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The story of the book Interactive Writing Across the Grades: A Small Practice with Big Results, PreK-5 begins over twenty years ago when Kate was a new teacher. She was trying different methods of instruction to help her first graders learn to read and write. At that time, Irene Fountas was the literacy coordinator in her school. She was advocating that teachers incorporate a relatively new method called interactive writing. Together Irene and Kate taught interactive writing lessons in Kate’s classroom, and Kate was hooked from the beginning. “I loved the energy of the lessons, the way I was pulling together my entire literacy curriculum in every interactive writing session, the opportunity to reach so many students at different levels while creating a community of writers, and the rich and authentic products we created.”
Throughout the next several years, Kate implemented interactive writing on a daily basis with her primary grade students in both urban and suburban classrooms. It became one of the core teaching practices in her class. During this time she also trained as a Reading Recovery teacher. “The more I learned about students’ literacy development and how assessment informs good instruction, the more I was convinced of the power of this practice to help improve students’ independent writing.”
When Kate pursued her Doctorate in Language and Literacy at Harvard University, her research focused on interactive writing in the primary grades. She was thrilled, although not surprised, that her research findings confirmed her classroom experience: interactive writing is a powerful method for improving children’s independent writing.
These results fueled Kate’s decision to refine and expand her understanding of interactive writing through additional action-research and coaching both in the United States and China, where she lived for over five years with her family. During this time she wrote articles for professional journals, presented on interactive writing at conferences, and published twenty books for children on how to write as part of the Language Arts Explorer Junior series. Her passion, however, was and continues to be supporting teachers in all elementary grades as they take on this practice in their own classrooms.
Kate now lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.