When I was young, I learned to love books as they could always take me to a different time and place and introduce me to new friends. I has asthma in early childhood which often left me in bed or in an isolation tent undertaking breathing treatments. As an only child, my company was mostly adults and although they played with me and entertained me -- I missed the company of other children. Even when children were around, I was often on the sidelines when they were playing active games as I could not run as fast or keep up with them. Books were a comfort to me as they took me to places and I was able to meet characters who soon became friends such as Bread and Jam for Francis by Russell Hoban.
I was lucky enough to have many strong mentors in the literacy field. Three mentors that stand out for me were Dr.Irene Fountas, Marie McKenzie, and Meryl Kaye. At Lesley University, I enjoyed working with the Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative Office as a grad assistant. One of my favorite tasks was organizing Irene's library of books. I always told her that was a dangerous task for me as I would often get swept away reading one of the books I was looking at. In addition, I got to talk with her and they were always engaging conversations. I enjoyed her joyful wit and ability to give me interesting tasks. After graduating, I began teaching reading in a district in suburban Boston. I was very luck to be part of a team of seasoned reading teachers and learned a lot from them. My steps were tentative in those first few years learning the expectations of teachers I work with, making gradual changes, learning additional theories, and becoming confident in my abilities. I was blessed to have a director, Marie McKenzie, who was a seasoned teacher and reading director. She gently challenged my opinions, gave me advice on the most struggling readers, and gave me articles to shape my understanding of reading at different grade levels. When I began literacy coaching, one of my greatest allies and friends was Meryl Kaye, a seasoned colleague. As I began coaching at her school, she was willing to share her knowledge and perspective with me. She was my go-to person for the trickiest of students, a warm smile on a rough day, and a colleague I admired and learned from. Although both of these mentors have retired, I am still grateful for the time and resources that they wove into my life.
I really enjoy teaching her books to my students because she writes with a diverse range of topics. When modeling Writer's Workshop, I like to use her book, When the Relatives Came for primary students to jump start their ideas. For the older students, I like to read a part of her book, Every Living Thing, to work on narrowing down a topic or elaborating on a single topic. Click on the book cover below to see my free unit for you today !
The book unit I am sharing with you today is The Case of the Climbing Cat. It is one of the books in the series, High Rise Private Eye by Cynthia Rylant. It is a Level K and is an appropriate for even third grade struggling readers. I chose this book to share with you because it is a good choice to teach the genre of a mystery to struggling readers including English Language Learners. If the students like this book, there are additional ones written in this series as well. This unit is available for free this weekend only and exclusively in my TpT store. It will convert to a paid product after February 2nd. I appreciate you dropping by today, and if you are new to my blog and love literacy, I hope you'll take a moment to follow my posts on Bloglovin !