An interview of the authors of “Intentional from the Start: Guiding Emergent Readers in Small Groups” by Carolyn Helmers and Susan Vincent. Interview done by Dr. Sam Bommarito

An interview of the authors of Intentional from the Start: Guiding Emergent Readers in Small Groups” by Carolyn Helmers and Susan Vincent. Interview done by Dr. Sam Bommarito

When I found out that Susan Vincent had co-authored a book with a friend and colleague, I knew that I wanted to interview them because their book would be of great interest to many of my readers. Both authors graciously agreed to do the interview. I want to thank them both for that. So, let us have a look at what I learned about them and their new book.

Here are a few facts about Carolyn taken from the Stenhouse website. Click this LINK for more information about Carolyn.

Here are a few facts about Susan taken from the Stenhouse website. Click this LINK for more information about Susan. In addition, click this link to see my previous interview of Susan as she talked about the efficacy of Reading Recovery and the success her former district had using the program. LINK.

As you can see from their biographies, both Susan and Carolyn have extensive, successful experience teaching emergent readers. After presenting about their work at a conference, they were approached about doing a book designed to give the teachers of young beginning readers insights and ideas for helping them to help the children they work with. The result was the book Intentional from the Start: Guiding Emergent Readers in Small Groups. I think my readers will find it to be a treasure trove of practical ready to use ideas about how to work effectively with young children as they begin the reading process. Here is a screen capture of the book’s cover and a link for previewing/ordering the book LINK.

In the interview, Carolyn and Susan talk about their book and the best practices they recommend based on their considerable successful experiences working with young children as those children begin the journey of becoming successful lifelong readers (and writers!). Here are the questions from the interview. They are time-stamped so you can go first to the parts of the interview that interest you the most. ENJOY!

  1. Each of you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you as a person, you as a teacher. (00:29)
  • Give us “The Big Picture” of the book. Talk briefly about Figure 1.1. (03:52)
  • Talk to us about the characteristics of an emergent reader. What advice do you have for teachers to become “intentional from the start”? (06:45)
  • Give us some key takeaways from your book, things teachers could begin implementing next week. (09:00)
  • What about the dyslexic child? What advice do you have? (13:21)

Closing thoughts ( 16:40)

I hope you found some useful ideas in the interview. I am currently working with emergent readers. I found Susan and Carolyn’s ideas about how to work with them in small group settings quite valuable. The book is now on my professional bookshelf and has already become a “go-to” resource for me.

Over the next few weeks, I will be continuing to interview literacy leaders about their newest books. Next week I talk to Ann Kay and Dr. Nina Kraus about the topic of using music to teach reading. Nina is a well-credentialed researcher. She talks about her new book Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World. The book details her extensive, innovative brain research around sounds. Ann Kay has taken that research and done some highly successful workaround using music to teach reading (and writing!). The week after that I talk to David Harrison and Laura Robb about their new book Guided Practice for Reading Growth, Grades 4-8: Texts and Lessons to Improve Fluency, Comprehension, and Vocabulary. In it, they detail how they use poetry David wrote for their Close Reading program with intermediate-level students. David wrote the poetry to provide short passages to use in teaching the various topics that Laura identified as ones her 5th graders needed most.   Both of the upcoming interviews include many useful takeaways for teachers. So, until next time- Happy Reading and Writing.

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving/Two Important upcoming events- Dr. Sam Bommarito

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving/Two Important upcoming events- Dr. Sam Bommarito

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! As indicated last week, I’m taking a break from the blog this week in order to spend time with family and friends. Next week I will begin a series of interviews of literacy leaders. Included will be Susan Vincent, Carolyn Helmers, David Harrison, Laura Robb, Ann Kay and Nina Kraus. Each set of co-authors will be talking about the books they have written. There will be lots of new ideas and teaching takeaways in those upcoming interviews!

Also, here are links to two reading events I’ll be speaking at:

LitCon (Jan 29th-Feb 5th) LINK

Write to Learn (Feb 28th-March 1st) LINK

Hope to see you there!

Happy Reading and Writing.

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

An interview of Niki Simonetti about her newest book- Dyslexia Defused: Reading Struggles and Reading Solutions, conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

As a centrist, one of my goals in the past few years has been to meet and learn from people of all different points of view about how to teach reading. Doing that helps me find the common ground that I know exists on this very important topic. Niki Simonetti has spent 50 years teaching children with dyslexia. As you will see in the interview, she has found ways to help them become readers and writers. She has done this in part by focusing on what she calls the overlooked factors. In our many conversations on Twitter, I’ve found Niki to be open-minded and full of ideas that help teachers help kids. I was excited when she agreed to talk to me about her experiences and the new book she has written. The name of that book is Dyslexia Defused: Reading Struggles and Reading Solutions.

