Since school’s recent start, Cortright has dressed in a candy-covered cape and cap, and she has held a can filled with candies like Tootsie Rolls and Nerds. She said during her June training in Fort Wayne, IMSE instructor Mary Kay Graessle encouraged teachers to dress up to teach students letters and sounds. For the next letter in IMSE’s OG manual, O, Cortright said she’ll probably dress up as an octopus, complete with eight tentacles.
“Orton-Gillingham lets me be creative,” said Cortright, who has been an elementary school teacher for 30-plus years, including the last quarter century at Ossian Elementary.
Cortright has 23 students, some with severe dyslexia, and said the skills she learned through IMSE’s training have helped immensely. Her students especially love utilizing sand and the plastic canvas.
“As I get better with this, I will teach them a lot more using OG, and how to divide words,” said Cortright, who has a bachelor’s from University of Saint Francis and master’s from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Cortright said IMSE’s week-long OG training changed her life. She has been trained in other reading programs, but likes how IMSE’s OG training allows her to be flexible and patient with her students.
She stressed how, unlike other programs, IMSE’s OG allows her to move at a slower pace with her students, which works better with severely dyslexic children. Cortright also said IMSE’s OG approach allows her to teach syllabication in a much more effective way.
“The more I listened, the more I liked it,” she said. “The approach is based in a way that you can teach it. It was fabulous. For my severely dyslexic kids and youngest students, we’re using more and more of this.”
As far as Captain Candy goes, she’ll be around until her 80 percent of her students grasp letter C and its sound.
“I’ll be Captain Candy as long as it takes,” said Cortright, who added she comes up with costume ideas during her dreams. “And it’s a lot of fun, too.”
Learn more about The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education’s Orton-Gillingham training.