Monthly Archives: April 2021

An interview of Lois Letchford: Lois tells the story of how she and her husband helped her son, who has dyslexia, become a Ph.D. graduate of Oxford. Interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

This week I had the privilege of interviewing Lois Letchford.  In the interview, she tells us about the amazing story behind her book, Reversed: A Memoir. This book shares her story about how she and her husband helped her son, who has dyslexia, become an Oxford graduate. The story of the path they took is a treasure trove of information about how to teach effectively.  As a result of these experiences, Lois has become a “literacy problem solver.” Her life’s work has now involves sharing all the information she gained about effective teaching with others.  Here is an excerpt about Lois taken from her website:

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. (:20)

2. Website tour (07:08)

3. Video about “Reversed: A Memoir from “Low IQ to Ph.D. Oxford. (11:49)”

4. It takes more than teaching decoding: Building foundations. (13:54)

5. Final thoughts (21:43)

Here is the YouTube interview:

Be sure to visit Lois’s website.

Here is the link:

https://www.loisletchford.com/

The website contains several useful resources. Use the tabs at the top of the website page to explore them. I want to call your attention to a couple of them right now.

The “When Learning is Trauma” Series

The series consists of links to 10 YouTube videos. The guests on the videos include many experts from around the world. Included is Dr. Steve Dykstra.

Her RESOURCES tab

This tab includes links to poems she has written along with other resources. My readers know that I use poetry with my own students. I do this as part of my implementation of Dr. Tim Rasinski’s repeated readings model. I do plan to use some of Lois’s poems with my students. I also found useful ideas in her section on Readers Theatre. Lois’s interest in these kinds of teaching methods is not surprising. She is friends with Tim and recently wrote an article with him.

Overall, I have found Lois to be open-minded and willing to share. I first met her through her comments on Twitter. Those comments were insightful. They were based on years of successful work. And she is now sharing ideas with folks from around the world. I want to thank her for taking the time to do this interview.

Next week I write about my interview with Nickie Simonetti, another expert on dyslexia, about her two books on that topic. I have also arranged two other interviews in the weeks after that. One of them is with Debra Couch and Brian Cambourne. They will talk about their new book, Made for Learning: How the Conditions of Learning Guide Teaching Decisions.  The other is with Lori Oczkus. She will talk about her extensive work with Reciprocal Teaching, the “Fab Four,” and more!    

So, until next week,

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

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

If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Susan Vincent: A former reading recovery teacher, teacher leader and current university professor talks about reading recovery. An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

My readers know I was trained as a reading recovery teacher. It has been a couple of decades since I have worked as one. However, in my current role pushing into K-3 classes via Zoom, I still use many of the effective teaching strategies I learned as a recovery teacher. I have blogged several times about RR. Here are links to some of those blogs.

Reading Recovery works: https://doctorsam7.blog/2018/08/10/why-i-like-reading-recovery-and-what-we-can-learn-from-it-by-dr-sam-bommarito/

Reading Recovery practices can help inform classroom practices: https://doctorsam7.blog/2018/08/24/what-i-learned-from-reading-recovery-and-how-it-helped-to-inform-my-classroom-practices-by-dr-sam-bommarito/

Once a Reading Recovery teacher, always a Recovery Teacher. RR teachers talk about RR: https://doctorsam7.blog/2018/08/16/a-message-to-reading-recovery-teachers-everywhere-well-done-by-dr-sam-bommarito/

The response to this series of posts was overwhelming and positive. Overall, they had thousands of views and there were well over 6000 responses on Twitter. As a result, I got to discuss RR with several different folks that I met online. One of them was Susan Vincent. Susan is an expert on Reading Recovery. She has been both a reading recovery teacher and a reading recovery trainer. Susan currently teaches at Miami University. 

I learned a lot of new things about Reading Recovery from Susan. One of the things I found out was that when Susan’s district looked at the long-term effects of RR, they found that the RR teaching stuck. When I asked her about the studies that showed otherwise, she pointed out that RR is a short-term intervention designed to catch students up.  My thought about this is that Reading Recovery sets students up to make normal progress when they return to their district’s mainstream program. However, if RR students return to districts where most students are making little or no progress, one would expect their progress to match that of those students, i.e., little, or no progress. Please note, that when RR students return to districts like Susan’s, where most students are making normal or above-average progress, then the progress of the returning RR students matches that of those students. In those districts, the RR teaching sticks. I now always ask the RR opponents who claim that RR  doesn’t stick if the studies they cite control for this very important factor.

