Some Things Change, Others Stay the Same!

Young Children

Wow!  What a start to the year!

As most of you probably know, this year I thought it would be an excellent idea to return, full time, to the classroom.  After all, the BORN2READ® Experience of levelled readers was complete, (finally), and I had found myself hanging out by the fridge, far too many times from the hours of 8 to 4.  I needed another project.

As luck would have it, I was assigned a Prep Class and it has been absolutely full on!   The amount of online courses that I needed to complete and getting familiar with the operating systems of a school again, had me seriously questioning what I had signed up for.   And whilst the many changes that I noticed, caused me many restless nights, it was the things that hadn’t changed, that got me over the line.

These are the things that keep me motivated and extremely happy, to stroll down the hill, and into my classroom.

  • Teaching young children is amazing. They let you into their world, with no barriers held on their thoughts, their emotions or their ways of the world.
  • Their enthusiasm is contagious. They are eager to learn and really want to show you, just how much they know.
  • The caring nature that has been instilled in them, by their families, is obvious in the way they relate to one another. Already, they are a team, keeping an eye on each other.
  • And best of all, they join in my random dance routines (with or without music), with big smiles and a whole lot of craziness.

Ah, teaching Preppies, what’s not to love!

Until next time,

Best wishes,

Katrina Casey
Teacher and Author of the BORN2READ Reading Program

 

 

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christmas

Yes!  I am actually early this year!!  Some of you may have remembered that it wasn’t until around March this year, that I had the chance to wish you a Happy New Year, so by that time, wishing you a Merry Christmas would have just been ridiculous!!

So much has happened this year that I feel as though I have been on fast forward, only now to come out of a trance-like state to find the year just about done!   Finally after all of the website issues, hacked accounts and lost work, I am very happy to say that the  BORN2READ website is in full operation and has been since March – so far no more major dramas.   There are a total of 567 e-books ready to teach children to read!

It is surreal to think that all my major writing tasks are complete – for now!  I am so thankful for those who have helped me complete the task, for there were a few bleak moments, when I did not think I would ever see the light of day again!  That said, I couldn’t be prouder of the readers that I offer you and your children – a lot of team effort has gone into them, and I am thrilled to see 300+ members, active on the BORN2READ website, with this number set to double or even triple in 2018 (fingers crossed!)

The fact that I have completed the readers has left me looking for another project, but before you rush in with your ideas, I have found the perfect solution to my new found freedom during the day – I am returning to the classroom in 2018!  I couldn’t be happier, and I am so looking forward to spending Monday to Friday with a class of Preppies – a dream job come true!

But what about BORN2READ I hear you ask?  As of next year, I am re-establishing BORN2READ as a home-based business.   The renovations will be conducted over the holidays, ready for the start of next term!  The first six months of 2018 will be a time of transitioning – a new beginning.   With the writing of the readers and associated resources all complete and online, there is no longer a need for a commercial space.  I also have on board a business manager so the major running of the business (all that important but not so much fun items of budgeting, forecasts, marketing and sales) is being taken care of.   My time can now be focussed on what I absolutely love – teaching!  In fact, I am looking forward to teaching other teachers how to establish their very own home-based tuition business too!  If this is something you have been thinking about, get in touch, and I’ll show you the way!

I am looking forward to all the challenges, joys and fun that 2018 will bring!  I am also looking forward to sharing my return journey into the classroom and all of the fun, and maybe not so fun, moments that come with working with Preppies.   2018 – bring it on!!

Until next time, enjoy the festive season and all the joy it brings!

Best wishes,

Katrina Casey
Teacher and Author of the BORN2READ Reading Program

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Thank you for your concerns – I appreciate your time!

BORN2READ

It has been an interesting month. I have always welcomed comments and critiques of the BORN2READ experience, but earlier this month I was floored, when I received a list of unfounded concerns about BORN2READ.

I have to say, my initial reaction was disbelief that someone could get the BORN2READ Experience so wrong. Then I decided that I should just let it go, and accept that it is just this one person’s opinion of which she is entitled. But then on reflection, I just couldn’t let it go. What if this person is telling others about her misconceptions?

You see, as of next month, BORN2READ is eleven years old – that’s right, ELEVEN YEARS OLD. BORN2READ is not just some hobby of mine, it has been an eleven year commitment, to unlocking the world of reading to young children, and I have only just begun! I also bring to the BORN2READ table, thirty years of experience in the educational sector, three university degrees and a background in curriculum writing of programs which have been submitted to the appropriate governing bodies. In short, I take the teaching of reading, very, very seriously. For this reason, I could not let the concerns go unanswered.

