Building lifetime readers with Dr. Steven Layne’s assistance

A reader is…interest, attitude, motivation, and engagement.


Skills needed:

  • phonetics- phonics, decoding
  • fluency
  • comprehension
  • semantics
  • syntax
  • phonemic awareness

The skill grows through practice and as the student engages with text. Skill instruction is important. Scaffolding and building new skills occurs through instruction. The teacher teaches the “will” of reading.

Elementary Cafe: foster a love of reading YA (young adult). Read aloud excerpts from a picture book and answer questions about a book. Make posters with book covers. Have new and contemporary books available for your students. Reading log selections (Title, Author, Genre) should be made available. The students can use the reading log selections on Fridays. Reading is not just books. Reading log selections can be printed on card stock and clipped to the whiteboard. The students can fill them out weekly (made a weekly event). Allow students to chatter and teach them to think to find the answer (model 2 times).

Fiction and non-fiction: think and talk about different genres. The student is developing literary/literate behavior. Students should be given opportunities to be excited to go to the bookstore. During read alouds, the teacher should get the students interested in reading and there should be multiple copies of books available. A book sitting on your desk is a great enticement for students.

There should be book checks. Giving book checks should be a part of your instruction. Talk about 1 or 2 books that you love (new and notable books). The instruction should be part of your lesson planning. Students need to hear about lots of great books, but not overly time-consuming. It takes preparation, rehearsal, and planning (takes real thought).

Book Chat:

A narrative voice should be used (become the character). 1st person- (I), happen to you; 2nd voice- happen to students; and 3rd voice- tell about the book as an observer (he/she). Allow room for interaction. A mini-goal should be set- 1 in 2nd voice and 1 in 1st voice.

1st- “I” (You become a character and tell us what happened.)

2nd- “You” (The events are happening to the listening audience.)

3rd- “He/She” (You are telling about the story as an observer.)

Tell why you like the book. Read a piece of it to them. Display the book at the front of the room. The book chat should be planned and executed. If you want kids to read, you must tell them about great books. You need to have book commercials about books they may like to read. You need to have a “hook” to capture their interest from the very beginning. Read a passage aloud.

Instruction takes preparation with choosing the perfect excerpt from the book. The students must have background to understand the passage read aloud to them. It takes real thought. The teacher needs to rehearse the passage, which comes with good teaching and planning (good teaching skills). The book chat must be executed well. It needs to be reasonable and manageable. You want to make the students really love the book. Finding their “sweet spot” is key.

Previewing- use the entire book cover. Preview thoroughly prior to engaging in text- students will comprehend more text and will be better than those who do not. Reading instruction is critical. Students must learn to preview text. Preview the text to get students excited and to build their interest in a book. Students must be given the opportunity to think.

Picture walks include looking at pictures in sequential order.

An idea to use with picture books is for the students to write a one sentence summary of the entire book. Students can write about things that they notice on a page. Students can express what the first line of a book/opening sentence communicates. Students can discuss the setting. The picture book can be used to scan for grammar. Students can record words that they love from the book.

While previewing the book, explain to the students that they are detectives and are previewing to find as much as they can before reading the text. Point out the preview parts.

Teach students how to book shop in the school library and create a someday book list. Tell the students that behind every book cover could be something they love. The strategy used is for students to preview/interact with the text. Allow students to give a book recommendation for 15 minutes. Advise students to walk in the library with their someday list to help the librarians know what books they are looking for.

To get students excited about reading is a good use of your money.


Christmas Traditions

Christmas brings about the simple enjoyments.

  • Decorating the tree.
  • Decorating the house. 
  • Driving through town looking at great light displays. 
  • Going to the movies.
  • Seeing Christmas movies at home. The season isn’t complete without seeing It’s a Wonderful Life. I also love the movie, “White Christmas.”
  • Listening to a playlist of Christmas tunes. 
  • Christmas morning breakfast. 

Wonderful Christmas Book Display

My Christmas Wish List

-Gift card to my favorite book store (B&N gift card)


-‎The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

-The Christmas Box

-A CD (I love music!)

-A recent, favorite movie on blu-ray

-A gift card to a nice restaurant

-A pretty pair of earrings

A lot of wisdom to this thought!!




We all need to be constantly sharpened. This parable may encourage you to know that you are a special person, with unique God-given talents and abilities. Only you can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish. Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed and, like the pencil, always remember that the most important part of who you are, is what’s inside of you and then allow yourself to be guided by the hand of God!!!

In case you want all the quotes in one place!

Teaching quotes:


  • “Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”  -Josef Albers
  • “Education costs money.  But then so does ignorance.”  -Sir Claus Moser
  • “Coming together is a beginning.  Keeping together is a process.  Working together is a success.”  -Henry Ford
  • “Every truth has four corners:  as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.”  -Confucius
  • “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and follower.”  -Steve Jobs
  • “It is not what is poured into a student that counts but what is planted.”  -Linda Conway
  • “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.”  -William Butler Yeats
  • “We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.”  -Malcolm Gladwell
  • “Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.”  -Gail Goldwin
  • “No one but us ourselves-no one can and no one way.  We ourselves must walk the path, teachers merely show the way.”  -Nancy Wilson Ross
  • “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.”  -Benjamin Franklin
  • “I challenge you to make your life like a masterpiece.  I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk.”  -Anthony Robbins
  • “The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you learned this afternoon.”  -Anonymous
  • “By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.”  -Latin Proverb
  • “There are two kinds of people; those who do the work and those who take the credit.  Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.”  -Indira Gandhi
  • “Every time you wake up and ask yourself, “What good things am I going to do today?,” remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it takes a part of your life with it.”  -Indian proverb
  • “Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.”  -William Haley
  • “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”  -Albert Einstein
  • “The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth.”  -Dan Rather
  • “In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work.  It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years.”  -Jacques Barzun
  • “Teaching creates all other professions.”  -Author unknown
  • “If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.”  -Donald D. Quinn
  • “Modern cynics and skeptics…see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.”  -John F. Kennedy
  • “A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.”  -Horace Mann
  • “If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.”  -Margaret Fuller
  • “A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism.”  -Louis A. Berman
  • “A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.”  -Author unknown
  • “We expect teachers to handle teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and the failings of the family, then we expect them to educate our children.”  -John Sculley
  • “A teacher’s job is to take a bunch of live wires and see that they are well-grounded.”  -D. Martin

The EZ Grader makes scoring assessments a breeze!

Making Meaning: Strategies That Build Comprehension and Community

Visualizing- the good reader forms a visual during reading to better understand, remember, and enjoy texts.

Retelling- good readers use retelling to identify and remember important ideas or sequences of events that they need to know or recall.

Schema- good readers construct meaning by connecting their prior knowledge to information in the text.

Quote from the movie, So Dear To My Heart

The greatest wealth a man may acquire is the wisdom he gains from living. And, sometimes out of the small beginnings come the forces that shape a whole life. Memory renews our joys. May life bear for you its sweetest flowers.

I like Barbara Coloroso’s technique

Is it telling or tattling? If it gets you or some one else out of trouble or danger it is a tell and I need to hear it. If it gets someone into trouble it is a tattle and I don’t need to hear it. If it is a little of both I need to hear it.