Follow me on Twitter (@jserravallo).
After graduating from Vassar College, I moved straight to New York City and began teaching in a Brooklyn public elementary school. After a few years, I moved to a school close to Teachers College on the Upper West Side and began learning from TCRWP staff developers and working towards an MA at Teachers College, Columbia University. The two NYC schools in which I worked were Title I schools with swelling class sizes, high numbers of ELLs, and an enormous range of learners.
Until 2012, I was a Senior Staff Developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, where I spent eight years helping urban, suburban, and rural schools implement exceptional literacy instruction through reading and writing workshops.
I have taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Teachers College and Vassar College on topics of children’s literature and urban education reform.
I am the author of over a dozen books and resources on the teaching of reading and writing. My newest, The Writing Strategies Book, follows the same structure and format as the New York Times Bestselling The Reading Strategies Book: each is a collection of 300 strategies aligned to goals, skills, genres and levels (Heinemann 2017 and 2015, respectively). Prior to this book, I wrote two versions of a resource to help teachers analyze, synthesize and make sense of all the data they collect in order to manage goal-directed instruction: the Literacy Teacher’s Playbook: Four Steps for Turning Assessment Data into Goal-Directed Instruction, for Grades K-2 and Grades 3-6.
I am the creator of the AEP award-winning Independent Reading Assessment: Fiction (Scholastic, 2012) and the REVERE award-winning Independent Reading Assessment: Nonfiction (Scholastic, 2013) These are the first and only assessments of whole-book comprehension for chapter book readers (F&P levels J-W). Now undergoing a major revision, they will be re-published by Heinemann under the titles Complete Comprehension: Fiction and Complete Comprehension: Nonfiction sometime in 2019. A companion standalone professional book, Understanding Texts and Readers is due out in 2018. This book will explore text characteristics of leveled fiction and nonfiction texts from J-W, expectations for reader response to check for understanding, and advice about assessment and teaching strategies using this knowledge.
My other books, about teaching structures to support differentiated instruction, are Teaching Reading in Small Groups (Heinemann, 2010) and Conferring with Readers (Heinemann, 2007). In early 2019, my newest thinking about conferring will be in the new Classroom Essentials book A Teacher’s Guide to Reading Conferences.
I’m also really proud of my contributions to Heinemann’s On-Demand Course line-up. My self-paced courses are based on my best-selling professional books. My newest online course Strategies in Action: Reading and Writing Methods and Content is offered as a full-length course, and also as eight stand-alone single-session courses. My other on-demand course is titled the same as my second book, Teaching Reading in Small Groups. Both include dozens of videos of me working with students in a variety of lesson formats, and offer lots of opportunities to reflect and interact with other members of the online community.
I live in a NJ suburb just outside of New York City with my partner Jen, and our two daughters Lola (a third grader) and Vivian (a preschooler).
If you’re interested in learning when I’ll be speaking in your area, please click on the speaking calendar link. If you’d like to invite me to work with your school or district, please email me through the contact link.