But besides this, I also thought that if this person was having these concerns, then maybe I haven’t articulated the BORN2READ Experience clearly enough. So on reflection, I want to say a big thank you to this person, for drawing my attention to your concerns, and providing me with the opportunity to bring some clarity.

Unfortunately I feel these concerns have come from someone who has only opened the front covers of the readers and viewed the five to ten focus words. They have wrongly assumed that these were the only words in the readers. This is simply not true. The BORN2READ Readers do include other high frequency words – it is not possible to write a story around five words – a story worth reading, that is!

The BORN2READ Experience is not, and should not be defined by the high frequency words listed inside the front cover. It is an experience – and you have to experience the whole of the readers, not just the words inside the cover. The BORN2READ Experience is about engaging stories that include rich vocabulary, that challenge young readers to comprehend as they read. They also include characters that young children can immediately connect with – they are naughty, sometimes defiant, but always real. Judging the BORN2READ Experience based on the words inside the front cover, is like judging a delicious meal by looking but not tasting.

BORN2READ is deliberately different from other commercial programs – I wouldn’t have written if it wasn’t. Each and every reader has been road-tested by its intended audience. And most of you know too, from previous blogs, that some readers had to have some major adjustments, whilst others have been unceremoniously dumped in the rubbish – these children are harsh critics, but they know what they want!

So thank you for your concerns. You have not only given me the opportunity to bring some clarity about the BORN2READ Experience, you have also given me a renewed confidence in the BORN2READ Experience as I worked my way through your concerns.
I know about teaching young children to read, and I know that the BORN2READ Experience unlocks the world of reading for young children, but if you don’t wish to take my word for it, that’s okay. There are hundreds and hundreds of parents who will tell you that the BORN2READ Experience has changed their lives. Why? Their children can now read!

Until next time,
Best wishes,

Katrina
Teacher and Author of the BORN2READ Reading Program

Trial our 7 day BORN2READ Membership

Teachers, take a bow and then put your feet up!

teachers

Ah, school holidays – it is still my favourite time of the year, even though I no longer have school-aged children or work in a traditional classroom.  I love seeing all of the posts on social media, of teachers sharing nature snaps, food snaps, holiday destination snaps, and dare I say, drinking snaps!   Teachers are more than deserving of these breaks because:

  1. They are exhausted – they have gone beyond and above their duty, not just for your one child, but for a class full of children – on average 30 children!! That’s right – thirty little humans that they nurture and teach, day in, day out, regardless of what is happening in their own personal world, and regardless of what some irate parent has barked at them, as they have walked in the room, and regardless of the curriculum reforms that needed to be implemented by 3pm, yesterday.
  2. They are multi-taskers. Not one day is the same in a busy classroom, and it does not matter how well you are planned for the day, it takes just one minor hiccup for the day to go quickly pear-shaped.  However, as a multi-tasker, teachers quickly steady the ship, head it in the right direction and serenity transcends again, and all the while that disturbing thought is running through their mind,  “Just how many days do I have left before parent-teacher interviews?”
  3. They are Teachers that want the best for their children. They want them to be engaged, happy and successful learners. Teachers know, that these little people before them now, grow-up to become the next generation of lawyers, doctors, builders, electricians, nurses and teachers (just to name a few).  There is no way, they want sub-standard professionals looking after them in their twilight years!
  4. They love what they do. For teachers, it is not a job.  It is a passion, a way of life.  They put every living, breathing moment into their profession (and there are the dreams!!) – they just can’t help it.   Even amongst all of the holiday-type shots and snaps on social media, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of teachers sharing about resources and ideas, that will make a child’s life just that little better, regardless  of time or expense.

So teachers, take a bow and then put your feet up.  But just before you do, I want you to multi-task some very special ‘me’ moments that bring you great joy and energy; perfect some amazing holiday memories – the ones that get you through the tougher days of teaching (like when you learn of another paper trail that is essential to complete); and take time to do what you love the best (besides teaching!)

Until next time,

Best wishes!

Katrina

Teacher and Author of the BORN2READ Reading Program

Tuition Membership - Tutoring

How’s the serenity?

So, just last week I was paddling hard, and getting nowhere fast. With a deadline fast approaching, I was extremely concerned that this time, I may just not make it to the finish line. I had a vision of these professional days being a complete and utter waste of time for my colleagues.

