Jill Speering talks about her book Rubies in the Rubble- An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Jill Speering talks about her book Rubies in the Rubble– An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Jill Speering’s book, Rubies in the Rubble, is part memoir. It also gives valuable information about Reading Recovery. The memoir part talks about her struggles to overcome her early childhood experiences, including being physically and mentally abused. It is an inspiring tale of one person overcoming the odds. The informational part of the book tells the gripping story of how she got a very successful Reading Recovery program in place for the city of Nashville and how local politics eventually resulted in the program being discontinued.

LINK TO THE BOOK (available in paperback & on Kindle)  LINK

ABOUT THE BOOK & Its AUTHOR (Highlights of Jills remarks about herself & book)

Jill Speering has written an interesting, insightful, and honest memoir of her life. She endured an abusive childhood, where she was not only physically abused but also mentally belittled, insulted, and constantly told she was inadequate and useless. Her early school experiences continued the pattern of insult, instilling in her a sense that she was stupid and unable to learn. But she began to find support and a positive sense of self after she failed the fifth grade and attended a new school where she found the love and encouragement of teachers who helped diminish her negative self-image. This experience began to open her eyes to the importance of supportive teachers.  As a result, she began a life of activism for public education, holistic education, and support for disenfranchised children. 

Jill pursued teaching as a career, soon discovering her gifts as a reading teacher to underprivileged and under-supported students like herself. She became a renowned teacher and Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, and her impact on schools in her district was legendary.

Of particular interest in this compelling memoir is her journey of self-discovery and finding the rubies in her life. Her insights into the politics of teaching, school administration, and school boards are extremely perceptive. This author shares her transformation of resilience and faith in oneself. Jill’s story will inspire you. 

After retiring from teaching, her activism continued when she made the decision and was elected to serve on the Metro Nashville Board of Education, overcoming obstacles from big money and powerful business. Although some businessmen and women were opposed to educators serving on the board of education, Jill knew that the voice of educators is paramount to a thriving school district and success for all students.

In the book, Jill also tells the tale of what happened when a new director of schools took over & eliminated the highly successful Reading Recovery program in her district. Speering led a campaign to dismiss this director of schools, a campaign that adversely affected her health and personal life. The school board eventually bought out the director’s contract. Unfortunately, the Reading Recovery program has never been reinstated.

A review on Amazon:

“Not since Educated by Tara Westover have I been so captured by a book. From the author’s first words, “I hated my father for 39 years,” to her last sentence, she touches hearts and enriches minds with her story of triumph over the trying circumstances of her life. Once you begin to read, you will not be able to put Rubies in the Rubble down. Jill Speering’s book should be required reading for all educators.”

Here is the YouTube podcast of the interview:

Here is the interview discussion. Topics are time stamped:

A draft copy of Jill’s advice to teacher leaders and other advocates of Reading Recovery

Link to my blog defending Reading Recovery, including data that shows RR works. LINK


(Jill turned management of the site over to others. The site continues to grow. It now has over 6000 members)


Dr. Sam’s Blogs for the Upcoming School year- As the new school year begins, I am continuing to arrange for additional interviews with authors of some of the many professional books that have been published lately. Next week I’m interviewing Paul Thomas. Paul is one of the most knowledgeable people I know on the whole issue of SOR & the “Reading Wars.” He will be a featured speaker at LitCon 2023, has a new edition of his book coming out, and is about to publish an important white paper about the topic of SOR & the reading wars. I’ve also arranged for an interview with Tim Rasinski in September. He will talk about his new book Artfully Teaching the Science of Reading.  

In addition to these interviews, I will post a blog about my plans for my push-ins this fall at the school where I serve as a pro bono reading consultant in grades K-3. I’ll be teaching two full days a week, doing large group, small group, and individual sessions. I hope that talking about what I’ll be doing will allow readers to see how I adapt my instruction to the many ideas I’ve gotten from my lifelong search for common ground and common sense. After that, I arranged for an interview with the mom of the student I worked with this summer. She is a speech & language teacher. We will explore how the two of us together were able to help her daughter, who is now going into 4th grade, overcome her problem of word guessing. So, as we begin the new school year, I hope this blog will provide you with a great deal of interesting and useful information.  

Happy Reading and Writing.

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

Copyright 2022 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

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