I was a classroom teacher in kindergarten through 4th grade for over 20 years. I also served as a specialist in reading and writing for grades 1 – 5 for 6 years, and the last 5 years of my career as an Academic Intervention Specialist in Hillsborough County, Florida. I have been a presenter and trainer at many state and county conferences, always with the focus of building vocabulary. (Florida Council on Elementary Education, Florida Literacy Coalition Conference, Reading Matters in Polk County Reading Conference, Manatee County Reading Conference, Early Childhood Association of Florida, Golden Gate Elem., Avalon Elem., Calusa Park Elementary, Florida Reading Association Conference, and my best one was the Collier County Summer Reading Institute where I taught 3 weeks of 4-day sessions on how to use my Book of Knowledge concept based on my book The New Book of Knowledge. LOVED that one!) When I think of it, I guess I have been a teacher since I was 9 years old and made my own worksheets to play school with the neighborhood kids. I now enjoy tutoring students in a local school. I am using my own materials and having a lot of fun watching my tutees grow in knowledge and skill.
I was always a creative type of teacher. Seldom using the run-of-the-mill lessons provided by the textbook companies. I could think of “better” ways to teach the same concept. (At least I thought so.) Many times my “better” ideas evolved from student interaction. Like, when I discovered that my students did not know many foundational vocabulary words, I started drawing and labeling these common objects on the board. The students asked if they could do it, too. This lead me to writing The New Book of Knowledge, a vocabulary development program where students draw and label common objects and keep their drawings in one sketch-type pad. They then referred to their drawings and labels to improve both reading comprehension and writing. Teachers from kindergarten through 5th grade from almost every state and even in countries abroad have used this concept to build their students’ vocabulary. Most of my other books have the same focus.
My New Book of Knowledge was used as part of the Collier County reading curriculum calendar (now THAT'S an honor) and was nominated for a literacy award in Hillsborough County (I can't remember the name of the award. Sorry.)
I earned a B.A. degree from the University of South Florida in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. Years later (at age 45), I earned a M.S. degree in English and an Ed. S. degree in reading from Nova Southeastern University.
ADDITIONAL BIO INFORMATION Years ago, I created a website (Make Reading First ) dedicated to helping teachers and parents build better readers. I have authored all the tips and information on the site, and provide a free download of Fry's Instant Word lists. In addition, I use the site as a marketplace to sell my books and workbook series for students in grade 1 - adult. All of the books focus on building vocabulary - either building basic vocabulary - Parts of Everyday Things, Family Learning Time, The New Book of Knowledge, The Illustrated Dictionary of Everyday Things, Learn Basic English Vocabulary or word analysis, Word Analysis: Unlocking the Meaning of Words. NOW I am into something very exciting and FUN! Let me explain. For years, teachers would comment about how neat it would be if my labeling lessons were interactive for touch-boards and computers. I agreed but had no idea how to do this. Well… I am really excited that NOW I have that ability, using a really cool website (TBLessons.com) that provides all the tools and help you need to create "next generation" interactive lessons. I say "next generation" because you can assign lessons to individual students or your whole class to be done on a touch-board, or on a computer, or even on a tablet! The lessons grade themselves and the website allows you to actually track student progress and even graph results. It’s really fun to create these lessons! You can turn most of your favorite pen/pencil lessons into interactive ones. Worth checking out if you have a desire to either create interactive lessons for your own classroom, sell your interactive lessons, or just buy interactive lessons and books.