughtful read aloud decision-maker. She shows us options to draw from but then respects our choices as we view books from our own insightful lens as we too become master noticers of any picture book.

What is a message from the heart you would like for every teacher to keep in mind?

We have many children in our classrooms who, as my colleague Janet Mort says, are “unlucky in literacy.” Perhaps they haven’t snuggled on the lap of a caregiver and listened to stories read aloud or they don’t live in a home filled with books and conversations. As educators, we have two paths we can take. We can choose to ignore this fact and march on with our instruction or we can embrace our roles as the “storygivers” and invite children to join us for one book, after another, after another . . .

READ ALOUD = JOY! Reflection from Mary

I doubt that there is a teacher reading these words who can’t name children who have been “unlucky in literacy.” Maria’s response to this question is riddled in joy as she reminds us that the only way we can create a collective spirit of lucky in literacy opportunities is to savor our role as joyful “storygivers” who believe deeply in our responsibility to read aloud to every child. We want to join Maria in taking our rightful place as invitational picture book advocates from the first day of school to the last. I lost count of how many times I read and reread that paragraph where joy oozed from her words with each and every reread. How could any teacher read her words and falter in making a committed decision to choose the path to read aloud joy every time we sit in front of children and joyfully open the covers of a carefully chosen picture book? Imagine how this commitment could spread this lucky in literacy invitational culture that will embrace collective joy across our respective learning spaces. Isn’t this what every child deserves?

 Mary’s Final JOY Reflections

As I pause to reflect on Maria’s repeated message of READ ALOUD = JOY! I challenge each of you to take our shared words in this post, read her book for the first time or yet again, and then soak in the wisdom of every tweet in our #G2Great chat. Then step into your learning spaces with children hopefully surrounding you, open your chosen picture book, and watch read aloud joy reverberate across the room again and again.

Thank you for reminding us of the power of picture books to awaken read aloud magic in each learning day, Maria. We are so honored to stand beside you as picture book joy ambassadors.


Maria’s website:

Maria’s Blog

Ramped Up Read-Aloud (Corwin)

Picture books Mentioned Across Our #G2great Chat

Word Study That Sticks

By Valinda Kimmel

Pam Koutrakos, author of Word Study That Sticks: Best Practices in K-6 (Corwin, 2019), joined #g2great Thursday night, February 28, 2019 as our guest. For die hard logophiles like myself, it was a treat.

I’ve always had an affinity for word work in the classroom, but I know not all students (and teachers) share that love of words. Pam clearly and creatively shares with teachers numerous ways to make words come alive for kids through discussion, exploration and inquiry. Pam was kind enough to answer some questions about how the book found its way into teachers’ hands.

What motivated you to write this book? What impact did you hope that it would have in the professional world?

This book was spurred by a unique set of stars aligning:


Growing up, I was an avid reader and writer. I loved learning and did well in school, but this “success” required great time and effort. I didn’t recognize that my process was so different from others because I somehow figured out my own set of strategies that compensated for letters that sometimes flipped, bounced, and reversed. It was only when I started working with students that I began to notice and understand my own hurdles-and feel quite impressed with how I managed to compensate all those years! This realization made me wonder how, even though I was surrounded by amazing, caring teachers, no one spotted this earlier. This led me to think more about what was valued- or even asked of me in school- and how little things had changed.


I love reading about and hearing other perspectives, and also love engaging in conversation with people with whom I share passions and beliefs. Now more than ever, I think of words as a conduit for sharing who we are and what we believe. Words connect us with others and enable us to consider a multitude of perspectives. Words helps us feel seen, understood, and a part of a community. Words are also a catalyst for necessary change. The urgency to empower students with word competency is incredibly relevant and real.


As I made shifts in some of my own instructional practices (2 parts motivation and 1 part very informal action research), the positive outcomes were exhilarating. Reading, writing, and math transformed. I then looked at word study- and realized that I was using the same old practices. And these methods had the same old feeling- the same old outcomes- and were not cutting it. I knew change was needed, but didn’t know what else to try. So again… curiosity led me to research, tinker, and try. Later, as I traveled to schools and connected with educators, I discovered my experiences were far from unique. Teachers didn’t love what was in place and were concerned with lack of engagement, ownership, and transfer. Educators were craving structures that were more responsive to students and less one-size-fits-all. They sought practical and flexible ideas that could bring joy to word exploring and yield fruitful and lasting results.

This intersection of these personal, social, and professional reflections inspired me to share some of what I had tried in K-6 classrooms in a variety of communities.

I hope that this book makes sense to educators and the approach described seems inviting and possible. In my heart, this is a book by a teacher for teachers. I want readers to know that my own “figuring some of this out” journey has been filled with both frustrating and delightful twists and turns, and that I do not imagine anything I suggest will be carbon copied in classrooms. I hope this book gets teachers’ mind-wheels spinning, imagining how this kind of playful learning could look and feel in the settings they work in each day. End goal: colleagues near and far (we are all colleagues!) look to students, and respond with robust, jubilant instruction that matches the values, goals, and readiness of everyone in the learning community- teachers included!

What are your BIG takeaways from your book that you hope teachers will embrace in their teaching practices?

  • Word study is not one thing: A developmentally appropriate, balanced approach to studying words includes phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, meaning/vocabulary- and high frequency word work.
  • Word study does not exist in isolation: So much can be done in even a few, consistent minutes spent exploring words. However, learning sticks when we make concerted efforts to integrate and embed word study throughout the day… just as consistently. Knowledge is a stepping stone- we also want students to understand the infinite whys, hows, whens they can apply and use word learning.
  • A robust approach to word learning starts with the people in the room. As with all learning inside and outside of school, there’s not one right way. One exact, “every student, every time” scope and sequence (or set of methods) will not work for everyone. When we use what we know about students, get curious about finding out more, and actively invite and encourage learners of all ages to be active drivers of their own learning, we will find more success than we ever could have imagined.
  • It is possible to integrate different styles learning— and methods of instruction— into a cohesive approach to word study. Inquiry and more direct instruction can co-exist. Collaborative discussion can be balanced with more introspective thinking time. Joy is at the heart of meaningful, authentic, research-based best practices.

What is a message from the heart you would like for every teacher to keep in mind?

Instead of focusing on the scary or challenging “what ifs” – begin to imagine the energizing and exciting possibilities “what ifs.” Small shifts yield powerful results. A few key reminders to keep in your mind and heart:

  • Word study is worthy of our time and attention. It is not a dull, drab “extra thing” to put us over the edge. Word study is active and gratifying -and although so important, it radiates a lighthearted, ahhhh feeling.
  • Trust in your students. Learners of all ages are incredibly capable and can do this.
  • Trust in yourself. Set a small goal, commit to a shift- putting a realistic and feasible plan in place, and then get going! Monitor progress and celebrate all along the way. Share with others- and try your best to laugh and learn through the “dip” that often happens when we try something new or different.


If you have not yet read Word Study That Sticks, I hope you’ll buy it and put it at the top of your TBR (To Be Read) stack. Be looking for the Companion Guide from Corwin Press that is available June 2019.

Pam, thank you for sharing your book on word study with teachers. I hope all who read it will embrace the opportunity to move from a “have-to” instructional task to a “heart-felt” commitment that grows young readers and writers in their prowess as logophiles.

Word Study that Sticks Best Practices (Corwin, 2019)

Pam Koutrakos Blog post: How to Put Wind in the Sails of Students’ Curiosity about Language