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.

16 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Rereading | Reading with Mrs. Bast

    • 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. Thank you! I will try to expand the prescribed program into what I find the students need. I look forward to (and depend upon) reading your ideas as the new school year starts.

  3. Pingback: Spread Some January Sunshine | soul strikers: powerful moments in education

  4. Pingback: Rereading Books | Reading with Mrs. Bast

  5. Pingback: Creating Possible Worlds…a new book from Opal School | Cadwell Collaborative

  6. I am not even sure how I stumbled onto your website. I think I am about to cry, just wonderful. These are powerful suggestions and the wealth of knowledge you provide for teachers is absolutely astounding. Thank you.

    • 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.

  7. Hi,
    I have nominated you for The Very Inspirational Blogger Award as I enjoy reading what you have to say about education. You have a lot to inspire other teachers and their students.
    You can check out the post in which I made the nomination here: http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-iM
    If you wish to pay the compliment forward, go to this post for the rules of participation: http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-hI
    Best wishes,

  8. If you ever need help getting on Twitter, let me know. We would love to see you there. Your ideas are wonderful. You can find me @davidtEDU I help run a teacher twitter chat for the state of California. Best wishes and thank you for this blog.

  9. After reading the introduction to The Teacher You Want to Be I flipped to Katie Wood Ray’s essay. I’d been struggling with writing workshop in my kindergarten last week (and the pressures of what lies ahead for my students) and most of all who I was becoming in my classroom. So reading that essay came at a perfect time! It really helped me remember the teacher I am and refocus on my beliefs. I wound up writing a long reflection – I’m not one to keep a journal or turn to writing to clarify my thoughts – it just inspired me to put my thinking on paper. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the book! And I cannot wait to get back to school for writing workshop!

    • 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.

  10. So I’m reading your new blog and started reading the links to other related posts which led to reading other posts… and then other posts. Some 4 years old but still so valid and interesting. Before I know it a couple of hours go by.

    As I’m reading I’m thinking how this is all related to my frustrations around the author study we are designing as our first step to create an “articulated program of reading instruction k-4” at my school.

    For our author study it seems lessons will focus on teaching the standards/parts (characters, setting etc.) in isolation rather than as a by product of understanding the texts. That concerns me… but we haven’t gotten to designing the actual lessons yet, we are just up to mapping out the 5 or 6 weeks —so maybe I’m worrying for naught? Maybe the lessons will be open ended and demand kids do “the heavy lifting” (God I hate that expression). I’m waiting to see where our 4 understandings of learning come into play (even tho I don’t agree with all of them verbatim- at least they’re a sound foundation – ha, I don’t think our staff really has a common understanding of what they mean…).

    Any way…
    All this reading reminds me when I focus on the purpose of reading with the class (to make meaning) –rather than isolated elements (strategies, skills, craft, components etc) –those very elements (parts) make themselves evident as a means to the end (i.e. making meaning). (For instance–This week when “teaching” story components via a shared read of The Greedy Gray Octopus – the kids all knew that there was way more to a story than characters and setting- they said “stuff happens!” — no super scaffolding needed here).

    Seems to me understanding the whole– or the innate need or desire to understand the whole, will/can lead to an awareness of the parts. It can provide real teachable moments and authentic reasons to name the parts. All of which leads back to a deeper understanding the whole. Omg did I just describe “close reading”?

    Maybe I’m being too simplistic? But I think of “Gestalt” and the quote:
    The whole is other than the sum of its parts.

    So I go back and read more blogs…

    I stumbled upon this one. It was so helpful to me (and more of how I’d envision approaching an author study).


    So I came back full circle to your quote about standards being the by product not the goal of readers’ thoughtful engagement and consideration of texts. AND to Katie Wood Ray’s essay in The Teacher You Want to Be – knowing when an immediate release of responsibility makes sense!

    Thank you for an amazing morning of reading. Always can count on you for food for thought and some needed inspiration!

    Claudia DeLise Tucci
    (Still learning after 30 years of teaching — 20 + plus years in kdg)

    • 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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