So here’s the official bio:

Vicki Vinton is a writer and literacy consultant who works in the New York City public schools and other districts around the country. Along with co-author Mary Ehrenworth of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, she wrote The Power of Grammar: Unconventional Approaches to the Conventions of Language (Heinemann 2005), and under her full name, Victoria Vinton, she’s the author of The Jungle Law (MacAdam/Cage 2005), which People magazine called “a lyrical and elegant first novel.” Her most recent book, What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making, co-authored with Dorothy Barnhouse,  was published by Heinemann in 2012.

In addition to her classroom work, Vicki has presented at numerous conferences and conventions, including the annual National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) convention, and she’s given workshops at institutes across the country. She has also taught writing and the teaching of writing at Queens College/CUNY and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University. Additionally, as a practicing and award-winning writer, she brings a passion for language and literature to every setting she works in.

5 thoughts on “About

  1. It’s a horrible place to be, isn’t it? I do think, though, that there are small things you can do that may even help your administration see the limits of the program. When asking the questions that come with the script, you can always ask students to explain their thinking as a follow-up, which will give you a window into how their minds work, and you can ask if anyone else thought something different and why. This can shift the emphasis away from answers to thinking in a way that might actually be transferable to a different text, and it more visibly puts kids in role of problem solvers rather than answer seekers, which again shifts the focus from texts to readers. It will also reveal where thinking and understanding breaks down–and having kids ‘know’ the right answer in one text won’t necessarily help them find it in another text. Formatively assessing that might allow you to make a case for some small group instruction in which you give kids more room to talk and construct their understanding of a text, without all the scripted prompting. And that kind of work might help students build a stronger sense of agency as readers, which the programs don’t address. But . . . good luck! And may everyone come to their senses soon by remembering that we actually teach children, not standards.

  2. So very glad you found me—or rather us, as I love how over the two years I’ve been blogging, this has become a kind of community. Writing the blog has been a life-line to me that connects me to the deepest and most important part of my work and it’s wonderful to know that it can serve that purpose for others.

  3. Just so you know, Claudia, I passed this along to Katie Wood Ray who was so pleased to know that it resonated with you so deeply. Hope the rest of the book does as well.

  4. Oh my, Claudia, you’ve really been on a journey! And, yes, I think you have described close reading! The whole is, indeed, bigger than the sum of its parts, and only when we grasp the whole can we truly analyze how the parts contribute to it. And in that way, I think analysis can be the by-product of interpretation (which is something I’m writing about in this blasted book, if I can ever get it done!). So many thanks for sharing your journey. We’re all journeying, aren’t we?

    • Yes! The journey is ongoing (sometimes a battle)! I just read your acknowledgements in What Readers Really Do and who do I see you thanking… Mimi Aronson! I had the privilege of working with Mimi for a few years (perhaps 10? years ago?). I observed as she taught writing workshop to kids in a colleagues room and then in my own room. Somehow my kids always wound up calling her “Mimiaronson” as if it were one name (and of course Mimi thought that was a hoot). We kept in touch only occasionally through a colleague but Mimi knew she was a great influence on my teaching. She had the highest expectations and was accepting all at the same time. Mimi always made me feel good about my “kid watching” ability and knowing my kids; coming from her that was a great compliment. Mini always challenged my thinking. And she loved that I’d challenge her too with her with my relentless questioning! In more recent years we crossed paths when she came back to our school a couple of times for PD with Tony Stead. I learned so much from Mimi! “Mimiaronson” will be missed but her work lives on. Sadly, not much $$$ at our school anymore for PD with the likes of Mimi, (in the really “old days” we got to go to workshops at TC with Katie, Pam, Lucy and so many others – it was so much fun!) – thankfully your blog, books, and that of others fill the void. Looking forward to your next book! Thanks again!

      PS Another connection… Katherine Bomer was my son’s 4th grade teacher for awhile (20 years ago). An awesome experience for him.

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