MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A teacher at New Hope Christian Academy is making a difference in students’ lives after investing in a new way of teaching.
Pola Millard, a reading intervention specialist, started working with students one-on-one this year.
Some of these students who couldn’t sound out the alphabet are now reading and writing with excitement.
“There are no words to describe it for me,” said Millard.
Millard works with students from kindergarten to sixth grade who struggle with reading and phonetics.
She uses what’s called the “OG method,” or Orton Gillingham, and has been working with about 22 students this school year one-on-one. Her lessons involve all the senses.
They pound, use sand and other objects to help the students learn the information and retain it.
Millard said the improvements have been immense. Many of the students’ confidence and skills have flourished.
“It’s been really great for these kids.”
She went to two OG training seminars recently and brought back what she learned.
It’s been so successful that next year, every classroom in the school will use the method.
“Her passion has led to a great change here within student learning and our curriculum,” said Coley Nicholson, head of lower school.
But the passion doesn’t come without her own story. Her daughter has dyslexia.
“There were things going on and I couldn’t put my finger on it,” said Millard. “I didn’t know about dyslexia then and so I couldn’t figure out like, ‘Wow, what’s going on with her? Why can’t she spell? Why can’t she read these words?’”
So as she worked to help her daughter, she realized this is a job she loves and one that makes a difference.
Students can test out of Millard’s sessions. She currently meets with the students for about half an hour every other day.