Wednesday, May 27, 2015

We've Seen the Model - Now What?

Lisa Weiss contributed today's post. For more information, read Lisa's other posts about her district's "laser-like focus on the intentional use of literacy in service of our contents."

My vision of how this would play out changed once we returned from winter break. I thought that once teachers had the look and feel of the gradual release, the next steps would be planning for that same process of modeling and guiding writers. Time was provided each week during January collaboration times for such planning, and I had February 4th set as a time for teachers to come together to look at student writing--to see how their modeling, and use of GRR worked for their students.

By mid-January teachers were asking for more time to prepare. As I had conversations with teachers it was clear that this was an entirely new way of providing instruction, and fear was ruling. It became abundantly clear that we do not have a culture of learning established in our secondary schools. While it was not a shocking revelation, it was an insight that forced me to reflect on how starting with belief statements, or starting to build a culture of learning, would have been wise. Since I missed the boat on that critical aspect of professional development this year, I considered how we might be able to lead teachers into that culture shift next year. Turns out this was a glaring problem to many of the secondary leaders, and we are currently engaged in the messy work of planning how to foster that culture with teachers next year. More on that in the fall...

Back to January: I have the sense about me to listen to what the teachers say, and they were saying, “Slow down!” I knew it was necessary to pull back, and allow more time for teachers to plan for writing models, but applying the brakes was a disappointment because there was a tradeoff of time involved. To provide more time on the GRR, we were not going to be engaged in learning about and practicing close reading with the depth I had envisioned. I also felt, in some ways, that by allowing more time that some teachers might think we were sending the message that we do not need to continue using the GRR when the message was quite contrary. The message was this: We’ve heard you. We’re going to slow down and allow for more time to plan. We will not throw a new strategy at you in April, but….we need to continue practicing the GRR when modeling writing because the GRR is not going away, nor is our focus on writing.

The revised plan created more time in January for learning about the GRR with articles, videos, excerpts from Better Learning, and additional teacher demonstrations of modeling student writing--all dependent upon what teachers needed in each building. February was the new time frame to be engaging students in GRR when teaching writing; reading the writing students completed was also an expectation.

March 11th was the date that was designated for reviewing student writing and having conversations about the writing. I created a student work protocol, and placed teachers in small groups, with an English teacher or a literacy or instructional coach in each discussion group. I felt the English teacher was critical to the success of the conversations because, as teachers of writers, they hold the most insights when analyzing student writing. In the end, feedback was overwhelmingly positive! Many coaches reported that people, again, were saying that this was the best professional development session they had been to--we had similar feedback in December! The literacy coaches who were sharing this feedback, all commented about the depth and quality of conversations that took place. It was a time devoted to thinking about students, their writing, and the feedback that could be offered to students, and teachers appreciated the process.

We spent March engaging students in another round of writing, so the April literacy-focused professional development session was an additional opportunity to read, converse, and analyze student writing. The last (May) collaboration session of the year will focus on our data from English and social studies classes, the data sources for W4 and W9 goals; I am excited to receive all of it, as I have had many conversations with excited literacy coaches--boasting about the writing growth students have made this year. I’m anxious to see what that means as a district, and wondering what that means for professional development next year...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Coaching Teachers in Supporting Student Centered Writing

Bobbi Campbell contributed today's post. More of Bobbi's thinking can be found here.

The following resource was created after a discussion with a grade seven team of Language Arts and Social Studies teachers.  The problem they were trying to solve was two-fold:
1. How do I get my students to engage in the revision process?
2. How do we conference with every student in a timely way? 

Because of these issues, I created the following document specific to argument writing. As we engage in student-centered coaching cycles with teachers, we need to remember that the focus must be on student evidence of learning. Student learning includes building choice within parameters (promotes self-efficacy), shifting the cognitive load from teacher to student, and promoting the growth mindset by allowing students to reflect on the process of revision and the direct correlation to writing improvement. 

CLICK HERE to access the complete document 
(which includes differences between revision and editing, an argument criteria checklist, and directions for use).

