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EMPOWERING

Leaders

Pennsylvania Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development Delaware Valley Region

OFFICERS Dorie Martin-Pitone………................President Christy Brennan......................President-Elect Meredith Denovan….................Past President Matt Friedman........…..............Vice-President Cindy Kruse....................................Treasurer

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Table of Contents President’s Letter .......................................Pages 1-2 Getting back to the Basics of Leadership: Be A Servant..............................................Pages 3-6 Implementing Change & Collaborative Planning Using Vertical Teams...................Pages 7-10 What Ignites Us?.....................................Pages 11 - 12 Board Member Spotlight................................Page 13 Mentoring Readers.........................................Page 14 DVR-PASCD Sponsors ............................Pages 15 - 19

To submit articles, information, or feedback, please contact: Monica Conlin Monica.Conlin@ssdcougars.org Editorial Team Monica Conlin & Christy Brennan


President's Letter Dear DVR Members, “Every spring, a sort of illness strikes millions of Americans. Symptoms include screaming uncontrollably in celebration, panic sweating, obsessing over hastily filled-out brackets, sitting motionless in front of a television for hours, and wearing the bright colors of a college individuals attended many years ago. It’s called “March Madness” and it’s arguably the most popular sporting tournament in America”. Matt Blitz While the majority of people are focused on their favorite college basketball team, in the educational realm we begin to think of the upcoming state assessment and the associated expectations for continual growth and achievement. Metaphorically speaking you can substitute teachers, bubble-sheets, assessments, and school t-shirts in the above statement. It is almost time for the “Big Dance”. This is also the time of the year that school districts begin to review their organizational systems to insure that the necessary supports are in place for the coming school year to sustain and increase growth. Summer workshops are being developed and budgets are being put forth to be approved. As districts grow, they can often evolve into a culture of departments, functions, or individuals. Similar work is performed using dissimilar methods, in many cases resulting in differing results and inefficiency. Achieving increased performance across a district is difficult and, even in the best performing districts, a never ending quest. When our district began the reflective practice of where we are, where we have been, and where we need to be our focus area was a required shift in mindset for teachers and students. Although, the goals were set the path wasn’t always clear. We promoted and encouraged the “Not Yet” understanding. We also asked that teachers “Trust the Process.” We placed an emphasis on the Growth Mindset and Productive Struggle. In the midst of this transition of empowerment, it was natural to retreat to what is comfortable and known. For educators it meant stepping away from the familiar routine- it meant planning with open-ended questions, turning over more of the ownership of the learning to students and honoring multiple pathways to get to the same result. This mindset also reflected an increased awareness that “richer, deeper learning can flow from having students struggle with a challenging task and persisting until completion”. It is with this mindset in place that districts can begin to ponder what can be done differently within their “box”. This year our district established a new system of support: Elementary District Representatives.

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President's Letter This group included educators from every grade level who met throughout the year to have the collaborative conversations necessary to build shared understanding and shared success. This is just one of the spokes connected to the “hub” of increased student achievement and growth. The children’s book, Not Yet by Lisa Cox was suggested by one of the Elementary District Representatives to promote the value in making mistakes and learning from the experience. Soon after this meeting the book was purchased for every elementary teacher for a district-wide Read Aloud. Accompanying the Read Aloud was the purchase of bracelets which had the “Not Yet” phrase printed on them for every student, all staff, and district administration. The idea and organization all evolved from the initial idea shared. As your district and classrooms strive for the controlled chaos that is productive in nature, be mindful of the following factors that may detract from your overall goal: . • The decision is more reactive than proactive. • Policies and procedures are not enforced, agreed upon, or are unclear. • There is a lack of communication across the district• There is a lack of systems to support the initiative. • There is an absence of transparency. • There is a lack of accountability. In honor of March Madness embrace the opportunity for all possibilities. With appreciation, Dorie As stated best by those who have led successful organizations: NC State’s Jim Valvano. “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” Jay Wright embraced a new approach that emphasized how his players thought about the game, and he brought it to Villanova in 2001. At the team's facility, there's ample evidence of Wright's focus on the psychological. Wright thinks about every message his players hear and see such as slogans like "Players play for their teammates and coaches; actors play for the crowd."

