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Pat Johnson has spent most of her thirty years in education as a reading specialist in elementary schools with diverse populations in Fairfax County, Virginia.
When she was a full-time reading teacher Pat always said, “When I work with teachers and students I go into their classrooms to help solve the problems that teachers face daily. I believe that working with teachers over time, adding to their repertoire of what they know about teaching reading, is the most effective way to support ongoing learning. When I give a one- or two-day workshop, I always encourage teachers to continue the conversations. Reading a professional book together is one way to support that learning."
Later in her career, Pat became a literacy consultant for school districts all over the United States and Canada. Nowadays, Pat is moving toward retirement—however, she does take on a few commitments each year. "There are so many teachers out there who are doing an incredible job, but are still stumped by a few students who are just not making it as readers. My mission has always been to help teachers, new or veteran, learn the most effective ways to support children who are struggling with the process of learning to read and write."
Pat Johnson is a trained Reading Recovery teacher and has worked as an RR teacher for seven years. For five years, Pat taught classes at George Mason University's Graduate School of Education, working with teachers on the integration of language arts, content area reading, developing reading and writing workshops, and working with struggling readers and diverse populations. Pat says her expertise lies in supporting teachers who want to help their hardest-to-teach readers and their second-language learners. “Getting all teachers to fully grasp the reading process is crucial for me. We all need to understand how reading works—how does a child develop a reading system which enables him to figure out the print and understand the meaning of a text? And there's no simple answer to that question. It takes time and experience working with children who are struggling with that process to come to a greater understanding.” She enjoys working alongside teachers, supporting them, modeling for them, giving them feedback as they are engaged in their daily teaching. (That’s why she still volunteers in a first-grade classroom once a week!)
Pat is also a storyteller: "On occasion, I will go to schools to tell three stories to all the K-2 students and three stories to all the 3-5 students. There is nothing more rewarding than having 200 faces looking up at you, enraptured by the tale you are weaving."
Pat and her husband, Rick, have been married for forty-two years and have two daughters and five grandchildren. Pat and her husband divide their time between Northern Virginia and Arizona, where their younger daughter lives. Pat loves traveling, hiking, reading, playing cards, and going to the movies. She also enjoys casual conversation with teachers about any aspect of literacy.