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Dyslexia Tutor Spotlight: From Educator to Teacher-Trainer, Janice Kohler

Categories: Disability Type, Education & Teaching, Learning Disabilities, Uncategorized

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month! To honor the occasion, we interviewed Janice Kohler who is the Director of Professional Development at The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (IMSE) and our October Tutor of the Month! She’ll be speaking at our upcoming 2016 Spotlight on Dyslexia online conference! Read her interview below, then sign up for Spotlight on Dyslexia to learn more from top leaders in the field, like Janice. This conference is unique because you can attend live on December 2nd and still have access to the full recordings until February 2nd, 2017.

 Why did you decide to go into this field?

JaniceI always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. I was the child who played school after school was over. I decided that I wanted to go into special education when I was in high school. I have a cousin who has Down Syndrome and was fascinated with her progress in education. In watching her growth and development over the years, I knew I wanted to work with students with special needs. When I first started teaching, students were grouped in units based on their disability. After teaching a few years, this changed to cross categorical classes which included mild/moderate or moderate/severe.
When this happened, I suddenly had students with Specific Learning Disabilities which included students with dyslexia. I felt very unprepared to teach these students.
I did some research and came across the Orton-Gillingham methodology. I saw that IMSE was hosting a training, so I signed up. It changed the way I taught and made a huge impact on my students. I was given the tools I desperately needed to help my students read. I used IMSE’s OG in my classroom for over 15 years. I consistently had growth of 2-3 grade levels each year with all of my students! My students consistently passed the state assessments each year. About 3 years ago, I was given the opportunity to become an instructor with IMSE. It was a hard decision to leave the classroom, but I was thrilled to be able to share this course with other instructors. It was a chance for me to be able to help other educators give their students the gift of reading!

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

The most rewarding aspect of my career is quite simple - I get to teach students how to read. I get to teach teachers and parents how to teach their children how to read.
As educators, we have one of the most important roles in the world. We have the opportunity to teach ALL students how to read. Literacy is the foundation of success.
For students with dyslexia or for struggling students, this is extremely beneficial because the general education teacher and the intervention specialist or Title 1 teacher are all speaking the same language. It’s consistent across all three tiers of RTI.

What advice can you offer a parent who is concerned about his/her child’s reading ability?

Janice with FriendsThe best advice I can offer parents who are concerned about his/her child’s reading ability is to be an advocate for your child. If you know your child is struggling with reading, don’t be afraid to speak up. Share your concerns with your child’s teacher, principal, school psychologist, and whoever else will listen. Be persistent. Early intervention is key to finding success in school. The sooner a struggling reader gets help, the better they will do throughout their school career. Ask questions and advocate for your son/daughter to be sure they are getting what they need to be successful.

How do you use Learning Ally’s services in your practice?

IMSE partners with Learning Ally. All of our certified graduates are eligible to apply to Learning Ally’s vast tutor database. IMSE also partners with Learning Ally in doing webinars. Spotlight LogoFind out more about Janice by visiting her website, IMSE. Then, sign up for Spotlight on Dyslexia. The family of Carly Simon will be speaking about dyslexic strengths, and Dr Louisa Moats will be our educational keynote. We’ll also have over 20 speakers on topics ranging from assistive technology to teaching methodologies. Go to LearningAlly.org/DyslexiaConference to see the full line up!