||Children typically learn to read and write early on in their lives. This is a crucial time for literacy education, generally referred to as the development of early literacy. At this time, "...it is such an important goal [to teach reading] that it is impossible to walk into a firstgrade classroom on any morning of the school year and not be immersed in literacy development experiences" (Pressley, Michael, Allington, Richard L., Wharton-McDonald, Ruth, Collins Block, Cathy, Mandel Morrow, Lesley, 2001, p. 3). The question though, when entering these busy classrooms is: Is literacy being taught in the most effective way possible? This is the key question because research has consistently proven that".. .reading difficulties in grade 1 predict reading difficulties in subsequent years", so being an effective teacher in those precious few years is essential and necessary (Pressley et al., 2001, p. 7) Tins project seeks to discover how traits of exceptional teachers are reflected in real-life classrooms around Salt Lake City. The project used Michael Pressley's seminal Learning to Read: Lessons from Exemplary First Grade Classrooms (Pressley et al., 2001) and the International Reading Association's Standards for Reading Professionals (Mooney, Nichols, Bachman, & Reid, 2010) to develop a list of necessary traits. The International Reading Association's Standards for Reading Professionals is a fundamental document, written by several leaders in the field and serves as a guide for teachers to check their use of best practices. Michael Pressley's book, Learning to Read: Lessons from Exemplary First Grade Classrooms, offers a series of short case studies of outstanding early elementary literacy teachers and highlights their commonalities of practice. It helped form the IRA standards, and thus gives readers a glimpse into the standards in practice. After examining the documents closely, I observed 24 hours of instruction in three first grade classrooms in the Salt Lake Valley in order to witness the standards and practices in use and draw conclusions about essential elements for effectively teaching early literacy and how they actually look in practice. Each teacher had been identified for her exceptional practice. Analysis of the observations examined alongside the standards and Pressley's work led to the creation of a checklist that lists nine traits and techniques for beginning early education teachers to help all young students achieve their reading and writing goals.