Valerie’s Educational Journey
Creating Strategic Readers (CSR), Inc. was founded by Valerie Ellery.
Over 30 years ago, she realized that her oldest son had a problem with reading. This very personal experience launched her journey in the quest for understanding – what do proficient readers do?
On the first stretch of her journey, she spent over ten years watching, listening and analyzing students as they were learning to read in her classroom. In 1998, she was certified as a National Board Teacher where she learned the importance of reflecting on her instructional techniques. This process was paving the road for further knowledge on how to better meet the needs of readers.
After acquiring her masters in Reading K-12 at the University of South Florida in 2000, she became a district Curriculum Specialist. This role gave her the opportunity to model reading strategies, mentor teachers, and inspire the desire to construct a roadmap for creating strategic readers. In 2003, Valerie began the rugged path of researching, analyzing, and writing a resource tool to map out the components of reading in a strategic manner. After four and half years at the district level, Valerie went back to the school-based level as a teacher to fulfill her aspiration of fostering a comprehensive literacy classroom. This was an opportunity for her to apply strategies in the classroom, while maintaining the quest for action research.
The book Creating Strategic Readers: Techniques for Developing Competency in Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension was published in 2005, earning the book club selection and best-seller honor from the International Reading Association. The book was used internationally in universities, helping to propel the reading process into the forefront of education.
Valerie continued to serve the field of education as a part time Reading Coach in Bradenton, Florida. This position allowed her the opportunity to consult internationally and serve on literacy boards, as well as, to continue locally reaching readers and teachers. Creating Strategic Readers, Inc. was launched in 2006 as a company, which is passionate about inspiring, encouraging, and transforming lives through motivating and engaging resources and professional development.
2015 publication from International Literacy Association. Co-Authored with Tim Rasinski and Lori Oczkus. This practical resource is a must-have for all K-2 educators. Inside you’ll find 40 interactive lessons and dozens of reproducibles that will keep your students “literacy strong” throughout the learning seasons of the school year. The literacy strategy lessons spiral across the year to help boost students’ comprehension, phonological awareness and phonics, fluency, vocabulary, ad motivation.
2014 brought the 3rd Edition of Creating Strategic Readers back into the hands of educators with updated alignment to the nations educational shifts and current research to propel students to higher achievement and deeper love for literacy. Valerie currently consults internationally and is truly passionate about creating strategic leaders and readers!
A21 (Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century) is another organization that Creating Strategic Readers, Inc. has partnered with since 2011. Valerie was the lead writer for the US 9th-10th Grade Curriculum Bodies Are Not Commodities (2014) which incorporates many of CSR’s reading strategies and techniques within the sessions to support students to process the information on Human Trafficking from content knowledge to application for much needed prevention and awareness.
Creating Strategic Readers, Inc. partnered with Saint Mary’s Press to create a Strategic Reading Resource using forty powerful stories from Scripture to bridge the gap between teaching religion and reading, highlighting strategies and techniques from Creating Strategic Readers to help readers construct deeper meaning from the Scriptures.
In 2011 Valerie co-published Sustaining Strategic Readers: Techniques for Supporting Content Literacy in Grades 6-12, which also received the honor of being named IRAs Book Club Selection and supports secondary educators.
The 2nd Edition to CSR was published in 2009 with 35 new techniques and received the International Reading Association Book Club Selection for September 2009 and continued to be a Best Seller in the educational field.
In 2008, she published her first a Staff Development DVD/VHS Series titled Creating Strategic Readers: Teaching Techniques for the Primary and Intermediate Grades based off her best selling book Creating Strategic Readers (CSR). The series highlights 24 classrooms, featuring techniques from Creating Strategic Readers (CSR) in K-5 classrooms.
In 2014-15, Valerie partnered with Hillsong and A21 to write ShineHOPE as an international human trafficking prevention product designed to equip every girl with an understanding of her intrinsic worth, strength, and purpose. This resource aims to help shift culture and expose the traps used by human traffickers by providing tools for protection and hope.
2018 publication from ASCD and ILA is HOT off the PRESS! Co-Authored with Tim Rasinski and Lori Oczkus. This practical resource is a must-have for all 3-5 educators.