From Struggle to Passion:

Here is one fact you would never guess about me: When I was in second grade, I couldn’t read the word ‘the’.

Ten facts you would never guess about me:

  1. When I was in second grade, I couldn’t read the word ‘the’.
  2. My father was a librarian at the Levi Yitzchok Library, so I spent many hours looking at books. While my siblings read books from cover to cover, I tried to piece together the stories by reading the pictures.
  3. Weekly spelling tests caused a lot of anxiety, frustration, and confusion. Why couldn’t I remember the words like everyone else? Why couldn’t I remember the “easy” words?
  4. I never completed the assigned chapter reading.
  5. I only read about a handful of novels by the time I graduated high school. I only discovered my love for reading after high school.
  6. I failed the English Regent in high school.
  7. I failed my undergraduate English language exam.
  8. My son read faster than me when he was in second grade. I still read slower than some of the learners I work with.
  9. I still do not know how to spell many words that I use every day, especially homophones. I rely heavily on spell check, mnemonics, and complex rules to spell words like tomorrow, advice, and advise. My deficit is my passion!

My Work

What drives me to help exceptional learners is that I, too, struggled with literacy acquisition. I have endless patience with my students because I see myself in them. I am motivated to work with all kinds of learners using approaches that are most suitable for them. My clinical practice in Crown Heights is where I work with students to figure out why they may be struggling with literacy acquisition. I then use an array of resources and strategies to design and implement an intervention that would allow the learner to reach grade expectation in the most enjoyable and efficient way possible.

I also work with educators. One of my pet projects is helping educators learn how to screen children for the early signs of literacy learning risks, beginning in kindergarten. Our hope is to identify these children as early as possible and to close the gap before it widens. In my experience working with older children and adults, the work is much more daunting when there is years’ worth of learning that needs to be caught up. Academic failure can take a toll on a child’s confidence, resilience, emotions, and behaviors; early intervention is crucial.


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