Mary Lou Norris Wins The Valley's Top Teacher

Congrats to the middle school reading teacher!

ATHENS, Ala. - Mrs. Mary Lou Norris says young people can learn life-changing lessons as they grow to love reading.

"The more you read, the more you know, the more you feel, the more you experience," said seventh grade reading teacher, Mrs. Norris.

When you walk inside her colorful classroom, you'll see plenty of posters reminding students how their lives can improve as they learn to improve their reading comprehension skills.

You'll also find students role playing, as they read a play out loud together.

A student, Natalie Jones, says she loves role-playing as she reads with her classmates.

"The character is like really funny," said Jones. "If you get into it, it's really fun."

The Valley's Top Teacher is known for improving students' reading comprehension through fun activities like this one.

"She's actually the best teacher at East that I know so far," said student, Tyjah Duncan. "She's the best reading teacher I've had."

Students also say Mrs. Norris has a great personality.

"Her personality is good," said fellow student, Dorian Karby. "She comes in and smiles. She gives more chances than other teaches give."

"If someone's being disrespectful she knows how to carry it in a positive way," said Tyjah. "She doesn't be disrespectful back."

Mrs. Norris feels strongly she's supposed to be a teacher.

"The only reason I'm here is because I love this," said Norris. "I love reading, and I love the joy y'all will get out of reading."

Norris notes a scientific study that suggests reading Harry Potter makes you a better person.

"I believe that," said Mrs. Norris. "There's so many things in Harry Potter that makes you understand and feel; it's the compassion that you have for other people."

Those life lessons are exactly what she hopes her students capture. She also says she feels fulfilled when students tell her they love reading.

"That's the best," said Mrs. Norris.

Mrs. Norris also teaches positivity and perseverance; she won't let any of her students say bad things about reading.

Norris: "If they say 'I hate reading,' I say, 'get out the door!'"

Students say their reading comprehension skills have improved because of Mrs. Norris.

Many students also say they enjoy reading because of her.

To nominate a teacher you admire, click here.

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