The beauty about student-centered coaching is that whatever resource you create, the measure of its effectiveness includes feedback from the students themselves as well as teacher reflection on the adult implementation. Implementing this resource to support the revision and editing process is  recursive in nature and may require numerous iterations until success is achieved. The important piece is that we use evidence of student learning to shift our practice, or to problem solve next steps.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Characteristics of Effective Writing Instruction

Marci Glaus, English language arts consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public instruction, contributed today's post.

The second part of the new professional learning on writing from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction focuses on research related to 21st century expectations, characteristics of effective writing instruction, the writing process, and balanced assessment. It includes different resources in support of research and practice including example writing processes, videos, and handouts. 

It is important to note that writing is represented as composing, working through a process, as opposed to something like filling in a worksheet. This professional learning begins with the assumption that we require that all students write. Lessons and units are based on big ideas, and there is an emphasis on educators sharing their own writing process/es to explicitly teach strategies for writing, highlighting the recursive nature of a writing process. Discussion and inquiry are a major focus for teaching a variety of writing tasks as well. There is a video that works through some of the research and an example writing process if you prefer to use it for that portion of the presentation. You can find the presentation in PowerPoint and Google slides formats, along with the video and handouts through the following link:

This professional learning begins and ends with English language arts educators’ beliefs about the teaching of writing. The importance of first identifying beliefs so that we can build upon them with support from research and experiences is paramount in improving teaching and learning. The materials on the website include the presentation in PowerPoint and Google Slides formats, a brief facilitator’s guide, and a resources tab which includes all of the handouts.

Monday, May 18, 2015

21st Century Writing Expectations: Examining Task, Audience, and Purpose

Marci Glaus, English language arts consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public instruction, contributed today's post.

As many of you know, the Literacy and Mathematics team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction provides professional learning materials on various topics based upon perceived needs from the field. Many of these resources are produced in a train-the-trainer format, allowing for a broader audience. Based on information we gathered from across the state through survey data and conversations with educators, it was apparent that there is a demand for professional learning on writing. We found that the biggest needs were around the following topics:
      Teaching students how to use the writing process and technology to produce and distribute writing appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
      Develop a balance of explanatory informative, argumentative, and narrative texts for different purposes and audiences.

As the Wisconsin DPI English Language Arts Consultant, I have built resources surrounding these topics and solicited feedback from some of the best English language arts educators in the state. I am thrilled to debut the finalized version of this professional learning today.

The first part of the professional learning, and the part that I write about today, focuses on 21st century expectations, how these relate to the teaching of writing, and the examination of task, purpose, and audience with digital and print mentor texts. All of this begins and ends with educators’ beliefs about the teaching of writing to recognize and build upon their knowledge and experiences. This interactive professional learning provides the time and space for analyzing texts written for different purposes and audiences and discussion of current writing tasks from your school/classroom context.  While there is time for exploration of different technology tools for writing, the major focus of this portion of the professional learning is to first recognize the purpose for writing, the context for writing, and then the exploration of the various modes in which writing could live. You can find this part of the professional learning through the following link:

The materials on the website include the presentation in PowerPoint and Google Slides formats, a brief facilitator’s guide, and a resources tab which includes all of the handouts. There are short videos that a facilitator may choose to play that cover the research portions of the professional learning as well. Finally, while there are mentor text examples already built into this presentation, facilitators are encouraged to replace them with texts appropriate to their context as needed. 

Later this week, I will provide an overview of the second part of the professional learning on writing. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

I Love the Learning, Yes, I do. I Love the Learning, How About You?

Andrea Reichenberger contributed today's post. More of Andrea's thinking can be found here.

I love new learning.  But I can count the number of times I have lost hours of my life that I will never get back sitting at a terrible conference, or a bad professional development listening to a speaker with no presence or personality, or one who speaks at his/her audience for hours in a monotone voice (Bueller...Bueller.) What disappointed me the most were the professional development sessions that were designed, but not modeled, after what we know is best practice in instruction.  That was always extremely frustrating to me.

No matter how bad the professional learning opportunity, as a learner, I force myself to take something away from it.  About five years ago I attended an RtI summit in a neighboring state.  It was death.  The presenters used a register of speech and vocabulary in which I had no background for context.  It was really difficult to learn anything, but I sure tried. It was a long bus ride (thank goodness it was a coach) back to the district, so I had some time to reflect.  Upon exiting the bus, my building principal asking me what I thought of the conference.  I was frank in my response.  “It was terrible,” and then I paused, “but I took away one very important lesson.”  

