hayley-sample-head-shotTeachers play a major role in inspiring our children to read. Last fall, we introduced the Star Teacher series on our blog with the goal of recognizing their tremendous effort and understanding what makes them successful at getting their students to read.

In today’s segment, we are delighted  to introduce you to Hayley Sample, who teaches 4th grade at Sendera Ranch Elementary, in Haslet, Texas.

Hayley has been active on Reading Rewards since the fall of 2012, and has had great success in inspiring her students to read. We asked Hayley to answer a few of our questions. Fortunately for us, she was happy to oblige!


Logo-RR-60What do you do to help students understand the importance of reading?

I show them that reading is everywhere and it will take you places. I model what im reading and show excitement for a wide variety of books.

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60Do you ever come across students who are absolutely determined not to read? What techniques do you use to motivate them?

Very few. I work to find them the right types of books because chances are that is the problem.

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60Some students don’t like to read because it’s hard for them. Do you teach students reading strategies to help them read more fluently and build more confidence? Which have proven most effective?

Of course. Decoding, context clues, phonics etc..

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60How much of a say do you believe students should have in what they read? Do you believe that all reading is good, or are there some types of reading materials that you disapprove of?

They should have a say all the time. Always provide choice for best results. If a reading material is not age appropriate then I would disapprove. Other than that no.

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60Some feel that when students choose their own books, their reading skills improve. Have you seen evidence of that? What do you do, if anything, to make sure your students have a large variety of genres and themes to choose from?

Yes. Like I said choice is vital. I have a large variety of levels and genres in my classroom and we make weekly trips to the school library.

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60Do you team up with a reading specialist, librarian, or other teachers as part of your efforts to encourage reading? How do you work together?

Yes. We do lessons that pair well with the curriculum with their support.

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60Do you model reading, or talk to students about what you are reading? Please tell us about it.

Yes, I do a read aloud with my students to model tone, reading punctuation and how to effectively discuss books. 

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60Have you come across students whose reading levels fall well below that of their classmates? Some people believe that, in those cases, holding the student back a year may be the only solution. Do you think there is a risk of making that decision precipitously? Aren’t many children late-bloomers who eventually catch up with their peers.

It depends on the individual and their needs. A lot of other emotional and psychological factors play into retention so that is a whole other can of worms if you will.

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60What can parents do to develop their children’s interest in reading?

Provide choice, don’t overly correct and make reading fun at home and we will do the instruction at school.

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60What can parents do to develop their children’s reading aptitude?

Read to them, with them and listen to them read.

Hayley Sample


How do you communicate with parents about matters related to reading?

Bi-weekly newsletters, emails, in person etc.

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60What are your most popular Reading Rewards features, and why? Which are your favorite?

My kids love moving up levels and seeing their animated thing they select. They also like to compete with others sometimes. I like the summary feature and the library to see what all they have read. The reports that I can run were very helpful for our school wide challenge we did this year.

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60How has the Reading Rewards reading program contributed to getting your students excited about reading?

All of the features I listed above.

Hayley Sample

Logo-RR-60Name three of your favorite children’s books

Hayley Sample

Thanks so much Hayley! With everything you do, we really appreciate your taking the time to share your insights with our readers!

star-teacher-featureThe Reading Rewards’ Star Teacher series highlights teachers, and their efforts to encourage their students to read. Our goal is to incite our community to exchange ideas on effective methods and strategies for getting students to spend more time reading.

Please join the conversation, and share your thoughts in the comments below.

And if you know a teacher who deserves to be highlighted for his/her efforts encouraging children to read? Tell us about it!