My Favorite Things: Hello Literacy
For the first time in over a decade, I won't be spending Teacher Appreciation week in the classroom receiving handmade cards from my students and thoughtful gifts from their parents. Instead, I'm applauding the thousands of teachers who work hard every day from the sidelines and space of this blog. Although I'm not teaching, I still want to participate in the festivities of the week by giving back to those of you who have faithfully followed me since beginning this little journey of mine. And oh, what a week it will be, friends!
When planning how I would show you my appreciation, I knew I wanted to give you something. But not just anything or a collection of random things. Rather, things that were meaningful and useful. Things important to me. So, I made a list of "my favorite things" (yes, I'm "borrowing" from Oprah) and included products from women who inspire me as an educator, business owner, and friend. Of those listed, I decided to select just five, and if they were willing, give away one of their products to you, my readers. Graciously, they agreed.
My posts this week will introduce you to these incredible women, explain why they are among my "favorites," and share a little about myself along the way. Hopefully, I will encourage you to try their products for yourself, if you haven't already. Be sure to follow each day this week to win prizes from the ladies as well as goodies from my own shop.
During my first few years of teaching, I knew I would one day leave the classroom. Not because I didn’t love teaching, but because I wanted to be part of something bigger. Experiences in creating my own teaching materials from scratch, mentoring new teachers, passing along advice when asked, and leading professional development all sparked an interest in roles that would extend my work beyond a single classroom. I wanted to be an advocate for teachers, as I was for students, and planned to move into instructional support.
I have great respect for teachers who spend years developing their craft in the classroom and then have the courage to leave the comfort of what they know in order to extend themselves in leadership. Personally, my career has been radically changed by the impact of two instructional coaches and I firmly believe every teacher should have access to one. And not just any coach, but a phenomenal one.
When I first learned of Teachers Pay Teachers, I was overwhelmed by the number of sellers and options for purchase. I favored materials created by instructional support staff, such as coaches and reading specialists and spent a long time searching for sellers who could back up their resources with research, “why,” and “how.” If I was going to purchase something to use with my students, it had to be purposeful and rigorous. Regardless of cost, whatever I bought needed to reflect the quality and work I would put into my own materials.
While looking for a resource to use with a group of friends I was monitoring for RtI, I came across the store, Hello Literacy, and was an instant fan. Immediately it was apparent that her materials were well thought out, clearly explained, supported by research, and tested by students. Her roles as reading specialist, instructional coach, and professional development speaker added validity to her claims.
Although I have loved every purchase I've made from her store, I'm particularly fond of her resources for remediation. As someone with a background in teaching students who learn differently, I know just how important it is to identify issues early, have strategic interventions to remediate weaknesses, and reliable tracking systems for measuring growth. And from experience, I also understand just how time consuming those types of products can be to make yourself. Unlike other types of products, a creator of intervention-related materials must have a strong understanding of assessments, the ability to decode their data, and a vast knowledge of successful strategies to implement once that data is reviewed. Hello Literacy products reflect all of that.
Jen Jones isn’t one of my favorites because she is a top seller on TPT. I rarely make decisions based on what others deem popular, and of the top 100 sellers, I follow maybe five. What I love about Jen Jones is that she’s moved by many of the things that also matter to me - intentional literacy instruction, the importance of research in developing resources and selecting teaching practices, holding students to high standards, and supporting teachers through professional development in the classroom. And in doing those things, she’s simply the best.
I would hope that you are already well familiar with Hello Literacy and Jen’s resources. But, in case you’re not, I have the perfect thing to get you started. Jen has graciously offered a $10 gift certificate for one lucky winner to use towards any item(s) in her shop. I suggest that, after entering to win, you head to her store to start filling your wish list. Trust me, you're going to need the time! In addition to fabulous intervention materials, she has everything else you would need to teach any literacy standard in the elementary classroom - fluency materials, close reading passages, and writing supports plus fonts, graphic elements, and SO much more!
Each day, in addition to a gift from one of the featured favorites, you can also enter to win one of five $25 gift certificates to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Check back every day for more chances to win!