Meet Cathy Collier, author of The WISE Owl
There isn’t time I can remember when I didn’t want to be a teacher. I would force my younger brother and sister to play school on Saturdays. When I was in the fourth grade my father brought home a box of carbon paper and I was thrilled at the prospect of being able to make 2 worksheets at once. That’s probably where my love for making teaching easy started.
I retired in 2021 from Chesapeake Public Schools. I was there for more than thirty years. I’ve taught Students with Learning Disabilities and kindergarten and finished my career as a Reading Specialist. Once a teacher, always a teacher.
As an undergraduate at Longwood College (now University) in Farmville, Virginia, I earned my Undergraduate Degree in Special Education. After several years teaching a K-5 Learning Disabilities Resource Class, I earned my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia.
My love of teaching struggling students combined with my passion for early literacy led me to become a kindergarten teacher. After 2 decades of classroom work, I earned my Reading Specialist Certificate from Old Dominion University.
Life-long Literacy Professional
I have been in the literacy community in Virginia for the past 3 decades. I served on the Executive Board of my local reading council and my state reading council (Virginia State Literacy Association). As the President-Elect of the Virginia State Reading Association, I was the 2013 VSRA Annual Conference Chair. The state-wide conference lasted 3 days, provided workshops for 1000 participants and hosted 100 national speakers and vendors.
In addition to my roles with the VSLA, I have presented for City-Wide Staff Development for Chesapeake Public Schools. I have been a presenter at the Virginia State Reading Association conference since 2009. I also presented at the North Carolina Reading Conference in 2014, the Keystone State (Pennsylvania) Reading Association in 2014, 2016 and 2021, the Oklahoma State Literacy Association and Tennessee Literacy Association in 2017 and the Ohio State Literacy Association in 2018.
Finally, I presented a workshop for the International Reading Association in Chicago in 2012, in New Orleans in 2014, in St. Louis in 2015, in Boston in 2016 and San Diego in 2018. I have also presented at the VSLA conference every year (except one) since 2014. Even though I am retired from teaching, I continue to work with teachers and school districts across the country. I was honored to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the International Literacy Association. I also have a Teacher Pay Teacher store to share products I have created for my classroom.
I am not usually at a loss for words, but don’t ask about reading and writing for emergent and struggling learners, if you don’t have a few hours. I love talking about teaching and helping teachers do their best for their students. I enjoy presenting literacy institutes at state conferences, developing and presenting staff development workshops for school divisions, and headlining area reading council literacy conferences. Contact me now to schedule a workshop for your group.
Now, I'm an author!
I am so excited to announce the publication of my first book, The Road to Independent Reading and Writing. After 31 years in the classroom, I took all my lesson ideas and put them in here to share with others. My hope is to lighten the teacher load with useful ideas.
There are activities for Reading and Writing. There are step-by-step explicit directions on teaching reading and writing to our earliest students. The book ranges from K-2. It includes whole group lessons, small group lessons, and center activities for building life-long learners. The book is 297 pages (with an additional 150 pages digitally).
The writing section covers implementing writing instruction, spelling strategies, composition strategies, and journal writing. The reading section covers strategies for teaching reading, providing lessons for phonological awareness, phonics, concept of print, reading comprehension, and vocabulary development. Flexible differentiation strategies are also included within each section to allow teachers to be responsive to the needs of all learners. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.