Love was trained in IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham two years ago at her school with Neil Armstrong K-3 teachers, SPED, Instructional Coaches and Title I teachers. She said the principal at the time, Dr. Lisa Stevenson, advocated for OG and offered training to anyone who wanted it.

Love said the skills she acquired — including pounding each syllable out with her fist, finger-tapping each sound and recording the sounds — paid immediate dividends with her students.

“As we learned each phonetic sound, they learned there could be multiple ways to spell each sound, and they learned the rules of how to spell each sound,” Love said. “As the students were spelling a word and heard the /s/ sound, they would remember rules like ‘if c is followed by e, i, or y, it makes /s/’. My students who were proficient readers soon become more proficient spellers as well because of OG.”

“My first couple years of teaching, it was a slower process getting the students to catch on to reading,” Love added. “But with OG, kids were catching on a lot quicker than before.”

Love said some of her students couldn’t read faster than six words a minute at the start of the school year, but they all can read books cover to cover quickly now. She credits IMSE’s OG whole-class techniques for much of that success.

Love said her students’ accuracy scores went from 44 percent proficiency in the fall to 84 percent at the end of the year.

She said those scores were measured by the FAST CBM-R. She noted that IMSE’s OG for the whole-class made it easier for her to “see which of my students were beyond the skills I was teaching and which students needed more review and support.”

“Within my small group time, I was able to divide my students into groups, according to which areas they specifically needed instruction in,” said Love, a Dixon, Ill., native and Dixon High School graduate. “For example, my struggling students had gaps in their phonemic awareness skills so I brought in resources to help those students fill their gaps. On the other hand, I was able to meet with my high readers and use the OG multisyllabic decoding lessons to prepare them for higher level chapter books so they would be successful decoding those multisyllabic words.”

Love thrives on watching her students “have that ah-ha moment when they’re not being forced to read anymore and they just want to read.”

“The best part about OG is when you see students start to make their own connections for themselves and then as a teacher, you know you have successfully given them the tools they need to learn reading but most importantly, love reading,” she said.