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Meet our Literacy Specialist at MAC

Meet our Literacy Specialist at MAC
Jennine Friess

We completed our first reading challenge (congratulations, Middle School students!) and want to share a little more about Siri, our Literacy Specialist who helped lead the challenge! Siri works with children ages 5 and up providing reading and writing support and instruction. She is Orton Gillingham trained and has her Masters of Education in educational neuroscience from Harvard University. 

We completed our first reading challenge (congratulations, Middle School students!) and want to share a little more about Siri, our Literacy Specialist who helped lead the challenge! Siri works with children ages 5 and up providing reading and writing support and instruction. She is Orton Gillingham trained and has her Masters of Education in educational neuroscience from Harvard University. 

Siri, as well as Elementary and Primary leads, incorporate Orton-Gillingham into learning, a phonological approach to reading that is multi-sensory, systematic, structured, and success-oriented.

A Literacy Specialist plays a critical role in enhancing reading and writing skills across all grade levels, including assessment using various diagnostic tools, intervention and support, literacy advocacy, and collaboration with lead teachers.

 

We asked Siri a few questions, read below to hear directly from her:

What is your favorite thing about being a Literacy Specialist?

My favorite part of being a Literacy Specialist is getting to see students "break the code." When children are learning to read there is a moment when they transition from sounding out every letter, laboring through reading the text, to being able to automatically recognize most of the words in a text and are able to read with some fluency. Sometimes it comes across as shock "Wow I just read that page and didn't have to sound out any of the words." Sometimes it comes across with pride "Hey! Watch what I can do." Sometimes, they don't notice and are pleasantly surprised when I point it out to them. Whichever way they experience "breaking the code" of reading, I find it to be a magical moment, especially, because I know the wonderful world of reading they have just gained access to. 

How many books do you read a year?

The number of books I read each year varies greatly. In the past year I have started to increase the number of audiobooks I read, making it easier for me to read while doing other things such as driving and walking my dog, Lucy. I don't know the exact number of books I read but, last year I estimate that I read about 150 books. 

Any other fun facts you would like to share?

Four major brain regions are used when we read: the visual cortex aids us in seeing the words, the phonological cortex helps connect those letters to sounds, the semantic cortex stores the meanings of words, and the syntactic cortex which helps us understand the rules of language. It takes these four brain regions working in unison for us to be able to read and comprehend what we are reading (check out this website for more info).

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