Interested in learning more about Reading Apprenticeship facilitation? Read on to learn about Laurie and her “why”!
Location: Saline, MI
Years of Teaching: 22 – teaching was a second career for me
If you had to describe yourself as an educator, what six words would you use and why?
Patient, Kind and Caring – because these traits are the gateway to understanding children. Students used to say I was “easy going”, which is how these things translated to them. I know they didn’t always see that it was a conscious choice and sometimes took a bit of work. :). They always need to know they are safe with you and that you care about them. Their families need to know this as well. When they realize this, they become yours – and, of course they emulate what they see and experience!
Innovative and Resourceful – because teaching should never be stagnant. We need to be continuously aware of the ever-changing world we ALL live in and how that affects us and our students. This should influence what and how we teach and learn.
Hardworking and Collaborative – because teaching is truly hard work and we need to work together with our colleagues to bring our best to our students and each other. They and we deserve no less. To be collaborative, I find it really helps to be kind, caring, innovative and resourceful with our colleagues as well. We need to share and listen, and work to improve what we do as a team without expecting that each of us will do things in the same way, but rather in ways that fit who we are, who are students are, and are focused on continuously improving both.
What drew you to Reading Apprenticeship?
Seeing it work! Seeing a way to reach those students that I hadn’t felt able to really help in my early years of teaching. I still see the faces of those that I was not able to help in the ways that I can now. I wish I’d had this knowledge and experience from the start.
What is your go-to Reading Apprenticeship routine?
Modeling Think-Alouds. I find that with everything we do I am always modeling my thinking for my students. It is not always part of a formal lesson plan, but can simply include my sharing aloud what I am thinking and why at any point in time. I want them to take in the various ways we make sense of our world, and I want to hear theirs as well.
Can you share a story about a time when you or a student had an “aha!” moment with Reading Apprenticeship?
My “aha!” moment came in my first year with RA when I was really in the mode of trying things out and trusting that it would pay off. Things were awkward for me as I had never charted responses on posters before, nor had I used my overhead projector for much more than a place to store some of my “stuff” that I didn’t have time to deal with. And, of course, sharing my thinking out loud was a real challenge for me.
My teaching partner and I were supporting and encouraging one another, and along with the support we got from our county partners, we were moving along yet I hadn’t seen much in the way of results. I remained skeptical.
Sometime in January I was grading a set of social studies tests when I came upon the test of a student who had self-identified as a struggling reader in the beginning of the year. Her mom and prior teacher had said the same thing. Her mom had said “We’ve tried everything, but she continues to struggle with reading.” Well, she aced the test and I have to admit that I wondered if she had cheated. When I told my teaching partner, she exclaimed “No! She has jumped 7 points on her reading assessment!”
This was when I realized that all that we’d been doing really did work – even if only for this one student. And if it worked for her, it would work for other students – many others. After that, there was no going back – I am here because of that moment, because of that student.
Five years ago she was hired as a Special Ed Teacher Consultant in my building. This works!
If you could describe Reading Apprenticeship in a sentence, what would you say?
Apprenticing our students in reading changes everything!
What are you reading right now?
Getting to Fluency by William Maiert. It is a book about learning a foreign language. Right now it is pointing out to me all the reasons I am not “yet” fluent in Spanish. Basically I need to make it a much higher priority and practice than I have, but for now Google translate might have to do.