About Maria

  • Teacher, author, literacy consultant, and children’s literature enthusiast, Maria Walther taught first grade for 34 years. Maria partners with educators in their classrooms and inspires colleagues through engaging professional learning experiences. What educators appreciate most about Maria is her focus on joyful, realistic approaches toward classroom instruction. Maria earned a doctorate at Northern Illinois University and was named The Outstanding Literacy Alumni for professionalism, service, and career success. Maria has been a longtime advocate of reading aloud. She was honored as Illinois Reading Educator of the Year and earned the ICARE for Reading Award for fostering the love of reading in children. The award that Maria cherishes the most is The Most Influential Educator given to her by one of her former first-grade students who is now a colleague. Maria is a prolific professional writer. She strives to create practical resources for busy teachers. Her best-selling books, The Ramped-Up Read Aloud and Shake Up Shared Reading, promote kid-friendly read aloud and shared reading experiences. The Literacy Workshop, co-authored with Karen Biggs-Tucker, supports teachers in combining their reading and writing workshops. The Next Step Guided Reading Assessment, created with Jan Richardson, provides educators with the information they need to know and guide readers.