Peace, Joy, and BOOKS - Maria Walther

In this post, I offer three ideas to guide you in creating a classroom culture where the unpredictable can happen—surround students with peace, joy, and books (a lot of them!).



Classroom Q & A with Larry Ferlazzo

Scroll down on the link below to read my answer to Larry's question, "How can teachers use questions most effectively in the classroom?"
Education Week Teacher

What I'm Reading - Maria Walther

Discover a few of my favorite picture books that will have your students laughing, learning, and pondering!

Reading Workshop: Thinking, Talking, & Learning

Read this post to find out how to effectively support readers in your classroom. Learn how to foster thoughtful listening, teach and demonstrate useful strategies, promote independent reading, and celebrate students’ successes.

Taking Guided Reading Instruction to the Next Level

Why guide readers in small groups? Find out the answer to this question and more when you read this post about guided reading in the era of higher standards.

Why Joyful Read Aloud Experiences Are Essential for Young Readers

Find out why read aloud is one of my favorite times of the day and how it can help your learners integrate meaning and ideas across texts.

No Day But Today: One-Day Teaching Resolutions

Refocus your energy on what’s important. Here are some one-day teaching resolutions to get you started.

How to Select Perfect Mentor Texts That Transform Young Readers and Writers

In this post, I highlight four characteristics to consider when choosing mentor texts to spark comprehension conversations or notice the writer's and/or illustrator's craft techniques.​​​

Maria Walther: Reading—Experience It!

An excerpt of my essay for Scholastic's Open a World of Possible book appears in this blog post.​​​
On Our Minds @ Scholastic

How to “Let It Go” and Other Changes in the Classroom

Are you looking for ways to streamline your instruction and save instructional time? Consider three small changes that will positively impact students' learning as we transform literacy teaching to support them in meeting higher standards.​​
On Our Minds @ Scholastic

When It Comes to Common Core, Trust Yourself

A fellow first-grade teacher asked Scholastic, "Does Common Core mean that there is no more direct teaching?" When you read Suzanne McCabe's post you'll hear my answer to the teacher's question.​
On Our Minds @ Scholastic

Comics & Comprehension: Supporting Primary-Grade Readers

“I love Benny and Penny books, do we have any more?” It was January when I finally heard those words from Noah, one of my most reluctant first-grade readers. Luckily, I was able to answer, “Yes!” and we rushed right over to the graphic novel basket to gather the other books in the series. A graphic novel basket? In first grade? YES! and YES! Since I discovered that TOON comic books that are perfect for my primary-grade learners, I’ve hooked many readers who gravitate toward this genre. So, like all of the other genres I share with my students, I teach them what they need to know to successfully, and joyfully, read these books.

Why You Shouldn’t Miss Your State Reading Conference (and a giveaway!)

What makes attending a state reading conference so special? The energy and enthusiasm. When you gather thousands of teachers who want to improve their craft you find professional conversations happening everywhere. You meet colleagues from across the state and get a chance to hear what they are doing.

Inquiring Minds: Harnessing the Innate Curiosity in our Young Students

If you teach the primary grades, like I do, then I don’t have to tell you that kids are constantly asking questions. At the beginning of the year, the one I hear most often is, “When is it time for lunch?”

But seriously, children are naturally inquisitive. Without any prompting, they do a lot of wondering. Over the years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about what we can do in our classrooms to harness this natural curiosity and create a learning environment where inquiry-based reading and writing instruction can occur. Here are a few ideas to consider as you set up your classroom, plan your lessons and select materials.

Complex Texts, Higher-Level Thinking: Developing Enduring Literacy Habits

When I read the Common Core State Standards, it is clear to me that we have to transform our teaching to better prepare students to achieve the standards. Transform our teaching? That sounds a bit overwhelming! But, really, it’s not. By simply making a few instructional shifts, those of us who teach in K-2 classrooms can guide learners in developing the habits of mind necessary to independently read, write, think, and converse about complex texts.
IRA Engage: A Reading Today Blog

Complex Texts: Guiding Readers One Step at a Time

Like you, I've been doing a lot of thinking and wondering about text complexity. As a first grade teacher, I'm pondering what that concept means for young readers and guided reading instruction. How do we support readers as they gradually climb a staircase of texts that leads them to those with greater complexity? My research-guided experience says, "Let’s take it one step at a time!"

Quote: ‘Kids Teach You Everything You Need to Know’

Suzanne McCabe sums up why I choose to stay in the classroom and spend my days with first graders!​