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You’ve heard of the Newbery awards? Stacey Riedmiller’s fourth and fifth graders are on the committee—for the Mock Newberys, that is, which she hosts each year at Hilltop Elementary. “As adults, we bring a lot of baggage to a text, but a child can tell when an author is being true to the experiences of children. They can smell a fraud from miles away.” Riedmiller, a self-professed “reading warrior,” has installed Little Free Libraries around town, hosts a summer Books on Blankets program (complete with Popsicles!), and is working on acquiring a “Bibliobus” to get books out to the community.
School: Fourth-grade language arts and social studies teacher, Hilltop Elementary School, Reading, Ohio
Career Path: “I started college as a business major and quickly realized I wasn’t cut out for it. Channeling my love of children’s literature, I decided to go into elementary education.” Riedmiller had thought she’d teach kindergarten, but found upper elementary “a much better fit.”
Teaching Philosophy: “Choice and voice. I am there to facilitate an authentic and engaging learning experience, but they are in charge.”
Our Favorite Quote: “The capability my kids bring to the table continues to surprise me—we should look to them to solve big issues.”
Library “breakdown”: “My favorite project this year was when we tore apart our classroom library to analyze books. Students had to find books with kids who looked like them on the covers, and also books they’d read that had characters they connected with on an emotional or social level. It was eye-opening. I am constantly evaluating the titles we add to our library to make sure kids feel like they see themselves and their families in the stories.”
3 Literacy Tools
Padlet “serves as an online bulletin board. We use it during read-aloud to post summer book recommendations and for reading response letters and reviews. It’s free and super simple to use.”
Kid Blog “is our writing platform. Students have their own accounts and use it often to post their writing. They comment on one another’s posts with feedback and reviews.”
Twitter “keeps us connected with other classrooms, especially for Global Read Aloud and classroom Book-a-Day.”
Photo: Courtesy of Stacey Riedmiller
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