Picture of Jennifer Sykes in a green shirt, smiling and leaning up against a white brick wall

Hello! I’m Jennifer Sykes. I am a former Literacy Specialist and I found my passion in helping struggling readers *love* to read! My experiences as a literacy coach in grades 3-5 have allowed me to share this passion. In 2011, I began Hello Mrs Sykes as a way to share with teachers; and I continue to use this blog to discuss strategies, best practices, amazing resources, and how I use games to boost the vocabulary of my learners. I love listening to Harry Potter audiobooks, my hubby’s guitar, and happy noises from my family. I am passionate about developing the vocabulary of all learners, which sets the stage for future successes!

Over the years, I have been an Upper Elementary Literacy Specialist, Upper Elementary Literacy Coach, and classroom teacher/co-teacher in grades 2-5. I love to work closely with teachers in implementation of best practices in Literacy, including Guided Reading, Vocabulary Development, Digging Deeper in Utilizing Student Data, and Focusing on Comprehension.

In January, 1998, I began as a teacher in a 2nd/3rd grade combination class. It was, literally, trial by fire. (and broken bones. Really. I can't make this stuff up.) Luckily, I had a strong support foundation since the school had been taken over by the state the previous Fall. Teaching is amazing, though it is difficult to really prepare anyone for the experience. Here’s a blog post with a few things people don’t tell you about teaching.

Mom taught sewing, budgeting, planning, and cooking in her home economics classes. Grandma was the long-term substitute in my mom’s K-12 school. Great-aunt taught for many years. I have her old-school Red Primer for reading practice, which probably came with a wooden ruler to smack over the knuckles of wayward troublemakers. (Glad that’s not the norm anymore!)

I am fortunate to have my amazing family. I met hubby when I lived in the apartment above, and my shower leaked on his futon. I am a proud momma of my kiddos, both fairly good sports about my embarrassing Zumba moves. For some reason, they keep saying that I’m using my Teacher voice, especially when I notice someone misuse there/their/they’re. #petpeeve

I’m so glad you’re here to connect. Let me know if you need anything, and let’s have fun in the classroom. Happy Teaching!