Quotes from the Passion Prezi – presented at Reading Recovery Pre-conference, February 2012

Kristen Olson, author of Wounded by School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up to Old School Culture,  writes, “While reformers and policymakers focus on achievement gaps, testing, and accountability, millions of students mentally and emotionally disengage from learning and many gifted teachers leave the field. Ironically, today’s schooling is damaging the single most essential component to education – the joy of learning” (and teaching).

“Joy is one letter away from job.”

Debbie Miller, author of Reading with Meaning,  said, “We cannot choose fidelity to a program, curriculum or test over fidelity to a child.”

Ruth Powell, an outstanding former FCPS music teacher who taught the Skillful Teacher course years ago said, “if you’re just going to cover it, you might as well bury it in the backyard.”

Angela Maiers says in her book, the Passion-Driven Classroom, “We may not control the standards, the curriculum, or even the lesson we have to teach on Monday morning, but we do control the talk. Making passion a part of our language changes us. It changes our thoughts, our attitudes, and our behaviors and by simply changing the conversation, we change the culture.”

As Lucy Calkins said at a recent conference I attended, we have the choice between seeing despair and problems or possibility and promise.

As William Wordsworth said, “what we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how”.

Kelly Gallager, in Readicide says, “people who are undernourished need good food. Readers who are undernourished (struggling) need good books – and lots of them.”

Regie Routman says, “curriculum and standards must first connect with the lives and spirits of our children if we’re to have any lasting success. Unless we reach into our students’ hearts, we have no entry into their minds. We can get students to pass tests and complete assignments. But there is a price to pay. We will never inspire our students to learn for their own sake and to love coming to school.”

Randy and Katherine Bomer say, “only by participating in communities where others are waiting to hear from us, where a group believes our words and thoughts are significant, can we develop a habit of speaking out about things we care about.”

“The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success is reading aloud to children.” Becoming a Nation of Readers, 1985

Maria Nichols, in her wonderful book, Comprehension Through Conversation, says  “It is through purposeful talk with others that we construct ideas and visons of possibility for ourselves and each other.”

“When teachers create, adopt, and adapt their work, they function similarly to artists. They share and learn from each other. Like artists, they fuel themselves with their own passion and, in doing so, create a contagion of creativity that fuels learning passion among the young people they serve. They’re not cookie-cutter teachers and they look for every opportunity to design away from cookie cutter learning work.  It’s routine for their children to ask questions, pursue interests, wonder and search, make meaning, create original responses, and amplify knowledge into deep understanding and growth as a learner. Together, educators and young people alike dream learning that’s writ large through passion, not writ small through standardization.” Pam Moran,  Superintendent, Albemarle County Schools, Virginia http://spacesforlearning.wordpress.com/


More quotes we love:

“Literacy is inseparable from opportunity, and opportunity is inseparable from freedom.
The freedom promised by literacy is both freedom from – from ignorance, oppression, poverty – and freedom to – to do new things, to make choices, to learn.” – Koichiro Matsuura

“Reading is a complex process involving a network of cognitive actions that work together to construct meaning.”  -Dorn and Soffos, 2005

“A teacher’s job is always to bridge from the known to the new.  Because there really is no other choice. Kids are who they are.  They know what they know. They bring what they bring. Our job is not to wish that students knew more or knew differently.  Our job is to turn each student’s knowledge, along with the diversity of knowledge we will encounter in a classroom of learners, into a curricular strength rather than an instructional inconvenience.”  -P.  David Pearson, 1997

“Sounding out words is not a routine response used by an efficient reader.” – Marie Clay

“The goal is not naming a strategy, but applying it to the reading of text.”

“The purpose of a mini-lesson is to ‘teach the reader.’  Your goal is to help children think like readers.”

“Keep the language grounded in good texts so that students understand that their goal is to understand and notice more rather than to ‘do’ a strategy.”  -Fountas & Pinnell

“Meaning doesn’t arrive because we have highlighted text or used sticky notes or written the right words on a comprehension worksheet. Meaning arrives because we purposefully engaged in thinking while we read.” -Tovani, 2004

“When there are so many standards it puts a teacher into a “sprint to cover” approach.”  Kelly Gallagher from an interview video.

The following quotes are from Mary Howard, RTI From All Sides:

“Teachers who differentiate recognize that the best lesson plan is the student sitting right in front of them.”

“Making meaning should be the goal of every instructional action and every activity in which we engage students.”

“… the more assessment moves away from real reading, the less information we glean from it.”

“The intent of RTI is to ensure that students receive rich literacy experiences every year in every setting with every teacher, not merely in some years in some settings with some teachers.”

“We can’t get inside and rewire a brain, but we can arrange things so that it gets rewired.  If we are skilled, we can set up conditions that favor this rewiring, and we can create an environment that nurtures it.”

James Zull – The Art of Changing the Brain

 And these next three are from Shelley Harwayne, Lasting Impressions

“Sharing books is part of what it means to be a literate human being.”

“…all our children need to believe they have something interesting to say.  Literature plays a key role in helping children’s voices take the floor.  Literature triggers thoughts, unlocks memories, and helps create the kind of community in which it’s safe to tell our stories.”

“Inviting students to search for and linger with fine writing is not busywork, it is informing work.”


  1. One of the many things I do as an elementary instructional coach is to put together a monthly newsletter for the staff. I have a section in my newsletter called “Tidbits” where I post an education-related quote with the hope that the teachers reflect on it. After reading this post, my only difficulty in the process of finding a quote to use will be in deciding which one of the many wonderful quotes you have shared here! Maybe I need to start wearing a sandwich board with a different quote on it every day! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love these quotes from various authors and/or presenters. In February 2012, I spent the Pre-conference day @ the Ohio RRCNA/Literacy Conference with Pat and Katie…it was AMAZING & INSPIRING! Often times, when I feel that I am standing alone advocating for struggling readers, I return to this blog to “refresh” my purpose for teaching! Pat & Katie – you can’t even imagine how powerful your shared work and genuine experiences are…thank you! As a Reading Recovery/Title I resource teacher, I not only refer to your work & words in my teaching, but also in the renewal of my spirit as a teacher when standing up for what is right for students, not what is easy and/or scripted, can leave you standing alone!

  3. Pingback: Post 3: Informed Teaching and Learning – Adventures in Literacy

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