“We're not complex in what we do X-and-Owise,” Wright states, “But we do spend a lot of time on how we react mentally to every situation.” The idea isn't to draw up lots of plays but instead to give his guys the confidence and the freedom to make plays. “I get a group of people who are talented to commit to excellence and to work together as one. That’s where it starts. Different talents, same commitment.” Duke University’s- Coach K

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Getting Back to the Basics of Leadership: Be A Servant

Dr. Thomas M. Calvecchio DVR-PASCD Board Member

Dr. Thomas M. Calvecchio is a newly hired Administrator at the CCIU. Prior to this, Thomas served as a Building Principal at The County Alternative High School, and for five years as the Director of Pupil Services and Special Education at the Chester Upland School District, under the guidance of PDE. Thomas has presented at The National Autism Conference in 2016, as a closing keynote speaker, and Internationally, in 2015, at the International Special Education Conference in Wroclaw, Poland. Thomas can be reached at ThomasC@cciu.org. Think back to why you entered the field of education. Was it because of the lavish lifestyle you anticipated from your hefty annual teacher salary? Was it because you wanted to blend into the background of society and avoid meaningful interactions with others? My guess is that neither of these scenarios are true, and that you joined our great professional community to help make a difference

in the lives of others, or better yet, the world. My hope with the following article is to appeal to that sense of service that brought you into leadership (classroom or administration) in the first place. This article also aims to have its readers reflect, perhaps in a different way, about the challenges of our work. It is difficult enough to navigate the present landscape of modern education, let alone execute a planning horizon that extends beyond the next reauthorization of major legislation. What I offer is an opportunity to think about approaching the technical and performance related tasks in our world with a more human approach. Consider improving performance and achievement in your classroom, building, or district by truly serving those in your constituency. Have we become so hyper-focused on student performance, compliance, or following directives that we forget the awesome responsibility of being a leader?

"Are we committed to making investments in our students, staff, or stakeholders that improve morale or climate?"

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Getting Back to the Basics of Leadership: Be A Servant

Dr. Thomas M. Calvecchio DVR-PASCD Board Member

Are we committed to making investments in our students, staff, or stakeholders that improve morale or climate? Do we see any value in achieving our technical and performance-related objectives through kindness and genuine will to serve others? I do, and this is why I entered our profession. Below is how I remind myself to get back to the basics of being a "servant leader" when times get tough. I’ve also realized that in times when I focus my efforts on being a servant, there were often visible improvements in other areas of my classroom, building, or organization. I have made the correlation between service and achievement, and believe in its power. People have been reminding themselves to get back to the basics of leadership since 1970, when Robert K. Greenleaf published his first article on the leader as a servant.

Since then, Greenleaf is widely considered the formal authority on servant leadership and has amassed a deep research and knowledgebase of service related leadership practices. Locally, and in our daily lives, we can also complete a simple "1-2-3" check-up on our purpose as a leader, to re-discover the “why” of what we do. Step 1 is to identify that you possess a natural desire to lead. Sounds simple enough, right? Think again. Educators face stress and burnout at a rate higher than any other group of service professionals in the U.S. (Ansley et al., 2016). In fact, 50% of all educators leave the field altogether within the first five years of service, and that number is up to 33% higher in urban settings (Marinell & Coca, 2013). Step one allows for you to take an honest inventory as to what is currently driving you as a school leader. Often, we label our “wins” only as blue or green bands, or value-added growth, but as a servant leader, it’s ok to measure your success or growth on growing people in all areas of their lives. I have personally found myself in situations where these were the only “wins” available to me, and was ultimately rewarded to see those wins turn into academic and systemic wins for my programs.

