Courses taken through PTI:
- Orton-Gillingham Associate level coursework
- Orton-Gillingham Associate practicum
- Beyond Associate O-G Seminars
- Nancibell® Visualizing and Verbalizing® Program for Language Comprehension
Tell us about you. What is your current teaching role?
I am currently a first grade teacher in the Lexington Public Schools (MA). I have been in this role for six years, and I truly love what I do. I specifically enjoy teaching my students to read. The first grade year is the time when students make the most reading growth (in terms of reading levels), and it is very important for me to understand how to support this growth in a way that will make a lasting impact.
In what ways has your Orton-Gillingham training enhanced your teaching?
The O-G training enhanced my teaching and professional practice in various ways. I have a much deeper understanding of the spelling patterns and generalization of the English language. I now have numerous strategies for teaching students to read, and I have a rationale for my instructional decisions. The principles of O-G inform my teaching immensely, and I often consider them as I plan and implement my instruction. The O-G training also provided me with the knowledge and resources to converse with my colleagues and families about concepts connected to reading. I am better equipped to teach children to read and write due to the O-G training.
How do you implement multisensory teaching into your day? What does that look like in a first grade classroom?
In my classroom, I implement multisensory teaching when I teach sound-syllable/symbol-sound correspondence, spelling, and handwriting. The students often engage with white boards, textured surfaces, big and small movements, as well as games/activities that require a combination of senses to be employed. I also use decodable texts and ask students to write decodable words and sentences as much as possible to ensure that they are practicing and applying learned phonics skills. I further use multisensory techniques in small groups and one-to-one settings to provide further instruction to those students that need it.
Do you have any advice for teachers considering undergoing O-G training?
I would suggest that all teachers who teach reading consider taking the O-G training. General and special education teachers alike can benefit from an in-depth understanding of how children learn to read and how to provide direct instruction to all students, especially those with reading difficulties. Teachers who participate in this training walk away with a straight-forward approach to teaching reading and a plethora of strategies to attend to the needs of young and/or struggling readers.
What is your favorite teacher resource?
One of my favorite teaching resources is the O-G binder that I received during the training. I find that I return to it again and again to remind myself of the concepts I learned during the training. The information is clear and thorough. The resources in the binder are easy to replicate and adjust to my daily teaching needs.
I am also familiarizing myself with David Kilpatrick’s text Equipped for Reading Success. This resource defines many terms that are essential to understanding how people learn to read and it also provides brief phonemic activities to do with students to help them develop the necessary skills to be proficient readers.
Tell us a fun fact about you!
I love alpacas! I have a growing collection of alpaca paraphernalia (over 75 items) in my home and I enjoy visiting alpaca farms to learn more about these fascinating animals.
Thank you for your dedication to supporting young readers, Bianca!