Maria Walther, who earned a doctorate in elementary education from Northern Illinois University, has taught first grade since 1986. Along with teaching young learners, Maria inspires other professionals by sharing her knowledge through customized professional development experiences. The ideas she shares reflect her continued commitment to teaching, researching, writing, and collaborating with her colleagues. Maria was honored as Illinois Reading Educator of the Year and earned the ICARE for Reading Award for fostering the love of reading in children. She has co-authored five professional books with Scholastic. Learn more about her books and find other teaching resources at http://www.mariawalther.com.