Meet Carla

Hello and welcome to Comprehension Connection! My name is Carla, and as you can tell from my blog title, I love literacy. I’ve been teaching at the elementary level now for 27 years. About half of that experience was in the regular classroom with grades 1, 4, and 5 and the other half has been as a reading specialist and literacy coach.

What Matters to Me

I absolutely love teaching and connecting with my school kids who have become an extension of my family. The stories they share with me about their life adventures and their enthusiasm about the books they are currently reading motivate me to do my best for them, and I have really enjoyed sharing products I’ve designed and stories I’ve written with them. My hope is that they see how much I love to write and imitate me in the future. The classroom pictures are from my time in the classroom.

My Classroom Library

The place I love most in my room is my classroom library. It took me a LONG time to gather up all my books, and I love that they get lots of use with children. I enjoy sending takehome books because many kids don't have access except those they take from school.

Guided Reading

As a reading specialist and interventionist, the key to growth is small group instruction. This means the reading table is a pretty important piece of real estate. Everything you need for close reading, word study, interactive notebooks, and modeling must be right there, and yet, you have little people moving in and out. So I make use of any "wall" space for things I refer to. You can see I have interactive bulletin boards, space for hanging anchor charts, and dry erase boards for instruction. You can also see my rolling carts that hold all my "gear" for my lessons. 

Because I often work with an assistant, I also like having a second area for her to work with small groups or for setting up literacy stations for those not working with me at the moment.

The Transition to Coaching

Last year, I moved from intervention to coaching, and I really enjoyed it. I missed working with the same children every day, but still, I got to team teach quite a bit in different grade levels, and honestly, one of the things I love about coaching is sharing resources and ideas with my colleagues. When I completed the Masters of Reading Education program through the University of Virginia, the final course was Elementary Reading Programs. The content focused on developing your school reading program and coaching teachers. It was shortly after completing this program that I began blogging. The vision I had for my blog was to “Cyber Coach”. I don’t think that’s a real word, but if it were, I’d define it as sharing ideas to mentor colleagues without imposing on them. I think there are many teachers who truly want to learn new ideas or techniques but may not feel comfortable reaching out and asking for assistance. On the contrary, there are many amazing teachers out in the big wide world that know different ways of doing things when what you've tried hasn't worked. That’s the beauty of blogging. You can be anonymous when you ask questions or when you read on your own, and you can share or not share when you feel called.

Blogging has been a win-win experience for me. One win is sharing what I love and the second win of the experience is what I’ve learned and gained in the process. What I did not realize as I began my blogging adventure was how blogging would help me to learn and connect with knowledgeable teacher bloggers who have become my real life friends. It is so wonderful being able to join with them to share our passion for reading and books, go to them when I have questions, and share other points of view through our connections. In fact, we have a facebook group that formed about 5-6 years ago that has grown to 95 specialists. Imagine the fun we have when Teachers Pay Teachers hosts the annual conference. Many of us in one place! Eek! You can follow group events on The Reading Crew.

Beyond the Classroom...

When I’m not involved with teaching and designing curriculum, I am off enjoying time with my family. Here is a picture of my crew from years ago. My children are now 21 and 15. Time flies!
I’ll be celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary with my husband, Joe, this summer. In addition to our two kiddos, we have one fur baby named Molly. Our son, Sam, is graduates this spring from NC State University with a major in physics and computer science.  Our daughter is in the ninth grade, and she is my artsy, musical child. When she’s not singing or making something, she’s usually on Pinterest looking for something to make or do. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, reading, and traveling, which is why I went for the travel theme for my blog design.

If you have made it this far, congratulations! You’ve earned a medal (or free resource). I hope that you’ll visit often and share with me your passion for teaching too.

Until next time, happy reading and come back soon!