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When Karen Szymusiak was young, she learned from some wonderful educators who inspired her to consider becoming a teacher. She recalls telling her fifth-grade teacher that she wanted to become a teacher when she grew up. It was meant to be. All those years she played school with her brother and sisters were preparing her for a career in education.
Karen considers herself fortunate to have spent her days alongside children because she knows there is so much to learn from them. “When we really listen to children, they tell us all there is to know about teaching wisely and well.” Karen believes in giving children voice and choice in their daily lives at school and that wonder and curiosity can promote learning in and out of school.
Karen has had a lifetime of experiences in education. She taught elementary school in Vermilion, Ohio, until her family relocated to central Ohio. She spent the remainder of her career in the Dublin City Schools, in Dublin, Ohio. Reading and writing workshops were always important routines in her classroom. She enjoyed watching her students develop their independence. Karen believes strongly that building relationships with students is the best way to promote a community of learners.
In addition to being a classroom teacher, Karen worked for several years as Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction for Dublin City Schools. She was able to work with teams of teachers to design thoughtful curriculum and effective instruction in response to the changing roles of learners and teachers. She also planned and implemented professional development for teachers in the district. She understands the power of teacher collaboration and the collective wisdom that supports strong beliefs about learning and teaching.
Karen also served as a principal for the Dublin City Schools. After several years as an elementary school principal, Karen was given the opportunity to fulfill a longtime passion of hers. She was selected to open a new school in the district. Karen hired staff, welcomed new families, and sought to build a community of students, parents, and teachers who believed in the unlimited potential of every child. While she was principal of Glacier Ridge Elementary School, she and the staff were featured inThe Literacy Principal in Action, a DVD produced by Choice Literacy.
Karen enjoys both professional and personal writing. She has coauthored several books and videos with Franki Sibberson. Her publications includeBeyond Leveled Books(Stenhouse),Still Learning to Read(Stenhouse),Bringing Reading to Life(Stehnouse), andDay-to-Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop(Scholastic). Karen also blogs atTalkworthy. She has shared her knowledge and expertise at state and national conferences.
Karen is currently retired but will always be connected to the world of learning, teaching, and leading. She spends time reading and writing, gardening, and spending time with her grandchildren, who remind her about what it means to be a learner.
Authors Franki Sibberson and Karen Szymusiak are back with an updated version of Still Learning to Read: Teaching Students in Grades 3-6, 2nd Edition. In the years since the first edition, prevalence of testing and Common Core State Standards have redefined requirements and what is expected of both teachers and students.
This new edition focuses on the needs of students in grades 3-6 in for the following areas: reading workshops, read-alouds, classroom design, digital tools, fiction and nonfiction, and close reading. The authors examine current trends in literacy and introduce a new section on intentional instructional planning, as well as a new chapter on scaffolding for reading nonfiction. Expanded examples of lessons and routines to promote deeper thinking about learning are also included.
In Still Learning to Read, you’ll also find online videos that provide insight into classrooms. Students make book choices, work in small groups, and discuss their reading notebooks. Finally, updated and expanded book lists, recommendations for digital tools, lesson cycles, and sections for school leaders round out this foundational resource.
Franki Sibberson, Karen Szymusiak, and Lisa Koch:::100076
Beyond Leveled Books 2nd Edition
In Beyond Leveled Books, Second Edition, Franki Sibberson, Karen Szymusiak, and Lisa Koch provide even more resources to help teachers understand and meet the needs of transitional readers. The key topic of series books has been revised and enlarged, with charts outlining new series with the challenges they pose and supports readers need. New lessons have been added, and most chapters now include a related article from a literacy expert. Some of the contributors include Kathy Collins, Larry Swartz, and Mary Lee Hahn.
Leveled books are an indispensable tool for teaching children to read, especially for emergent readers, but the authors of Beyond Leveled Booksare sounding the alarm about the overuse and misuse of leveling and the way it restricts teacher autonomy and undermines student choice and reading engagement. The authors lay out a blueprint for using leveled books effectively within a student-centered and differentiated approach that is designed to motivate all readers, particularly transitional ones.
Teaching Transitional Readers: Beyond Leveled Booksis packed with resources to help teachers understand and meet the needs of transitional readers, including examples of classroom instruction, sample mini-lessons, strategies for small-group instruction, assessment techniques, and articles by literacy experts
Resources for K-5 Classrooms: The book explores the uses and limitations of leveled texts in primary reading instruction, including ideas for how to organize your classroom library and a list of great books and series to use alongside leveled text in supporting new readers
Gateway to Independent Reading: The authors provide explicit tools for helping students consolidate their skills and reading strategies, to read widely and deeply, to increase their vocabulary, and build critical thinking
Making Reading Fun: Teach students to experience joy from reading through deeper comprehension and application
Beyond Leveled Books is an essential resource for K-5 teachers looking to help all readers, including budding readers, struggling readers, transitional readers, and readers who have plateaued.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion