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Laura J. Robb

Robb, Laura

Laura Robb taught for more than 40 years in grades 4-8. She presently coaches teachers in vocabulary, productive talk about reading, deep reading and writing, and teacher motivation. Laura has written more than 25 books for teachers; her books for Corwin Literacy include Vocabulary Is Comprehension (2014) and Read, Talk, Write (October 2016)Laura has been recently named as NCTE’s recipient of the 2016 Richard W. Halle Award for Outstanding Middle Level Educator. 

Areas of expertise
  • Vocabulary building
  • Unlocking complex texts
  • Differentiating reading
  • Content-area reading


Teaching Vocabulary to Improve Comprehension

Without a rich vocabulary, students have difficulty thinking, reading and comprehending, and writing. Words are crucial to literacy learning, development, and progress. Laura reviews research on vocabulary learning and the three vocabulary tiers and how both influence instruction. Sets include multiple forms, multiple meanings, synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and homonyms.

Making Read-Talk-Write Connections

Student-led meaningful talk also helps students write about their reading with depth, text support, and connections to similar ideas. Laura will simulate six student-led discussions using short texts and have participants will move from talking about texts to writing about them.

Using Short Fiction and Nonfiction to Teach Reading, Thinking, and Writing 

Short texts are ideal for reading instruction because focused lessons give students the time to complete guided practice based on the lesson. Laura discusses how the thinking and writing students do with short texts transfers to their work with long texts. Participants will move from informal writing to paragraphs and essays.

Vocabulary, Literary Elements, Text Structure, and Comprehension

Vocabulary knowledge and understanding the structure of fiction and nonfiction supports students’ comprehension of texts and their ability to link ideas, infer, and find main ideas. Participants will focus on preteaching vocabulary, using context to figure out words, and building word power through a study of roots and affixes. 

Testimonials from Laura Robb’s Professional Learning Customers

“Laura has worked with our English teachers for several years and introduced us to reading and writing workshop. Her strong emphasis on meeting students’ needs where they are and gently moving them forward has made a great difference in the achievement of all our students. Teachers love when she models a strategy and works with small groups. She’s also stressed to us the importance of independent reading, classroom libraries, and access to books for middle school students.

Teachers welcome her because she respects where they are and is always positive when she’s working on change that benefits students. We have completed books studies of Teaching Reading in Middle School and this summer we’re reading and discussing Vocabulary Is Comprehension.” — Kip Tuttle, Assistant Principal at Johnson Williams Middle School, Berryville, VA

“Laura has been both a mentor and inspiration to my team in the design and implementation of a well-grounded literacy plan and ongoing professional development. Countless educators have read and reflected upon Laura’s professional texts and filled their Teachers as Learners Journals with introspective thoughts about sound teaching practices found in the pages of her works.

As we continue on our journey, we credit Laura for her wisdom and guidance in fostering positive changes in teaching that have resulted in measurable improvement in student achievement in language arts. She is truly an outstanding educator in the field of literacy who breathes life into the teaching of reading and writing.” — Carol Varsalona, Director of Language Arts and Testing at West Babylon UFSD, West Babylon, NY

“Laura Robb came to our county to work with middle school teachers. The teachers came to watch Laura in action with Teaching Reading in Middle School under their arms. The well-worn books they carried in had post-it notes sticking out everywhere.

Laura gave all the teachers in the room a new approach to looking at their teaching and how it affects student learning. Teachers went away feeling empowered to improve the reading comprehension of their students. Laura is truly a master teacher with a passion for teaching that is contagious.” — Wanda Killips, Achievement Initiatives, Literacy Coordinator at Washtenaw Intermediate School District, Ann Arbor, MI

“I just wanted to thank you (again)! We took our reading SOL test yesterday; our scores were much improved. I must be honest I was a bit nervous because I didn’t “teach the test.” Instead, I taught the skills using your notebook. Each student also read for 20 minutes EVERY day – NO EXCEPTIONS!

While I am excited about the students’ success, I am more excited that these kids have improved their reading abilities. The test is just a number, but those skills will benefit them forever.

Again, thank you so much for the time and effort you dedicated to the notebook. I appreciate that you’ve shared your knowledge to help our kids become more successful.” — Heather Durham, English Teacher at Lee High School, Staunton, VA

“I met Laura Robb over fifteen years ago when she was presenting at a state Reading Association conference. As a reading specialist, I immediately noted Laura’s expertise in the area of reading and writing; as an administrator in charge of staff development I recognized a gifted communicator whose words resonated with teachers throughout the room.

Laura is a “teacher’s consultant,” sharing real experiences—including trials that confront teachers every day. She demonstrates authentic strategies that she has used directly with students in classroom settings almost daily throughout her years of consulting. Laura knows what works with struggling readers and writers because of her commitment to “always remain a teacher.”

Laura Robb has been an inspiration to educators in our schools, K-12. If a teacher suggests, “That approach won’t work with my students!” Laura goes into that teacher’s classroom and models the strategies and techniques she’s recommending. Her success at proving her point through modeling has converted even the most recalcitrant teacher.” — Sarah Armstrong, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction at Staunton City School, Staunton, VA

“I have known Laura Robb for many years both personally and professionally. She facilitated professional development in my junior high school in Warrenton, Virginia for several years and earned the respect of teachers and students.

In addition to being a classroom teacher for forty-three years, Robb brings a wealth of coaching and teacher training experience to her work in adolescent literacy. Always positive and upbeat, Robb listens carefully to the needs of each teacher she works with to achieve the goal of supporting every learner and closing the achievement gap with differentiated instruction and scaffolds that work.

Her ideas are practical, doable, and she has a knack of making administrators, teachers, and students believe in themselves, their vision, and that academic improvement is always reachable.” — Andrew Keller, Principal at Warren County Junior High School, Front Royal, VA