Melody Croft earned a Bachelor of Education degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University. While teaching fourth graders in a small South Georgia town, she spent evenings and summers at this same university to obtain a Masters degree and a Specialist degree in Reading Education.
Ten years into Melody’s teaching career and three degrees later, she and her husband, also an educator, moved with their young children to Athens, Georgia with the intentions of pursuing doctoral degrees, Melody’s in Reading and her husband’s in American Literature.
In Athens, Melody chose to teach elementary school for twenty more years, deciding in 1995 to not enter a doctoral program but rather accept a position as a Reading Recovery teacher at her school, which required her to enroll at Georgia State University’s Reading Recovery training program. For the next nine years, as a Reading Recovery teacher, Melody worked to accelerate first graders reading at the bottom ten percent of their class to reading on or above grade level in sixteen to twenty weeks.
Such a daunting and vigorous goal could only be accomplished with the intense and ongoing professional development provided through the Reading Recovery Institute at Georgia State University. During those nine years as a Reading Recovery teacher, Melody became a disciple of Marie Clay, the founder of Reading Recovery. It is her research that provides the teaching principles and strategies presently used in guided reading instruction.
In 2002, Melody reentered the classroom as a first grade teacher and under the guidance of The Ohio State University and Georgia State University’s Literacy Collaborative Program, learned the framework in which to effectively engage children in conversations concerning literacy.
Melody met Jan Burkins in 2005: Melody was teaching first grade and Jan was the school reading coach. Their past teaching experiences were different but their pedagogy of literacy went “hand in hand”. Their admiration for each other and Marie Clay’s reading research resulted in the writing collaboration and resulting book: Preventing Misguided Reading.
It has been 38 years since Melody graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Early Education. In 2009, she retired from teaching and spends her time in her art studio.
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