Kathleen Law is a reading coach, Orton-Gillingham certified teacher, and is currently an Instructional Content Specialist for IMSE.
Kathleen has been a passionate literacy advocate for more than a decade, spending 14 years in the classroom, teaching grades 1-4. During her time in the classroom, Kathleen often found herself struggling to reach and engage the students who faced the biggest literacy learning challenges.
“I taught fourth grade right out of my Masters program and had no idea how to teach students to read. I was under the impression that fourth graders were reading to learn, not learning to read. I was not taught how to help struggling readers in my graduate program.”
In 2009, Kathleen was introduced to Structured Literacy and received significant training, and when Oregon passed Senate bill 1003 mandating that at least one teacher from each K-5 school needed to be knowledgeable about dyslexia and take state-approved training, she was chosen.
“I was the designated teacher for my school, and the training I took was foundational for my knowledge of the Science of Reading and dyslexia. I got back into the classroom and had all this knowledge, but didn’t know how to implement it. That’s when I found IMSE.”
Kathleen’s IMSE Journey
Kathleen received training in IMSE’s OG strategies in 2017.
“During the 30-hour training, I learned all about IMSE’s enhanced Orton-Gillingham method, the essential five components to literacy, the tools necessary for classroom application, and so much more.”
The IMSE training was key to Kathleen’s ability to make an instant impact in her classroom. “After training, I was immediately able to implement what I had learned with my students. I saw growth overall, but saw even greater growth with my students that were struggling readers. Some of the foundational skills they needed were missing because I didn’t know about them.”
Not long after being trained with IMSE, Kathleen chose to pursue the IMSE Orton-Gillingham Certification, which includes a 6-12 month practicum for those who want to take their understanding and practice of the methodology to the next level.
“My practicum was close to a year-long process where I was able to develop lesson plans and have a one-on-one coach support me while implementing IMSE’s OG methodology in my classroom.”
Shortly after completing the practicum, the pandemic hit and forced students and teachers to make the shift to online learning.
“Despite being out of the classroom, I was still able to teach my students using IMSE’s content, which was critical.”
Making an Impact Outside the Classroom
At the height of the pandemic, Kathleen took to Instagram to help parents engage their young readers at home, as she knew many were struggling.
“When we made the shift to virtual learning, I would meet with parents and families who were in desperate need of help. I could see the effect virtual learning was having on them. They wanted to help their young readers, but just didn’t know where to start.”
Initially, Kathleen created her Instagram channel as a parent resource, but it has since grown to support teachers and families with all things related to literacy. With over 12,000 Instagram followers, Kathleen shares tips on everything from tactile strategies for letter b/d confusion, to how to use game boards to practice counting syllables, to how to practice encoding and decoding using a Lego strip.
“During COVID, I made these resources for families, and Carla Siravo, IMSE’s Innovation Specialist, reached out and asked me to make IMSE parent-resource videos. Data was showing that students needed intervention, and I was able to help others implement the same strategies that helped my students.”
In 2021, in addition to teaching full-time in the classroom, Kathleen became a practicum supervisor with IMSE, working with 3 practicum students. Unfortunately, that August, she developed long COVID, which caused her to leave teaching. Unwilling to give up on her passion for education, Kathleen joined IMSE.
“In my role at IMSE, I can directly impact teachers who are looking to implement Structured Literacy and the Science of Reading into their classrooms. Educators no longer have to search, as I did, for high-quality training and materials – it’s all here.”
Be sure to check out Kathleen’s Instagram or website to learn new strategies that you can use at home or in your classroom!
You can also check out IMSE’s digital products and social media channels for great ideas on keeping students excited and engaged in literacy.