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


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


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.


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.


E-mail the author

Authors Guild


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


1Leah best writing consultant 1.4 copy

Blog Posts are Below:


My Baby Nurse Likes Onsies but Doesn’t like Pants: Keeping the Big Picture in Mind

Here is Ariana wearing yes, pants. These pants were given to her by the teachers in Burlington, Vermont!


On Friday, December 28th I came home from the hospital with my sweet girl Ariana. I had a huge entourage with me:В  My brother, Josh, my sister in law,Anne,В  my friend, Ellen, Pat, the baby nurse, and my three nieces and nephews, Celia, Vince and Mark.

This is my nephew Mark

This is my nephew Vince

My niece Celia with Ariana








Everyone ran around helping me and never was I more relieved and thankfulВ  for good friends and family.

Before my sister-in-law, Anne,В  left she gave me a wise piece of advice. She thought she was giving me parenting advice and of course she was but really she was alsoВ  giving meВ  (and now you)В  great advice for working with kids and teachers in classrooms.

She told me that there wereВ  many ways to parent.В  . Yes,there are guidelines or big ideas she said,В  but as long as you fit into those guidelines you are fine.

What great parenting advice!

But really what great teaching advice!

Over the past 2 weeks, I have learned so many guidelines about parenting from Pat, my baby nurse,В  such as:

1.В  Safety with the car seat

2.В  Making sure to get lots of burps from ArianaВ  during feedings

3.В  Helping Ariana understand the difference between day and night

These are just a few of the guidelines or big ideas I have learned from Pat.

Over the past few days, I have alsoВ  noticed that Pat has commented on the outfits I have put Ariana in.

1.В  The pants are too big she tells me.

2.В  Ariana’sВ  shirt that goes with the pants creeps upward and she doesn’t think that is so tidy,

3.В  Her hat is too big and it might fall in her eyes..

For a moment I was trying to change how I dressed Ariana to please Pat.В  This was very difficultВ  for me (Those of you who know me know I have strong ideas about what makes for a fashionable outfit)

Thankfully, Anne’s words stayed with me and I realized that safety, burps at feedings and knowing the difference betweenВ  day and night are importantВ  guidelinesВ  (or big ideas) of parenting but what to dress her in was NOT a big idea.

I had to be OK with the fact that Pat and IВ  had different ideas about this.

Interestingly, when I talked to Pat more about this it turns out that Pat does not like babies in pants (she thinks they are tidier in onsies or jumpers as she calls them)

I think there is nothing cuter than babies in pants.

We had to agree to disagree on this. Both of us were OK because Ariana was safe and both of us even with our different ideas of ‘baby fashion’В  were working within the guidelines of good parenting.

What does this mean for teaching? I’ll say what I think and I hope to hear from others.

When working with kids on writing there are certain guidelines. or big ideas..For example, when I work with theВ  youngest writers I want them to do some sort of drawing to help them with their writing butВ  it should be up to them whether they draw allВ  their pictures first, a picture and then words or their words first and thenВ  their pictures second. The general guideline is planning butВ  we should be flexible in how kids use their drawing to plan.

Sometimes we /I get too stuck on kids doing things exactly how we/IВ  ask rather than doing what Anne suggested, having guidelines and getting kids to work within these guidelines.

Likewise, when working with teachers, I/weВ  have to always be careful that I/weВ  don’tВ  get frustrated if teachers don’t do things exactly the way I would do them in the classroom.

One guideline I have for good upper grade teachingВ  is that kids do extended planning. В  Exactly how teachers do this in their classrooms should be unique to that teacher (although I will offer suggestions).

Once again there should be guidelines (or big ideas) and as long as teachers are within those guidelines they’re fine. :)

And when we let people be themselves their teaching, their learning,В  and their parenting is better :)

I hope to hear from you.

Until next time,



15 Responses to My Baby Nurse Likes Onsies but Doesn’t like Pants: Keeping the Big Picture in Mind
  1. Claire Noble
    January 10, 2013 | 9:26 pm

    Ariana is so precious! What a keeper! Congratulations, Mom. Your life takes on new meaning. Claire Noble

    • Leah Mermelstein
      January 10, 2013 | 9:34 pm

      I’m so glad, Bob.Please feel free to pass on to others.
      All the best,

  2. Bob Rose (LinkedIn)
    January 10, 2013 | 9:32 pm

    Great website, Leah! Parenting IS so important. I’ve bookmarked your URL and will return frequently.