“What’s that?” she asked.

My answer was simple, yet profound because it ended up being a turning point in my teaching career: “I need to go back to school and get my reading license.”

I enrolled in a reading program and began classes two months later. If it hadn’t been for that God awful RtI summit, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

As a teacher, I am a learner first. I love attending conferences, workshops, and network meetings. I ALWAYS take away something new, and I’m usually excited about it.  Recently, I attended an orientation for a class I am taking with the Fox Valley Writing Project (Shout out to Lisa Weiss!) and even though it was an orientation, I walked away with some new ideas, and  I’m really excited about this learning opportunity.  

When I plan professional development, I do my best to design it so that everyone can take away new learning and apply it in their own instruction.  I ensure that I’m not doing all of the talking, I model, explain the purpose, and offer choice,  I build in collaboration, I provide guided practice, and I create independent tasks. But there are still teachers who seem to hate professional development, and I struggle to learn and understand why.  Just as when I’m in the classroom, I ask myself, what do my students need in order to meet the standards and how can I make the task engaging and relevant?  As educators, I feel strongly  that we should all be learners and model this for our own students.

What do we do when teachers don’t want to learn or keep up with best practice?  One of the ideas we are exploring  in our district is working toward empowering them.  We’d like to offer more choices for teachers and allow them to “chose their own adventure” in professional development--make it more focused on inquiry. We even asked teachers if they would be interested in being a part of the planning and delivery in the 2015-16 school year so we can look at creating teams.  We had quite a few teachers express interest.   This idea is still in it’s infant stage and will involve a great deal of collaboration and planning.  I know I will learn a lot as we go through the process and guess what?  That really excites me because I love new learning!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Using Assessment for Classroom Decision Making

Jaimie Howe contributed today's post. More of Jaimie's thinking can be found here.
Over the last 4-5 years the use of assessment in our district has really evolved. Below is a look at the progression of how assessment has looked in my building specifically.
In my building, we have always tried to use assessment to make decisions , but in the past it was much more informal and observational – mostly just used to form reading groups; partly due to limited assessment options.  Our knowledge and thinking started to shift back in 2011 as we began to gain knowledge of building systems and the RtI Framework.  Now with more systems in place and more knowledge of assessment, we are starting to use it more effectively with many other areas of instruction and for many other purposes.

There have been several things that have been implemented that were crucial to our shift in thinking and ability to start to use assessment more effectively.

  • Standards Based Report Card: We implemented a Standards Based Report Card in 2011 for ELA. This caused us to see the need for assessments to align and be more systematic rather than only informal or observational.  

  • More Assessment Options: We also began using the DRA2 in 2011, which gave teachers the opportunity to look at each individual child more closely and select specific learning targets for students.  It also allowed teachers to consider grouping students by skill/strategy versus reading level based off of the DRA2 Class Profile.

  • District Assessment Frameworks: Each grade level has an Assessment Framework indicating which assessments they need to give and when.  It is organized by type of assessment (screener, diagnostic, formative, etc.).  This creates so much more consistency and common knowledge across buildings in our district and specific grade levels.

  • Master Schedule and Intervention Block: Implementation of a master schedule and an intervention block in 2012 made it so much easier for us to have a consistent collaboration schedule.  This was imperative for us in moving forward.  It gave us the opportunities we needed to look at our assessments more closely and make decisions as a team. Below are the consistent collaboration times that we use each year; however, much more collaboration happens as needed.

    • Grade Level Teams meet 2x per week during MAPE (45 minutes: 1 day – ELA, 1 day – Math)
    • Grade Level and Cross Grade Level Teams meet with Literacy Coach 1x per month. (½ hour - before school)
    • Unit Teams (K-2 and 3-5) meet with Math coach 1x per month. (½ hour - before school)
    • Individual Grade Levels with resource teachers (SPED, psych., lit. coach, etc) ½ day every 6-8 weeks (4x per year) – includes analyzing assessments and instructional planning
    • Opportunities for ½ day release time for instructional planning to create common assessments and/or collaborate around assessment.