I can happily report now, that the days were amazing – exhausting, but amazing. The group of teachers were so professional, that I left each day, feeling extremely confident, that the teaching of reading at this school, was in very capable hands. Their enthusiasm for teaching, their genuine desire to ensure that the children in their care, are nurtured, challenged and, most importantly, taught, was contagious.

The most humbling part of the days, was hearing how their children were engaging with, and learning to read, through the BORN2READ readers. It is quite amazing to think, that the characters that have been a major part of my life, and the lives of children who visit my learning studio, have now been embraced wholeheartedly, by another cohort of young readers.

We also shared strategies that we used, to best teach children how to read. The overwhelming consensus was that no matter what your style of teaching, or the time that you teach reading, or the strategies that you favoured, it was essential to engage the children in the process of reading, every single day, and the skills of reading had to be taught explicitly.

So now after the stress leading up to the event, I can breathe a long sigh of relief and feel the serenity that comes when things turn out just right. But have I finished the long list of things? Of course not, and guess what, the list has just gotten bigger as a result of these days. But you know what? Tonight, I am not thinking about what I need to do before my Christmas Eve deadline. I am taking a break, and appreciating the fact, that I am not alone in my quest to teach each and every child to read. I have a back-up team!

Until next time,

Best wishes,
Katrina

Here I am again!!!

phases

So in a previous blog (The Four Phases), I outlined the four phases of any project that I undertake. I have just re-read that blog and see that, at the time of writing that blog, and for that project, I was in between Phase Two and Three, with the light in the tunnel, burningly close. Ahh the memories!

I can now share with you, that yes, I have started another project and I am stuck in Phase Two – you know the one: Total panic, whilst remaining calm for all to see – smooth! In fact, I am finding that no matter how hard I am paddling at the moment, I am barely keeping afloat! It seems that just as I draw closer to the finish line, I think of something else that I really must add.

The best thing about this fine mess I have myself in, is that I have a deadline, and it is fast approaching. Everything has to be completed by this Monday, or I am going to look rather foolish at an inservice that I am delivering.

So forgive me for this very brief blog, I am off to paddle some more. Wish me luck – I’ll let you know how I go!

Until next week,

Best wishes
Katrina

Can someone please stop the clock

clock

Can someone please stop the clock – just for a minute, no, make that a week?  I just need to catch up!

I don’t know what is going on, but I feel as though my life is moving at an over-accelerated pace at the moment.  No sooner than I get up, it is time to go back to bed, only to get up and start all over again, and again, and again.  Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying each and every day, I just was hoping that the world could spin slightly slower.

Just on Monday, one of my students excitedly told me, that Christmas was just five months away – seriously???  I’m still trying to lose the excess baggage from last Christmas, and I was certain that Easter was just the other day!!

But you know what has shocked me the most – BORN2READ is turning 10 – in September, this year!!!  That’s right, this September, September 2016.  It seems like just yesterday, that I was skipping up the steps, on the way to a gym class (clearly ten years ago!!), when I told my friend that I was starting a new business called BORN2READ.  I cannot believe, that the celebrations for ten years, will begin in earnest, in just a few short weeks.

I’ll keep you posted on how you can celebrate with me, after all, it is all thanks to you, that BORN2READ has come this far – so

thanks-1314887_1280

from the bottom of my heart.  I’m off to find some more time, and get that champagne on ice!

Best wishes,

Katrina

And the winner is … confidence!

Confidence

Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to cope with life, when you’re happy and feeling good? Problems that come your way are not huge obstacles, just a mere blimp on your radius of happiness, to deal with and let go. When you’re feeling good, you’re feeling confident – you can cope with just about anything!

I see every day, the difference confidence can make. I teach children to read, and I love it! When I first meet children, I like to take the time to talk to them, and find out a little about what is happening in their lives – school, friends, favourite thing to do, and so forth. It is during this time, I can usually assess how they are feeling about their learning – I can see it in their eyes, the manner in which they respond and the answers that they give. I generally get a pretty accurate idea, as to whether I can help this child over a long period of time, or in a relatively shorter period of time.

What I am really looking for is confidence – confidence in their ability, and their desire to become better readers. What alarms me, is the look of fear, the look of helplessness and the look of defeat. Sadly, a lot of children walk in with this look. They have failed time and time again at reading, and have all but given up.

Before we can move forward, I have to rebuild the confidence, the desire to learn, and the ability to accept, that when something is hard, we can still succeed, it just takes a little longer. Think back to pre-school days, or more accurately, the ‘terrible toddler’ days. They may have been terrible for us, but for the toddlers, there was no fear, no barriers, no tests – they just got up, day after day, and ‘had a go’. Some trials did not go so well, but they learnt from these. These unsuccessful ventures did not deter that desire to get up and have another go.

