Saturday, March 1, 2014

SOLSC #1: Mt. Rushmore of Literacy Instruction & a Linky!

I'm so excited to participate in my first Slice of Life Story Challenge! This month, I'll be writing every day and sharing my writing with Two Writing Teachers! Some of my posts will be teaching-related, others may be little moments about my personal life, but the big idea is to get to writing every day! I'm kinda nervous, but mostly excited! I hope you'll follow me as I take this challenge!

One day a few weeks ago, on the radio I heard the DJs talking about who would be their Mt. Rushmore of music. You know, the most important singers or songwriters who influenced their professional career? They were interviewing a country singer, and he was listing people like Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson, maybe? I can't remember. But....that got me thinking about who I would select for my Mt. Rushmore of Literacy Instruction. So this is where we begin for the Slice of Life Challenge!

Well, first and foremost, I'd have to have Louise Rosenblatt up there. She's my favorite reading researcher and I've actually written about her previously. She wrote about the Reader Response Theory, and I'm so glad that the CCSS are now addressing the fact that students need to respond to text in their own ways (and not just by picking from four choices on a standardized test!) Rosenblatt's Transactional Theory did a 180 on my philosophy, and I would not be the teacher or Literacy Coach I am today had I not read her work!

So I guess this pair will take up two faces on my Mt. Rushmore? These two really helped me to understand the content of what belongs in my Reading and Writing Workshop. Even before I really knew Lucy Calkins, I had mini-lessons from their book, Guiding Readers and Writers, Grades 3-6. Teaching middle school, I was learned lots from F&P about the workshop, and now at the elementary school level, I've learned tons about assessment since we use their Benchmark Assessment System. Additionally, we've purchased the Leveled Literacy Intervention that is by F&P and I've improved my practice even more during the past six weeks that I have used it with an intervention group. Yes, I would definitely say Fountas and Pinnell deserve to be up there on my Mt. Rushmore of Literacy!

Finally, Ralph Fletcher has been absolutely transformational on my writing instruction. It began with his book Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide, and then moved on to Craft Lessons, and even the books he writes for kids about how to this one: 

Learning about writing workshop was kind of what made me learn to really like writing myself - and I'm so glad that it led me to this blog that I get to write on each week!

What about you? Who are your go-to people that have informed your practice more than anyone else? Please share your ideas and link-up with me below!

Well, one slice down, 30 to go! Be sure to follow along as I write the whole month through!


  1. Welcome to Slice of Life! What a great idea this is! Your nominees are all worthy to be on the Mount Rushmore of literacy, but I don't think I could limit my list to four! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I think that the biggest influences on my teaching were not big names in education, but children's authors and people I know personally. I've learned a lot from texts about teaching, but these people have been more influential in my teaching than anyone else: Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Ma (my grandma), and Bonnie (my first year mentor). In the end, great books and meaningful conversations with people you respect make the most difference.

  3. Welcome to Slice of Life! I know you are going to totally enjoy writing with this community this month. I love the idea of a Mount Rushmore of Literacy! Mine would include the people you have, but also Don Graves, Tom Newkirk, Brian Cambourne, and Lev Vygotsky (how many am I allowed to have???)

    1. I know - it's so hard to get it down to 4, right? Yes, there are many, many great influences, and you remind me of a few more!

  4. That is so cool that you are doing the SOL!! I may jump on that train one day. But I am just not there yet! I need to think more about who influenced me. I have never thought of myself as a writer. But I do love talking about writing a blog about it seemed pretty easy. But a writer!!??!! I am not so sure.

    1. Yep, you're a writer. Look at all the great stuff you share with the blogging land! :-)

  5. What a fun challenge to participate in. Best of luck! I loved reading about the faces you would put on your reading instruction Mt. Rushmore! That would be a really hard question t answer for me!!

    Mind Sparks

  6. Thanks for sharing all of these books, it's just what I need right the Courage lesson. Fortunately this yea I have a very accelerated class, they love reading and could read all day, we are working on the structured academic conversations. I have been pushing myself in the writing field this year and love it. At our fall conferences many kids told me writing was there favorite part of the day so... that’s where I am going to push. I was looking into Ralph Fletcher's Craft Lesson Books for both his original and nonfiction book. What do you recommend? Thanks! :)


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