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Cathy Puett Miller

Read a biography of Cathy Puett Miller at the bottom of this page.

Three Big Ideas for Addressing Preschool Language and Literacy Learning
Focusing on oral language, reading aloud, and language play, instead of on structured sit-down lessons, flashcard drills, and worksheets, keeps young children on the right track to literacy.

O.R.E.: Mining Foundational Treasures in the Early Grades
Oral language, reading aloud, and language play provide students with a strong foundation for their reading experiences, allowing them to enter the world of reading as active, enthusiastic participants. Theres no greater gift you can give your students.

Tying Read Alouds to Standards
This list of suggested activities and strategies will help you make every read aloud count, and assure your principal that you are focused on meeting standards.

Glimpses Into Read-Aloud Classrooms
Merely inviting students to contribute verbally when you read aloud to them isnt enough. Take it to a higher level with analytical talk.

A Shared Experience: The Key to Effective Read Alouds
Id like to suggest that teachers create a read-aloud environment thats a combination of enticing entertainment, skillful modeling of comprehension and thinking strategies, and just plan fun.

Building on the Power of Incidental Vocabulary Learning
Incidental learning plays a critical role in vocabulary acquisition. Researchers Nagy and Scott point to three characteristics of word knowledge critical to understanding incidental learning and vocabulary instruction in general. They are

The Wonderful World of Words
Incidental vocabulary learning requires support every day of the school year, even when you intentionally teach selected new words as well. The surest way to include incidental learning is to plan for it.

The Hidden Side of Strategic Vocabulary Instruction
Using only direct instruction to teach vocabulary can over¬whelm you as a teacher and be too shallow an approach for students.

Using Micro-Text to Teach Writing
In education, micro-texts refer to small, targeted bits of a book, essay, poem, newspaper, online publication, or other text. A micro-text can be a single phrase, sentence, or paragraph. Its selection for teaching writing depends not only on brevity, but also on its content.

Integrating Reading and Writing Instruction into Content-Area Classrooms
The 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that less than one third of U.S. high school students read or write at grade level. What can local schools do?

Conferencing with Young Writers: Time, Content and Purpose
Conferencing with young or inexperienced writers can be challenging. For them to become writers, it must become personal. How can we help students discover that writer within through our conferencing time with them?

Strategies for Teaching Editing
“What we must keep in mind at all times, as author and editor Arthur Plotnik reminds us, is ‘We write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside. We edit to let the fire show through the smoke.’”

Understanding and Teaching Revision
Revision is the second most important part of writing (after the idea). Revising denotes stepping back and looking at contentremoving a perfectly good sentence because it doesnt belong, adding details or clarification, tightening language.

Strategies for Teaching Pre-Writing
Good writing doesnt start with formulas and formats. Thinking, defining what the writer wants to say, planning, and exploring -- that is where it begins. Use these strategies to help students realize they have powerful, important things to say. Includes pre-writing tips for preparing for the SAT essay.

Teaching Writing as a Process
There are, in the real world, many ways to edit, revise, and organize writing. We help students develop strong writing skills when we not only teach them the steps in the process, but also guide them while they take risks and explore.

Discovering the Writers Within
Skill-based instruction is important, but we also must include the essential element of motivation. Convince students that writing is worthwhile and that their oral vocabulary and reading experiences give them tools to express themselves. Their skills will grow.

Summertime Reading
Encourage parents to include reading in their summer plans, and help them keep their kids reading by making summertime reading different than that stuff I do at school.

Exploring Writing Through Childrens Books
This article explores how to teach paragraph structure and use of details to support topic through the picture book, When Jesse Came Across the Sea, by Amy Hest.

Fluency is More Than Just Speed
These classroom-ready tips focus on the most neglected area of fluency -- expressiveness. Improve your students fluency b providing opportunities for them to practice phrasing, expression, emphasis, and volume.

Targeting Standards with Picture Books
Childrens picture books can be used effectively to teach many of the core standards. Learn which picture books you can use to teach about story elements, literature genres, and writing.

Helping Students Make Independent Connections
Do your students use specific strategies during times set side for strategy instruction but fail to use those same strategies in independent reading? Help kids make the connection between instructional strategies and independent reading with "Tools of the Trade."

Making the Most of Guided Reading
Researchers Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell identify the ultimate guided reading goal as helping children learn how to use independent reading strategies successfully. Discover three tips for making the most of guided reading in your classroom.

Encouraging Independent Reading in Summertime -- or Any Time
No matter what their ages, children benefit from independent reading. Join the Literacy Ambassador, Cathy Puett Miller, as she walks you through a practical, easy-to-implement strategy for sending students off into the world of independent reading with a goal and a plan. Included: A step-by-step 4-6 week independent reading plan for students in grades 1-12.

Building a Better Classroom Library
Build vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and research skills with a single tool -- an effective, engaging, irresistible classroom library. Cathy Puett Miller focuses on that often-neglected area of the classroom, as she explains how to give your classroom library new life and make it work for your curriculum and your content goals.