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Getting Back to the Basics of Leadership: Be A Servant

Dr. Thomas M. Calvecchio DVR-PASCD Board Member

The questions to ask yourself when reflecting on Step 1 are: "Am I here because I genuinely want to serve others, and what in my leadership style proves this?" Step 2 is to make the conscious choice to lead. Making the conscious choice to lead, whether you have always been a servant, or are deciding to begin today, making the conscious choice to serve, primes the aspiration to lead. To me, this is the underpinning of all leadership theories; the ambition to make something happen! The conscious choice to lead can develop into something great. Step two means being deliberate about what you choose to accomplish. Whether you are serving in a healthy organization with high achieving students and abundant resources or an unhealthy organization with poor climate and broken systems, being a servant leader can help you accomplish your goals. No matter which scenario you're in, the service you provide to your staff and students can always be improved with more humanity, kindness, and authenticity. The needs of students, staff, and stakeholders are drastically different, but a dedicated, serving leader can improve conditions for everyone by making a conscious choice to meet the needs of those they serve.

The questions to ask yourself when reflecting on Step 2 are: "What are the highest priority needs of those I serve, and how can I water my garden to ensure progress is long lasting?" Step 3 requires you to get back to the basics. It is likely the most difficult step to master, and involves testing yourself. Are those you’re serving growing? Are children or staff becoming healthier, wiser, kinder, more autonomous? For me, this step has helped me stay focused and dedicated in spite of challenging situations, where others would have not seen hope. Challenging myself to become more dedicated to those I serve allowed me to find joy in the growth of others.

"Do we see any value in achieving our technical and performance-related objectives through kindness and genuine will to serve others?"

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Getting Back to the Basics of Leadership: Be A Servant

Dr. Thomas M. Calvecchio DVR-PASCD Board Member

I am certain that my skills have grown as a leader by encouraging others to be great. Step 3 is also a great weekly or monthly litmus test for you to practice. Inside my center desk drawer is a sign that says “Water Your Garden” that I will see from time to time as a reminder to evaluate myself. The questions to ask yourself when reflecting on Step 3 are: "Are those I serve becoming better people? What would my students or staff say about how I care for them? Am I authentic? Are we doing what we say we’re going to do? Am I doing what I said I’m going to do?" The answers to these reflection questions are usually a good place to start in making incremental changes to how you are leading, or want to lead others. It can also affirm that you are acting in the best interest of others by focusing on their growth and wellbeing. After all, we spend most of our waking lives with our co-workers or students, why not work actively to make that a positive experience? Being a servant leader could be easily seen as shallow subscription in this age of accountability, but I genuinely believe that serving your teams well can and will improve the commitment, achievement, morale, and affinity within your sphere

of influence. The only caveat is that you must be authentic. If you don’t believe this in your bones, neither will your students or your staff. Serving others well can also lead to advancing the mission or becoming more committed to the process in healthy organizations in the same way that it can begin to create trust in unhealthy organizations that will serve as a solid foundation to create lasting change. This simple 3-step check-up is important to me because it is not the first, nor even fifth, thing that will cross my mind when I am evaluating myself, or my work. However, each time I remember to utilize it, I feel like I’ve improved my practice. Hopefully, you will too. References: Ansley, B. M., Houchins, D., & Varjas, K. (2016). Optimizing Special Educator Wellness and Job Performance Through Stress Management. Teaching Exceptional Children, 48(4), 176-185. Greenleaf, Robert, K. (2002). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press. Greenleaf, Robert, K. (2016). Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. Retrieved from www.greenleaf.org on 1/27/18. Marinell, W. H., & Coca, V. M. (2013). Who stays and who leaves? Findings from a three-part study of teacher turnover in NYC middle schools. New York, NY: Research Alliance for New York City Schools. Retrieved from http://media. ranycs. org/2013/003.

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Implementing Change & Collaborative Planning Using Vertical Teams Joel DiBartolomeo DVR-PASCD Board Member Joel DiBartolomeo is a thirteen-year K – 12 education administrator, former secondary mathematics teacher, and accountant. He will complete his doctoral studies in Education Leadership at Widener University in Chester, PA in 2019. The influence of being born and raised in Philadelphia has fueled his drive to advocate for the underserved. He is a devoted believer in Servant leadership and that empowering those for whom he serves is the best way to lead innovation and a selfsustaining learning culture. He volunteers with community and education boards and is the proud father of three middle school aged boys and husband to Sharon since 2000. Many reasons contribute to the challenges educators face when delivering or participating in the type of research-based training we know is needed to implement change. Most of our time is either spent reacting to needs or acting just in time to meet the latest demands swirling in today’s ambiguous environment. Districts, schools, and departments hold meetings, host a few in-service days, and then there may be a few additional summer training workshops, but each agenda is often unconnected to the one we just heard, and as a result the message gets lost in the medium.