This book contains several unique and innovative ideas about strategies that can be used to help children with dyslexia. In addition to ideas for the classroom, she also includes ideas for helping everyone, including parents, who are dealing with dyslexia. There’s even advice for folks who are thinking about entering the field of working with dyslexic children. This book is a must-have for teachers. I highly recommend teachers consider getting one for themselves and making sure that their building has at least one copy available in their professional library.

Here are some highlights from the interview. They are time-stamped so you can go to the parts of the video of most interest to you:

Introduction to Niki 00:00

Niki talks about a case study of a six-year-old she worked with 01:01

Niki’s approach to phonics 8:55

Niki on consonants 14:10

Other tips from Niki, including how to break words into syllables 19:01

Final remarks 26:47

To get your copy of Niki’s book use this link:

https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781475863109/Dyslexia-Defused-Reading-Struggles-and-Reading-Solutions

Next week I’ll be taking a break for Thanksgiving. After that, I’ve lined up a series of great interviews with leading literacy experts. All of these interviews center around new books they’ve written. Among the people that are scheduled are Susan Vincent, David Harrison, Laura Robb, Ann Kay, and Jenna Cunningham.

In the meantime- Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Close Reading with Paired Text: An Interview of Dr. Tim Rasinski & Lori Oczkus

conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Recently I had the honor of interviewing two major figures from the literacy world, Dr. Tim Rasinski and Lori Oczkus. While they really need no introduction, I’ll begin by sharing a few facts about each of them.

Here are a few facts about Tim taken from his biography on his website

•  Timothy Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University

•  He is the director of its award-winning reading clinic. He has written over 200 articles and has authored, co-authored or edited over 50 books on curriculum programs in reading education.

•  His research on reading has been cited by the National Reading Panel and has been published in many professional journals.

•  He was the first author of the fluency chapter for the Handbook of Reading Research.

•  He was the co-editor of The Reading Teacher & Journal of Literacy Research.

•  In 2010, Dr. Rasinski was elected into the International Reading Hall of Fame.

This biography  is taken from Lor’s website:

  • Lori Oczkus is a literacy coach, author, and popular speaker across the United States. Tens of thousands of teachers have attended her motivating, fast paced workshops and read her practical, research-based professional books. Lori has extensive experience as a bilingual elementary teacher, intervention specialist working with struggling readers, and staff developer and literacy coach. She works with students in classrooms and knows the challenges that teachers face in teaching students to read!
  • Lori’s best selling books on comprehension and literacy have been featured in the Reading Teacher journal. The third edition of Reciprocal Teaching at Work: Strategies for Improving Reading Comprehension foreword by John Hattie (ASCD, 2018 book and video) features 40 new lessons and is endorsed by many noted reading experts including Donalyn Miller, Tim Rasinski, Doug Fisher, and Regie Routman. Lori has been inducted into the California Reading Hall of Fame for her many contributions to literacy in California and internationally.
  • Lori resides in Reno, Nevada near Lake Tahoe with her husband, Mark. She enjoys spending time with her three grown children, traveling anywhere by any means, reading historical fiction, walking with friends, dancing, and snowshoeing!

As you will hear in the video interview, Tim and Lori’s sessions at ILA have always been well attended, standing room only events. Who wouldn’t want to hear one of the top researchers in the world, and a gifted practitioner talk about their collaborations?  This interview focuses on one of their most effective collaborations- the book series Close Reading with Paired Texts. In the interview, you will find out where the idea for the series came from and how they implemented it. The series is an amazing resource. Using short preselected readings, the series provides teachers with easy-to-implement lessons. Lori will talk about just how effective those lessons have proved to be in the field. There are books spanning KG through High School. The series has multiple uses. Lori and Tim discuss those in the interview. Here are the questions they answered. They are time-stamped so you can go to the questions that interest you the most first. If you are looking for effective, easy-to-implement reading interventions, please do give this interview a look and a listen. The questions asked are as follows:

  1. Would you each tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Tim 00:48

Lori 01:46

  • What is the rationale for the Close Reading with Paired Texts? 04:05
  • Is this a substitute for a regular reading program? 11:44
  • How have teachers and students responded to this program (Lori, I think you have info on this, with improvements in students achievement levels.  14:45
  • Final Thoughts? 22:30

I hope you enjoy the interview. Now here are some additional resources from Lori and Tim.

