I was moved up from kindergarten to 1st grade this year and thought there was NO WAY that I would be able to move my kiddos to a level J at the end of the year. Well, it’s only December and of my 15 students, 8 are already there, with the others right on track to be there for sure!
I know that I could never have made this much progress without the Secret strategies! I have almost taught them all by just following the natural progression of curiosity in my students, and it’s been amazing to see how much they could take in.
I was recently approached by the Reading Recovery coaches at our school who pull some of my students for intervention. They wanted to know what I was doing in my room. Of the five 1st grade classrooms they service, my students stood out as “amazing decoders” in their ability to use decoding strategies to read unknown words. As a result, they are ready to be released from Reading Recovery, having successfully “recovered” to grade level!
Without having these Secret strategies in the background to help them read, I know that this would not have happened. Our Reading Recovery teachers are now going to start using them with their other intervention students as well. What a powerful reinforcement that my colleagues are coming to me for answers!! Especially our Reading Recovery “gurus” in the district!
Sorry for the long email, but I am just so excited for my students!!
In just TWO days after starting to implement the strategies you shared, I realized that I could no longer teach reading or writing without them! It is absolutely amazing how easily the kids can remember all of those tricky phonics patterns and sounds!
"Best session Mercer County has had in quite a while"
"Katie is FANTASTIC"
"Every K-5 teacher should hear her"
"Please bring her back in the Fall"
"I am going to begin using what I learned on Monday!"
And that's just a sampling of what I received!
My goodness, what an impression you made on my staff and I! Our district has 12 Pre/K- 6th elementary schools, with many attending the Dallas GT conference. My teachers returned to work today begging me to bring you to the school! Our librarian couldn’t wait to tell me about your presentation, and she doesn’t get excited about workshops as such. Only one day back and already she and two of my other teachers have been by to show me and tell me all that they learned at your session, so know that you are kind of a rockstar amongst my staff! Thank you for breathing new life into a very long school year with your inspiration and wonderful ideas about teaching reading with the brain in mind!
How do I begin to thank you for the fabulous job you did today! The staff has fallen in love with you! You had as much passion and energy at 3:00 as you did at 8:30, and the feedback from the staff was amazing. Nearly every teacher thanked me for bringing you to the school, and they’ve already requested a follow-up training. I even have teachers requesting that I purchase your book immediately so they can plan to implement their new learning over the summer! It is the highest honor when you are able to motivate a staff that has been working since the beginning of September, and has nearly run of steam at this time of the year. Thank you for a most informative and pleasurable day!
I haven't seen so much excitement from our teachers in the four years that I have been the assistant principal here! They couldn't stop talking about your workshop. It was just incredible! And on a personal note, I have twins in the first grade, and just one week after their teacher attended your workshop, they both came home and started telling phonics ‘secrets!’ I was amazed at their interactions as well, as they couldn’t keep from telling each other the ‘secrets’ from their respective classes— from “Mommy E” to the “Babysitter Vowels"—their interest and excitement was remarkable! Once again, thank you from the entire staff!
I share your "backdoor-to-the-brain" reading/phonics strategies and techniques with EVERY teacher I meet because I KNOW the difference they make!
Your brain based strategies for teaching ALL of the complex letter patterns and sounds are sooooo easy, even for me with my intermediate-background! I love how they fit with whatever I am teaching, in all subjects and across the entire instructional day. They have not only helped my students in reading, but in their written expression as well! Such effective, and yet easy-to-use tools!
Your presentation at Parent's Night was just outstanding, and I couldn't wait to get back home and try out some of the ideas that you shared with my son. After only a month, what a difference it has made in his learning—I'm just amazed! He reads to me without struggling and getting frustrated, and even sat down and wrote out sentences for his classwork without asking me for help on how to spell a word!!! I can't wait to see what happens over the next month. His confidence has soared and he's sounding out word after word after word. I'm crying by the way! One month ago he crawled under his bed crying and calling himself stupid for not being able to sound out words. Today he is looking around to see if there's a word he can try to sound out! Thank YOU!!!!
I am thrilled to see staff so rejuvenated about teaching reading! They can't wait for school to officially start so that they can put all that they learned into practice!
After attending your presentation at our district workshop last month, I jumped right in and began implementing with my class. Now my students are almost frenzied in their demands to hear more and more "secret" explanations for words and sounds that had never made sense to them before! (and these are the kids who act like they could care less 99% of the time!) Watching their faces as everything started to come together for them was incredible! These brain-based teaching tools should be part of every teacher-repertoire, as they are now an invaluable part of mine!
I knew that my primary teachers would love all that I brought back from your session at ILA, but I was thrilled to see the intermediate grade teachers using it, as well! They were so interested in the cognitive research and common sense approach to explaining all of the inconsistencies in our language.
Yours was the most valuable session I have ever attended at a reading conference, and I go every year! My entire class is at least one level ABOVE grade-level in reading, with most 2 or 3 levels above....and it’s only January! Not only that, but their developmental spelling is improving every day!
At the beginning of the school year, we had a third to about a half of our students reading at or below grade level. Three months after having you out to work with our staff, we have 90-95% of students AT or ABOVE grade level! Your "backdoor" phonics strategies have completely changed the way my teachers teach! When kids cannot decode words it makes learning pretty much impossible because they are concentrating on decoding instead of comprehension. Now that they can decode, they are able to focus on reading to LEARN, not just learning to READ!
I was more engaged because Ms. Garner was enthusiastic, and spoke as someone who has actually been in a primary classroom in the last 5 years. So often these distrcit-required workshops/seminars are presented by people who strike me as 'salesmen,' not people that know what/who we work with day after day. BRAVO!!