During the year, most meetings follow the same pattern: drag your exhausted mind to some end-of-the-day gathering where you will sit or facilitate for an hour, which would be a generous amount of time in many places, and listen to or join in side bar talk and/or questions still lingering from previous meetings. Agenda are often discursive and filled with information from varied sources and top-down edicts. If we are fortunate, the meeting will include a portion of training or coaching. Teachers come to realize that most of the information, if not all, can be learned afterward from colleagues, thus fracturing the already disconnected implementation and change practices, and leaving an opportunity to build capacity unfilled.

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Implementing Change & Collaborative Planning Using Vertical Teams Joel DiBartolomeo DVR-PASCD Board Member As a result, unintended consequences of another type arise, but discussing them here will only take us further into the rabbit hole and away from a solution that can help deliver a more meaningful training structure that promotes coherence and builds systems’ capacity across the organization. In the end, the current model leaves many teachers with a confirmed sense that they are alone and isolated. We expect our students to collaborate and the same from our teachers, but often pay little attention to how we design meetings beyond standing and delivering. This messy process is repeated across the country and contributes to the already ambiguous and frustrating environment that makes teachers want to close their doors in retreat to find safety in the silo of their classroom or leave the profession altogether.

"How can schools ensure a more consistent understanding across the organization while building capacity in teachers for the organization?"

How can schools ensure a more consistent understanding across the organization while building capacity in teachers for the organization? Grade level teams are good start. The general model and expectations of grade level teams promote collaboration and take place during scheduled team planning times. This time can be focused on student information analysis, planning, and pedagogical discussion. As a result, teachers learn from each other and the team builds capacity. In most places today, this model is considered a best practice, but it alone does not guarantee common implementation or a shared vision across the Watch Carol Dweck's TEDare Talk: organization. Individuals and teams ostensibly exchanging ideas andThat developing The Power of Believing Youa more or less focused method to implement the Can Improve “you name it� change, but their capacity is limited to that cohort. https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_ One way to improve on the grade level model of_believing_that_you_can_improve

is to organize teams vertically and to embed structured activity that requires collaborative work and product from these vertical teams. The vertical structure brings silos into contact with one another and helps reduce the amount of variance in understanding and implementation across the organization. Leaders can build on these new relationships to generate synergy and build capacity across the organization. 8


Implementing Change & Collaborative Planning Using Vertical Teams Joel DiBartolomeo DVR-PASCD Board Member This broader focus on training and driving change would make use of activity specially designed to amplify the grade level team model. Vertical team practices were first introduced to our teachers and staff in 2013 to build familiarity with those “outside ‘their’ group.” We used the vertical team model to strengthen relationships and develop common understandings about each other’s requirements, instructional core, and expectations. The nascent relationships and acquired knowledge opened the teachers’ minds and hearts to collaborative possibilities with partners in grades above, below, and across all content areas. By deconstructing barriers and strengthening connections (including relationships) across the systems, ideas grew into possibilities that evolved into a learning culture that now freely embraces innovation and change.

Through our work with vertical teams we have been able to cultivate stronger relationships and build a community of learners that embraces the school vision and delivers a unified message to our students and families. Some simple steps to consider when creating vertical teams include: Everyone is on a team and team building is necessary Each grade, including humanities and special education, are represented Relationships matter, so place the right people in the right places Deliver learning activities that require sharing, discussion, recorded product used Watch Carol Dweck's TED Talk: for learning and reflection, and follow-up Thediscussions Power of Believing That You Be patientCan and keep the teams together for Improve three to four years Vertical teams should meet at least bihttps://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_ monthly of_believing_that_you_can_improve

Our training has evolved into a much more dynamic and inclusive process that delivers change in a more efficient and effective way. Teachers have engaged in peer visits, lesson study on concepts, and, yes, even peer observations. The deeper awareness of each other and of the curricular and administrative requirements has helped each of us plan and deliver concepts to our students in more thoughtful and refined ways.