LORI OZKUS

loczkus52@earthlink.net

www.lorioczkus.com

twitter

@LoriOczkus

Screen Capture of Page One of the  Lori’s PDF

Note Screen capture link to materials is not functional- here is the functional link to the materials:

Close Reading with Paired Texts | Teacher Created Materials

Here is a link to the full 5 page PDF- LOTS of nuts and bolts ideas about implementing this program. It includes one complete sample lesson  LINK

Close Reading with Paired Texts k-12 series  by Lori Oczkus and Timothy Rasinski, Shell 2105 LINK

For Reciprocal Teaching at Work by Lori Oczkus, foreword by John Hattie, 2019 ASCD. LINK

Article with ILA on Close Reading plus video and bookmark LINK

TIM RASINSKI


www.timrasinski.com
 (blog and free resources)

@timrasinski1  Twitter- Tim posts on Twitter every MWF, giving  free resources each day

 Daily Word Ladders by Timothy Rasinski is available at:

https://shop.scholastic.com/teachers-ecommerce/teacher/search-results.html?search=1&prefilter=&text=daily%20word%20ladders

 The Megabook of Fluency is available at:

https://shop.scholastic.com/teachers-ecommerce/teacher/search-results.html?search=1&prefilter=&text=rasinski

 The Fluent Reader can be found at:

https://shop.scholastic.com/teachers-ecommerce/teacher/search-results.html?search=1&prefilter=&text=rasinski

 Resources for Building Students’ Vocabulary and Word Knowledge are available at:

http://timrasinski.com/products.html

Next week I’ll be interviewing Nicki Simonetti, a long-time Dyslexia expert about her new book Dyslexia Defused. Until then:

Happy Reading and Writing,

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Dr. B is presenting to beginning teachers in St. Louis today- 1 announcement & then taking a buy week with the blog By Dr. Sam Bommarito

Today I am doing a session for beginning teachers in St. Louis. Will share the contents in a future blog. Next week I have an interview with Tim Rasinski and Lori Oczkus (WOW!). It’s already recorded and I promise you you’ll want to hear what they have to say.  I’m repeating my “early” announcment about Village of Mom’s. See below. Their store is still open!

SPECIAL ANOUNCEMENT- PLEASE SUPPORT THE VILLAGE OF MOMS PARENT GROUP by Dr. Sam Bommarito

I wrote a blog about the Village of Mom’ parent group. I posted that blog last month LINK. The Village of Moms have been having a special promotional event selling t-shirts. They are also accepting donations through a go fund me page to help support their many literacy activities around the St. Louis Region.  The last day for the store for those T-shirts is Thursday November. 4th. I bought one.  Hope you would consider buying one or making a donation. Here is the information about the store:

Here is the link to the store, donation site, and Facebook page. Thanks for considering this!

Link to Village of Mom’s Store- LINK  (EXTENDED THROUGH MONDAY NOV 8th)

Link to Village of Mom’s Go Fund Me Page- LINK

Link to Village of Mom’s Facebook Page LINK

 The store is now close- please do consider a donation through go-fund-me and be sure to visit the facebook page. 

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization. P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT- PLEASE SUPPORT THE VILLAGE OF MOMS PARENT GROUP by Dr. Sam Bommarito

SPECIAL ANOUNCEMENT- PLEASE SUPPORT THE VILLAGE OF MOMS PARENT GROUP by Dr. Sam Bommarito

I wrote a blog about the Village of Mom’ parent group. I posted that blog last month LINK. The Village of Moms have been having a special promotional event selling t-shirts. They are also accepting donations through a go fund me page to help support their many literacy activities around the St. Louis Region.  The last day for the store for those T-shirts is Thursday November. 4th. I bought one.  Hope you would consider buying one or making a donation. Here is the information about the store:

Here is the link to the store, donation site, and Facebook page. Thanks for considering this!

Link to Village of Mom’s Store- LINK  (EXTENDED THROUGH MONDAY NOV 8th)

Link to Village of Mom’s Go Fund Me Page- LINK

Link to Village of Mom’s Facebook Page LINK

 The store is now close- please do consider a donation through go-fund-me and be sure to visit the facebook page. 

