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Susan Brown: literacy champion for school and community

Year: 2019 – Province: Saskatchewan

Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Susan Brown

Levelled literacy intervention, grades 1 to 3
Rossignol Elementary School, Ile-a-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan

"Prior to the sixth grade, I was limited academically and struggled significantly in many areas. But, with patience and understanding, Mrs. Brown changed my whole aspect of learning. … I believe I would have never developed into the teacher I hope to be if not for her … ."  — Former student, now teacher

Susan Brown is a very knowledgeable educator, who, her colleagues say, thinks she has the most to learn of anyone. She sets high expectations for herself and her students at her remote northern school, inviting children—many of whom live in poverty—into a literacy-rich classroom environment.

Teaching approach

Believing that early intervention is key to overcoming reading challenges, Susan works with fellow teachers to reinforce reading strategies and provides one-on-one individual help. She creates positive learning experiences for children, building relationships with her so they feel valued and comfortable.

In the classroom

  • Integrates technology to help students develop language skills: children with sensory issues type assignments and notes with assistive technology such as Neo; electronic dictionaries and Word Q let students hear words and sentences; speakers broadcast reading to build aural comprehension.
  • Analyzes students reading difficulties and adapts her instruction accordingly, offering a variety of activities in her individualized sessions, such as whisper reading, locating words in literature, playing vocabulary games or doing a matching activity on an interactive whiteboard.
  • Took action when reading levels slid because some students did not read at all during the summer: created, with another teacher, summer reading bags for 40 students, with books and writing journals; developed information package for parents and promoted the program on social media.

Outstanding achievements

  • With Susan as reading intervention instructor, students' reading levels improved from 55 percent at grade level at the end of the 2015 school year to 82.6 percent in 2018.
  • Always steps up to be first in the school to try new technology, such as interactive white boards, response remotes, tablets and document cameras, and shares her knowledge with colleagues; learns about and pilot tests new tools to help administrators decide whether to invest in them.
  • Completed professional development on a new classroom literacy program, although it is not her program, so she can plan instruction that bridges the classroom and her interventions, and allows her to support teachers and students effectively.
  • Set up an after-school reading club that meets three times a week so students who do not have the support for reading at home can get the practice they need.

Get in touch!
Rossignol Elementary School
Box 70
Ile-a-la-Crosse SK S0M 1C0
Facebook: @Rossignol Elementary School

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