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Two years ago we left the insulated environment of the university setting to return to the chaos and excitement of full time teaching in two first-grade classrooms. Our colleagues wondered why we felt this need, and the teachers in the schools where we were going were pleased, but skeptical, about our abilities to cope with the tumult of classroom teaching again. We often asked ourselves why were we embarking upon this bold, new adventure. After some contemplation of the question, we decided there were at least four good reasons for returning. First, we believed that we, like many professors, would benefit from occasionally re-immersing ourselves in the reality of classroom teaching. Second, we realized that our credibility with our preservice and inservice teachers would increase dramatically as a result of our return. (Our students often challenged us to prove our ideas in classrooms!) Third, we were anxious to learn about how children go about solving the reading and writing puzzle. And fourth, we were particularly interested in implementing holistic reading and writing strategies and routines in our classrooms.

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