I think it is important for children to accept that they are having trouble with reading, at this time. But what is even more important, is to teach children that they are the ones that can turn this around. It takes work, and commitment, and the right attitude. And this has got to come from them. They are in charge – our job is to show them the way, and push them out of their comfort zones.

When this happens, success follows, and confidence begins to grow. And when this happens, I am reminded again, of why I love my job!

So if your child is having trouble reading, accept that, and move on with a clear plan of attack, of how things can get a whole lot better! Dwelling on the problem, just makes it worse. Concentrating on the way forward, is a step in the right direction. If you need some help, you know where I am!

Until next time

Best wishes,
Katrina

Teacher Professional Development – just what you need more of!!

Over the past 30 years, I have been to many Teacher Professional Development Sessions – or as they are known more commonly, Teacher PD. Some are great, but unfortunately, most are not so great.

The ones that I have enjoyed the most, are the teacher professional development days that actually gave me something practical – not something that I needed to reflect upon, react upon, and research further before I could implement in the classroom. Unfortunately, Teacher PD that was practical was very scarce! So in 2002, I started a business called KC Curriculum.

The sole purpose of KC Curriculum was to provide school communities with not only practical resources (my first curriculum publication was entitled ‘Practical Outcomes’), but with professional development from which teachers could walk away from, armed with resources and ideas that could be utilised in the classroom, the very next day.

It has been a little while since I have run Teacher Professional Development days, but I am excited to say, that I am now offering Teacher PD on the first day of the June/July School Holidays. I know, the timing may not be great for all teachers, and I know that on your holidays, it is probably the last thing you want to do, BUT I promise you, it will be worth your while, and it will save you time in the long run.

So what is the Teacher Professional Development on offer? You’ve guessed it – it is based on reading and is aptly called ‘BORN2READ in the Classroom’. My promise to you, is that at the end of this Teacher Professional Development, you will leave my BORN2READ Learning Studio in Oxenford, fully equipped to implement the latest research in the teaching of reading, by having access to the BORN2READ reading program, plus other teacher resources. And of course, you will receive a certificate, certifying Professional Development hours completed, that can be accredited to your Teacher Registration obligations.

I also am hoping, that this Teacher PD will be the beginning of a new network group, that can work together via social media, over the next six months, sharing our progress and achievements.
So what are you waiting for? I promise you, this Teacher Professional Development, will be practical, and informative. Click here, and sign up today!

I’m looking forward to meeting you – 27th June 9.00 – 12.30pm.

Want another reason to sign up, view my 5 Things Teachers want Teacher Professional Development to be!

Best wishes,

Katrina

 

 

“I can teach my child to read, I have lots of spare time,”

Teach my child

“I can teach my child to read, I have lots of spare time,” said no parent of school-aged children ever!

I have an apology to make – for the last 12 months, I have been out of touch with parents of school-aged children. You see, whilst I’ve been happily sailing along the ‘thank goodness my children are now young adults and no longer at school’ waters, I had quite forgotten the reality of those crazy, crazy, school years. I became tied up in my mission to teach every child to read, with your help of course!

Here, I have been strongly suggesting, a commitment of just ten minutes every day, as the answer to teach your child to read. What I had forgotten, was that this window of ten minutes for parents, is often sandwiched between or around, getting dinner sorted; ironing uniforms; emailing the school to explain why the children were late to school again; attending the endless number of compulsory and extremely important parent/teacher information meetings to show that you really do care; grocery shopping; finding lost library books, shoes, hats, lunch boxes; booking and attending, dental, doctor and hairdressing appointments; running children to before and after school activities; organising play dates; helping/doing set homework; purchasing new school shoes/hats because they have disappeared again; and oh, that’s right, dealing with, I mean spending quality time with, partner; then sorting the dog, the cat, the in-laws and acquaintances, all whilst juggling said school children.

What was I thinking??? Of course, finding ten uninterrupted minutes to read every day with your child is nearly impossible!! So how about, I take a gigantic step back, remind myself of those heady days, and can I most humbling suggest, snatching any time at all, would be most appropriate. If you could find just the smallest number of minutes, maybe even just three times a week, that would be awesome.

And I promise I can help in some small way – with the provision of the readers! BORN2READ® has them covered – simple, easy to access, and engaging for both you and your child. Now if only you could find where you’ve put those precious minutes, you really could ‘teach your child to read’! Good luck!

Best wishes,
Katrina.