I attended your workshop at VSRA and wanted to let you know that it was the talk of the weekend! Everywhere I went, people were raving about your session and how wonderful it was! I can't wait to get back to my class and start sharing reading and writing "secrets" with my class!
Everything Katie talked about made perfect sense. She targeted children's thinking at their developmental stage. Therefore, reading and writing makes sense to them. Her presentation was very useful, and I would love to hear her again in a full day workshop!
After your presentation for our district, my school was buzzing the following day…”Was there enough money to purchase your book and materials for all the grade levels?” Nobody wanted to be left out! Our principal was so thrilled that so many teachers were interested, she assured us that every K-5 teacher would be able to have for their classrooms, and that she would even "find the money" to have you come out to work with our staff personally! Every one of our teachers has requested a copy and and now we are all anxiously awaiting their arrival. Your presentation was like a breath of fresh air! We can’t wait to begin 'cracking the reading code' with out students!
I was meeting with our Primary Curriculum Coordinator about having you come and train our district, and when I told her about you, she said that SHE was actually trained by you in another district she had been in prior to ours! She couldn’t stop singing your praises! All this to say…We want you to come! And soon!!!
Several of our teachers just returned from the workshop you presented at our state reading conference and were so excited! I am the Title I coordinator for the district, and I have never seen my teachers this excited about anything before. Congratulations on such an inspirational presentation, and I hope to have you come out and work with our schools directly next Fall!
I am a grade 1 teacher in Canada and was lucky enough to attend two of your sessions two years ago at the Literacy Summit in Calgary. I have used your strategies ever since and have never seen results like I am seeing with my students. I am so excited about them that I just can’t keep them to myself!
Our teachers saw you present at the National Title I Conference and couldn’t stop talking about you! The students absolutely LOVE the reading "secrets" we've introduced so far! Much Appreciation from our entire team!
I thought of you while doing observations in my primary classrooms as I attended a workshop with you a few years ago, and have since implemented your strategies in two schools. I intend to make them part of the ‘woodwork’ here, as well. We are hoping to be Title I next year, which would allow for some additional Professional Development and hopefully for you to come out and work with my staff. I want my teachers to experience the incredible learning you have in store for them!”
As the kids would say- "You Rock!!"
I have been an elementary grade teacher more years than I can count, and the strategies you shared at workshop were of more use to me, and more beneficial to my students, than anything I have ever brought back to my classroom!
Thank you for revitalizing my year!
I attended a district-wide PD workshop with you last week and absolutely loved every minute! I came back to my 2nd grade room and introduced some reading secrets immediately. My kids are now in LOVE with them and are SO into it, just as you said they'd be! I love that their newfound "need-to-know" is now driving my reading instruction! Thank you so much for such a rewarding & enjoyable day!
Just thought I would let you know that the strategies you shared with my staff during out PD have made their way into the front office! I have actually created a ‘Wall of Secrets’ outside my door for students to share with myself and my assistant principal. Only one of my fifth grade teachers had attended your workshop at a neighboring school, and he liked it so much that he shared the information with his team members, and now they want kits for their classrooms! I am thrilled to see staff so rejuvenated about teaching reading!
Since your workshop, I’ve seen your strategies in action in many schools, and the SAI/ Reading Teachers have all been praising the results with their students throughout this year. I’ve recommended you to several principals and just wanted to let you know what a hit you were!
I haven't been so excited about learning to teach in a long time! And to think if I hadn't come to that reading conference and chosen your talk, I never would have known! The research on learning and critical thinking tools and tricks that Katie shares make it easy for kids to read words that otherwise would have to be memorized! I love the idea that literacy can be used to teach children critical thinking skills! In a world where information is outdated faster than it is taught, giving children tools to think critically and creatively is of paramount importance. THANK YOU!!
We really enjoyed having you come out to our district for the staff workshop! I have already had many positive comments and my principals and teachers are already asking for more!
I have been singing praises since I saw you present a workshop a few years ago at the Florida Reading Conference when I was a Title I teacher. I was so thoroughly impressed by your presentation and would love to see it again! Everything you shared in regard to teaching reading/phonics with the brain in mind just made so much sense, and the increase in student reading levels was phenomenal! Please let me know when you’ll be in our area, as if there is anything I can do that will allow our teachers to experience your wonderful workshop, I would love to do it!
I have to tell you that the day our staff spent with you on Wednesday was the best in-service training I have ever attended! I was able to immediately start using the strategies you shared, and I am excited and so are my kids! My family at home thought I's been abducted by aliens because at dinner I was telling every secret you'd shared at workshop that I could remember! My teenagers were impressed that you had motivated all those teachers without any power points, videos, or ‘stuff.’ Your humor was wonderful. You are so accurate on the reality of a real classroom. Even one of my most struggling readers picked up the excitement of the first few reading ‘secrets’ I shared and was so excited about going home to tell them to her parents. You were so right—teaching reading with the brain in mind really is like swimming WITH the current (as opposed to "against" it)!
I saw your workshop at KRA, as my teachers had actually told me about you before I attended the conference. In fact, they INSISTED (in a very nice kind of way) "WE WANT HER!!” The teachers are so excited because of all the "talk" that has been going around our school about you. Apparently, one of our teachers had heard about you in a class that she was taking, and when she came back and began using some of your strategies and material, you have been the “thing” ever since!! (You had obviously made quite an impact on other schools in Kentucky, as well!) My teachers would like for you to come and work with us as soon as possible, and I have promised to make that happen, as I've never seen them this excited over anything before!