New Ways to Use Read Alouds to Complement Content Learning
Whether teaching elementary, middle, or high school, read alouds connect students to content, peak student interest, and provide information. Hear how two experienced educators use read alouds to meet the challenges of differentiating instruction, expanding student learning, and addressing curriculum. Included: Read aloud tips from the Literacy Ambassador.

Who's On Your Reading Team?
The new year is a time of reflection and a time to set new goals for your students and yourself. Think outside the box to identify resources that can make the difference between success and failure for struggling readers in your classroom.

Connecting Reading to Life
Literacy Ambassador Cathy Puett Miller investigates the use of realia and small group discussions to help students connect reading content to their own experiences. Included: Plenty of practical, use-in-the-classroom-tomorrow ideas.

Motivating the Reluctant Reader
Explore the value of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in today's classroom. Cathy Puett Miller provides classroom-ready tips and ideas to turn all students into readers. Included: Resources for future reading.

Teaching Reading by Example
Explore ways to put the power of example to work in your classroom and turn your students into "readaholics." Cathy Puett Miller shares a series of thought-provoking questions designed to help teachers reassess their influence on their students, and rediscover how to help students translate the skills they are learning into tools for life.

Getting Parents in the Literacy Loop
Create a unique system for student reading success using techniques developed and proven in real school environments. Independent literacy consultant, Cathy Puett Miller, offers practical steps to building such a system to use throughout the school year. You will begin a transformation at your school through the marriage of effective parent involvement techniques and the power of reading.

The Read-Aloud Experience
Cathy Puett Miller explores the importance of reading aloud to students. Sprinkled with the best read-aloud titles, her step-by-step reminders give teachers powerful tools for building comprehension, improving vocabulary, promoting active thinking, and connecting lessons to life.

Multiple Groupings and Student Achievement
The Reading Coach discusses multiple groupings and explores how you can use small group instruction and learning circles to engage every child in grade-level experiences.

Phonological Weakness and Struggling Readers
Learn why phonological awareness -- the understanding that speech and the sounds of language can be broken into smaller units -- is important to all emerging readers.

Every Minute Counts: Layering Instruction
The pace of instruction seems our first enemy -- making it imperative that we create multiple opportunities to enforce what we most want children to learn. Discover how to make every minute count in your classroom.

Improving Fluency in Struggling Readers
There is much more to fluency than speed. Fluency is critically connected with how readers deal with print and gain meaning from it. We need to look at teaching and assessing fluency as a triangle with three important sides...

Sustained Silent Reading in the Classroom
Independent silent reading has been viewed as a time-honored educational tool. Yet today, many teachers sacrifice it for direct instruction, arguing that there are more effective ways to spend the time. What do the experts say?

The Face of Effective Vocabulary Instruction
Did you know that student vocabulary should increase by 2,000-3,000 words a year -- and about 400 of those words should be taught directly? But how do you do it? What activities effectively build student vocabulary? Try these tips from Cathy Puett Miller.

Engaged Reading
Engaging all students in active, thinking, reading is vital. Centering reading around student interests, motivation, and self-concept is how we give every student a reason to read.

Beyond Comprehension Strategies
Cathy Puett Miller discusses a multi-faceted approach to teaching comprehension, including five additions to the NRP's suggested reading curriculum; additions proposed by Michael Graves, University of Minnesota professor and researcher.

Reflection: A Key Element in Teacher and Student Evaluation
Now that the school year is nearly over, the time has come to reflect upon the past year, and honestly assess what we did well and what we can do better. In this column, Cathy Puett Miller provides checklists for both teacher and student self-assessment.

Creating A Reading Community
Make it your goal this year to transform your classroom into one that has positive assessments, and strong and engaged learners -- by declaring reading an empowering, engaging, life-enhancing experience.

Getting Parents Involved
Highlight the power of reading at home with your parents and students by setting up your own "Is Your Home Reader Friendly?" program.

Discovering the Writer in Every Student
Are you tired of "What I Did on My Summer Vacation?" Do you want to move your students beyond weak, formulaic writing? Cathy Puett Miller tells you how.

About the Author

Known as the "Literacy Ambassador," Cathy Puett Miller uses a library science degree from Florida State University as the foundation of her work. With more than eleven years experience as an independent literacy consultant working with teachers, parents, librarians, and non-profit family-friendly organizations, she has conducted research initiatives and best practice studies in the areas of beginning reading instruction, emergent literacy and volunteer tutoring. She currently is listed on the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse Registry of Outcome Evaluators.
Miller's freelance writing appears in such print publications as Atlanta Our Kids, Omaha Family, and Georgia Journal of Reading, and online at Literacy Connections,, Education World, Family Network, The Reading Tub, and The National Education Association.
Miller also reviews children's books at Children's Her signature is her passion for connecting children and families to positive, powerful experiences with reading; she believes there is a book for every child.
Miller lives with her husband, Chuck, eighteen-year-old son, Charlie, and lots of friendly, ferociously read books in Huntsville, Alabama. Visit Cathy's Web site at The Literacy Ambassador.