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization. P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

It’s not settled science part two: My way of teaching, empowering teachers, and using the reading quilt by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Those of you who read my blog regularly know I am a centrist. Life in the center is not always easy. However, nothing worthwhile ever is. At the heart of things, I believe in empowering teachers. It’s been over five decades since the First Grade Studies demonstrated that teachers made more difference than particular programs LINK. Simple takeaway- good teachers get good results. Does this mean good teachers can do whatever they please? Hardly. Teachers must operate within the boundaries of the curriculum their district chooses to adopt. Districts are in the best position to decide what that curriculum should be. That is why I am highly critical of recent attempts (some of them successful) to effectively ban certain practices by codifying those bans in state and national law. Doing it that way takes away the district’s right to choose. Doing it that way assumes the districts are incapable of making good choices themselves. But Dr. Sam, aren’t things really bad? Aren’t there too many children not learning to read? The simple answer is yes- but as in all things related to research, the devil is in the details. Have a look at these diagrams  taken from my blog It’s Not Settled Science LINK:

Diagram one shows The Rocket a takeoff on Moat’s latest work about SOR, and the other diagram represents all the practices in districts around the US. There is no question that overall, the “all the practices” model is not working.  Moats says we should get rid of all that and replace it exclusively with her practices. She promises great results if we do.

I’ve written extensively, talking about the limits and limitations of the so-called Science of Reading LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK. The upshot is that SOR’s “miracle results” are often based on testing instruments that mainly test decoding. This is not the only problem. In my opinion, the Florida and Louisiana models that include student retention should be discontinued. Retention is a harmful practice. NCTE cited studies that demonstrate that is so. My new friend Paul Thomas is the real expert on this issue. Please visit his blog and search for his writings about retention LINK.   

Let’s now talk a little more about the SOR blogs contained in the series of links I just gave. It is clear from the many citations in the various blogs that there is NOT a consensus among researchers on what to do about reading instruction. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay close attention to what Moats and her followers have to say. As a matter of fact, many of the things I am recommending to teachers next week come from some of the things she and her followers have to say. However, at the end of the day, the current brand of SOR is over-dependent on what I call “wind tunnel test” data and sorely lacking in what I call “flight test data.” Translation- they are attempting to use preliminary testing, e.g., the testing in brain research that some researchers have labeled speculative. Moats and her followers treat that research as gospel and ready to implement and use. They want to skip the part where they do what I call the “flight test data,” which is data from actually flying the plane. In the case of education, the gold standard for such testing would be several years of district-wide use with results measured by tests of reading (not decoding). Those tests of reading should resemble the kind of testing used in many states- tests that include direct measurements of comprehension. Regardless of whose materials districts choose to adopt (assuming they are given any choices at all), they should ensure that the product will deliver in BOTH decoding and comprehension. That means they must use gold standard data to make the decisions. I’ll restate one more time for emphasis that such decisions properly belong at the district level. Districts know the particulars of their populations. But Dr. Sam- haven’t districts been making decidedly bad choices? Isn’t that the problem?

No, it’s not.

Here is my interpretation of the current situation:

The rockets represent districts adopting SOR successfully. The stars represent districts using balanced reading practices such as workshop or reading recovery successfully (I am presenting RR at LitCon in January with lots of data showing successful RR programs exist). The circles represent successful programs not using things that readily fall into the first two categories. There is even a “dare to dream” entry representing districts using elements of both. The gray represents the real problem- districts not employing any effective practices at all. That is the source of the lack of progress in reading. But wait, Dr. Sam, are you saying that there is such a thing as districts using Balanced Literacy successfully? Yes. Look at Lucy Calkin’s latest research results LINK. By the way, the ink doesn’t get dry on reporting such results before the naysayers swarm and find a thousand things wrong with how they were done. Balanced Literacy folks could return fire and do the same for successful SOR sites (and yes, there are a few reporting real comprehension results instead of the bogus decoding results). Going down the dichotomy path is guaranteed to produce a stalemate dead end. My point is this. It’s time to abandon the reading wars as an ill-advised metaphor and consider adopting what Camborne has called the Quilt Metaphor. Let’s stop asking what’s wrong with reading instruction for a while and instead turn our attention to what’s right. Let’s consider using Camborne’s quilt metaphor to guide our talk around best practices. Here is an excerpt from an article he wrote for a state reading journal (and yes, I am the journal’s co-editor). The full article can be accessed here LINK.

