orton-gillingham

Summer 2014 Scholarships

We're delighted to announce that this summer we're offering 5 scholarships to campers through our partnership with OpenDoors of Asheville. The 5 campers will have 4 weeks as boarding campers, fully funded. These scholarships will go to children living in multi-generational poverty as a joint effort between Camp Spring Creek and OpenDoors to make positive, life-altering learning experiences accessible to children of any economic means in Western North Carolina. Last year's scholarship recipients from this partnership had moving things to say after their camp experiences. You can read excerpts from their letters here. We were also able to offer 2 scholarships at 50% to local children and are aspiring to raise another $7700 to support one more scholarship to give a local child 4 weeks of boarding at camp.

If you missed our demographic breakdown by age, gender, and location for this summer season, you can check out who comes to Camp Spring Creek. Suffice it to say, we have a waiting list for the first time in 10 years and we're taking names for early registration for 2015 right now! Please be in touch if you have questions, would like to be considered for a scholarship, or feel inspired to donate money to help us bring one more local child to camp this season!

Top 5 Ways to Avoid Summer Slide

CampersOnHikeChildren who spend summer vacation with hours of unstructured activity per day might be gaining independence and exploring their imaginations, but they will also lose math, reading, and spelling skills as a result of “summer slide.” Many families are unaware that a few simple steps can integrate learning into their children’s daily lives, picking up where traditional teaching methods fail without sacrificing those wonderful “daydreaming hours” associated with summertime. One in five school-aged children has dyslexia, yet less than 1/3 of these students receives school services guaranteed to them by law for their reading disability. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the high school dropout rate for students with dyslexia or related learning disabilities is more than twice the national average for students who don’t have a learning disability. During the summer months, most students lose two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation, and low-income youths lose an additional two months in reading achievement. For children with dyslexia, the numbers are even worse.

“Residential summer camps allow children to boost their self-confidence as they overcome homesickness. They spend time developing their interests and they can also focus on reading and writing while having fun,” says Susie van der Vorst, co-founder of Camp Spring Creek and one of only 145 actively training Orton-Gillingham Fellows in the United States.

van der Vorst recommends involving children in family plans, such as doing math to budget for the grocery store, organizing driving routes using maps for a family trip, or starting a family book club using self-selected material that everyone can enjoy. Citing nearly thirty years experience as an educational advocate for children with dyslexia and related learning differences, van der Vorst concludes that the most dynamic summer learning experiences for children happen in supportive social, outdoor, educational environments outside the home.

Camp Spring Creek’s day or boarding program offers the following opportunities to address summer slide and help create positive learning habits for children, so they become more dynamic, confident, curious learners:

  • 1:1 Orton-Gillingham language tutorials using a proven diagnostic and prescriptive multi-sensory approach that teaches the structure of language.
  • An hour of supervised oral reading at the camper’s independent reading level.
  • Daily activities including art projects, swimming, wood shop, waterskiing, and outdoor education to encourage exploration and creative expression.
  • Socialization with peers of different nationalities and socio-economic status through shared living spaces, teamwork opportunities, and memorable experiences such as campfire or singing.
  • Math enrichment and math remediation as per the needs of each camper.

“We often see students make two to three years worth of progress during a six to eight week session at camp,” adds van der Vorst. “Our approach is designed to target a child’s individual strengths and weaknesses and help them excel, but we also recognize the value of keeping kids active throughout the day. Most campers grow as much in terms of ‘measurable’ skills as they do in self-confidence, communication skills, and their ability to take learning into their own hands.”

Camp Spring Creek is fully enrolled for the 2014 season, but welcomes names for its waiting list (you never know!) and early interest for 2015.

A Tribute to Anna Gillingham

photo Today's blog post is a tribute written by Helene Dubrow about Anna Gillingham. Helene trained under Samuel Orton, Anna Gilingham, and Bessie Stillman and went on to found Camp Mansfield, the first camp for children with dyslexia, among other programs. Her grandson Van Westervelt was recently featured on our blog and assists us with staff training each summer. Thanks, Van, for sharing this very special document with us.

I first met Anna Gillingham when she came to Verona, New Jersey in October 1936 to give a series of three lectures to teachers. The first pertained to reading, the second to spelling, and the third topic was not announced. As we later found out, the final meeting related to handwriting and difficulties students experienced with written expression. All three meetings were stimulating and increased my interest in understanding specific language-learning difficulties.

For the previous three years I had been training individual elementary school children with some degree of S.L.D. under the direction of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel T. Orton. As a result of this experience, I was eager to learn more about programs to assist older students at junior and senior high school levels. Accordingly, I approached A. G. after the final session and asked where one could get additional training and knowledge about remediation for older dyslexic students. She was quick to respond, saying “Why don’t you come and work with me?” Anna was then a psychologist at Ethical Culture, Fieldstone School, New York City. By November 1936 arrangements were complete, and I traveled five days a week from Montclair, New Jersey to Fieldstone School, where I was scheduled to instruct individual students under A. G.’s supervision. This program was continued until June 1937 when Bessie Stillman and A. G. went to Punohu School, Honolulu.

My experience at Fieldstone was particularly important, for as a teacher A. G. was thorough and demanding. She was explicit in giving directions and took time to explain procedures as they related to individual students' needs. One cannot forget her ability to understand the learning problems and present a program for remediation. As almost no materials were available at that time, 1936-1937, Anna made her own drill cards, books, and word lists for reading and spelling. Before the Manual was developed, Florence Aiken’s book Word Mastery was of prime importance.

It was Anna who helped me to understand the specific handicaps related to dysgraphia. She increased my interest in handwriting and how it handicaps academic achievement. For some children who have serious difficulty with fine-motor functioning, she believed time spent trying to develop legible hand-writing was a waste of time. For those students she recommended learning to type. Under her direction, I taught typing to fourth and fifth grade students. Anna devised a clever scheme to teach the touch system. A frame was built over the keyboard. A bib was fastened about the child’s neck and attached to the frame. With this arrangement, children could not watch their fingers, and the system seemed preferable to covering the keys. With the latter there was a tendency to look at the hands but with the bib, this was eliminated. I believe this unique idea has not been put in practice.

During the year at Fieldstone School, I had frequent sessions with Bessie Stillman. These conferences at her apartment were scheduled after school hours and related to spelling. Such meetings with A. G. and Bessie Stillman were particularly helpful, for they were directed to the needs of older students.

