Dear Teacher Friend,
I’m writing to you today because I remember what it was like to teach reading for the first time.
I remember how heavy that felt. I looked at 26 little first grade faces, waiting to be taught and I thought…
I know how to do this…but how do I DO this? ?
If you’re feeling that way, you’re not alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I felt prepared.
After all, I had been well taught and trained at the University. (I passed that dreaded RICA the very first time. #thankyouverymuchprofessorC)
But as prepared as I was, and as much as I wanted this job, I didn’t know if I was ready.
I remember setting up our schedule, looking through resources, and excitedly planning read alouds, reading groups, and engaging lessons.
But I also remember thinking:
What if I say the wrong things?
What if I don’t say the right things?
What if I mess them up? ?
You are not alone.
Teaching is a BIG DEAL.
Teaching reading feels like an even bigger deal. ?
I mean, reading is the foundation for all of the learning they will be do…ever. ?
Reading opens the door for all other subjects. ??
And if they don’t learn to read, they won’t be able to read to learn. ?
GAH. It’s a lot. I know.
I remember asking another teacher on the first grade team, “What if I do all the ELA lessons we have planned and they don’t learn how to read?”
I was stressed about teaching reading, and it only the first week of school!
My partner teacher looked at me and said, “Do all of the activities we’ve been planning, and they will get it.”
I’ll be honest. I didn’t believe her.
And now…you might not believe me. ??♀️
But you know what?
She was right.
You are totally equipped to be right where you are. ?
You are the most valuable resource in the room for your students.
They are going to learn to read.
You are absolutely, unequivocally, not going to “mess them up.” Period.
I promise. ?
Don’t get me wrong.
There are bad days, failed lessons, missed connections, sure.
But there are also AMAZING days ahead.
Days where students fall in love with books, days where students read for the very first time, days where they reach new reading levels, and more! ?
So on those awesome days, and on those less-than-awesome days…
I want you to know that I’m here for you.
I have been right there in your shoes, asking the very same questions, wondering the very same things.
Now I’m here, thinking about all of the amazing milestones I got to experience with my students because we all persevered.
I’m thinking of the calls I got to make to parents, telling them that their formally struggling child’s reading level just soared up 5 five levels since I last assessed.
I’m thinking of Little G, who came into first grade hating reading groups, (because she didn’t had zero reading confidence), but ended the year reading chapter books at recess because she fell in love with reading that much. ?
I’m thinking of the lightbulbs ? I watched go off in student’s minds when a phonics skill “clicked.”
I’m thinking of the English language learner who asked to borrow every book I read aloud so he could take it home and read it to his parents and siblings. ?
I’m thinking — it’s all more than worth it.
And you’ll be thinking the same, too.
You got this, friend.
And if you need help, I’m just a few clicks away. ?
A Teachable Teacher
P.S. Speaking of help…have you downloaded my FREE Phonics Sentences Bundle yet?
P.S.S. Do you know what teaching reading and learning how to drive have in common? This analogy transformed how I think about teaching reading – and my phonics instruction as never been the same! ??