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Maria Walther is a first-grade teacher in Aurora, IL, who has been spending her days with children since 1986 and sharing her sharing her knowledge at local, state, and national conferences for almost as long. Maria has been a longtime advocate for reading aloud, and all of her professional work reflects her continued commitment to teaching, researching, writing, and collaborating with her colleagues. She was honored as Illinois Reading Educator of the Year and earned the ICARE for Reading Award for fostering the love of reading in children. Before partnering with the Corwin Literacy team on The Ramped-Up Read AloudMaria co-authored five professional books and the Next Step Guided Reading Assessment with Scholastic. Learn more about Maria’s professional books at and follow her on Twitter @mariapwalther.