At the end of the school year Anna and Bessie left for Punohu School, Honolulu. Upon their return they learned of the death of my husband August 1937. As Anna was acquainted with my family she showed special interest in our welfare and was most helpful with suggestions and frequent conferences. She followed my programs at public and independent schools with interest. She was most supportive and made trips to schools and centers to give talks to faculties. In this way she spread the word and improved understanding of specific language disability.

While I was on the staff at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, Anna lectured there to members of the English Department. During this period 1943-1947, I learned about her programs for early identification of children with some degree of S. L. D. This interested me particularly, for I had spent over ten years trying to retrain bright, able students whose early language-learning programs were inappropriate and ineffective. Accordingly, when I accepted a position at Sidwell Friends School, Washington, D. C., 1948, it was with the understanding that a program for early identification of S. L. D. students supervised by A. G. would be initiated. It was agreed that Kindergarten children would be examined and those indicating the need for Orton-Gillingham approach would be selected and have special training in grade I through grade IV. During those years, Anna came six times each year to review data and train teachers to use phonetic-alphabetic approach for learning to read, spell and write. When Anna came to Washington she lived with me and visited the school each day. At night she reviewed the children’s folders which contained results of tests and teacher’s observations. This information she discussed in detail with me. From the data collected and consultations with teachers, decisions were made about appropriate methods to be used with individual children in grade I. The small number of students chosen for special training was mainstreamed. The classroom teacher was prepared to present phonetic alphabetic approach for learning to read, spell, and write. Similar programs were continued through the first four grades. The results surpassed our expectations and proved A. G.’s theory important. This was an experimental pioneering project which demonstrated A. G.’s belief that characteristics of S. L. D. could be identified at kindergarten level, and if taught using appropriate methods, frustrations and discouragement would be reduced. I was happy to participate in the experiment at Sidwell Friends School and the experience strengthened my interest in programs for early identification and prevention of severe consequences related to dyslexia. My enthusiasm for early identification of language-learning difficulties has never diminished.

When I joined Dr. Roswell Gallagher, 1953, at the Adolescent Unit, Children’s Medical Center, Boston, and trained tutors to instruct S. L. D. students, A. G. came frequently to lecture and confer with professional people interested in the “Cause.” She gave willingly of her time and energy. Though her sight was failing she continued and was steadfast in her desire to spread her message. This she did well.

A.G. was always interested in my Camp Mansfield project. This camp was established as a result of Dr. Samuel T. Orton’s urging. He sensed the need for summer programs to train children diagnosed S. L. D. and was eager to provide individual remedial instruction along with recreational activities. This plan was developed in a rural setting among the hills and mountains of Vermont.  A. G. followed our program at Camp Mansfield. She visited on several occasions and loved to walk about the fields near the streams talking with campers and staff members. With her experience and knowledge she had much to offer. She gave freely of her time which benefitted all.

It was the occasion of her last summer when I visited her at the Methodist Home in Mt. Vernon, New York, that she mentioned while others were going off on vacation she had no place to go. It was then that I, along with a few Boston friends, arranged for a vacation at Camp Mansfield, Vermont. At that time Anna was without sight, but she was eager and happy to make the airplane trip to Burlington. There I met her and completed the journey to Camp. Because she was familiar with the setting and remembered how we were situated, she was delighted to find her way about and enjoy the country atmosphere. Campers and staff members were quick to assist and guide her when necessary. She attended staff meetings and made wise comments. Teachers were grateful for the opportunity to share her thoughts and wisdom. A. G. was pleased and thoroughly enjoyed her visit.  When the time came for departure and return to New York, I found her fully dressed lying on the bed. As I entered, she spoke firmly and said. “Don’t think I’m tired, but when you can’t see, you have lots of time to think.” With this characteristic remark, we bade farewell. Her spirit and desire to assist children never dimmed. She labored unceasingly to promote the “Cause” in which she was so completely dedicated.

We who worked with her can never forget.

Wrightslaw: An Interview with Peter Wright

pete.300Pete Wright is an attorney who represents children with special educational needs. In second grade, Pete was diagnosed with learning disabilities including dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD. He was fortunate—his learning problems were identified early. His parents obtained intensive Orton-Gillingham remediation for him by Diana Hanbury King. Pete's determination to help children grew out of his own educational experiences. While attending Randolph Macon College, Pete worked in a Juvenile Training School as a houseparent. After graduation with a degree in Psychology, he worked in another Juvenile Training School and ultimately was honored as Virginia's "Juvenile Probation Officer of the Year." During that time, Pete was also attending evening college in a graduate psychology program at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 1977, Pete graduated from T. C. Williams Law School at the University of Richmond. In 1993, Pete successfully represented Shannon Carter, a child with dyslexia, before the U. S. Supreme Court. (510 U.S. 7) This landmark, 9-0 decision, resulted in the Carters, and many parents since, being able to recover the cost of their child’s private, Orton-Gillingham, special education tuition. We were honored to interview him. Camp Spring Creek: It’s been so moving for us to review and share your story over the past week and half with our readers, so let us begin by saying “thank you” on behalf of all parents, children, and advocates in the learning differences field. We’re thrilled that your grandson will be joining us at camp this summer. We know that dyslexia is genetic and that both you and your grandson have been diagnosed with it. Were you the first to recognize this learning difference in your grandson? What do you hope he will gain from Camp Spring Creek?

Pete Wright: No. Both my son and daughter-in-law recognized these issues early on, in part because of knowing my history and my son’s own personal experience with LD in his early elementary years. My grandson’s biggest issue is more dysgraphia than anything. He is very, very bright and yet, because of the dysgraphia, and being so far behind his peers, he feels very inadequate and it’s having an adverse impact on his self-esteem and perception of self. I’m hoping that, as his written language skills improve and increase, the self-esteem and emotional issues that relate to that will dissipate.

I can tell you from my own personal experience and having worked with so many kids since the ‘60’s, that children with dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia, often feel stupid because of their inadequate skills and they get depressed. When that happens, many individuals recommend counseling and therapy. I disagree. I have always taken the position with my clients that we have to teach the youngster how to read, write, spell, and do arithmetic and the self-esteem will improve, the depression will go by the wayside, and things will turn around. Almost always, that has been the case.

