About Us

Amy Rasmussen


AMY RASMUSSEN, Blog Administrator/Writer

AP English Language and Composition & Senior English Teacher — Lewisville, TX

Advocating for authentic reading and writing instruction in all English classes  — because choice in books and topics matters. Many administrators and teachers make the move to readers-writers workshop for their students who struggle because they know when children are readers they are usually better thinkers and better writers. Often, they are better citizens. Imagine the possibilities if we transform instruction by moving to readers and writers workshop for our proficient and advanced students, too. A workshop, student-centered, inquiry-based pedagogy that allows students to grow into their identities as readers and writers works in ALL classrooms for all students, ELL, G/T, gen ed, honors, and AP. I know. I’ve done it, and I write at this blog to help other teachers do it, too. How can we help?


National Writing Project / North Star of Texas Writing Project/ National Council of Teachers of English, Chair Nominating Committee 2015-2016 / Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts/ North Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts, President 2015-2016/International Reading Association


Rasmussen, Amy, and William Eastman. “An Intervention Change-Up: Investing in Teacher Expertise to Transform Student Learning.” English Journal 107 (2018): 26-32.

Adams, M., Rasmussen, A., & Cato, H. (2011, Summer). An Educational Chop Shop (Nothing Illegal – Just a a Classroom Overhaul): Moving Learning for the Grade to Learning for Life. English in Texas, 41.1, 50-56.


Contact  Email  amyprasmussen@yahoo.com  Twitter  @amyrass

Goodreads  Amy Rasmussen

All posts by Amy ©Amy Rasmussen, 2011 – 2018

SHANA KARNES, Blog Co-Administrator/Writer

Shana Karnes

Adjunct Instructor of AMAZING sophomore, junior, and senior year preservice teachers in the College of Education at West Virginia University — Morgantown, WV

Teachers are as diverse as our students. Every member of a classroom community–students AND teachers–has different backgrounds, goals, and hopes. I believe the value of the readers and writers workshop lies in the freedom allowed to both teachers and students in what, why, and how we read and write.  Students and teachers in classrooms across the country and across the curriculum deserve to have choice in their literacy experiences, emphasizing trust, independence, and autonomy–traits which will produce outstanding citizens, readers, writers, and thinkers.


National Council of Teachers of English / West Virginia Council of Teachers of English / National Writing Project at West Virginia University

Contact  Email  shanakarnes@gmail.com  Twitter  @litreader  Goodreads  Shana Karnes


LISA DENNIS, Co-Administrator/Writer

Lisa Dennis

AP English Language and Composition and Honors American Literature Teacher / English Department Team Leader  – Franklin, WI
I have always believed that reading and writing exemplify the study of what it means to be human. When students are able to experience humanity in all its forms, perspectives, time periods, conflicts, and beauty, they grow as both scholars and empathetic human beings. My journey with the workshop model is transforming my career, my classroom, and my connection with kids. It’s been incredible to see that with the freedom workshop affords, students are not only empowered in their study and use of language, but enthusiastic about it as well.
National Council of Teachers of English / Conference on English Leadership / Wisconsin Education Association  
Contact     Email  Lisadennibaum@gmail.com     Twitter  @LDennibaum
Goodreads Lisa Dennis 


AMY ESTERSOHN, Contributor

Amy Estersohn

7th grade English teacher — Mamaroneck, NY

My first experience with the workshop approach was in a math classroom, not an English one.  In high school we challenged each other and ourselves come up with an elegant solution or a proof and share our thinking in front of the class.  If we are going to call ourselves workshop teachers, we have to be flexible as to what workshop means.  We owe it to our students and to ourselves to revisit lessons that aren’t working and routines we read about often in professional development literature but take up too much classroom time.