Simply put, there is a quilt of reading practices. There can be many additions to the quilt. To remain on the quilt, the practices must prove that they work consistently. Working means they help students decode and comprehend.  We must be open to the fact that some of our favorite practices may, in the end, not prove worthy. There was a time when I taught about learning styles. In light of things that Nell Duke and others have found I no longer promote teaching about learning styles. However, there are some practices that really do work but are falling victim to a public relations campaign designed to replace them with the so-called Science of Reading. Remember that some researchers have criticized SOR as having a narrow and limited view of the reading process. I predicted three years ago that if that that SOR campaign succeeded, the result would ultimately be another swing of the pendulum LINK. This is because, like all its predecessors, the “Rocket” (SOR) works for some but not for all. The “not for all” folks will sooner or later call for new changes. There have been many such swings in the past, some of them quite costly. If current SOR practices replace everything else, I predict that the swing will come again. Let’s get out of the dead-end dichotomy approach. Let’s instead look at what’s working. Let’s let districts have the choice to pick from what’s working. It’s time for us to use the reading quilt as our new metaphor and replace the great debate with the great reading dialogue.

Next week’s blog title is It’s not settled science part three: Empowering teachers, using the reading quilt, practices I suggested to beginning teachers. Included will be such things as using both decodables and predictables, how to avoid younger students just memorizing little books, good resources for teaching beginning reading, good resources for older students who did not get sufficient work in decoding, good resources for students who did not get sufficient work in comprehension, and writing our way into reading- how Language Experience works. After that blog entry, I will return to my interviews, and I am excited to announce that I will interview Tim Rasinski and Lori Ozkus about the books they have published together.

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Cambourne’s Model of Learning gives students what they deserve: Informed, empowered teachers who provide them with literacy instruction that fits their needs by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Over the past three years, I’ve written a great deal about the issues surrounding the so-called reading wars. One of my mantras during that time has been that we should fit the program to the child, not the other way around. My new friend Paul Thomas gave me the idea for another goal. That goal is to give the student what they need LINK. We’ll both have more to say about that at our upcoming sessions at LitCon LINK.

At the end of the day, what students need most are informed, empowered teachers who are given the freedom to carry out literacy instruction that best fits each particular child. This is especially critical in Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction. There is long-standing research supporting this approach. One example is the First Grade Studies. It has been over 50 years since the First Grade Studies established the fact that teachers matter more than programs. Good teachers tend to get good results. See page 5 of the ILA position paper on Reading Difficulties for more details. LINK. That same position paper details what appropriate literacy instruction looks like: Here is a screen capture from pages 4 and 5 of that document.

This week, I attended a webinar given by Debra Crouch and Brian Cambourne about Cambourne’s model of learning. Cambourne created the model based on years of structured observations designed to uncover what makes for effective teaching. I interviewed Debra and Brian when their new book came out LINK. The book’s title was Made For Learning.  It gives the eight conditions of learning and explains how to apply Cambourne’s model to everyday teaching. If the information in the preceding section about appropriate instruction gives us an idea of what the literacy instruction should be, Cambourne’s model gives us ideas on how to carry out that instruction in the most effective ways possible.  Here is the model:

During the webinar, Brian explained the workings of the model while Debra provided several videos of her applying the model in actual classroom settings. Among the more compelling pieces was the one where she scaffolded a group of 1st graders into an in-depth discussion of a book entitled Animals in Danger: Orangutans. She did not lead the discussion. She facilitated the discussion. The students were deeply engaged in the task. The expressions on their faces were priceless. They were smiling, and all were actively engaged. This was not at all an accidental outcome. It took careful planning, and Debra was a masterful coach. She shared her secrets of how she was able to help this group carry out the discussion. The book Brian and Debra co-authored gives many such examples of how to teach in a way that uses the eight conditions of learning. It is a perfect example of how theory can and should guide practice, practice which supports change for the better. Here is information about their book.

Here is a link to the website where you can purchase the book LINK.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing other literacy leaders. I’ll also be talking about some of the free P.D. that the Missouri Literacy Association and the St. Louis Literacy association will be providing. Be sure to visit the MLA website LINK and the MLA Facebook LINK page for the latest information on what is going on and what free P.D. opportunities are available to you.

So, until next week: Happy Reading and Writing

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the empowered, informed teacher trying to give his students the instruction they need.

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Spotlight on the Village of Moms and the wonderful literacy work they are doing- by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Spotlight on the Village of Moms and the wonderful literacy work they are doing- by Dr. Sam Bommarito

There are many wonderful literacy initiatives and literacy organizations around the St. Louis region. In the coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing individuals from the St Louis area who help make these projects possible. I’ll also be doing some interviews with literacy leaders from around the country. My interview today is the first in this series. I’m talking to Mia and Alisha the cofounders of the Village of Moms. Here’s a little bit of information about the Village of Moms.

