“We did a lot with the advanced training this year and really studied word parts and the meanings of morphemes,” said Nieves, a Centerary University graduate who has been teaching special education for two years. “I’ve noticed that students have an easier time decoding unknown words and using their knowledge of word parts to assist them in reading comprehension. I’ve also noticed their vocabulary expanding as a result of the brainstorming component for each new morpheme. They love the multi-sensory experience and it really helps them to connect the morpheme to the meaning. … And the English language really started to make sense for them.”

A highlight of Nieves’ year was, around Halloween, watching a sixth-grade student with a second-grade reading level determine the meaning of mortician by breaking down the word.

“He knew that ‘mort’ meant death and ‘cian’ was a person who did something,” she said. “When he figured it out, I remember seeing his face light up.”

Nieves received IMSE’s  Orton-Gillingham training with some of the members of her school district and members of other districts in early October. She applied and was accepted into the practicum in December and she recently passed the practicum for official certification.

Nieves has always loved learning, and she chose teaching for her career to transfer that passion to others. She said the special education classroom is a “great environment.”

“The kids are great, and I love seeing them learn,” she said.

Know a great teacher, principal or school official who should be a subject for a Journal story? Email us at justin@riverstrategies.com or tag us in a Tweet @IMSEOG