Director of Teaching & Learning Miles Azzeh's Academic Spotlight: Hollie Kane
Our Lansing USD 469 teachers are incredible at engaging our students in fantastic learning opportunities to reach their full potential every day in our district. To highlight and bring recognition to this great work, Director of Teaching and Learning Miles Azzeh will be regularly shining a spotlight on a stand-out teacher through "academic spotlights."
"Once a child can read, the possibilities are boundless."
This week's Academic Spotlight goes to one of the key people who help students experience the quote above, LES interventionist Holly Kane. I was fortunate to see her in action, and I was immensely impressed by her instruction and kindness toward her striving readers. Her efforts come as no surprise since she is so happy to be doing what she's doing every day:
"I love my job and get so excited about seeing kids become readers right before my eyes! I work with Tier III students in grades K-3 in both reading and math intervention."
I observed Holly providing phonemic awareness (the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words) to 2nd and 3rd-grade Tier III students. This support is part of the daily intervention/enrichment we provide to our students under our "Multi-Tiered System of Supports" (MTSS). These students receive 30 minutes of small group instruction with someone like Holly to help them close the gaps in their learning.
"The best part about my job is that the thirty minutes in my classroom might be the only time each day when students are working right at their instructional level," Holly said. "In their homeroom, the content may be out of reach for them, and they might feel frustrated and incapable."
Holly used a variety of different instructional strategies, as well as constant checks for understanding, to ensure learning was taking place. Students alternated between repeating her modeling of sounds, asking direct questions, and working independently to highlight consonant blends and underline vowels. Holly's direct instruction and modeling helped students immediately learn how to say certain parts of words correctly.
"The targeted instruction I can provide in intervention since students are grouped with other students who have similar missing skills meets them right where they are, and they have the opportunity to be successful. That feeling breeds motivation and effort and, in turn, even more success!" Holly said.
As a former reading interventionist, I can say that most students do not love intervention time. While I did my best to make the instruction engaging and exciting for my high-school students, it was still skill-based work that they felt bored doing at the end of the day. While observing Holly, I did not see similar reactions from her kids; instead, they were having the time of their lives!
Karson Reckers, a second grader, said he loves going to the reading group because "reading is (his) favorite!!"
Ultimately, Holly recognizes how critical foundational reading skills are when it comes to a child developing a positive reader identity (their view of themselves as a capable reader) and embarking on the journey towards finding a love of reading.
"It's so incredible to me that students who struggle with reading can feel that excited about it, but that's my whole goal- to help them feel success, to see them fall in love with reading and begin to see themselves as great readers!" Holly said.
Fantastic job, Holly Kane!