Welcome to Read – Write – Connect, Inc.

the Internet home of Leah Mermelstein.

Best Writing consultant 002 copyLeah is an internationally recognized literacy consultant who specializes in K-5 Reading and Writing Workshop. She is the President and CEO of Read-Write-Connect, INC. She is also the author of Reading/​​Writing Connections in the K-2 Classroom, (Allyn & Bacon), Don’t Forget to Share (Heinemann) and the co-author of Launching the Writing Workshop (with Lucy Calkins) (Heinemann).


Selected Works

DVD

Quality Writing Instruction
This brand new DVD will assist teachers with high quality writing instruction.

Non-fiction

Don’t Forget to Share: The Crucial Last Step in the Writing Workshop
This brand new book will show you how to make your share sessions more instructional.

Nonfiction

Reading/Writing Connections in the K-2 Classroom: Find the Clarity and Then Blur the Lines
This book demonstrates how through careful, explicit assessing, planning, and teaching every student can understand and use the reading/writing connection to become stronger readers and writers at the same time.

Units of Study for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum: Launching the Writing Workshop
This book shows teachers how to launch a joyful and rigorous Writing Workshop in their classrooms.

QUICK LINKS

E-mail the author

Authors Guild

findauthors

Leah Mermelstein
536 Grand Street, Ste. 501,
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(917) 503-1947

leahmermelstein@earthlink.net

1Leah best writing consultant 1.4 copy

Blog Posts are Below:

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Taking Risks Pays Off in Both Parenting and Teaching

I took a deep breath and drove to Boston all alone with Ariana and look at the great time she had with her cousin Celia!

I took off Ariana’s swaddle ad lo and behold she slept even better than before!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am sharing the two pictures above because both show big risks I have recently taken  in my parenting.

Both times, taking this risk, although nerve wracking,  brought my parenting to a new level.

The first picture is of Ariana sleeping without a swaddle.

Initially, I was scared to take this step with Ariana because she  was already sleeping so well.

“Why ruin something that is already so good,” I thought to myself.

Interesting  I have heard these very same words in schools when I have introduced a new idea to teachers.

My response always  is, “Take a risk.  Try something new!  You could surprise yourself and it could even be better!

It was time for me to take my own advice!

I took the risk and unswaddled my daughter .

She actually slept better that night and stopped making groaning sounds throughout the entire night.

I realized that those sounds were her fighting to get our of the swaddle and now that she was out she could relax more.

Taking this kind of risk wasn’t perfect.

That are still nights that she needs to go to sleep with a swaddle and then I unswaddle her later.

Some nights she sleeps beautifully, while others she is more unsettled.

One thing is for sure:  When I took a risk in my parenting  Ariana moved to a new place–a more comfortable place.

The second picture is from a trip I recently took to Boston. I drove to Boston and then back home again alone with Ariana.

We stayed in two different homes and Ariana met a lot of new people in a short amount of time.

I was really  nervous about this trip and actually considered not going.

Ariana  had such a great little life in Hoboken, why ruin a good thing……she loved her crib, her walks through town and her calm peaceful  schedule.

As I thought about this trip, all I could think were the hard parts of traveling alone with her…packing the car…feeding her while traveling,, changing her diaper in a rest stop…

Again, I thought, “Why mess up something so good?”

The reason…once again because the unknown could be even better!!!!

So we went..was it hard?

Of course.

Ariana did get a bit stressed out not being in her routine but she met her cousins and as you can see from the picture above it was love at first sight!!!!!

Everything hard about the visit  was worth it as she now has these wonderful relationships with her cousins in Boston!

What  do I learn from both of these  experiences?

Taking  risks can be scary and messy but they always have pay off in some way.

The same goes for our teaching! Taking risks can be scary but always pay off in the end.

I try hard in my teaching  to be someone who is always willing to take a risk, to try on a new idea, to take on a new perspective.

I think it’s what keeps me growing as an educator.

Sometimes I wonder, especially with all of the uproar around The Common Core Standards, if we could move quicker towards best practices   if everyone (both proponents of the Common Core  and folks apposed to it )  took a risk and tried to understand what the other side was saying… ..who knows maybe both would be surprised by what they learned and understood.

I hope this post helps you to embrace risk in your teaching.

Try out that new idea you’ve been wondering about….  Try to understand a colleague who thinks differently than you.

