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.
“Do you miss the classroom?” Cathy Mere has answered this question often. It makes her think about the differences between coaching and teaching, and how it takes time to develop a coaching heart.
“You don’t have to write to teach writers.” Cathy Mere finds is shocked when she hears a literacy coach make this statement. But the more she allows her conventional wisdom to be challenged, the more insight she has into helping teachers who don’t see themselves as writers.
Reflection time is essential for literacy coaches. Cathy Mere shares practical tips for how she builds that time into her work with literacy coaches.
Helping students find and raise their voices so that they can someday change the world is one of the most important things we do. Cathy Mere shares some of her favorite mentor texts for this essential work.
In this quick video, Cathy Mere shares some advice for new coaches.
Looking for mentor texts to help teachers write? Cathy Mere suggests you begin with home.
Sending books home with young readers is essential. Cathy Mere gives lots of practical tips for designing a take-home books program and communicating with families about what young readers need.
In this brief video, Cathy Mere talks with literacy coach Kelly Hoenie about collaboration with reading specialists.
In this short video, Cathy Mere asks literacy coach Kelly Hoenie to think about how she will use learning from the end of the school year to plan for next year.
Cathy Mere considers the dilemma teachers face when the bookroom, library, and tech departments require books and devices to be returned late in the year . . . but there are still a few weeks of school. She shares many suggestions for fostering literacy and community when there are far fewer books in the room.
What should literacy coaches do at their last meeting of the year? Cathy Mere remembers how she closed the year with students to plan her closing activities with coaches.
Literacy coach Kelly Hoenie opens up her coaching notebook and shares with Cathy Mere what she writes down during observations and consultations, as well as how she uses the information when conferring with teachers.
Cathy Mere helps a study group of elementary teachers think through how to nurture more ownership of student writing.
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.
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.
Cathy Mere shares four quick tips to help literacy coaches use video thoughtfully in professional development and to hone their own instructional skills.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cathy Mere remembers her early days as a coach and shares her top seven strategies for having a fulfilling first year.
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.
Cathy Mere shares two tech tools that are invaluable resources for her coaching.
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.
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.
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.
Cathy Mere suggests strategies for working with struggling students who read very little at home.
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.
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.
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.
Cathy Mere finds that a Reading Ambassadors program pays big dividends in building confident and conversant young readers.
Cathy Mere shares strategies for avoiding distractions and staying focused while coaching.
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.
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.
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.
Cathy Mere shares questions literacy specialists and coaches might ask early in the year to build rapport with teachers.
Cathy Mere finds that with young learners, not all issues with fluency are created equally — different needs require different strategies.
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.
Cathy Mere shares tried-and-true strategies for word learning with struggling young learners.
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.
Cathy Mere finds that criteria for “just-rightness” varies with genre.
Cathy Mere provides grouping guidelines for primary teachers.
Cathy Mere explores the classroom library structures and texts that best support struggling young readers.
Cathy Mere finds many authentic ways for her first graders to share reading insights.
Are the terms stamina and engagement synonymous? Cathy Mere defines the terms by observing her first graders.
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.
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.
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.
Cathy Mere explains how she uses technology to stay in touch with students and families over the summer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cathy Mere shares strategies for coaching teachers with a common complaint—their students don’t know high-frequency words.
Cathy Mere considers the differences between feedback and reflection, and why it’s important to have a balance when coaching teachers.
Some emergent readers happily browse for books and explore them independently. For others, it’s a struggle. Cathy Mere shares her favorite strategies for helping all readers get comfortable with selecting books on their own.