Hello from Literacy Spark

Hi there!  This is Jessica from Literacy Spark.  I am so excited to have joined Adventures in Literacy Land as a blogger this year.  The blog is celebrating it's second birthday and this month will be spent introducing you to our bloggers, both old and new.  Make sure to check back in to get reacquainted as well as to pick up some tips and freebies.  There will also be a large birthday giveaway at the end of the month!
So here's a little bit about me...I've been teaching for nine years. All of this has been in first and second grade.  The first five years I taught in Connecticut and the last four were in Texas (where I live now).  Two.  Different.  Worlds.  
A little over a year ago, I had my daughter Gracie and we also moved about 45 minutes north of Houston.  So, I left the classroom and am a stay at home mom for the time being.  
But JUST before getting pregnant, I had completed my master's degree in reading and language arts and received my reading specialist and master reading teacher certificates. So...kind of sad they aren't getting use...but future dream when I go back to work is to be a reading specialist or literacy coach.  

Because my first job was in first grade (and in the inner city with English Language Learners), I had to learn how to teach reading really fast!  Well, it didn't happen that fast as I clearly had no clue when I started...but I got there and it really turned into my passion.  

When I moved to Texas, I taught second grade and entered a district without reading specialists or coaches (who had really taught me so much at my previous job).  There wasn't even a guided reading library...yep, no books!?!?  And I was in a state obsessed with grading and testing.  It was a challenge.  But I was determined to still teach my students to READ (rather than how to take tests), keep the FUN in learning, and try to convince some of the rest of the staff to join me.

I look forward to blogging this year and bringing you the perspective of a classroom teacher but with the eye of a reading specialist.  I get it, really...the grades, the testing, the paperwork, the behavior, lack of materials, no interventionists...but we can still do the best we can!

We are supposed to be blogging about our "speciality" but I sort of feel like I'm in the middle of everything and nothing at the same time right now.  So for now I'm going to say my speciality is getting kids engaged, motivated, up and moving, and having fun while still learning concrete skills and strategies.
Since Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I've got a related freebie for you.  It's a little mini reader with ten right there factual questions.  Seems simple, but it really is a challenge to get young readers to actually go back and find the answers.  So this just reinforces the skill in a fun way.  
The questions are on full sheets of paper for you to put around the room in a scavenger hunt format to get your kids up and moving around.  Trust me, it makes everything a lot more fun.  Just post the ten questions somewhere around the room.  Read the book together, in partners, small group...whatever works.  Then have the kids get up with their books and go around hunting for the questions.  As they find the questions, they should refer to the little text for the answers, and record them next to the appropriate number on the back of the book.  Easy to prep, fun, reinforces a skill, and teaches some content!  You can grab it from my TpT store here.


  1. I enjoyed reading about your history as a teacher. Changing schools and states...so interesting!! And no leveled library...now that I have taught with one for so many years, I am not sure I would know how to go back to not having one! I look forward to reading more of your posts this year.

    1. Thanks Em! Yeah I went crazy after moving to TX and feeling like I just went backwards 5 years. Will be interesting to find out in the future if it was just the district or if it really is the state.