CSC: You were diagnosed with dyslexia before it even had an official name in the United States. Now, as a result of your work and Wrightslaw, “dyslexia” is much more of a household word and many parents of children with learning differences now understand that their children have a legal right to equal education opportunities. We’ve come a long way. That said, you’re still hard at work. What do you see as some of today’s greatest remaining challenges in the LD advocacy and legal rights world?

PW: I was actually diagnosed with Strephosymbolia, also known at that time, as Word Blindness. (See my YouTube video about Strephosymbolia and Dr. Orton.) Strephosymbolia was the word used by Dr. Samuel T. Orton on July 25, 1925 when he presented the concept to the American Neurological Society. Strephrosymbolia later became known as dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia.

From a legal perspective the word “dyslexia” has been in the special education statute since 1975 when the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was passed. (It is now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, i.e., “IDEA 2004.” The last revision was in 2004.) Even though it has been in the law as a part of the definition of a learning disability since 1975, some special educators and school psychologists around the country deny that it exists or assert that it’s a medical issue, not an educational issue, and it’s not covered by the federal special education law. This tells you that they have not looked at either the law or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) which identifies it under “Specific Learning Disorder” subtype, “Impairment in Reading.”

Because of resistance in some school districts, parents have formed Decoding Dyslexia groups nationwide and approached their state legislatures to put the word in the state statute, define it, and also define the nature of services that children with dyslexia are supposed to receive. As a result, a number of states have since passed statutes that define dyslexia and spell out what needs to be done. The definition used by most of these states, word for word, tracks the definition used by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA).

The big challenge will be to change the outdated beliefs of many special education administrators and school psychologists in the bureaucratic sector and also those in the trenches working with the kids—getting them to accept that they do have to teach children with dyslexia the proper way so that the children will learn how to read, write, spell, and do arithmetic. Using talking books, having others read textbooks aloud to the child or having others write for the child,  becomes the focus, that is to provide modifications and accommodations, rather than teaching the critical reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling skills. Sadly, it is often rooted in the belief that, because the child has dyslexia, the child cannot learn how to read or write, spell or do arithmetic. The heavy reliance on modifications and accommodations does not help the child in later years, once they’re out of school and employed.

CSC: Many famous dyslexics have been interviewed about their struggles with early education and have moving stories to share about how they finally moved past their learning differences and were able to see them as learning advantages. Did you experience a similar pivotal turning point in your own education? If so, please tell us about that moment or realization:

PW: In 1952, at the beginning of my second grade year, I was totally illiterate. I could not read, write, spell, or do arithmetic. My parents were told that I was uneducable and that nothing could be done. They were also told that I was mentally retarded and emotionally disturbed. Fortunately a private evaluation identified me as having “Strephosymbolia" and my parents were told to find someone skilled in teaching children using the approach created by Dr. Orton and Anna Gillingham. They found Diana Hanbury King who tutored me, every day, one-on-one, after school, using the Orton-Gillingham approach, for two years. Her goal was to get me two years above my age and grade level. Several years later, when I was in the sixth grade, I was tested and my scores were at the eighth grade level.

The changes in me were slow, over two years, during almost all of the second and third grades. Thus there was not a pivotal turning point, or “eureka” moment or realization. I simply learned how to read, write, spell and do arithmetic, at a level surpassing that of my peers.

Diana Hanbury King is now considered to be one of the top experts in the world. Years after working with me, she founded The Kildonan School in Amenia, NY. Last year my grandson spent several days with her as she worked with him and my daughter-in-law. Since then, every day, he works on the exercises Diana created for him and we have seen great progress. It is hard work for him. I remember my own experiences with her and how hard the work was. She is a task-master and has very high expectations. My grandson has become quite aware that putting in the time and working hard is generating great benefits. As expected, at first he complained, but as he saw his own changes in legibility of the written letters, numbers and words, and increased typing speeds, he has become self-motivated.

On another note, there’s a lot of talk about the gift of dyslexia and that dyslexics think outside the box and I agree. But Diana Hanbury King has a different stint on that and she has absolutely nailed it! In December 2012, she spent several days with me and my wife Pam at our home in Deltaville, VA and I did a YouTube interview of her  in which she discusses her theory. All parents of children with dyslexia need to see it. It will surprise you and you, too, will agree. I won’t give away her theory here. Seeing it is believing.

CSC: There are so many resources online that are helpful, but the Internet can also be a dizzying place for a parent looking into his or her LD child’s educational rights. For a parent just starting out, what top three links can you share to help them understand their rights and options?

PW: In all honesty, there is nothing that is comparable to our website. We have more traffic than the US Department of Education. We have almost 100,000 subscribers to our online newsletter. If you research something related to special education law, so often Google will take you back to our wrightslaw.com website. Between our Wrightslaw: Special Education Law book, our Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy book, and our Wrightslaw: All About IEPs book, we have sold almost a half million copies. In my Wrightslaw training programs, (about 25 per year), I tell parents that they have to read our From Emotions to Advocacy book three times. The first read is an emotional roller coaster for the parents. The second read they can digest it and highlight and take notes. The third read is the synthesis of the second read and putting it all together.

Wrightslaw: The Orton Connection

Note: This article was originally published in the Winter 1994 issue of Perspectives, the Journal of the Orton Dyslexia Society, now known as the International Dyslexia Association. It is written by Peter W. D. Wright, Attorney at Law, Deltaville, VA  of Wrightslaw and reprinted with permission. For more about Peter, see our previous blog post featuring his educational experiences as a child with dyslexia and ADHA in the 1950's education system and stay tuned for his forthcoming interview on our site. The case of Florence County School District Four v. Shannon Carter was set in motion by four distinguished members of The Orton Dyslexia Association - Helene Dubrow, Diana Hanbury King, Roger Saunders, and Linda Summer. In 1953, Orton member, Diana Hanbury King tutored a severely dysgraphic, dyslexic and hyperkinetic youngster. During the next summer, that eight year old boy attended Helene Dubrow’s camp at the base of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont where he continued to receive intensive Orton-Gillingham remediation from his tutor and counselor, Roger Saunders, another Orton member.

Remediation with Diana King continued through the next academic year. Later, Diana King founded the famous Orton-Gillingham based Kildonan School, which is located in Amenia, New York. Dr. Roger Saunders founded the Jemicy School in Maryland and became one of the most prominent psychologists in the field of dyslexia.

