WIth a masters degree in Secondary Mathematics and a love for computer programming, I never thought I would end up teaching kids to read. I had taught reading as a gifted and talented instructor, but I never expected this to be one of my life’s passions.
Then, we adopted a smart little boy and couldn’t understand why he had such trouble reading. Our other children were all natural readers. Eventually we discovered that he was dyslexic and embarked on an O-G program with him. I was so happy to finally see him learning to read that I became an O-G instructor.
But my learning didn’t stop there. As I sought out new ways to understand language for myself, and new methods to help students, I began to learn some wonderful new things about language, things that O-G hadn’t taught me. I began supplementing my O-G lessons until I could no longer teach things that I now knew to be untrue. So, embarked on the new journey of Structured Word Inquiry.
Structured Word Inquiry is a not a program, but a way of understanding and teaching language. There is no set order or materials, just a much deeper understanding of the way our language actually works. Structured Inquiry is based on studying the orthography of language more like linguists do. Meaning (morphology) is the primary focus of study. We use the scientific method to hypothesize. We research the history and etymology of words. We study their structure. And it is wonderful! As an adult and a life-long learner, this is something that has absolutely captivated me. And guess what, it often captivates kids, too. What a great way to learn about language.
Now, the details about me. I am a certified Iowa teacher with a Masters of Arts in Teaching. I am certified to teach Mathematics in grades 5-12 and Talented and Gifted (TAG) in grades K-12. As a TAG teacher, I have had the pleasure of teaching all subject areas. I have also taught high school math at several levels, including community college. I have many, many credits beyond masters level, including credits in gifted education, mathematics, operations research, statistics and computer science. I am a certified tutor n the Barton Reading and Spelling System. I also received a teacher honor award from the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted and Talented at the University of Iowa.
I am a long-time school volunteer, once receiving the “Volunteer of the Year” award once from my children’ elementary school. I have been a girl scout leader, designed a school website, run a math club, planted a school garden, etc. I was a member of the Coalition for the Prevention of Underage Drinking Action Team, the Teaching and Learning Services Committee of our local school district, and co-president of the West Des Moines Gifted and Talented Parent Group. I play in my church Bell Choir as well as may other small volunteer activities.
As a teacher and volunteer, I have coached students in many extra-curricular activities, including Continental Math League, Math Olympiads, Mock Trial, National History Day, Technology Fair, and Destination Imagination. I have a long list of hobbies, including making and selling beadwoven and bead-embroidered jewelry on Etsy. But my favorite activity by far is helping people learn!