Cathy Mere

Cathy Mere has  taught grades K-6, and worked as a literacy coach and a Reading Recovery teacher in Ohio.  Currently she works as a reading specialist supporting literacy learners.  Cathy is the author of More Than Guided Reading.  She shares her professional reflections at Reflect and Refine:  Building a Learning Community and dabbles in poetry and personal essay at Merely Day by Day. Cathy can be found @cathymere on Twitter.

All Content
What’s the Temperature?

Cathy Mere substitutes in leading a meeting, and realizes the importance of always slowing down and taking the temperature of the room when beginning professional development sessions. She shares her seven favorite strategies for slowing down and reading the room.

Coaching Minute: Building Coach and Specialist Collaboration

In this coaching minute video, Cathy Mere and Kelly Hoenie talk about the importance of more collaboration between literacy coaches and reading specialists, and how to foster it.

Coaching Minute: Using Video with Literacy Coaches

Cathy Mere shares four quick tips to help literacy coaches use video thoughtfully in professional development and to hone their own instructional skills.

Coaching Minute: Flexible Collaboration with Teachers

Cathy Mere chats with Kelly Hoenie about how her collaboration with teachers has changed over 15 years of coaching—from rigid protocols to in-the-moment decisions about how best to support each teacher.

Supporting Readers: It Takes a Team

Collaboration gets complicated when you’re dealing with reading specialists and classroom teachers assisting the same struggling learners. Cathy Mere reflects on her experiences in both roles and provides some prompts for better conversations about expectations for team support.

Celebrations Across the Year

Cathy Mere discovers her routine for celebrations at the start of staff meetings is leaving some colleagues out. She revises her thinking and practice for celebrations among literacy coaches all year long.

Open Observations

Cathy Mere explains how “open observations” work in her school district. These full-day professional development sessions are an opportunity for teachers to drop in and out of classrooms to observe together and then discuss what they see.

Coaching Minute: The Perils of Demonstration Lessons

In this brief video, Cathy Mere talks about how classroom visits that include demonstration lessons can build rapport with teachers but can also serve as a trap for literacy coaches.

Using Video to Step Forward

Cathy Mere explains why using video in professional development that is captured in your own school or district’s classrooms can be far more powerful than any video purchased or provided in a kit. She provides tips for inviting teachers to record and share their practices.

You’re New to Coaching. Now What?

Cathy Mere remembers her early days as a coach and shares her top seven strategies for having a fulfilling first year.

Ways to Personalize PD

Literacy coaches Cathy Mere and Kelly Hoenie talk about some of their efforts to personalize professional development for teachers over the past year, and what they learned that they will carry into the fall.

Coaching Minute: Tech Tools

Cathy Mere shares two tech tools that are invaluable resources for her coaching.

Celebrate and Reflect

Have you paused yet to celebrate all you’ve accomplished with teachers this year? Literacy coaches Cathy Mere and Kelly Hoenie take a few minutes to reflect on what has gone well and the learning they will carry forward over the summer.

Observing Colleagues: Leading Successful Classroom Visits

Cathy Mere finds that what comes before and after classroom observations may be more important than the actual visit. She details the coach’s role in maximizing reflection and benefits from group observations.

Classroom Observation Etiquette

Cathy Mere remembers the many visitors to her classroom: most were inspiring, but a few made her want to shut the door on future observers. She shares how clear expectations for etiquette can build confidence and ease the concerns of the demonstration teacher.

They Don’t Read at Home

Cathy Mere suggests strategies for working with struggling students who read very little at home.

Coaching as Inquiry

Cathy Mere builds a coaching community through focusing on inquiry all year long. She lists some of her favorite resources for introducing an inquiry stance.

Telling Our Story

Cathy Mere is keenly aware that coaching positions can be expendable during budget crunches. She and her coaching colleagues are proactive in explaining their value by creating a series of graphic representations of their work.

Looking Back and Planning Forward

Cathy Mere finds that the last weeks of the school year are the best time for literacy coaches to reflect on long-term goals attained and missed, as well as to plan next steps.

Reading Ambassadors

Cathy Mere finds that a Reading Ambassadors program pays big dividends in building confident and conversant young readers.