More details about how Mia and Alisha established this amazing organization can be found in the video interview. Both women are concerned parents who live in a high-poverty area. They are community activists. They wanted to do something to help the families living in their area that includes more than just help with literacy. Their help includes giving the families support in everyday living. Notice how they gave away over 4,000 diapers at their most recent literacy event and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what families received (see the pics of the event at the end of the blog). In the way of full disclosure- I have long been a supporter of VOM and I’ve been to several of their community events over the years. Our ILA members helped to distribute books and other materials from both the state and the national ILA organizations. In addition to the state and national ILA organizations, many other different organizations help. These include Turn the Page, several regional libraries, Parents as First Teachers and the list goes on and on. Village of Moms does more than just the annual events. Listen to the interview and review the pictures and links that come after the interview. Those links include ways you can support their efforts if you want.

Now it is time to have a look at the interview. Here are the topics we discussed. They are time stamped.

1. Please introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about your personal background. 00:40

2. Give us a quick overview of Village of Moms and explain how it came to be. 07:05

What is its purpose? – see the after-interview pics

Include talking about your partners (St. Louis Black Authors, Turn the Page, etc.)- see the after-interview links

Explain how the Village of Moms helps the cause of literacy in the St. Louis area. 15:42

3. Tell us about your latest event. 18:29

4. Tell us about what you hope to do in the schools in the coming years. 28:45

Wasn’t that an amazing story!?!  One small pebble in a pond can cause ripples in the whole pond. These two women and their organization have done so much for the community they live in. It is a community they understand well. They understand the importance of children having access to books, books that are relevant to them, books that reflect their heritage and culture. They understand the needs of the whole village. Their work helps the whole village. What follows now are pictures and links that highlight their work. As indicated some of the links will allow you to support their good work.

Link to Village of Mom’s Facebook Page LINK

Link to Village of Mom’s Store- LINK

Link to Village of Mom’s Go Fund Me Page- LINK

Links to some of the St. Louis Area Organizations that support Village of Moms

  • St. Louis Black Authors LINK
  • Turn the Page- St. Louis LINK
  • Ready to Learn- St. Louis LINK

Thanks for listening. It really does take the whole village to raise the child. Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for more information on what some of the organizations in the St. Louis Region are doing to promote literacy in our area. In addition, I also hope to interview some other literacy leaders from around the country. If you know of organizations or individuals who are making a difference in your area please let me know.

Until next time- Happy Reading and Writing

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka proud member of the “village” of St. Louis

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Free Professional Development and a free book for every registrant- Have a look at upcoming events from ILA-MO and ILA-STL by Dr. Sam Bommarito

The Missouri Literacy Association and The St. Louis Regional Literacy Association have a couple of FREE professional development opportunities coming up. One of them is not only free, but it also offers a free copy of a book to each of the first 500 registrants. Here are the details about the two events.

The first event is this Tuesday night, October 12th, 5-6 pm CST. It is being sponsored by several agencies from the St. Louis region, including the MLA and STLRA. Not only have the agencies arranged for a great speaker, but they were also able to get funding to buy 500 copies of the book from the series. Those copies will be free and go to the first five hundred Zoom registrants (see details in the flyer below). There are still copies of the book left- but if you want one, don’t delay. Register today!

The speaker for the event is Dr. Stephen G. Peters, the immediate past president of the International Reading Association. The host for the event is Julius B. Anthony, President of St. Louis Regional and Vice President of the Missouri Literacy Association. Dr. Gates will be talking about his book Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me? Here is a link to register and a screen capture of the flyer for the event.

LINK

The Missouri Literacy Association sponsors the other free P.D. As the registration link indicates, Cambourne & Crouch will do an in-depth investigation of the nuances of Cambourne’s model, The Conditions of Learning. When I interviewed Cambourne and Couch last month, LINK, my friends’ and colleagues’ feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Teachers loved the model and said it helped to make them better teachers. Several of my friends currently teach literacy courses and they indicated that they would include the model as part of their coursework. The key to it all is that the model “illustrates teacher decisions that nourish a discourse of ‘meaning-making.'” Please join us for this FREE session!

LINK

So, it is going to be a busy month this month. I’m proud to say I am the past president of both the St. Louis and Missouri ILA organizations, and in the way of full disclosure, I still serve on both boards. I’m proud that the ILA affiliates in our state have been able to arrange for this free professional development. That is something many of you have been asking for, and now it is available. I hope to see all of you there for both of these amazing upcoming events.

Happy Reading and Writing

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

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