About Chris

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Hi, I’m Chris.

Me In a Pistachio Shell

  • Current Parent Educator for Cooperative Preschools
  • Former Public School Teacher of English, German and English Language Learners
  • Known as The Family Book Aunt
  • Lover of Dogs (I know that’s irrelevant, but I find it important.)
  • B.S. German and English with 7-12 Teaching Certification
  • Master of Arts in Education with K-12 ESOL Teaching Certification

Me In a Mutant Walnut Shell

My background is varied. My undergraduate work was in German, English and Mass Communications. My original teaching certifications were in English and German for grades 7-12. While teaching English and German at the secondary level,  I obtained my teaching certification in teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages.) In all, I taught for nine years in the public schools and 3 years at a community college. Most of that time was spent as a teacher of elementary aged English Language Learners, but over the years I’ve worked with individuals ranging in age from 2 to adult.

I’ve also taken courses on teaching adults how to read and tutored children and adults in reading, writing, and speaking. I have a master’s degree in education, and my master’s thesis was all about creating personalized children’s books as a hook for young readers. I applied that idea while I was teaching and more recently as a parent volunteer in my own children’s classrooms. I’ve done other things along the way, including taking 10 years to stay at home with my children full-time, but essentially I have been in the business of sharing my love of language with others for over 20 years.

I include my background here because I want you to know the person from whom you’re getting information. I’m not a reading specialist, nor do I have any training in assisting students who have learning disabilities or reading difficulties. That being said, I have worked closely with reading specialists as an ESOL teacher, and I’ve taken intensive courses given by reading specialists on teaching reading and writing to beginning readers. For the most part, however, I feel I gained my knowledge from experience. I’ve worked with all kinds of children – those who learned to read easily and those who have struggled. And as a mom with prior experience teaching literacy, I’ve been enjoying my own two children’s reading journeys immensely.

I am currently a human companion to a real-life version of Hairy Maclary named Migo who is amazingly loyal despite his need for better social manners. If you’re a cat person, you might feel this is irrelevant, but I needed to find a way to drop the name of one of my favorite children’s book authors who is not terribly well-known in the U.S. Her name is Lynley Dodd, and if you haven’t checked out her series on Hairy Maclary and his companions, you ought to. They’re not beginning readers, but they are a celebration of  language paired with a host of bouncy pets, including one very scruffy dog named Hairy McClary. Lynley Dodd is an award-winning author in New Zealand, and her books were well-loved by my kids. (Her books feature a number of cats too, all who have fantastic names like Slinky Malinky and Scarface Claw.)

I digress, but essentially that’s me…in a mutant walnut shell.


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