Sunday, April 20, 2014

If Not for Franki....Happy Birthday!

Let's start at the beginning, in 1985 at Bowling Green State University.  Franki Agresta and I were in several of the same classes. I remember how much Franki loved reading. Fast forward to 1995, and I was hired in Dublin, Ohio.  It didn't take long for me hear about Franki Sibberson and all of her amazing accomplishments. Our paths started crossing, and every time we would talk she would always ask about my classroom. Have you ever talked to someone and every single time no matter what you always learn something new.  IF NOT FOR FRANKI, I would not have had the courage:

  • to open up my reading instruction and implement workshop model (Beyond Leveled Books changed my thinking about the power of choice in the classroom)
  • to incorporate word study through out the entire day (I remember printing every Choice Literacy article and creating a binder only with Franki articles. It was my go to bible for resources)
  • to purchase more books than I will ever admit or my husband will surely ever want to know about (I remember taking pictures of her classroom tubs when she did a summer workshop and going home and spending way too much money. My philosophy was if Franki had the books then I had to have the books)
  • to start a blog: There are not enough words for me to type on how many times Franki encouraged me to start a blog. (The part of Franki I love the most are her encouraging words and her sense of fun when she finally convinced me to push "publish") On a side note, I would be remiss not to Mary Lee for encouraging me equally. Finally I just had to say yes. Thanks to both of you, my world has changed because of blogging. 
  • Choice Literacy:  I was petrified probably for minimum of three years and once again Franki has a sense of gentle nudging that always kept me thinking....could I write for CL? Finally after several years, I got the courage to call Brenda and ask her about writing. The rest is history but without Franki and Mary Lee,  I would not be on this wonderful journey of authoring articles. Keep pushing me on those other dreams. WE all need a Franki is our lives.
Finally, I just want to spend the day with Franki just a fly on the wall. Watching and continuing to learn along with her.  Happy 50th Birthday Franki, thank you for giving me the best presents of all - your friendship, positive attitude and encouraging words. 


  1. Oh, yeah. I can SO relate to the under-cover book-buying she has "inspired!"

  2. Oh, this theme of under cover buying is hilarious! Love how deeply Franki has influenced our teaching and thinking!

  3. I love that you go all the way back to college together!

  4. Thanks, Maria--way back to BGSU which does not seem so long ago! So glad our paths have continued to cross over the 25+ years:-)

  5. Wow, your story goes way back! I'm mean, Franki, is celebrating a big birthday….lol. What fun that your paths continue to cross.


  6. Maria,
    How lucky are you to go back to college with Franki! I am so happy to know she has pushed you to be the person you are now! I love chatting with you, reading your blog, and following you on twitter! Looking forward to our chat!

    1. Just let me know when you want to meet. I'm constantly amazed how I learn from primary classrooms: Mandy, Cathy, you. It is such full circle.