National Council of Teachers of English / Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE / American Library Association / Young Adult / Services Association of ALA / Association of Library Services to Children of ALA
Contact     Twitter @HMX_MsE     Goodreads Amy Estersohn

Jessica Paxson



12th Grade English and Creative Writing Teacher–Arlington, TX.  Two quotes work together to best exemplify 21st Century teaching:

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” -Yeats

“Teaching is a cake walk, except all the cakes are on fire, and you’re on fire, and
everything is on fire.” -Unknown

My first year of teaching, I tried to use my own pail to put out all the fires, thinking, It should be tidier and more life-changing than this, right?  Maybe, but it wasn’t quite the label-makers and sharpened pencils job I had in mind.  The summer following my first year, I attended a Writing Institute and was reminded that the fires are not the problem–our tendency to stifle them is.  I dove straight into the workshop model my second year and haven’t looked back.  I fell in love with writing when I realized I had a voice.  I fell in love with reading when I found that the struggles and triumphs of others brought more light to my world.  I hope to extend and encourage the same opportunity for my own future world-changers.

Contact Twitter @jessjordana  Email  jessica.gobble12@gmail.com


Other Contributors

Jackie Catcher, Secondary English Teacher — Exeter, NH

Contact  Email  jackie.catcher@gmail.com  Twitter  @jackiecatcher


Erika Bogdany, Secondary English Teacher — Brooklyn, NY

Contact  Email  MissBogdany@gmail.com  Twitter   @ErikaBogdany


Heather Cato, Director of Language & Literacy — Coppell, TX

Contact  Email  heatheracato@gmail.com  Twitter  @heathercato

We subscribe to the Blogger’s Code of Ethics, modeled after the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. The links in our blog posts (contextual links) are not for sale. We occasionally do review books, although the sending of books does not guarantee a positive review nor a review at all on this blog.

We required, pursuant to those ethical guidelines and the requirements of the Federal Trade Commission, to disclose certain relationships related to this blog.

We are not compensated to provide our opinions on resources, services, websites and various other topics, and if this ever changes we will update this page to reveal as such. We will always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely our own and do not represent the views of our individual schools or school districts.

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4 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Julianne Olson Wood October 11, 2016 at 5:10 pm Reply

    Hi, I am Julianne, and I am currently taking one of your workshops. I read about how you had teachers visit your classroom and observe. One teacher asked about having a student come to a reading conference with a question of his or her own. You wrote about finding the book The Fault in Our Stars. You referred to the book as being “tatooed” with sticky notes. I have taught my students to annotate a class set of book with sticky notes in the past. I also immensely desire that all of my students will develop a love of reading for the sake of reading. I also think that teaching a student to annotate is valuable as long as you say we don’t don’t do so “to death.” I acknowledge the danger of that. I remember the first time I bought my brand new college books, not knowing how much cheaper and smarter it was to buy used ones. When my professors told me to highlight in them and write in them, I thought I was going to faint. Once I became comfortable with it; however, I realized how I was connecting with the textbooks and my literature books. I was also majoring in Spanish and Journalism as well as English. Writing in my Spanish novels really helped me. I was wondering if you ever use annotation in the articles you assign if each student receives a copy? When I have my students read the books they have chosen, I do not require any written assignment with it. I just require an amount of time that they read their book Monday through Thursday. I have them do this for the same reason you have your students read; I do it with the hope they will love to read for the sake of reading.



  2. Cathy McCarthy March 28, 2015 at 2:53 pm Reply

    I find this blog inspirational and helpful. Thank you so much and keep up the great work.


  3. Norah September 12, 2014 at 5:16 pm Reply

    Hi all,
    Apologies. I didn’t mean to do it again, but obviously I am a big admirer of your blog.
    As I wish to let others know how much I enjoy reading your blog, I have (re-)nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
    You can check out the nomination in my post http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-k4 .
    Participation is your choice. If you wish to nominate bloggers who inspire you, the rules are provided there.
    Thanks for sharing so much wonderful content on your blog.
    Best wishes, Norah.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Norah August 5, 2014 at 6:20 am Reply

    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,


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