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Meet our Interventionist and Reading Improvement Teachers

Mrs. Dolan is a lifelong learner.  She has enjoyed teaching and learning with her students at Spring Brook Elementary since 2001.  Mrs. Dolan received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her Masters of Education as a Reading Specialist from Concordia University.  She is currently the Interventionist at Spring Brook.  Mrs. Dolan's favorite part of teaching is helping her students develop and foster the love of learning and to reach their fullest potential. Mrs. Dolan loves spending time with her husband and 3 kids, reading, scrapbooking, water skiing, and playing with her dog outside. 


Mrs. Macchiarella has been teaching kindergarten at Spring Brook Elementary School since 2009. Mrs. Macchiarella received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and received her Reading Specialist Master's Degree from Aurora University. Mrs. Macchiarella has an endorsement in English as a Second Language and Special Education. Originally from Aurora, Mrs. Macchiarella is a product of District 204, she attended Reba O. Steck Elementary School, Granger Middle School, and Waubonsie Valley High School. Mrs. Macchiarella's favorite part about teaching is watching her students grow as learners while having fun! In her free time, Mrs. Macchiarella enjoys spending time with her 2 children, Ava and Luca, her husband, and her dog Dexter. 


The following is an excerpt from Susan Zimmermann and Chryse Hutchins’ book 7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get It


Sounding out or decoding words is part of the reading puzzle but falls short of real reading. If children don’t understand what they read, they’re not really reading.


Good readers use the following 7 Keys to unlock meaning:


1.    Create mental images: Good readers create a wide range of visual, auditory, and other sensory images as they read.

2.    Use background knowledge:  Good readers use their relevant prior knowledge before, during, and after reading to enhance their understanding of what they’re reading.

3.    Ask questions: Good readers generate questions before, during, and after reading to clarify meaning, make predictions, and focus their attention on what’s important.

4.    Make inferences: Good readers use their prior knowledge and information from what they read to make predictions, seek answers to questions, draw conclusions, and create interpretations that deepen their understanding of the text.

5.    Determine the most important ideas or themes: Good readers identify key ideas or themes as they read, and they can distinguish between important and unimportant information.

6.    Synthesize information: Good readers track their thinking as it evolves during reading, to get the overall meaning.

7.    Use “fix-up” strategies: Good readers are aware of when they understand and when they don’t. If they have trouble understanding specific words, phrases, or longer passages, they use a wide range of problem-solving strategies including skipping ahead, rereading, asking questions, using the dictionary, and reading the passage aloud.





Early Literacy

Phonemic Awareness Activities

Reading Strategies

Ask Questions Throughout the Reading Process

Readers who are actively involved in reading ask themselves questions before, during, and after reading a selection. This not only increases their comprehension of what is being read, but it fully engages them in the reading process. As readers, when we are fully engaged in the reading process, we are more likely to remember important details and information. Asking questions is a great way for readers to monitor their comprehension of the text.   Your child will learn that successful readers generate their own questions and that not all questions generated will be answered.


Learning to ask questions throughout the reading process is an important reading strategy because it teaches a reader to think aloud. It helps readers review important points in the text, evaluate the quality of the text, make connections, and refine predictions.


Model this questioning process by reading to your child and stopping during the reading to question what is going on in the text. Use questions such as:

  • “What does this mean?”
  • “Is this important?”
  • “How do you think this story might end?”
  • “What does this word mean?”


Some other possible questions include: (Higher level thinking skills are accessed as the numbers progress.)

  1. Recall:
    1. Who is …..?
    2. How did …..?
    3. How many ….. ?
    4. Where did …..?
    5. What did …..?
    6. What is …..?
    7. When did …..?
    8. Which is …..? ?


  1. Cause/Effect:
    1. What do you think will happen next?
    2. What caused ………………………………………….?
    3. What are the effects of ………………….?
    4. Why did …………………………………………………..?
    5. Why do you think ………………………………..?
    6. What would have happened if ………?
    7. How did _______ affect _______....?
    8. If _______, then _______ …………………..?


