About Toni McCray

Toni McCray has been teaching urban first graders for 9 years with Memphis City Schools. She is a native of the Memphis area .

The Reading Paradigm: Quality vs. Quantity in Reading Instruction

When you first started teaching reading, did you think your students had to read all those books that come with the reading program? I did. I opened my box, pulled out the teacher’s manual, organized the basals, decodable readers, and leveled readers. We would read the story in the reading book (basal), then break off [...]

By | December 8th, 2015|Featured, Instruction&Curriculum, Literacy|0 Comments

Guided Reading With Early Readers

Guided reading is an instructional method used in many elementary classrooms. It is an approach I use daily and without it would not be able to create successful readers. Guided reading is when the teacher works with a small group of students. During this time, the students apply and practice effective reading strategies while reading [...]

By | January 4th, 2013|Instruction&Curriculum, Literacy|2 Comments

Back to School Must Have's: Bulletin Boards

It’s about that time that all teachers dread but love–a new school year! You are about to head back to school for in-service for the new year. You’re refreshed, rested, and in a great mood and then…..your principal hands you this long checklist of things that need to be completed by the time school begins bright and early Monday morning. Your mood immediately changes and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Well, take a deep breath. Hopefully, I can help with one of those checks on that checklist – bulletin boards. Bulletin boards are a “must-do” but not necessarily the most important thing on my teaching list. I think it is very important to welcome students back to school and display student work but I don’t like to overcomplicate the process. My mantra for bulletin boards is work smart, not hard! Source: chacha.com via Christine on Pinterest […]

By | August 20th, 2012|Instruction&Curriculum, Management|5 Comments

The Biggest "No-No" in Reading Instruction

What was your reading instruction like in grade school?  If you are anything like me, you remember participating in these lengthy oral readings of the weekly text where each student read a paragraph aloud.  Most of the time, you went in order – straight down the row, a method commonly referred to as the Round Robin.  Or if your teacher was really tricky, you would do the Popcorn Method, where each student would be responsible for reading a paragraph but you didn’t know whose turn was next. If you were intelligent (like me), you would count the number of students in front of you and find your paragraph.  Or after your paragraph was read, you would disengage and daydream about lunch or recess.  If  you were a struggling reader, your options were limited but you stayed quiet not to draw attention to yourself.  The possiblity of having to read aloud in front of everyone  would be a terrifying part of the day. […]

By | August 13th, 2012|Instruction&Curriculum, Literacy|8 Comments

The Reading Paradigm: Equity Does Not Mean Equal in Reading Instruction

Image from mlive.com One of the qualities of an effective teacher is to be fair and equitable. But what does that really mean? How can you be fair and equitable to every single student in your classroom? As a child, I’m sure if your sibling got a scoop of ice-cream, you wanted a scoop of ice cream. Or if your sibling got a car at 16, then you felt entitled to that same privilege at 16. That’s just fair, right? Some teachers think the same principle applies in their classroom. If I give Bobby this, I must give Suzy this. In some instances, this theory may prove true. However, when it comes to reading instruction, this is false. You must realize that equity does not mean equal when it comes to instructing a student how to become an effective reader. […]

By | August 6th, 2012|Instruction&Curriculum, Literacy|0 Comments