My journey with teaching students who struggle with reading started when I began homeschooling my two children with dyslexia. To best assist them, I received specialized training in the Orton-Gillingham approach of literacy instruction, which is a researched-based methodology proven to work with individuals who struggle with literacy. As an Orton-Gillingham reading practitioner, I was able to help other struggling readers unlock their reading potential. However, most parents in our community whose children struggle with literacy cannot afford a private Orton-Gillingham tutor at $40-$65 an hour. That’s when I learned about the Augustine Literacy Project, which trains volunteers in the same effective instructional methods and provides private tutoring for eligible students at their schools for FREE! As the Director of ALP-Brevard, I will continue to train and support volunteer tutors to reach as many qualifying students in our community as possible who will provide the most effective, interventive literacy instruction available.
I became an Augustine Literacy Tutor in the fall of 2016. My background is in speech-language pathology and I have always been interested in how children’s speech and language development and their understanding of phonological awareness impact later reading and spelling skills. The structured, multisensory approach used in the Augustine program is built on a foundation of phonological awareness-phonics-fluency-comprehension-vocabulary and each of these areas is incorporated into the lesson plan. It is pure joy to witness the progress that struggling readers can make using this program. I wish I had known about it years ago.
Secretary, Board Member since 2018
While teaching public elementary school in Asheville and Carrboro, NC I remember being frustrated that my "teaching toolbox" wasn't complete and that my college course work hadn't prepared me to effectively grow my students' reading skills. Eventually, I was able to participate in professional development based on balanced literacy (with an emphasis on both phonics and comprehension) and also had exposure to effective instruction for students with dyslexia. Now as a professor in the Teacher Education Department at Brevard College, I prepare our candidates' understanding of the stages of reading development and phonological skills. I have seen first hand my college and elementary students' pain due to the misunderstanding of dyslexia. As Sally Shaywitz, leading expert, says, "dyslexia is an island of weakness in a sea of strengths". My goal is to prepare our teacher candidates with keen awareness of the literacy challenges and prepare them to be a force for good and effective interventions. The work that the Augustine Literacy Project does to partner with our local public schools to provide Orton-Gillingham lessons is a radical act of social justice and illustrates a deep commitment to equity. As my former principal once said, if students can't read by the time they leave 3rd grade they will either be destined to drop out or die an early death. What ALP volunteer tutors do matters. I am honored to serve on the board and find ways to build community partnerships to support the work of ALP.
Vice-Chair, Board Member since 2019.
I had been an elementary school teacher for thirty-three years. Most of my career was in Massachusetts. I moved to North Carolina ten years ago and taught in Sanford and in Brevard. After retiring, I missed working with students mightily and discovered volunteer opportunities with Rise and Shine and the Augustine Literacy Project. I love being able to work one on one with students! It’s truly a gift to be able to build relationships while building reading skills. I am grateful for each of my students and appreciate the commitment they show to become better readers.
I earned my BS Ed in English Education/German Education from Western Carolina University, where I worked in the University Writing Center. After graduation, I taught high school English for 5 years and later returned to college to earn my MLIS from NC Central University. I’ve been a Youth Services Librarian at Transylvania County Library since 2014 and love that I’m able to spread a love of learning and curiosity to the children of the community where I grew up. I joined the Augustine Literacy Project – Brevard Board in 2019 and am enthusiastic about having a greater impact on advancing education and literacy in that role.