Guest Blog: The Journey from Classroom Teacher to Dyslexia Practitioner

blogs about dyslexia

Thank you Nessy, for asking me to share my personal experience with working with dyslexic children. I get asked a lot about how I got started. Back in 2003, I was teaching a third grade inclusion classroom in a new school district. New staff to the district were sent to a Project Read Phonology training course that fall. I guess you could call that my big introduction to direct, systematic, multisensory phonics instruction.


blogs about dyslexia

At the same time, my fellow colleagues and I had started a book group reading a brand new book, Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr. Sally Shaywitz. Who remembers reading that book for the first time? There’s a saying in the education world that some books are mirrors and some are windows. Overcoming Dyslexia was a window AND a door for me. It was a total game changer. I knew the kids she described. They were in my class and I was thirsty for ways to get through to them. But dyslexia? I had no idea how to help children who were dyslexic in my class. I had so many questions. The approach we used to teach spelling, phonics and reading had to change for these kids.

That’s the sad part about education. Teachers might go through their entire undergraduate and post graduate program and dyslexia is never mentioned. That needs to change. I knew I HAD to change the way I taught, especially for my dyslexic students. I also knew I needed more training. Becoming trained in Orton-Gillingham was one of the hardest, but most rewarding trainings I had ever gone through. O.G. has made me a better teacher and practitioner.


nessy uses orton gillingham
 I started my family shortly after, so I left the classroom full time and began private O.G. tutoring. Creating O.G. resources for myself because I couldn’t find what I needed out there became a priority, so out of that, The Literacy Nest was born.


I love being able to help teachers literally from all over the world, and I know that O.G. can help dyslexic children become successful readers. As a lifelong learner, the study of dyslexia is always changing. New research comes up all the time. Even though I am O.G. trained, I can honestly say, it’s never been JUST about the approach for me. The bottom line is this- I’m interested in learning how to help children with dyslexia become successful readers. That means if one approach isn’t working, I seek to find one that will. I think most dyslexia practitioners can agree with that sentiment.


Getting Started, Classroom Tips:


  1. Start by going to the International Dyslexia Association’s website. You’ll find fact sheets, research articles and strategies for helping your students. Knowledge is power!
  2. Try a dyslexia simulation. This is powerful because whenever you have a chance to put yourself in the shoes of a struggling reader, it heightens your awareness and you can become the impetus for change.
  3. Pick up a copy of Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr. Sally Shaywitz and start a book group with your fellow colleagues. Get a conversation started at your school!
  4. Consider becoming Orton-Gillingham trained. There are way more training options available than there were when I was trained. Find out more in this post I wrote.


nessy employs OG


Are you a classroom teacher wondering how to begin your own study of dyslexia? I’d love to hear from you. Please keep in touch with me via my Facebook page, blog, email, or store. Have a wonderful day!