  3. Johnna Williams Harrison Avenue School
    January 10, 2013 | 10:05 pm

    Hi Leah,
    Congratulations! She is beautiful! You are going to be great!
    All the best to you and Ariana,

  4. Bonnie norton
    January 11, 2013 | 12:27 am

    Also, always make sure her socks match her outfits…really important! :)
    Your daughter is gorgeous! Have fun with her, if you blink she’ll suddenly be 12!
    Great info!

  5. Patricia Schulze
    January 11, 2013 | 3:30 am

    Oh Leah what a darling little baby! I am so happy for you. A lot of life’s lesson come with parenting. Even more come with grandparenting! My little Jackson (11 months old) has taught me that teaching never stops. I am retired from the classroom but this little guy and I are still learning from each other.
    Your lesson on the blog today should be sent to every administrator or lawmaker who wants a “cookie cutter” education.

  6. Anmarie Galgano
    January 11, 2013 | 3:45 am

    Great perspective! We were having a conversation today about some upcoming word study PD that we are planning, and this was helpful to read. It’s not so much that teachers use the exact same games, sorts, etc., but rather that the goal is to help kids see the transfer to real reading and writing. Different paths to common outcomes, right?? I will reread this post before PD starts! :)
    Stay fabulous (in pants or whatever)!!

  7. Nicole
    January 11, 2013 | 5:34 pm

    You are so right about parenting…and teaching. My husband and I have different ways of thinking when it comes to parenting. Sometimes this works out well, sometimes we fight about it. He is always right though because he says what you are saying, “They are safe, well-fed, and we love them, what’s the difference how it’s done.” I can’t let go of some of those details though. He is saying just what you are. Wow, don’t tell him I said he was right!
    Teaching for me has always been about choices. Choices for students and choices for me. Your post made me think about whether I am a stickler for details that I don’t need to be a stickler about. I try my best and a parent told me once that I was her son’s best teacher because I “let him be who he is.” I reflect on that often and hope that I continue to be that kind of teacher.

  8. Leah
    January 11, 2013 | 6:04 pm

    Hi Nicole,
    Your comments are so thoughtful and that’s a great question for all of us (including me!!!) to think about in both teaching and parenting: Am I being a stickler for things I don’t need to be a stickler about? I am going to keep those wise words in my head while I’m home with Ariana and also when I go back to work. Thanks, Nicole and I’ll see you in April!
    All my best,

  9. Linda Hayward
    January 12, 2013 | 12:53 am

    Enjoy this most wonderful time of your life! Babies don’t care about their outfits or how you parent when they are infants. Love her….hold her….read to her…..the rest will follow!
    So happy for you!
    Linda (1st grade teacher at KSP)

    • Leah Mermelstein
      January 12, 2013 | 3:10 pm

      Thank, Linda I need to keep hearing that over and over and over again!!!!!! I am waiting on pins and needles for Lorena’s news :) Any word yet???

  10. Andrea
    January 12, 2013 | 5:23 pm

    Great post!
    Got me thinking about the work I do with middle schoolers. Staying within the guidelines provides space for intuition and creativity. Clearly fashion is part of your expression. I think babies should be naked all the time, but it’s a little cold and Mav needs to learn bowel control first :)

    Your sister in law seems like a great human.


  11. Leah Mermelstein
    January 12, 2013 | 6:45 pm

    Anne is a great human and has taught me so much about parenting! It’s interesting to think about what you said: the difference between staying within guidelines and each person’s individual expression–I do this is my teaching (usually and hopefully) and am really trying to work on this in my parenting now…thanks for the comments and I am SO EXCITED that we are embarking on this parenting adventure at the same time. xoxo

  12. Constance Foland
    January 12, 2013 | 7:45 pm

    I love pants, too! The other thing about babies and kids, whether they’re in the classroom or we’re holding them in our arms: they do things in their own time. So the kid we think is not getting it (whether that “it” is sleeping through the night, potty-training, or keeping spaces between words or putting punctuation at the end of sentences) they’ll get it when they’re ready, not when we want them to be ready. (Still getting comfortable with this one and my eight-year old…)


    • Leah
      January 12, 2013 | 8:57 pm

      Thanks, Constance…just what I needed to hear at this moment…Ariana has a hard time settling down and Just have to remember that when she is ready she’ll get it..thanks!

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