Thirty years later, in 1985, another Orton member, Linda Summer began working with Shannon Carter, a severely depressed fifteen year old. Shannon had been misdiagnosed by the school system as a "slow learner," who was "lazy and unmotivated." Despite an average to above average IQ, Shannon was functionally illiterate. Linda Summer discovered and diagnosed Shannon’s dyslexia. She insisted that Shannon needed a self-contained classroom to remediate her disabilities. The public school refused to provide this and proposed to give Shannon three hours a week of special education. Her parents refused this.
As members of the Orton Dyslexia Society, Mr. and Mrs. Carter attended state and regional conferences. When the school refused to educate Shannon, the parents placed her into Trident Academy, another Orton-Gillingham based program. The parents sought reimbursement for the cost of the tuition at Trident Academy and took their case to court.  Eventually, Pete Wright, a Richmond, Virginia attorney and former pupil of Diana Hanbury King and Roger Saunders, represented Shannon.

Pete Wright argued Shannon’s case before The U. S. Supreme Court on October 6, 1993. Three generations of Orton Dyslexia Society (now known as the International Dyslexia Association) members were present during oral argument. While Pete argued Shannon’s case, Roger Saunders and Shannon Carter watched from the audience. On November 9, 1993, thirty-four days later, the Court issued a unanimous decision on behalf of Shannon Carter and affirmed the decision of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Emory and Elaine Carter sought a more intensive program – and the school refused to provide this, in part because no such program was available in School District Four. After losing both a due process and review hearing, Shannon’s parents took their case to the U. S. District Court where they prevailed. On appeal to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the school system changed tactics. They argued that Trident Academy was not a certified approved school. Dr. Lucia Karnes, a member of the Orton Dyslexia Society, helped to set up Trident Academy. The public school argued that because Trident was not an "approved" school, the parents should not be reimbursed, even though the private school provided Shannon with an appropriate education. The Fourth Circuit upheld the trial court’s decision. In making their argument, Florence County School District Four followed the rationale and the rule of law that existed in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

In that Circuit, a trial judge found that The Kildonan School provided a youngster with an excellent education and that there was not an appropriate education available either within the public school or on the state’s list of approved schools. Because of the prior Second Circuit precedent, the trial judge expressed concerns that he could not rule in favor of the child. The judge said that although the parents obtained an appropriate education for their son, it was not free.

In Carter, the Fourth Circuit took a different position. If the school system defaults on its legal duty to provide the child with an appropriate education and if the parents obtain an appropriate special education for their child, then the child’s education should be free -- regardless of whether the school was on an "approved list." (South Carolina did not have any pre-existing list.) Because of the "split" between the Second Circuit and Fourth Circuit, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the Carter case. School officials hoped that a favorable decision in Carter would reduce the costs of special education.

The U. S. Supreme Court did not agree. They gave short shrift to the "financial catastrophe" arguments raised by the seventeen states and dozens of educational organizations that filed briefs against Shannon. Legal scholars were surprised at the speed with which the Court reached its decision. Carter was considered a stunning victory for parents of handicapped children. The Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that Trident Academy provided Shannon with an excellent education and that the public school program was "woefully inadequate." Children with handicaps are entitled to a continuum of educational alternatives, including self-contained and residential programs. Schools that provide fixed rigid programs directed by staffing convenience are ill-advised to draw lines in the sand, provide inadequate programs, then suggest that parents "take it or leave it." Parents may reject the school’s proposal, secure an education privately, then present the school with a bill and collect in the end.

This was the outcome in Florence County School District Four v. Shannon Carter, a case set in motion by the involvement of four distinguished members of The Orton Dyslexia Society - Helene Dubrow, Diana Hanbury King, Roger Saunders, and Linda Summer. Children with all types handicaps, disabilities, and learning differences benefit from the work of The Orton Dyslexia Society, now called the International Dyslexia Association.

(Note: Click here to see a YouTube video portion of Pete's Keynote at "Decoding Dyslexia Day - Richmond, VA and stay tuned for our next post--an interview with Peter Wright himself.)

Wrightslaw: The Untold Story

Note: Today's blog post is an excerpt from "The Untold Story" written by Peter Wright of Wrightslaw and is the first in a 3-part series exploring the inspiring story of one man's personal experiences with dyslexia, from student to nationally known advocate. We'll follow Peter through his early years all the way to his landmark Supreme Court victory that has made a positive difference for thousands of children that have learning differences. We'll conclude this series with a new interview with Peter himself. Read here and stay tuned! In 1951, my kindergarten teacher told my parents, "Peter does not listen to his teachers, does not respond to school rules and definite directions . . . listening and doing are necessary requisites for first grade." The following year, my first grade teacher said, "He makes most of his numbers backwards . . . I am having a little trouble understanding Peter; he is a nice little boy, but he does not appear at all interested in first grade . . . I know he has a good mind."

Later, teachers said that, "He is fussy, too free with his fists." "I am quite disappointed in Peter . . . He does not pay attention to directions and he has to be spoken to frequently for talking." (Next marking period) "Peter continues to disappoint me . . . He does not do his best at all times because he does not keep his mind on his work and wastes a great deal of time . . . I hope he will try to improve before the closing of the school year as he is a capable boy."

At different times, I was labeled as borderline mentally retarded and emotionally disturbed. During my public school career, I was never viewed as having college potential so I was placed in the general track, where I took touch typing for two years (when it was called typing, not keyboarding).

Who is Pete Wright? For the special educators in the audience, I was one of your children.

From elementary school to the third grade, I reversed not only my spoken speech, pasghetti, for spaghetti, concepts, over under in out, and reading and writings were filled with reversals. I also had what was called "mirror writing".

My teachers told my parents that I could do well if I would only try harder. I had ants in my pants and could not sit still. I was eventually diagnosed as having strephosymbolia and word blindness. These are labels for what we now call Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

I received extensive individual tutoring every day after school in 1953. In 1954 I attended a residential camp. I continued one-on-one tutoring the next year. I was prescribed Dexedrine and took that through elementary and junior high school years as a means to reduce the hyperkinetic behavior.

The tutoring technique used with me in 1953 is what is known today as the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory, visual auditory, kinesthetic tactile approach to language learning. My tutor was Diana King who later founded the Kildonan School and is referred to in several of the cases that preceded Carter.

