Nothing lifts us up more than hearing success stories from teachers, students, and parents who have experienced the life-changing results of our Do you have a story you want to share?
I am in my twentieth year of teaching, all within Florida. A great deal of my career (over three-fourths) has been spent working in Title I schools with struggling readers. In Palm Beach County, I worked with children of migrant workers who came to our school knowing no English. I taught reading blocks all day to ESOL students in grades K-3. The last six years of my career, I spent as a literacy coach In Bay County, working with D and F schools. This year, I am currently the part-time reading coach/part-time interventionist/gifted teacher at Chaires Elementary. I tell you all of this only to show my previous experience with struggling readers and the multitude of programs and resources out there that attempt to meet their needs.
This year, I attended the four days of training that were offered in September by Leon County for the Lindamood-Bell programs. I returned from the training and, eventually, began a Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V) group with five low-performing third graders. One of the students in this group was performing very low in class activities, as well as on school-wide and class assessments. She was also very quiet and shy. When we started working in our group, her answers, when she gave them, were COMPLETELY off base (students were supposed to be describing a picture of a dog and she would talk about a fish). I was very concerned that she would not be able to continue in the group; that the group would leave her behind. I was very methodical and specific with the way that I questioned this student. As time went on, this student was no longer quiet in our group, but constantly chattering and answering the questions, even before they were asked. The teacher also reported that she could not get the student to stop talking now in class. After moving up through the various steps for about eight weeks, I eventually asked the student to do a word summary on an eight-sentence paragraph. She accomplished this task with flying colors! After dismissing the group, I went back to my office and cried. I have used a vast variety of programs, but I have never seen one work so well, so easily, with so much student engagement, so quickly. I was amazed, as was this student. Her eyes lit up with so much excitement because she finally knew that she could do it.
I also have a group of 4th graders who have been struggling through another intervention program that I was using. I just was not seeing the phonetic progress with them that I wanted to see in the time we had been working together. I decided, just recently, to give Seeing Stars a try. After a couple of weeks, the attitude and behavior of one of our most challenging students made a drastic change. Reading and writing were both coming easier to him and HE recognized it. He came to the group more on task and engaged than he had been for months. The group asks to continue using the program because they see it is making a difference and they are engaged.
I have seen firsthand how the Lindamood-Bell programs have helped tremendously.
Thank you so much!
Misty Kennedy (Elkins) Literacy Coach