This consistent collaboration schedule has been imperative in the work that we do. Without collaboration, it would be nearly impossible to use assessments to guide our instruction. We are trying to develop a system where assessment is a precursor to instruction; telling us what to teach, not just how students did.  This takes time and a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wisconsin's Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Eligibility Criteria

A new episode of Literacy Live is posted. It's all about finding data sources within your balanced assessment system that could be helpful when an IEP team is making an eligibility decision for specific learning disabilities.

The episode can be viewed here:

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Reflective Practitioner: What Have I Done to Provide Effective and Efficient Coaching?

Carrie Sand contributed today's post. Read Carrie's previous posts here.

In my November blog, I posed the question... “Small District + Big Goals = Varied Roles for a Literacy Coach: How to provide effective and efficient coaching when time is tight?”  Throughout the course of the year, I have used that guiding question as the foundation for much of my work and professional development as a literacy coach/ interventionist/ teacher. In addition, I have used this work as the inspiration for my blog posts, a place where I shared experiences and took time to reflect on my process. This mantra: “How to implement big change when time and money is tight?” has helped me focus my coaching process and initiatives. As the year concludes, I thought that this blog post would be a good opportunity to review and reflect on that process as a whole.

When trying to “Bring Back the Book Club” (January), I realized that any professional development works as long as it is timely and appropriate to your staff needs. It also helps to have a really great text that teachers want to read. For my staff, I have found that they enjoy books that are quick, easy, “how to” reads that provide short chapters, quick explanations, and ideas for easy implementation. Some of the tried and true favorites have been:
  • Elementary: That Workshop Book by Samantha Bennett and Choice Words and Opening Minds by Peter Johnston
  • Middle School: Text and Lesson for Content-Area Reading by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels and Nancy Steineke and Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson
  • High School: Developing Readers in the Academic Disciplines by Doug Buehl and Write Like This by Kelly Gallagher

Even using short chapters or excerpt as focus points helped guide our conversations and expand our knowledge base.

In thinking about initiating more purposeful PLC and coaching conversations, I addressed the need to give teachers a more academic language in “Centering Curriculum Conversations Around Learning Targets” (February).  From this initiative I learned that much in the same way we provide students with academic vocabulary to take part in the discourse of our content areas, coaches must do the same for teachers. Introducing the concept of learning targets and providing resources and development about learning targets helped to accomplish the goal of fostering  meaningful conversations centered around student learning.

Much like giving teachers accessibility to engage in rigorous discourse,  I thought about how to continue work with disciplinary content reading and writing at the secondary level. I modeled the professional development for “Disciplinary Literacy-A Science Focus” (March) around the Doug Buehl term “Discourse Outsiders.” Within his book Buehl claims that students in our content areas often feel like “discourse outsiders.” This phrase refers to the idea that many students come into our classrooms without the vocabulary, concepts, or experiences to proficiently interact with the content of our curriculum. Therefore, as the classroom expert, teachers must find the strategies to help students engage in our curriculum by, what Buehl calls, “bridging the gap.” By using this type of language with content area teachers, it helped them see the need for reading and writing instruction as part of their curriculum rather than in addition to their content area curriculum.

Finally, last month I thought about leadership and how different strengths can create different types of leaders (Utilizing Leadership Strengths for More Effective Coaching). In a small rural school where everyone has multiple roles in addition to their teaching assignment, I thought about how I can continue to use different strengths to create different literacy leaders in multiple buildings. This is something that I will continue to focus on next year, as fostering literacy leadership continues to be an important topic in my school district. In addition, I am thinking about other ideas I would like to focus on next year. Ideas like: common protocols at the high school for productive group work norms and how to maintain a focus on best practices in reading but also bring a renewed attention to best practices in writing. In fact, these ideas on my to-do list will probably be the place where I start to shape my next year’s focus as a coach. 

It is the never ending to-do list that helps keep me passionate and urgent about my work, and I am thankful that this blog has helped me to be a more reflective practitioner. I look forward to a summer where I can continue this reflection and begin sketching implementation ideas for next year!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Impact of Going Back to Basics

Julie Schwartzbauer contributed today's post. Read Julie's previous posts to understand more about her district's Back to Basics plan.

