The Flying Cat Academy
certified to teach using the Dyslexia Training Institute's program which uses the Orton-Gillingham method
special education training - completed Level 1, 2, and specialist classes from Queen's University
Certified B.C. teacher with over 20 years experience teaching middle and high school English
In addition to being a high school English and social studies teacher in the public school system for over 15 years, I am trained as a special education teacher. Unfortunately, none of that training gave me the skills needed to enable a student to overcome reading failure. This is why, when my son was in grade two and I realized that he was suffering from reading failure, my life took a big left turn.
I remember the day my seven year old son proudly showed me his school project on flying cats. (When he was in grade 2 he was obsessed with flying cats.) He thought that his project was fabulous and he was excited about sharing it with the class. That day, he came home from school in tears because some kids said that his project was no good and told him that he was stupid because he couldn't spell. That was the moment when my son's confidence in himself and his excitement about learning began to deteriorate. It was also the moment when I realized that the advice I was getting from my son's school (they told me to "wait and see") wasn't good enough. My son's struggle with literacy was causing him pain and it was preventing him from accessing his learning. The situation needed to change.
I approached my son's teacher first. He told me that my son's struggles with literacy were serious. The principal said that she could not provide my son with a proven reading remediation program or even guarantee that he would get any extra support. This was unacceptable: inclusion should not look like neglect. I made the decision to move my son into distance learning and I got trained in reading remediation instruction from the Dyslexia Training Institute, which runs out of the University of San Diego. This training was intensive; it gave me a deep understanding of how the brain learns to read, how English works, and how to teach using the Orton Gillingham method. I taught my son using an effective reading remediation program and the result was that he overcame his struggles with literacy. He now reads and writes at grade level.
News of my success with my son spread quickly through my small town. My phone started ringing off the hook. On the other end of those calls were desperate parents of struggling readers who were being denied the right to read through ineffective elements present in the school system. How could I turn them away when I know that dyslexic children are in a race against time? Early interventions have a much higher chance of success.
Now, years later, I have helped many children overcome reading failure. I call my reading remediation business, The Flying Cat Academy, which reminds me of the reason that I do this work. For me, it is personal, Through my son, I have an understanding of the pain that illiteracy causes a child and how the situation affects the whole family. Illiteracy puts children at risk for many negative life outcomes. I do this work because all children who struggle with literacy deserve to have my son's happy ending.
The truth is that almost all kids can be taught to read and write. However, when effective literacy instruction is not present in the regular classroom and access to effective reading remediation is denied in schools, children's futures are put at risk. Many parents of struggling readers reach out to hire me as a private reading remediation teacher. What happens to the great number of children who have parents who can't afford to pay out of pocket? Shouldn't we all be able to agree that this situation is intolerable? All kids have the right to read.
Schools often lack resources and staff who have the specialized training to do the work that is required to enable students to overcome reading failure I am stepping in to fill that gap. Through my free guided lessons, I am providing educators with video lessons and printable resources so that they have everything that they need to teach using an effective reading remediation program. My goal is to teach myself out of my job as a private reading remediation teacher. I want all children who need a proved reading remediation program to have access to one at school. Please help me spread the word about my free guided reading remediation lessons.
Founder of the Flying Cat Academy