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First Grade Teacher

I was moved up from kindergarten to 1st grade this year and thought there was NO WAY that I would be able to move my kiddos to a level J at the end of the year. Well, it’s only December and of my 15 students, 8 are already there, with the others right on track to be there for sure! 

I know that I could never have made this much progress without the Secret strategies! I have almost taught them all by just following the natural progression of curiosity in my students, and it’s been amazing to see how much they could take in.  

I was recently approached by the Reading Recovery coaches at our school who pull some of my students for intervention. They wanted to know what I was doing in my room. Of the five 1st grade classrooms they service, my students stood out as “amazing decoders” in their ability to use decoding strategies to read unknown words. As a result, they are ready to be released from Reading Recovery, having successfully “recovered” to grade level!  

Without having these Secret strategies in the background to help them read, I know that this would not have happened. Our Reading Recovery teachers are now going to start using them with their other intervention students as well. What a powerful reinforcement that my colleagues are coming to me for answers!! Especially our Reading Recovery “gurus” in the district!

Sorry for the long email, but I am just so excited for my students!!


The Secret Stories were the reason that my dyslexic son learned to read with delight rather than drudgery. He's in third grade now and we review the stories often, and he is thriving, thanks to you!

Primary Center Director

Last year, at this time of year we had 11 kindergarten students reading at or above grade level. This year, we have 34! The Secret Stories are better than anything out there for quickly transforming kids into REAL readers and writers!!!

ESOL Teacher

Katie was so engaging and I loved all the content that she shared! I would pay to see her again, she was more then fabulous!!!

1st Grade Teacher

What a mind altering session for me on improving phonics! Mrs. Garner was awesome, genuinely funny, and her presentation was very, very, informative. It helped to change my mindset on phonics. I can't wait to get back to my classroom and try some if not all of the strategies she taught!

3rd Grade Teacher

Katie was amazing! She was so knowledgeable, and what she had to say was definitely a game changer in teaching phonics—just brilliant! So many great take aways that I can't wait to implement immediately!

Kindergarten Teacher

In just TWO days after starting to implement the strategies you shared, I realized that I could no longer teach reading or writing without them! It is absolutely amazing how easily the kids can remember all of those tricky phonics patterns and sounds!

Ass. Superintendent

Needless to say, I have had numerous messages since Saturday and they are all very positive!



"Best session Mercer County has had in quite a while"

"Katie is FANTASTIC"

"Great Session"

"Every K-5 teacher should hear her"

"Please bring her back in the Fall"

"I am going to begin using what I learned on Monday!"

And that's just a sampling of what I received!

President of SCIRA

The SCIRA Conference kicked-off with Katie Garner's pre-conference session, filled to capacity Thursday night. Katie put the "foundation" in place with a two-hour session, Hacking the Brain’s Affective Domain for Easy Access to the Hardest Reading & Writing Skills! Leaving this session with plans, blueprints and tools, attendees were buzzing!

Elementary School Principal

My goodness, what an impression you made on my staff and I! Our district has 12 Pre/K- 6th elementary schools, with many attending the Dallas GT conference. My teachers returned to work today begging me to bring you to the school! Our librarian couldn’t wait to tell me about your presentation, and she doesn’t get excited about workshops as such. Only one day back and already she and two of my other teachers have been by to show me and tell me all that they learned at your session, so know that you are kind of a rockstar amongst my staff! Thank you for breathing new life into a very long school year with your inspiration and wonderful ideas about teaching reading with the brain in mind!

Elementary School Principal

How do I begin to thank you for the fabulous job you did today! The staff has fallen in love with you! You had as much passion and energy at 3:00 as you did at 8:30, and the feedback from the staff was amazing. Nearly every teacher thanked me for bringing you to the school, and they’ve already requested a follow-up training. I even have teachers requesting that I purchase your book immediately so they can plan to implement their new learning over the summer! It is the highest honor when you are able to motivate a staff that has been working since the beginning of September, and has nearly run of steam at this time of the year. Thank you for a most informative and pleasurable day!

Ass. Elementary School Principal

I haven't seen so much excitement from our teachers in the four years that I have been the assistant principal here! They couldn't stop talking about your workshop. It was just incredible! And on a personal note, I have twins in the first grade, and just one week after their teacher attended your workshop, they both came home and started telling phonics ‘secrets!’ I was amazed at their interactions as well, as they couldn’t keep from telling each other the ‘secrets’ from their respective classes— from “Mommy E” to the “Babysitter Vowels"—their interest and excitement was remarkable! Once again, thank you from the entire staff!

First Grade Teacher

I share your "backdoor-to-the-brain" reading/phonics strategies and techniques with EVERY teacher I meet because I KNOW the difference they make!

Third Grade Teacher

Your brain based strategies for teaching ALL of the complex letter patterns and sounds are sooooo easy, even for me with my intermediate-background! I love how they fit with whatever I am teaching, in all subjects and across the entire instructional day. They have not only helped my students in reading, but in their written expression as well! Such effective, and yet easy-to-use tools!


Your presentation at Parent's Night was just outstanding, and I couldn't wait to get back home and try out some of the ideas that you shared with my son. After only a month, what a difference it has made in his learning—I'm just amazed! He reads to me without struggling and getting frustrated, and even sat down and wrote out sentences for his classwork without asking me for help on how to spell a word!!! I can't wait to see what happens over the next month. His confidence has soared and he's sounding out word after word after word. I'm crying by the way! One month ago he crawled under his bed crying and calling himself stupid for not being able to sound out words. Today he is looking around to see if there's a word he can try to sound out!  Thank YOU!!!!

Elementary School Principal

I am thrilled to see staff so rejuvenated about teaching reading! They can't wait for school to officially start so that they can put all that they learned into practice!

Fourth/Fifth Grade SLD Teacher

After attending your presentation at our district workshop last month, I jumped right in and began implementing with my class. Now my students are almost frenzied in their demands to hear more and more "secret" explanations for words and sounds that had never made sense to them before! (and these are the kids who act like they could care less 99% of the time!) Watching their faces as everything started to come together for them was incredible! These brain-based teaching tools should be part of every teacher-repertoire, as they are now an invaluable part of mine!

Literacy Coach

I knew that my primary teachers would love all that I brought back from your session at ILA, but I was thrilled to see the intermediate grade teachers using it, as well! They were so interested in the cognitive research and common sense approach to explaining all of the inconsistencies in our language.