I attended Washington D.C. public schools and, by the end of the 11th grade had a strong D+ average. My parents sent me to a small New England prep school with student teacher ratio of 6 to 8 students per class where the professors were aware of my dyslexia.

After graduating from that school, I attended Randolph Macon College in Virginia and worked in Virginia’s juvenile training schools and juvenile courts. At the same time I attended Virginia Commonwealth University and took 30 graduate credit hours in psychology, intending to become a psychologist. I needed a practicum which was hard to do while working full time.

While working as a probation officer, I became involved with the Orton Dyslexia Society and the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities (now LDAA). Many of the youngsters that I worked with in the training schools and juvenile courts had undiagnosed, unremediated learning disabilities. I used educational remediation to reduce delinquent behavior and spoke at the National Conferences of the ACLD and Orton Dyslexia Society about LD and juvenile delinquency in 1974 and 1975.

Later in 1975 I attended Law School and immediately became involved in special education litigation after passing the Bar. By the early 1980’s I was handling a large number of special ed cases and in the Fall of 1984 was a primary speaker at the National Orton Dyslexia Annual Conference which was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I held a training session for lawyers and parents about special ed law and actual trial tactics in the litigation of special education cases.

That led to my talking to parents and educators at the North and South Carolina Annual Orton Conference in the spring of 1985 at Wingate College, North Carolina. Shannon Carter’s parents were in the audience. Who is Shannon Carter? Stay tuned for next week's blog post about her landmark Supreme Court case...

Susie Presents in Florida!

This week Susie is in Florida working with mentor and friend Susan Russell for an in-service training with the teachers at The Little Place and The Little Place Too, both private, academic-based preschools. Susan was Susie's second boss, so the two go way back. This press release was published via local media outlets in Wellington, FL and shares more about their relationship and the goals of Susie's trip. Free Dyslexia Info Session for Parents & Educators

Wellington, Florida – February 25, 2014 – Esteemed educator and dyslexia advocate Susie van der Vorst offers free info session for parents, educators, and administrators interested in early intervention, teaching methodologies, and other issues facing children with learning differences.

The Little Place Too, an academic-based private preschool in Wellington, will host an info session on dyslexia featuring Susie van der Vorst, well-known education advocate and co-founder of Camp Spring Creek. Susan Russell, owner of The Little Place Too, invited van der Vorst to the region after sending one of her school’s teachers to Camp Spring Creek’s 70-hour Associate Level Orton-Gillingham training at the camp in North Carolina.

“We’re just getting into the Orton-Gillingham approach at The Little Place,” says Russell. “I can already see a positive difference. It helps all of us understand how to help our children in the best ways possible.” The OG approach, as it is commonly called, is one of the most highly effective methods for teaching the structure of language using multisensory techniques. Trained tutors, such as Ms. Shay at The Little Place Too, engage students in learning activities that ask students to see, hear, and write a concept. Processing a single concept in many different ways allows all children, and especially children with learning differences such as dyslexia, to grasp skills they cannot learn using traditional methods.

At the info session, van der Vorst will touch on early intervention techniques that help parents and teachers determine whether or not their child has a learning difference as early as age four. She will also answer common questions, dispel myths about dyslexia, and discuss resources available nationwide. “Dyslexia doesn’t necessarily mean you read backwards, as people often think,” says van der Vorst. “Children with dyslexia have difficulty processing language but they are often very gifted in analytical reasoning and creativity, which is why a high percentage of people with dyslexia become corporate CEO’s, engineers, artists, entrepreneurs, surgeons, and architects.”

With support, people with dyslexia lead lives of accomplishment. This has been proven with recent brain research, in the classroom, and also at Camp Spring Creek, one of only three residential camps in the United States accredited by the Association of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. “We often see students make two to three years worth of progress during a six to eight week session at camp,” says van der Vorst, who has nearly 30 years of teaching and tutoring experience. “Our approach is designed to target a child’s individual strengths and weaknesses and help them excel. But we also recognize the value of keeping kids active throughout the day. These kids can’t learn as well if they’re stuck behind a desk. The learning needs to be hands-on so that they can get multiple senses involved.”

Susan Russell and Susie van der Vorst have a history stretching back to 1987, when The Little Place Too first opened its doors. “I told Susie that she could start a kindergarten classroom at my school and do anything she wanted, as long as she could explain why,” recalls Russell. “She was just out of school, young, and very excited about teaching. I didn’t want to stifle that. She presented her plans to the parents and they could feel her enthusiasm, too. That’s exactly why she’s been so successful.” For van der Vorst’s part, the primary motivator in spreading the word about dyslexia is that she believes the right to read is a civic right. No child should be excluded because traditional teaching methods don’t teach some kids the ways they need to be taught.

The info session is free and open to the public. It will be held Tuesday, February 25 from 6:30-7:30pm at The Little Place Too, 2995 Greenbrier Boulevard in Wellington. For more information please call 561-790-0808.

Job Openings at Camp Spring Creek

We're in need of several Certified and Associate Level Orton-Gillingham tutors for the Camp Spring Creek 2014 season. We only have a few openings left, but if qualified applicants are interested in working at camp from June 10 to August 10, please send your resume to our general email inbox: info@campspringcreek.org. Applicants may also contact us at the office by calling 828-766-5032. OG Training with us in advance of employment is sometimes an option, so don't hesitate to inquire. We also have a few tutor positions for half the summer. Applicants to these positions that are not returning staff will need to attend staff training at the start of the summer. In general, we prefer individuals that have already been through training via the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Pracitioners & Educators, but we can provide practicum observations. For example, if an applicant is hired and works the entire 8 weeks, he or she can use up to 5 observations for their practicum. Please be in touch!

Interview: Henri Brown

Henri's picture

This week, we're very excited to feature Henri Brown in our Inspiring People interview series. Henri Brown is the Director of the Augustine Literary Project/WS, a literacy project that trains and pairs volunteer tutors with low-income children and teens who struggle with literacy skills. She graduated from UVA undergrad and got her Master's from WFU. She lives in Winston-Salem with her husband, Royall Brown, and has two children. Read more about why she thinks "dyslexia" isn't the best word-label for our children, who she views more as "da Vinci Kids."

Camp Spring Creek: Please tell us briefly how you become involved with Augustine Project and what your role is there.

