PhD
Education & Reading Specialist
Chicago

Approach

I love what I do. Students love what I do too, because they feel listened to and understood. They know that I am on their side and that I will help them to learn how to unlock learning.

My approach is to help them to feel in charge of their own learning. Oftentimes students feel like they go to school and learning is thrust upon them, not that they are the ones piloting the ship. Like any good captain, children need a sturdy, seagoing vessel. I help them to patch any holes in their learning, such as phonemic awareness, reading readiness, word-attack skills, comprehension, higher-order thinking skills, organization and planning. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Each captain has to outfit his or her ship in a way that works best for them. As they start to learn how they learn best, students learn to self-monitor their own journey as they apply the skills at home and in school.

I use a multi-sensory approach. What does that mean? It means that I use all types of learning- kinaesthetic, oral, visual, whatever works! I help students to be aware of their own strengths and areas where they need to focus a bit more in order to improve. I teach them to set their own goals. I’m not working on them; I’m working with them.

I also use a team approach. As teachers, parents, learning specialists, and psychologists come together, we create a power team to help students feel supported on their journey. The students are the captains, but we are all the crew there to help them navigate. As a former teacher, I’m aware of the challenges of meeting the individual needs of every learner. I support teachers with information and feedback and the more we work together, the better we can all meet the needs of the student.

Every child is unique and I love the unique lessons that each student teaches me. It is pure magic when the light bulb finally goes on for a struggling reader and they are able to grow a genuine love of reading. Seeing a child’s confidence grow and helping them to feel that they have something important and worthwhile to offer in school is a wonderful experience. Watching a child’s love of learning develop as they pursue their own interests is my favourite part of my job.