  1. Similarities:
    1. How are _____ and _____ alike?
    2. How was _____ the same as _____?
    3. What is the same about _____ and _____?
    4. Compare _____ and _____.
    5. _____ and _____ are alike in what ways?
    6. _____ is to _____ as _____ is to _____ (analogy).


  1. Differences:
    1. What are the differences between) _____ and _____?
    2. How is _____ different from _____?


  1. Ideas to Examples:
    1. What are some examples pf _____?
    2. Find some examples of _____.
    3. Give an example of _____.
    4. Name some _____.


  1. Examples to Ideas:
    1. What kind of person was _____?
    2. What is the main idea of _____?
    3. _____ is an example of _____.
    4. _____, _____, and _____ are all _____.
    5. What word best describes _____?


  1. Evaluation:
    1. Do you think it was (good, bad, right, wrong) for _____?
    2. Who do you think _____?
    3. What do you think _____?
    4. If you had your choice, would you choose _____ or _____?
    5. Should _____?
    6. Do you agree with _____? Why?
    7. Would you rather _____?
    8. Do you like _____?


Sources include:

·         Allison Behne ©2009

·         Ideas and strategies are taken from: The CAFÉ Book, written by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser

·         Questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. Developed by Linda G. Barton


Choosing Books

How you can help your child choose books that they can read:


Try the "Five Finger" Test:

  1. Open up the book you have chosen.
  2. Begin to read somewhere in the middle of the page.
  3. Each time you come to a word that you do not know, hold one finger up.
  4. If you have no fingers held up when you finish the page, the book may be too easy for you.
  5. If you have less than five fingers held up, but more than one or two fingers, the book might be just right for you.
  6. If you have all five fingers held up before you get to the end of the paragraph or page, the book is probably too hard for you. Think about choosing another book.



Many teachers are using the acronym IPICK when teaching their students how to choose books that are a good fit. Here are the steps you and your child should use when choosing a good fit book.


I look the book over

Purpose: My purpose for reading this book is_______. They might want to do research for a report they are working on, or find a new author to love, or get lost in an entertaining story.

Interest: I am interested in this book. They might love mysteries, fantasy, dinosaurs, or funny books. They may be motivated to learn about an animal because they are trying to persuade a parent for a pet.

Comprehension: I understand what I am reading.  They should read a section of the book to see if they comprehend the text.

Know the words: I know almost every word.  They know almost all of the words (99% accuracy).

Parent Tips

20 Ways for Parents to Encourage Reading

·  Ask yourself, “What might my child like to read?”  Use interests and hobbies as a starting point.

·  Leave a variety of reading materials including books and magazines around your home.

·   Notices what attracts your child’s attention.  Bring home more information on the same subject.

·  Let your child see you reading for pleasure.

·  Take your child to the library regularly.

·  Present reading as an activity with a purpose.

·  Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters.

·  Play games that are reading related.

·  Share your reactions to the things you read, and encourage your children to do the same.

·  Set aside a regular time for reading in your family.  As little a 10 minutes of reading a day can help improve your child’s skills and habits.

·  Read aloud to your child. 

·  Encourage your child to read aloud to you an exciting passage in a book, an interesting fact from the newspaper, or a joke in a joke book.

·  Give books and magazines on gift-giving occasions.

·  Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.

·  Introduce the bookmark. 

·  Treat your children to an evening of laughter and entertainment featuring books!

·  Extend your child’s positive reading experience. 

·  Offer special incentives to encourage your child’s reading. 

·  Limit your children’s TV viewing in an effort to make time for other activities, such as reading.

·  Take advantage of the many opportunities for reading during the course of your family’s busy day.





Kindergarten – Second Grade


Third – Fifth




Commonly Accessed Links and Info for Students, Parents and Community