Common Questions Asked by Blog Followers:

I teach middle school ELA, and I only have 45 minutes each day.  How do I fit Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop, and Word Study in?

I get asked this question a lot, and it's a fabulous one.  I created ideas for how to structure class periods to include the elements of a balanced literacy framework across a week's time period with varying amounts of daily minutes.  It's a free download on my TpT store.  Check in out in the link below.

Where did you get your guided reading table and guided reading table student chairs?

I shopped far and wide to find the perfect gear for my guided reading table.  The table is from School Specialty.  Click here for the link.  The chairs were ordered through amazon.com.  Here is the link to the pink teacher chair, and here is the link to the silver student chairs.

My middle school is setting up a book room.  Where do we start with ordering books?

I have a list of the books in our book room available as a free download here.  It's also leveled using the F&P leveling system.

What professional development books do you recommend for middle school ELA teachers?

The Continuum of Literacy Learning: This is my literacy Bible.  If you're going to get one book to help you get started teaching using a balanced literacy format, get this one.

Mechanically Inclined: Jeff Anderson has transformed the way I view teaching grammar to students through this book.  Last year, I saw my 6th graders grow so much in not only their understanding of grammar and mechanics, but their ability to recognize it in reading and use it in writing.

Assessing Writers:  Carl Anderson changes the way you see teaching writing to students and looking at how you give feedback to students in their writing with this awesome book.


  1. Love your blog! :)

    Do your students have a copy of the IRA you are using? Or - is it teacher reading text aloud?


    1. Hi Amy,

      Thanks so much for reading my blog! When I'm doing Interactive Read Aloud I am the only one with a text and am reading aloud to my students. I definitely use passages from our read alouds in reading minilessons or sometimes put the book on the Elmo if I want to show my students something particular the author has done in the text, but students are not following along in the text with their own copy. It's all about listening comprehension and removing barriers so all students can experience the text and discuss the text with peers.


  2. Hi Kasey,

    When you talk about IRAs are these grade level novels or shorter picture books used to teach a mini lesson?



    1. Hi Samantha,

      I do an interactive read aloud every day in my classroom. Generally, I use novels, but I have definitely used high quality picture books, too. IRA transfers into each piece of the literacy structure in my classroom (reading minilessons, writing mentor texts, teaching grammar through sentence stalking with sentences from the IRA, etc.). If you look at "Posts by Topic" on my blog and click on Interactive Read Aloud, I have blogged a lot about them.

      Thanks so much for the awesome question!