No More Whack-a-Mole Coaching

Cathy Mere shares strategies for avoiding distractions and staying focused while coaching.

Maintaining Teacher Ownership in Coaching Conversations

Cathy Mere ponders the unspoken messages we can send other coaches and teachers, and how to make our work more collaborative through the language we use.

Building Effective Literacy Teams

Cathy Mere reflects on the power of a leadership team in supporting the work of coaches and specialists, and the elements that are essential for leadership teams to thrive.

First Days of Reading Support

Cathy Mere explains why it’s important as a reading support teacher to avoid assessments in the first days of school, and instead focus on getting into classrooms to observe and share resources.

Starting the Year Together

Cathy Mere shares questions literacy specialists and coaches might ask early in the year to build rapport with teachers.

Thinking About Fluency

Cathy Mere finds that with young learners, not all issues with fluency are created equally — different needs require different strategies.

Together: Supporting Readers Toward Independence

Cathy Mere works with first-grade teacher Deb Frazier to ensure that struggling readers receiving extra support still have plenty of time for independent reading in literacy workshops.

Building Word Learning Routines

Cathy Mere shares tried-and-true strategies for word learning with struggling young learners.

Growing Toward Independence

Cathy Mere shares what to look for and what to try next with young learners who are easily distracted and struggling to concentrate during independent reading.

Supporting Readers with Nonfiction Text

Cathy Mere finds that criteria for “just-rightness” varies with genre.

Small-Group Writing: Steps for Success

Cathy Mere provides grouping guidelines for primary teachers.

Libraries for All: Considering Struggling Readers

Cathy Mere explores the classroom library structures and texts that best support struggling young readers.

Reader Response: Keeping It Real

Cathy Mere finds many authentic ways for her first graders to share reading insights.

A Closer Look at Engagement

Are the terms stamina and engagement synonymous? Cathy Mere defines the terms by observing her first graders.

Shared Blogging in the Primary Classroom

Shared reading and shared writing are essential instructional techniques in the primary grades. How about shared blogging for teaching children basic blogging skills? Cathy Mere describes how it works.

Mentor Texts for “Versus” Stories

Shark vs. Train! Fork vs. Spoon! Versus stories are incredibly popular in writing workshops these days. Cathy Mere found herself struggling to teach narrative conventions to students writing versus tales, so she created a booklist of mentor texts.

Kidwatching and Connections in the Early Days

Cathy Mere finds the early days of school are all about kidwatching and connecting with her first-grade students during reading and writing workshops. She shares some terrific guiding questions that might also help new teachers hone their observation skills.

Staying Connected with Students All Summer Long

Cathy Mere explains how she uses technology to stay in touch with students and families over the summer.

Formative Assessment: Wall Displays and Conversations in First Grade

Formative assessments are always a priority in classrooms. Cathy Mere explains how she uses a classroom wall display and conversations to highlight strong writing and help her first graders learn to assess improvements in their work.

Capturing Student Learning with Evernote

It can be difficult to move from print to electronic records in the classroom. After using a spiral notebook for 10 years, Cathy Mere did just that.

Guided Reading in Perspective

Cathy Mere puts guided reading in perspective, explaining how it works as one piece of the puzzle when it comes to fostering a lifelong love of reading in students.

Books Struggling Readers Can and Will Want to Read: Building the Classroom Library

Sammy is an avid reader in the classroom, but his teacher Cathy Mere notices he “accidentally” is always leaving the backpack with his intervention books behind.  The challenge for classroom teachers is stocking books with titles that will interest Sammy, but still provide enough challenge and support to move him forward as a reader.

Assessment Beyond Levels: The Reading Grid

Is there a great divide in your classroom between numerical data from assessments and your anecdotal notes? Cathy Mere bridges the gap with her class reading grid, a nifty tool for recording and analyzing a whole classroom’s worth of student assessment data on one page.  A template is included.

Countdown: Keeping Children at the Center of My Plans for the New Year

Cathy Mere reminds us that the excitement of facing new students is always tempered and enriched by the lessons from last year’s students we carry with us.

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