In my last post, I shared how we as district and building literacy coaches needed to make an extra effort to clarify to teachers what our Back to Basics objective was: to develop a coaching model that would help teachers develop consistency in universal instruction in literacy across the school district through a workshop framework.  I also shared information regarding the building roll out of the Back to Basics components.

As the end of the year quickly approaches, we were looking for ways to collect feedback regarding the district-wide Back to Basics work that was done.  We have developed a survey intended for all teachers to take.  

CLICK HERE to read the complete survey.

As the responses pour in, I am delighted to share some teacher quotes directly from the survey...
  • Bringing staff back to a common understanding and language when implementing these elements of the workshop model. Allowing time for discussion and collaboration about how these elements are implemented in the classroom is powerful in increasing student learning.
  • If I am better, they are better!  
  • I have improved all of my teaching practices in these areas. 
  • The coaching and information has been wonderful so far this this year! 
  • It helps remind me of the things I need to remember to include as well as the things I am doing that I forget about are really a part of each topic.
  • I'm grateful for the Back to Basics coaching. It provides some specifics to focus on and helps me understand I'm building my workshop skills as a teacher one basic skill at a time.
  • I was happy to know that my Grade Level team and I are all on the same page and offer all components to our students daily. Our students are given a variety of genres and forms of learning which creates a class that only grows in reading.
  • I appreciate the support we have in our building! The literacy staff is on the forefront and willing to do ANYTHING if we just ask!

As we look forward to the next school year, or goal is to continue to build teacher and administrator expertise in universal literacy instruction.

If we focus on excellent instruction for all students in regular education as a first resort, that instruction can serve to avoid additional intervention for most students.Regie Routman

Monday, May 4, 2015

Comprehension Focus Groups- Reflection After Year One

Heather Zimmerman contributed today's post. More about Heather's work implementing comprehension focus groups in middle school can be found here.

As I wrap up my first year working with Comprehension Focus Groups (CFGs), I reflect on how the year went.  I debated on telling you about my fourth CFG or a few of my questions and thoughts.  I decided to do a quick snapshot of both.

Questions and Thoughts
I believe the CFGs are making a difference. The data is speaking for itself.  I also know that the strong tier one instruction is playing a critical role.  I believe in the basic structure of the CFG- Students work with a specific strategy through the entire CFG, I model reading, students practice reading three times, we discuss after each text, I model writing, students practice writing.  I think this makes sense and works well for my students.  

There are also questions I still have though and things I want to work on.  Here is a list of these questions because I think it will give you insight into some extras that are happening, which I did not get a chance to write about and now you can think these through with me. Please comment with any thoughts.

  • The CFG is 30 minutes, so I have different routines to start off the class.  These include:
    • Monday- Vocabulary development
    • Tuesday- Read aloud
    • Wednesday- Vocabulary development
    • Thursday- Read aloud
    • Friday- Choice read

I wonder though if this is a good balance.  I question if there should be more choice reading. I only did one day, because they love the read aloud and engage in independent reading during the intervention.  I try to choose texts they enjoy and find engaging.  I also want to continue to find ideas for vocabulary development.  Right now I use vocabulary  from the read aloud and from  (A teacher in my building got a free subscription for the year.)  

  • I feel the choice reading needs it’s own bullet point.  During the CFG I feel I have not had a chance to develop them as life-long readers who can choose their own texts. Their independent texts are carefully picked by me while thinking about level and interests.  I need to build in their own choice more.  I am still trying to figure out how that looks, though.  When I saw Donalyn Miller at WSRA, I was so inspired.  Her books are on my summer reading list, and I hope from there I get ideas on how to work this into a possible CFG.  The CFG is 30 minutes and when you add in relationship building and attendance that leaves about 15 minutes.  I also add in a two minute stretch break, so that leaves 12 minutes.  I will keep thinking how this will look for sure!
  • Conferencing and record keeping.  I need to do a better job at record keeping.  I have yet to find a system I love.  I also go back and forth between paper copies and using technology for this.  I struggle with when to interrupt for conferences.  I set up my students for success for their individual reading time.  I do not want to interrupt when they are successful and working so hard.  I need to think more on how this looks, but hopefully my record keeping reflecting will help this come along.