Henri Brown: Like many folks who get interested in Orton education, I had a child who had reading issues. As a family, we were fortunate to be able to  afford a private tutor. As we gratefully paid our tutor, week after week, I kept thinking about those moms who loved their children as much as I did, but who could not afford a tutor. About that time, the Augustine Project in Winston-Salem held their first training. I signed on for their second training in 2002, and I've been here ever since. I started as a volunteer and founding Board member, served as Board Chair in 2006, and became Director of the Winston-Salem project in 2008.

CSC: Currently, Austine Project is serving 124 schools or after school programs. This must work out to be thousands of children! In what ways does Augustine Project serve those children: Through individual tutoring? In-class assistance? Group lessons? Help us "see" things in action from afar:

HB: In Winston-Salem, we serve over 100 children in over thirty schools and after school locations. Our tutors work one-to-one, and each tutor agrees to tutor twice weekly for approximately 45 minutes to an hour. As our tutors are volunteers, most take just one student, although several of our over 100 tutors have  2 or more students. Usually, our tutors go to school, remove the child from class, tutor, and then return the student to class. The schools have great confidence in our tutors. This is why the schools are willing to let us remove a child from class for tutoring twice weekly.

We are also seeding tutors in some after school locations. These are usually homework or feeding ministries. It is extremely valuable to have trained volunteers in these locations.When they encounter a child with a reading problem in one of their programs, hopefully someone there will know how to help.

CSC: If you could help dispel one myth or stereotype about children with dyslexia, what would it be and how would you address it?

HB: First, I'd change the word dyslexia. We've got to get rid of the 'dys' label for children with reading and/or language problems. Take any meaning of 'dys' you like--ill, bad, abnormal, diseased, faulty-- these children don't qualify. Personally, I'd rather call them "da Vinci Kids." This reflects much more of who they really are.

CSC: Please share an "ah-hah" moment that you have experienced as an educator or advocate in your years working with children with learning differences. HB: In the Augustine Project, we get lots and lots of "ah-ha" moments. As a tutor, I loved the recent moment when my teenage student wrote a list and then turned it into a good, solid paragraph--and she knew it. As Director, I love knowing the profound difference that our tutors make in the lives of the children they serve. Recently, our tutor Deb went to meet with the principal at the new school that her student was attending. Out of the school bus window she heard, "Ms. Deb, Ms. Deb, You found me! You found me!" Another student--one who used to say reading was his enemy--is now reading poetry and learning about birds. Another tutor is moving to his 3rd school this year, as he follows his student with unstable housing. I could go on and on.

CSC: What is one thing that you often hear parents say they "wish they had known" as they discover their child has dyslexia or a learning difference? How can other parents be more aware of this in their own children?

HB: I think most parents who discover they have a 'DaVinci Child'--and I was one of them--wish they had figured it out earlier. I knew my child was extraordinarily frustrated in school. I just didn't know why. To that end, the WS Augustine Project has just published a piece on early warning signs for reading difficulties in both English and Spanish. This piece, supported by the Women's Fund of Winston-Salem, focuses on early identification of reading problems in girls.

Camp Spring Creek Seeks Teachers for Free Training in WNC

1ReviewingFingerTapping-tapb4youwriteThis press release was originally published by local newspapers in Mitchell and Yancey Counties. Spruce Pine, North Carolina – December 8, 2013 – Camp Spring Creek Outreach Center, a non-profit organization in Mitchell County, received grant funding to train up to 10 teachers and assistants in the Classroom Educator Class.

Camp Spring Creek was recently awarded a $20,000 People in Need grant funded through the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, the Lipscomb Family Fund, the Fund for Mitchell County, and the Nelle Crowell Fletcher and G.L. Crowell Fund. These monies are specifically allocated to train up to 10 public school teachers or assistants who work with children during the literacy block.

“We’re so grateful to all the organizations that contributed to make this funding possible,” said Camp Spring Creek co-director Susie van der Vorst. “Now we’re ready to make it known that there are 10 spaces available. Thanks to the grant, the training is free. We’re hoping for 5 teachers from Yancey and 5 teachers from Mitchell, and we can work with individual schedules to offer the course during their free-time.”

The Classroom Educator Class is a 35-hour course based on the Orton-Gillingham approach to learning. Participants will learn the structure of English, primarily focusing on specific methodologies for differentiating instruction to meet individual students’ unique learning needs within small group or whole class instruction. The course will cover phonemic awareness, syllabication, and the spelling patterns of our language, among other concepts.

"Orton-Gillingham training was definitely that 'missing link' in my professional training!” said Tamara Houchard, 6-8th grade ELA teacher at Harris Middle School, who has completed numerous trainings through Camp Spring Creek. From her basic training, she says she “was able to understand the foundations of the English language and, more importantly, able to teach my students—at any level—how to read, understand, and comprehend in a systematic and logical way. No reading teacher could ask for more from a training!"

While the Classroom Educator Class is especially designed for K-3rd and Exceptional Child teachers, “we will take anyone interested,” said van der Vorst. “We would like school principals to contact us if they have teachers or assistants who are interested.” Following course completion, participants will receive 1 year of mentorship through conferences and in-class visits from van der Vorst, who is also the instructor.

The Orton-Gillingham philosophy, or OG, as it is commonly called, uses a language-based, multisensory approach to learning that relies on a student’s problem-solving and creative thinking skills to circumvent processing weaknesses. Although OG is most commonly used for children with dyslexia, the method has been successfully incorporated into learning environments for students of all styles and abilities. For information, call the Camp Spring Creek Outreach Center at 766-5032.

Video: Alphachips Activity

We've added a Category to our Camp Spring Creek blog called Resources (see right hand sidebar). Here, we'll be posting video clips of Susie in action during her training sessions, other informative videos that we want to share with you, and videos of our tutors and local educators doing what they do best. To kick things off, check out this Alphachips Activity video and stay tuned on our Facebook page later this winter, because we'll be giving away a set of Alphachips for you to use in your own classrooms or homes! Enjoy! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MonH1kJeoMI&w=560&h=315]

In His Own Words: Samuel Torrey Orton

ortonFrom Reading, Writing, and Speech Problems in Children by Samuel Torrey Orton, co-founder of the Orton-Gillingham approach. Originally published in 1937: “They are usually interested in the story of how one side of the brain works in the language function and intrigued with the idea that the two halves of their brain may be ‘squabbling over which is to be the boss’ and pleased when it is possible to tell them it frequently is on the basis of intelligence tests, that their brains are better than average but just not working right for the particular subject in which they have met trouble. This sort of understanding of how his difficulty may have arisen will often go a long way toward preventing the child from falling back on explanations based on emotional instability, ‘nervousness,’ undue fears, or lack of self-confidence which in themselves are not entirely emotionally acceptable and which often seem to operate as a vicious circle. An even more complete explanation to the parents and to the teachers of the specific nature of all of these difficulties is of prime importance in treatment of the child since the school failures have all too often been interpreted as due to some degree of mental defect or to defective attention or to laziness or to poor training and frequently with an implication of blame which may very easily foster an unwarranted feeling of doubt in the child or the parent or both.”