There is a reason so much continues to be written about professional learning, nurturing leadership capacity, and cohering a vision; there are no easy answers! Edicts and bureaucracy will always compete for time on our agenda, people will always be skeptical of change, and receivers will always interpret subjective meaning from what they hear,

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Implementing Change & Collaborative Planning Using Vertical Teams Joel DiBartolomeo DVR-PASCD Board Member but these outcomes can be minimized and coherence has a better chance to envelop the whole if individuals are organized on diverse vertical teams who believe in each other and who are made to engage in meaningful work together. Vertical teams used in conjunction with a commitment to the

practices that foster team dynamics will create space in a time-depleted culture where leaders can help teachers shorten the curve for learning, and accept and implement change.

JOIN US MARCH 21ST at Cabrini University 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM Featuring #MakerDads

https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_ of_believing_that_you_can_improve

Learn More & Register at www.dvrpascd.org/events

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What iGnites Us?

A Successful Summation: Academics + Character Twin Valley Middle School: Elverson, PA

Joy Rosser, DVR-PASCD Board Member

Joy Rosser is currently serving as secretary on the DVR-PASCD board, teaching sixth grade science at Kennett Middle School, serving on the Pennsylvania Don Eichhorn Schools: Schools to Watch State Evaluation Team and is president of the southeast regional PAMLE board. Joy is expanding her research and writing; discovering ways people are being ignited within educational institutions, among student interactions, and within families affiliated with education. The successful balanced experience students and staff receive and implement at Twin Valley Middle School (TVMS) in Elverson, PA is just one of many factors that has earned it a Schools to Watch (STW) honor this year. TVMS joins 35 other Pennsylvania middle-grades schools previously recognized based on a schoolwide collaboratively written application and an evaluative visit from the STW state team. Strong leadership, teachers working together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement were all evident in the application and STW visit. TVMS was recently recognized at the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education State Conference. They will be recognized nationally with all the other recognized STW schools across the country in Washington, DC in June.

Specifically, seizing student leadership through programs such as Raider Pride, Peer Mentoring and PeaceKeepers has created a climate and culture that emphasizes care, self and social awareness, and self and social management. Students are encouraged to think compassionately and critically, achieving an education of both mind and heart. Raider Pride affords 8th graders the opportunity to shine as leaders and make a difference throughout the school. Students are selected and trained as Raider Pride members; volunteering one to two times per week prepares 8th grade students to be beacons for the TVMS student body in realms such as growth mindset, goal setting, social awareness and acceptance of others. One to two Raider Pride 8th graders lead small groups of 12 to 15 students throughout the school in character education activities and lessons. Students and staff eagerly and enthusiastically participate in the activities and the debriefing closure. As important as the lesson itself, is the posed question to students, How will you apply what we learned? Raider Pride members plant seeds of generous leadership to grow a schoolwide social and emotional community, diffusing compassion, responsibility, care and trust among students and staff.

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What iGnites Us?

A Successful Summation: Academics + Character Twin Valley Middle School: Elverson, PA

Joy Rosser, DVR-PASCD Board Member

The versatility of the master schedule enables 8th grade students to take a related arts class in “peer mentoring� with the school librarian. Students volunteer their time throughout the week in an academically oriented setting of individual support or classroom support. In the classroom, peer mentors assist teachers with task prompting and academic instruction. Students mutually benefit from experiencing personal relations with peers and an improved academic mindset. Additionally, the peer mentor role models expected behaviors and character, positively influencing rising 8th grade students of Twin Valley.

Did You Know? Your PASCD Membership includes access to our Gale Virtual Library with 30 eBooks from ASCD.

