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Carolyn Helmers earned her undergraduate degree from Northern Kentucky University. She was hired, mid-year, right out of her student teaching experience to teach kindergarten at Maddux Elementary where she attended as a child and has remained her entire career. She has been teaching half day or full day kindergarten since she began teaching. She earned her master’s degree in education from Marygrove College. She was trained in Reading Recovery at The Ohio State University.
Emergent literacy has been Carolyn’s passion since early in her career. She is a lifelong learner and strives to further her understanding of how young children acquire literacy skills by attending local and national professional development opportunities and literacy conferences. She is an avid reader of professional books, journals, blogs and occasionally participates in Twitter chats.
Carolyn has presented at district, local, state and national conferences. Her topics have included small group reading instruction, literacy in a play-based kindergarten and guided writing. She has instigated and led several book studies in her building to help build a common language and understanding around early literacy instruction.
At the district level, Carolyn played an integral part in researching and creating the inaugural all-day kindergarten program that focused on the social and emotional wellbeing of the child as well as purposeful play and academics. She has served on several curriculum committees and helped to ensure the best resources were available to classroom teachers. At the building level, she is a part of the building leadership team and serves on the PBIS and SEL/Wellness committees. She mentors new teachers when they join her kindergarten team and has been a cooperating teacher for several student teachers through the years.
Personally, Carolyn has been married to her husband for as long as she has been teaching. They have two grown children. In her leisure time, she enjoys running, reading, binge watching TV shows and playing disc golf.
In Intentional from the Start: Guiding Emergent Readers in Small Groups, Carolyn Helmers and Susan Vincent take a concentrated look at the often-underestimated reading and writing work that occurs during the emergent reading stages of literacy development (PreA–D) and the seemingly simplistic books we use to teach them in small-group guided reading. Though both may appear unsophisticated, these earliest readers and the texts we use to meet their needs are each unique and full of nuances that generally go overlooked.
The authors explore how emergent readers learn best and position text levels appropriately in the service of students. They also turn their attention to a comprehensive exploration of the particular needs of emergent readers and how the work they do at text levels PreA–D lays a critical foundation necessary for them to continue growing successfully into text levels E and beyond. As they examine the needs of learners working at each emergent text level individually, the authors:
Detail specific demands books in that text level make on young readers and the best ways to coach students as they work through them
Highlight instructional procedures for reading, writing, and word study that can be implemented immediately at your small group table
Suggest optimal schedules, techniques, and formats for efficient instruction at that level
Unpack the book characteristics specific to that level and demonstrate ways to capitalize on them to intentionally support emergent readers and writers.
With plenty of useful classroom examples, as well as additional online resources with literacy center ideas that correlate directly with the work students are doing at particular levels, this book is a resource your emergent reading teacher heart will reach for again and again.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion