Rebecca Van Slyke: Teaching Lynden to Write (and Love Reading)

This post is part of the Lynden Schools Staff Spotlight series

Rebecca Van Slyke spends so much time with reading and writing it is both job and hobby. A teacher within Lynden Schools since 1985, the second-grade classroom teacher at Bernice Vossbeck Elementary has ushered scores of young Lyndenites through the journey of learning to read and write proficiently, all while instilling a level of excitement and passion.  

The Role

Van Slyke sums up her role as a second-grade teacher the best way she knows how, with words.

“When I was charged with writing about ‘watt’ my role entails, my first thought was that all classroom teachers are quite a bit like electricians: 

We take a bunch of live wires and see that they’re all well-grounded. 

We are ec-static to see those lightbulbs turn on when kids understand a new concept. 

We are attracted to current research and power-ful methods of teaching.

We derive energy from all the little sparks in our classrooms. 

Shockingly, we cannot resist-or re-fuse a chance to help kids conduct themselves better.

We are de-lighted to help kids amp-power themselves academically. 

It never Hertz to get ‘Ohm at the end of the day with a positive glow.

We never have a Bohr-ing day.”

With this charge, Van Slyke says she loves how staff throughout the district work for the good of all students. “From the moment the kids walk through the door,” she says, “every adult they encounter is there to help them succeed.”

That effort includes a constant focus on working to stay up to date on current learning, especially in how children learn to read, and teaching with this in mind. She says teachers are also working diligently to include all children in lessons in the most meaningful ways for them. 

Getting to Know Rebecca 

Reading and writing is a way of life for Van Slyke. Outside of work she’s also writing picture books, having now published nine (with number 10 on the way). Van Slyke doesn’t limit her teaching to second graders. She also instructs adults how to write for children through Whatcom Community College, Village Books and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

Of course, Van Slyke has a few other interests too. “I love,” she says, “to draw and paint, bake, garden and hang out with my husband and our two miniature dachshunds.”