OK...I promised short and sweet.  So will stop reflecting and share the good stuff.  :-)  Here are my resources for my fourth quarter CFG.  Hope you had a great school year and thank you for coming along on this journey with me!

CFG 4- Textual Evidence Focus using Civil Rights Texts
  • Mentor Text- “Selma” from Junior Scholastic
  • Text 1- Martin’s Big Words by: Doreen Rappaport
  • Text 2- Political Cartoon- Our district works with Document Based Questions
  • Text 3- The Rock and The River by: Kekla Magoon: This is a longer text so it will be broken into three chapter chunks where we will move from phase one to phase two.  I also plan on reading one of the three chapters each time.
  • Graphic Organizer-
    • Attempt
    • Attempt 2- I realized that students were not focusing on our essential question and looking for the goals of the Civil Rights Movement, so I wanted to make sure that was an area they focused on.  This graphic organizer will hopefully help with that.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

What Are You Reading: May 2015

1. Andrea says, "I am reading - and I know this may seem strange - What’s Math Got to Do With It? by Joan Boaler (the revised and updated version for 2015).   It's really about changing our mindset about mathematics instruction and I find it absolutely fascinating.  I share an office with our math coach and she recommended that I read it."

2. Heather is reading Endangered Eliot Schrefer. She summarizes it as follows: "Sophie is visiting her mother in the Congo.  Her mother is passionate about saving bonobos and Sophie ends up taking care of a bobonbo she names Otto.  Then war breaks out where Sophie is and she needs to try to save both her life and Otto's life."

3. Heather is also reading Brown Girl Dreaming in which author Jacqueline Woodson uses verse to tell her story about growing up in South Carolina in the 1960s and then moving to New York.

4. Julie is reading Kay Psencik's The Coach's Craft - Powerful Practices to Support School Leaders. It is about using coaching to build the capacity of school leaders.

5. Diane is reading 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Jeff Anderson. She says, "I love the layout of this book as it seems to be very user friendly.  Jeff Anderson focuses on developing the concepts and application of ten essential aspects of good writing—motion, models, focus, detail, form, frames, cohesion, energy, words, and clutter. Throughout the book, Jeff provides dozens of model texts, both fiction and nonfiction, that bring alive the ten things every writer needs to know. I can see using this book as a book study.  He has quotes for each chapters and gives you ready to use strategies that I have shared with my teachers."

6. Barb is reading More Than This by Patrick Ness.  It's the April Read on Wisconsin book. She says, "Ness’s 400+ page YA dystopian  novel begins with a first-person narration by Seth who commits suicide by drowning himself. He wakes up in a town he once lived in with his family; however, it is completely abandoned. He has to figure out what’s going on (after life?) and how he will survive. It has some CRAZY twists. I’ve wanted to throw it across the room at least three times."

7. Bobbi says this about Gretchen Owocki's Common Core Writing Book, K - 5: "I love this book because it is practical and easy to use. Owocki illustrates how the standards can bring out the best in our students, while engaging them in rigorous content."

8. Heather is reading Don't Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer. She explains, "Ishmael does not get along with the class bully, Billy.  When a new student, Scobie, starts school, he helps Ishmael come out of his shell."

9. Carrie is reading Drive by Daniel Pink. She says, "In his book, Drive, Pink talks about what motivates and inspires humans to achieve their goals and find satisfaction. A great read to inspire both teachers and students to strive for fulfillment in their daily lives."

10. Diane is catching up on her young adult fiction to find connections to disciplinary literacy. Someone recommended she read The Barn Burner by Patricia Willis. Diane says, "The story takes place in 1933  during the height of the depression era.  14 year old Ross leaves home after his father wrongly accuses him of stealing and his mother tells him to get out, Ross roams the countryside sleeping in barns and doing odd jobs. When the barn he is sleeping in catches fire, Ross is afraid people will think he did it. He decides to stay with the family that's taken him in until the barn burner is caught. Staying with the Warfields reminds him of his own family. As time passes, Ross wonders will he be able to go home some day? This book is centered around the theme of Ross trying to prove his innocence."

11. Barb read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. She says, "This one has been passed between the cubes of the DPI literacy consultants. I read it (listened to it, actually), and then Laura and Marci read it, finishing within days of each other. It's a captivating mystery told from alternating perspectives of three unreliable narrators."