Guidance counselors play an integral role with the PeaceKeepers program; they train 7th graders to manage conflict resolution through restorative practices. Numerous staff members at TVMS are certified in restorative practices and pass this skill set along to students. Students, teachers and counselors all make referrals to the PeaceKeeper program in hopes of resolving conflict in a healthy, positive way. Over time, this style of resolution has created a mindset among students and staff whereby differences are viewed as opportunities for resolution, deeply rooted in an avenue of conversation. Students in all roles of the PeaceKeeper program appreciate the designated space in the building where conversations are respected, confidential and effective towards a peaceful outcome. With an intentional focus on character, TVMS continues to uphold an equation for an academically, socially and emotionally balanced school. Students and staff are enthusiastically contributing to a community formula where all voices are heard and all voices matter.

Check it out at www.pascd.org (You must login as a member to view)

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Member Spotlight Dr. Dorie Martin-Pitone DVR-PASCD Board President Dr. Dorie Martin-Pitone is a K-12 Curriculum Supervisor & Federal Programs Coordinator for the Marple Newtown School District. She is also a Penn Literacy Network Facilitator in addition to her role as President of DVR-PASCD.

Jeff Kuciapinski

SPOTLIGHT ON: Jeffrey Kuciapinski, Learning Support Teacher & Aspiring Administrator, Culbertson Elementary School Welcome to one of our newest board members, Jeff Kuciapinski! Jeff’s background in special education over 24 years includes experience in both the primary and secondary school settings. This perspective has been a dynamic “hands on” addition during our board discussions regarding the whole child. Jeff’s aspirations to become an educator were influenced by the numerous teachers he encountered during his own academic journey.

The positive experiences he recalls of his teachers always making the time to assist him in both his personal and educational challenges solidified his decision to become a teacher. As the Extended School Year Supervisor for the Marple Newtown School District, Jeff has had the opportunity to provide feedback in regard to programs and systems within the district. Jeff is also his building’s union representative for the Pennsylvania Schools Education Association. Through this lens Jeff’s passion was ignited to have teachers seen as leaders and mentors in the district. Jeff also believes that in the role of the teacher leader or administrator he could motivate others to continue to hone their craft and have their voices honored. Above all, Jeff keeps at the forefront of his passion to never give up on the students and to always do what is best for kids. As a teacher leader Jeff has remained visible and active in various initiatives such as the development of data collection forms for Math and Language Arts, curriculum writing, alignment of the special education services within the regular education schedule, and instructional technology workshops. We look forward to future collaborative efforts with Jeff’s presence on our board.

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Mentoring Readers Martha S. Butler DVR-PASCD Board Member

Martha S. Butler is currently serving on DVRPASCD board and an ELA teacher at Garnet Valley Middle School. Many successful people can identify at least one person in their life who has mentored them during their career. But, can people identify the person who mentored them to become strong readers or to just enjoy reading. After reading Book Love by Penny Kittle, I began to look at mentoring through a different lens. In her book, she mentions a principal who mentored young men in a book club he created (p. 146) and how this experience changed students’ views about reading. Encouraging student to read has to be part of the school culture. The role of a reading mentor is a way that all educators can engage students.

educators have to be committed to encouraging students to read and believe that reading has its benefits. Penny Kittle believes that reading changes lives and builds confidence. If educators, acting as reading mentors, can get students to read and celebrate the small achievements in reading then students can begin to see their reading life differently. Penny Kittle, in Book Love, talks about making reading a part of the school culture and encouraging all educators to invite students to read. It is import for educators to share their reading life and provide students with access to a variety of books. Encouraging educators to become reading mentors can be the beginning of building a strong reading culture with in schools.

The Books. All educators, regardless of position or subject, should have books in their classroom or office that may interest students. These books can be books that teachers have read themselves and can speak to personally, or subject related. The familiarity with the books makes it easier for educators to mentor students about reading. As a reading mentor, educators should display their reading life by surrounding themselves with the books they have read. Reluctant Readers. Students who are reluctant readers may be reluctant because they find reading difficult or they have not found the right book. When dealing with reluctant readers,

Citation: Kittle, P. (2013). Book love: Developing depth, stamina, and passion in adolescent readers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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