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Can you trust me as a reliable source?

My husband just finished a course titled, Critical Inquiry in his pursuit of a doctorate of physical therapy degree. This class helped him determine the good research from the bad, how to search for the good research, how to know it's good research, etc. This spurred many conversations between us, especially today because I asked Alexa a question and she said, "According to" and we both rolled our eyes. We can't trust Alexa because she doesn't use good sources.

Which got me thinking about this blog, where I'm trying to give you what I know about reading and writing research. I talk about how I implement research-based strategies a lot, but how do you know if I'm not just another blogger posting all my "knowledge" based on a random Google search?

How do you know if this blog is a reliable source?

I decided to share with you how I determine the good from the bad, the reliable sources from the sources I need to check for accuracy, the accurate research from the ineffective research:

  1. What do I know about the author? If I don't recognize the name, I check credentials.

  2. What was their "standard"? In other words, if they said x number of readers are frequent readers, what is their standard for "frequent"?

  3. How do they measure success?

  4. How much time did they dedicate to the research?

  5. How many teachers and students participated in the research?

  6. What did they compare the results to?

  7. Does it have a DOI number? (Digital Object Identifier) It works kind of like a Library of Congress identification number in a book that you can type in and automatically locate. This number is an indication of scholarly communication - where researchers can easily locate information.

  8. I subscribe to Reading Research Quarterly - a journal offering the latest research studies (methods, results, effects, findings, and implications) for readers and learners of all ages.

  9. Books are my BFF's, Google is not. These are some of my favorite authors: (which goes back to number one - what do I know about the author?) Timothy Rasinski, Kylene Beers, Nancy Padak, Richard Allington, Marie Clay, Chris Tovani, and more.

Am I a reliable source for your literacy needs?

Storytime: while completing my masters of curriculum and instruction degree at Doane University from 2007-2010 - all my electives (and my research paper) was about reading. I loved it. I had two classes left to complete my curriculum and instruction degree and realized that I wanted to be a reading specialist - ugh, hindsight. But I also loved curriculum and instruction, so I finished that degree and decided I'd come back to the reading specialist degree someday.

Fast forward nine years. I applied to UNK and was accepted into their specialist program. I took two classes and compared my Doane transcript to UNK's requirements. I had already taken every.single.course. I contacted my advisors who told me only two classes would transfer. BUMMER! While that is incredibly frustrating, I will never tire of the refreshers, the inspiration, the new stuff that I'm learning. Becoming a specialist in anything takes time and money, so I can say I specialize in literacy - because I do. Plus, I've worked as a junior high and high school reading teacher, a reading/writing tutor, an educational consultant, and a homeschool teacher mom - giving me 13 years worth of experience in this field. That doesn't even take into account the countless number of conferences I've attended by top dog reading specialists such as Timothy Rasinski or the state's reading conferences, or the experience I've had as a Rater for the state of Nebraska - reading and grading the writing assessments, and more.

I'm not saying this to brag. I'm saying this to give you confidence in hiring me as your consultant or tutor, or to know that what you read here is not flippant.

Have questions? I'd love to hear from you at

Want to know more about me? Visit the About Me section on my website to see my resume, background, teaching philosophy, and more!

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