And if you find yourself saying what I said, “Why ruin something that is already so good?”  remember  by taking a risk you could you could surprise yourself  and find that the new idea or perspective helps you teach or parent better than you could have imagined.

As always, I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Leah

Copyright, 2013

10 Responses to Taking Risks Pays Off in Both Parenting and Teaching
  1. Nicole
    April 2, 2013 | 12:14 am

    Hi Leah,
    I agree about risks. Change is scary and hard but well worth it. I try not to teach things the same way from year to year. It keeps things interesting and keeps me looking for new ideas.
    As for parenting, my husband used to say that the girls would still be eating baby food if it were up to him. It was scary giving them solid foods but they wouldn’t and didn’t stay babies forever. Risk helped them and us to grow.
    All the best and see you soon,
    Nicole Jamison

  2. Bob Rose
    April 2, 2013 | 12:43 am

    Folks,

    Marilyn Adams’ new book, “ABC Foundations For Young Students” is a dynamite book that soon will revolutionize education!

    Adams apparently bases her new recommendation on “the Venn Diagram” showing the “three-cueing system” necessary for competent reading.

    The idea of the diagram, a series of three overlapping cirles, representing “graphophomic”, “syntactic” and “practical” skills, showing that reading is possible only where the three circles overlap.

    In other words, kids must not only be able to speak Englih, and think (read “cogitate” if you happen to be a Skinnnerian anti-mentalis), but they must also be able to READ.

    And this is where Adams new report comes in. Reading requires intimate knowledge of alphabet letters, which leads to literacy, something educators have been neglecting too long, but which will help the poor and the minority kids of our county end the “learning gap”.

  3. pauletta
    April 2, 2013 | 1:29 am

    Not just for toddlers and preschoolers. I’m trying STILL to get my 25 yr old to take risks (good risks) like…moving out of the house!

  4. Billie Tisherman
    April 2, 2013 | 10:27 am

    Leah-You’re right. Both with parenting and teaching, taking risks is not always comfortable. However, with risks usually comes growth. In all parts of life growth is what it is all about. Continue enjoying every moment with your daughter. There is nothing better than having and raising children. Thanks for your thoughts. Billie

  5. susan
    April 2, 2013 | 1:06 pm

    Hi Leah-
    Parenting and teaching are like reading and writing: Linked together and ever evolving. Without risk we don’t grow as learners! Best to you and your daughter. Enjoy every moment-even those moments when there is discomfort….

    Regards,

    Susan (Berkeley Heights)

    • Leah Mermelstein
      April 4, 2013 | 10:42 am

      That’s so true, Susan! It’s great to hear from you and I know you are one who takes huge risks in your teaching on a regular basis..I know you see the payoff in your kids learning…hope to work with you again one of these days!!!!!

  6. Diane Joyce
    April 3, 2013 | 11:50 pm

    Leah, I believe that all good teachers are risk takers! If you are not willing to take risks in your teaching, then you limit the learning potential for your students and for yourself. Love the pics of Ariana – she is so beautiful!!

    • Leah Mermelstein
      April 4, 2013 | 10:41 am

      I agree with you, Diana! One of the my favorite things about you was your ability to lead teachers in a way that allowed them to take risks….you have such a gift for that

  7. Rebecca
    April 4, 2013 | 12:52 am

    Hi Leah,
    I’ve been reading your blog all this time, and this is my first comment. But I thought — what the heck — take a risk! Your post hit home in so many ways for me this week, as I just hit my “1000th mile” riding my bike! But your parenting stories also hit home in a different way, and I appreciate reading about the risks and benefits you experience as a mom to Ariana! Whether in teaching, parenting, or just LIVING, I often think of the quote — “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Comes in handy when I need to take that next step… no matter what it is!
    Keep sharing your stories!
    Rebecca

    • Leah Mermelstein
      April 4, 2013 | 10:40 am

      Hi Rebecca,
      I’m so glad that you posted and you know that I read your blog on a daily basis…how thrilled I was to hear of your accomplishment after taking risk, after risk, after risk! You really are my risk taking mentor!!!! It’s so true what you said–it applies to parenting, teaching and life. As Diane Joyce said below, Taking risks allows you to see your teaching potential.” As we both see, taking risks allows you to see our potential as living beings…I’m so excited to read about the next risks you take on and both Ariana and I hope to walk with you this spring in Philly. I’ll keep you updated!!!!
      Leah

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