Wednesday, April 29, 2015


What do you believe about the teaching of reading?
I have spent my entire career trying to figure this out.  Through all the years of being the mother of a sweet little boy that struggled to read, as an elementary teacher, a special educator, and now as a literacy specialist.

Beliefs matter!

My struggling reader needed help decoding words. It took a long time for him to understand that letters had sounds. A multi-sensory approach helped him to learn to decode. 
But, that didn't make him a reader. He finally fell in love with reading when he was 15. We found a series that caught his interest.

So, here are a few things that I believe:
Reading is about meaning, not just decoding words.
Some kids need extra phonics instruction in order to decode words.
We have to find books that kids will read and enjoy.

Others can fight reading wars, but I will do whatever it takes to grow readers. Phonics or the ways of Marie Clay-I believe that we must meet the needs of students.

Once my son became a reader, he became more successful at school. He went on to graduate college. It was a very long journey, but well worth every step!


  1. Oh so true! My son is the same way, but we were lucky to find something he loved to read when he was 9. He struggled (and still does) with many phonetic concepts. He can't spell, but he does enjoy reading. We have to believe in our students, so they will believe in themselves! Thanks for posting this and believing in students everywhere.

    Reading Toward the Stars

    1. I wish Ben had found books at 9! It would have helped so much! So glad your son did at an early age. When teachers have children of their own that struggle to read, it helps them to be more compassionate and eager to help others. So good to hear from you!

  2. Some kids are such a puzzle when the don't follow the typical trajectory of learning to read. In those puzzling moments, it's good to return to our beliefs about reading. Thank you for the reminder.