Giving More Thanks...

Note: We're holding a contest on our Facebook page this holiday weekend. Visit our page and post a photo of yourself or another adult reading with a child. Once you post the photo (and like our page so we can contact you if you win), you'll be entered to win a Camp Spring Creek mug! We're fortunate to have a few more very important people and organizations that we'd like to thank. We honored them in our Fall 2013 Newsletter, and would like to honor them on our blog as well:

We are profoundly grateful to our many dedicated and steadfast supporters, including the Rotary Club of Avery County. Thanks to everyone's efforts, we were able to award scholarships to eleven of our forty-three campers. We have always felt that reading is a civil right and that we need to offer our camp experience to children regardless of financial circumstances. With a continually growing network of supporters, we will be able to reach even more children next summer.

Our Bakersville Dollar General has always provided us with a generous discount for our binders and this year they supplied all the binders at no cost to us. Several of our own teaching staff made in-kind donations of books and teaching materials. Liz Hall, education advocate and avid supporter of Camp Spring Creek, is making hand-sewn slipcovers, curtains, and valances to enhance the interior of camp. Thank you to everyone, who helps us complete our mission.

We are also grateful to the Pelham Foundation for awarding us a technology grant. Funding from the grant and private donations allowed us to replace all the old computers with new iMacs and install Microsoft Office and iWorks software. We were also able to purchase a color laser printer, several Kindle Fires for reading hour, and iPads for our math program.

Additional thanks and recognition goes to the People in Need Grant, Mitchell County Community Foundation, and the Community Foundation of WNC who support our outreach mission by helping us provide multi-sensory instruction to local children attending our public schools. We are impressed with the caliber of dedication from the many teachers we have trained; they still seek our guidance by way of mentoring and further training. We are dedicated to continue to expand and solidify multi-sensory teaching strategies in our local schools. We are also assisting OpenDoors of Asheville in training teachers who work with their clients in the Buncombe County schools.

Thank you all for being a part of our community and letting us be a part of yours!

In Her Own Words: Shay on Associate Level OG Training

Shay & Charlie #3This fall, Susie led a 10-day Associate Level Training session at Camp in Bakersville. Continuing our series of testimonials, today's post features Shay--a "retired" elementary school teacher who taught for over 30 years in 3 different states. Enjoy this glimpse into her OG experience, which was profound on both personal and professional levels:

Camp Spring Creek: Tell us a little about yourself.

Shay: My joy in life are my two grown sons, a sweet daughter-in-law, and one precious grandson. I'm living in South Florida now, teaching pre-school.

CSC: Tell us about a critical turning point or moment of learning (an "ah-hah") that you experienced during your 10 days of Associate Level Training with Susie:

Shay: The critical turning point for me was at our first session when I realized I was in the company of some brilliant women who had come prepared for an upper-level very intensive study that I felt totally unprepared to handle. However, I've always had to deal with the fact that I felt intellectually inferior, so I just had to work harder and find a way to survive this training and try to be successful. I made a determined effort to absorb all the information, do the homework, and prepare for the quiz each day. However, after learning the characteristics of dyslexia I began to see myself on every page of our book. The red flags were flying and it was overwhelming! I hesitated to diagnose myself or make an excuse for not being able to keep-up but the evidence seemed crystal clear.

CSC: What did you learn or realize that was most surprising to you? Perhaps something you had never considered before...

Shay: I have been living with these painful characteristics for so long I consider them part of my identity. All the shameful patterns of hiding what you don't know or can't seem to understand what everyone else grasps with ease cannot be easily broken and exposing them would be risky plus humiliating. But I felt safe with this group of women and our instructor out at Camp. When I admitted my feelings, Susie wasn't surprised at all  since she had already come to the same conclusion and was waiting on me. Everyone was very supportive and understanding. It was hard but rewarding to finally understand many of the difficulties I've experienced over the years and it gave me even more compassion for my students who struggle with these same problems.

CSC: How will you use your OG training?

Shay: I have been using some of the techniques of OG in my classroom and hope to give my students a head start to success for the future, so they can avoid some of the painful patterns that develop in an effort to cope in our educational system.

Interview: Janet George

JanetGeorgeJanet George, M.S., M.ED., Fellow/AOGPE, is the Founder and Head of The Fortune Academy and the subject of today's interview in our "inspiring people" series. According to the school's website, “The school is designed to provide an environment that nurtures each child's development, builds upon his/her individual strengths, and offers remediation in areas of weakness…Fortune Academy is 1 of only 11 schools in the United States to have its Orton-Gillingham instruction program accredited by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators.” The Fortune Academy opened its doors in 2002. Camp Spring Creek: If you could offer one message to parents, potential employers, or members of society in general about life with a learning difference, what would that message be? What kind of shift in our thinking would be most helpful in bridging the gap or tearing down stereotypes?

Janet George: My message would be that having a learning difference is a life-long journey that  doesn't necessarily get easier, it just gets "different." Learning about your strengths helps you manage and work around those areas that can challenge you. All individuals, whether LD or not, gravitate to what they are interested in. Those with learning differences have incredible gifts that can elevate a business to a new level, can invent new devices to support the medical field, and can design and build beautiful structures for communities.

CSC: Can you tell us about a particularly inspiring or moving moment you witnessed with a child, teacher, or parent in the LD community?

JG: My "moments" happen daily when I have the opportunity to sit with a child one-on-one and have them read to me. Their sense of pride and wanting to show me how much they are improving, well...their smiles and hugs just warm my heart and feed my soul!

CSC: Each Head of School brings his/her own personal skill set and passions to a job. What would you say you bring above and beyond the mission of The Fortune Academy?