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

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. (:20)

2. How have Reading Recovery & Marie Clay’s ideas impacted you as a teacher? (1:47)

3. Is Reading Recovery for all kids? (6:35)

4. Do Reading Recovery Teachers teach phonics? (8:49)

5. Final thoughts (19:55)

Here is the YouTube interview:

Next week I write about my interview with Lois Letchford as she shares her story about how she and her husband helped her son, who is Dyslexic, become a graduate of Oxford. After that, I will talk to Nickie Simonetti, an expert on Dyslexia, about her books on that topic. I also have begun arranging several other interviews that I will share in the coming months.  

So, until next week,

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

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

If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

The Eric Litwin Interview: Eric discusses his newest books: The Power of Joyful Reading and a children’s book entitled The Poop Song (yes, a book about poop!) by Doctor Sam Bommarito.

The Eric Litwin Interview: Eric discusses his newest books: The Power of Joyful Reading and a children’s book entitled The Poop Song (yes, a book about poop!) by Doctor Sam Bommarito. 

This week I had the privilege of talking to my good friend Eric Litwin about his two newest books and his views on the teaching of reading. Everyone knows Eric as the author of the original four Pete the Cat books and a myriad of other children’s books. Eric began his career as a teacher and he has a teacher’s eye for things. In the interview, Eric will talk about how Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes  came to be written and the new career path that launched for him. Let’s now talk briefly about his two newest books.

I’m sure you wonder why Eric would choose to write a children’s book entitled “The Poop Song.” First, know that Eric became a father this past year. His son is one year old and he and his wife face all the challenges of raising their firstborn in the midst of the Covid epidemic. They are wonderful and caring parents. It turns out Eric’s wife is a pediatric gastroenterologist. During the interview, Eric will tell you how he and his wife decided that a book about poop was really needed. Think potty training. Think first-time parents. Think of thousands of daycare centers needing children to be potty trained. Eric and his wife saw the need for the right information to get out to parents and caretakers. His wife provided the expertise in the best things to do when potty training.  Eric has the gift of making anything engaging and entertaining.  It is actually a book that will fill a real need for our very youngest children’s parents and caretakers. The book Is available for preorder. During the interview, Eric will be doing a musical share of the song from the book.

Eric’s other book is entitled The Power of Joyful Reading. It is a professional development book for teachers and parents. In the interview, he makes a compelling, research-based case for parents and teachers to encourage students to want to read and want to be lifelong readers. As only he can, he shows us ways to do that through songs and chants. Lots of takeaways for teachers in this part of the interview. I’ll mention here that Eric is doing a book club for the Missouri Literacy Association. It’s part of our summer series. The book clubs are free. Eric’s turn will come on July 15 & 22nd. He will be attending the July 22nd session. Links for registering will be posted soon.  Here is a link to our site so you can see all the wonderful activities MLA is sponsoring:

https://mla31.wildapricot.org/

These are the questions from the interview. In case you want to jump to a particular topic, the questions are time-stamped.

1. Tell us about yourself (01:25)

2. Tell us about getting kids involved- Eric sings! (8:07)

3. Tell us about turning early childhood classrooms into a reading playground and about joyful reading (14:16)

4. Tell us about things in literacy/literacy instruction you consider urgent and explain why they are urgent. (15:55)

5. Final remarks & then Eric Sings The Poop Song! (22:36)

HERE IS A LINK TO THE VIDEO:

Here are links to the two books mentioned in this interview


The Poop Song: https://thepoopsong.chroniclebooks.com 

The Power of Joyful Reading: https://shop.scholastic.com/teachers-ecommerce/teacher/books/the-power-of-joyful-reading-help-your-young-readers-soar-to-success-9781338692280.html 

You’ll also want to visit Eric’s website. There are free downloads, links to videos of him singing some of his favorite songs, or buying one of his many books and, of course, a link to preorder The Poop Song. Use this to go to the website:

https://www.ericlitwin.com/

So that’s it for this week. In the coming weeks, I will have several interviews. The next one will be an interview with Susan Vincent. She is currently a university professor and formerly a Reading Recovery teacher and trainer. You won’t want to miss that one. See you next week

Happy Reading and Writing.

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

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.