JG: My passion is to make all of our students feel special, safe, empowered, and instill in them the confidence that they CAN learn. Additionally and as importantly, helping children find their strengths--what they are good at and are interested in--and then nurturing those strengths; that is incredibly important. Greeting them every single morning as they exit their cars, welcoming them with a smile (and sometimes a hug) and letting them know how great it is that THEY are at school--all of those things are important.

CSC: The Fortune Academy offers a dynamic education for grades 1-12, but also gets involved with community outreach, trainings, and maintains a resource center. Can you tell us more about this?

JG: We have a partnership with a local college, located less than 1 mile from our campus, that our 11th and 12th graders can attend courses for duel credit. This allows them to take classes if they are interested in a vocational trade OR if they are working towards an honors diplomas. All teacher trainings happen every Friday, 1:30-2:30. All faculty members are required to participate. Our trainings include research, language instruction, assessments (lead by our school psych, who is also a Fellow and PhD), legal implications (provided by our Board Member who is a Sp.Ed. Attorney)., etc. Our community resource center provides lending materials and offers guidance for parents needing assistance. We also provide free outreach programs.

In Her Own Words: Valerie on Associate Level OG Training

ValerieMillerThis fall, Susie led a 10-day Associate Level Training session at Camp in Bakersville. Continuing our series of testimonials, today's post features Valerie--a mother, homeschool teacher, and OG tutor! Enjoy! Camp Spring Creek: Tell us a little about yourself.

Valerie: I am a former teacher turned homeschool mom. I homeschool my twin 7 year old daughters while my 4th grade son attends public school. My twins both have learning issues that brought me to Susie for training. One twin, Kaitlyn, is dyslexic, while her sister, Brooke, is deaf and uses Cochlear Implants. Both have language difficulties in speech, sentence structure, grammar, and reading.

CSC: Tell us about a critical turning point or moment of learning (an "ah-hah") that you experienced during your 10 days of Associate Level Training with Susie:

Valerie: There were many moments during training that made me think, "That makes so much sense, why have I not been doing it!" One of those moments was when studying the brain and the need for visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning...so easy for a teacher to do--but I just didn't know that I should do it.

CSC: Describe your experience at the Camp in Bakersville, working hours and hours every day, somewhat in seclusion...as you immersed yourself in the world of OG:

Valerie: We worked very hard during the 10 days at Camp. Most days we worked from 8 am until 5 pm, a few nights until 7-8pm, and then the infamous night of 1:30am when most of us had to retake a quiz. Susie worked us hard, but was always supportive and encouraging. She often said that if we were not learning then she was not teaching and would teach it a different way. I really think being at camp, completely submerged in OG, was a true benefit. There was always another trainee to ask questions, study with, or help with homework. I learned so much from my fellow trainees.

CSC: What did you learn or realize that was most surprising to you? Perhaps something you had never considered before...

Valerie: I learned that I can use Orton Gillingham with all kids, not just those with dyslexia. I learned the great reasons behind teaching cursive (which I thought was old-school and something unnecessary to teach in our current technological age). I learned that cursive is quicker, more fluid, and helps students get their ideas onto paper much more easily. At home, I am teaching my 7 year olds cursive and require my 9 year old son to do all his homework in cursive.

CSC: How will you use your OG training?

Valerie: I am currently tutoring my twins 5 days a week with Orton Gillingham. I began tutoring my first student on October 30th. I plan to begin my practicum in January 2014.

In Her Own Words: Jennifer on Associate Level OG Training

JennMerkelThis fall, Susie led a 10-day Associate Level Training session out at the Camp in Bakersville. As always, our participants each came from unique backgrounds. Today's post features a testimonial from Jennifer, an education specialist, impassioned teacher, and advocate. Enjoy! Camp Spring Creek: Tell us a little about yourself.

Jennifer: I am an Exceptional Education teacher with an undergrad in Communication Disorders. I have been working with children with various disabilities and processing disorders for the last 8 years. I consider myself a brain-based teacher with an interest in neuroscience and sensory-motor development. Most of the children I work with have a disability that can’t be “seen.” I teach with their brain in mind while helping them understand how they best learn. My intention is to promote awareness on multi-modal teaching techniques, their efficacy, and the importance of teaching to develop a “unified” brain and honor the whole child.

CSC: Tell us about a critical turning point or moment of learning (an "ah-hah") that you experienced during your 10 days of Associate Level Training with Susie:

Jennifer: Despite, previous exposure and practice with Orton-Gillingham derivatives, it was during this training that I realized how much more efficient and effective my approach could be! My “ah-hah” moment was visualizing how the 9 OG principles were brought to life in the new lesson format. The lesson plan is static but reflects a highly dynamic, multi-dimensional process occurring within the child!

CSC: Describe your experience of the Camp in Bakersville, working hours and hours every day, somewhat in seclusion...as you immersed yourself in the world of OG:

Jennifer: The 10-day training at Camp was challenging. But then, I also believe that anything worth achieving is never simply handed to you. Being away from home, operating on less sleep with exams at 8 am was not easy! I would prepare anyone by telling them that it is truly intense (as advertised). Reflecting on it now, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Being surrounded and immersed in the material amplified the importance of what and why I was studying OG. This hyper-concentration allowed me to focus deeply on the material and internalize it faster than if I had taken days and weeks in between training. Plus, I met some amazing women! It was cozy and authentic—forging meaningful bonds. I will never forget them or my time at Camp!

CSC: What did you learn or realize that was most surprising to you? Perhaps something you had never considered before...

Jennifer: My surprise was realizing how poorly I had learned cursive and, worse, how poorly I was prepared to teach it!

CSC: How will you use your OG training?

Jennifer: In all my years of schooling, I had never heard of Orton-Gillingham. Moving to NC was a blessing for my career as I was exposed and awakened to this researched-based philosophy. I feel that OG has literally changed the way my brain functions and improved areas that were underdeveloped. I have seen the majority of my students blossom and become empowered, confident learners as a result of it. Susie’s teaching and mentoring is providing me with an opportunity to further develop myself as an educator. As teachers/specialists we assume an important oath. We should demand excellence from ourselves because our responsibility to our students demands it. I am grateful that Susie demands excellence from herself and her trainees. I will continue my Orton-Gillingham training as I believe it provides a superior approach to helping our kids learn how to master language and become confident, lifelong learners.