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Salisbury Academy teacher gains phonics certification

By Lizzy Roy

Salisbury Academy

SALISBURY – Salisbury Academy reading specialist Melissa Brown recently earned an advanced certification in reading instruction.

Brown earned the Institute for Multisensory Education Orton-Gillingham certification. She is the only registered tutor in the Salisbury area with this certification.

Brown and other literacy educators with the distinction are certified in an advanced understanding of phonological awareness and multisensory strategies for reading, writing and spelling, among other key strategies for literacy education based in the Orton-Gillingham phonics methodology.

“Reading specialists with the IMSE Orton-Gillingham certification have the ability to identify the specific skills their students are lacking and implement strategies that are structured, multisensory and comprehensive,” said Heather Manley, the Orton-Gillingham instructor and adviser for Brown.

At Salisbury Academy, Orton-Gillingham’s program “Recipe for Reading” is the primary instruction approach for teaching phonics, reading, writing, encoding and decoding to students in kindergarten through third grade.

Her pursuit of the advanced certification was largely fueled by a desire to gain an expert understanding of the Orton-Gillingham methodology and why it is effective, Brown said.

Earning the certification entails 30 hours of coursework in addition to a 45-hour practicum in which participants develop lesson plans, are observed and have one-on-one coaching on the teaching methodology. Participants must then pass a final exam to gain certification.

“It was a joy to work with Melissa Brown,” said Manley. “She is an extremely talented educator and displayed her creativity and ability to differentiate instruction to meet the various needs of her students.”

Brown’s experience and certifications include a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and a master’s of education in reading, language and literacy education. She is a trained administrator of the Gesell Observation assessment for developmental stages and readiness and is one of only two Learning Ally certified tutors in Salisbury. Brown has 32 years of experience teaching children ages 2 through 14.

“My passion is to provide literacy environments and experiences in which children feel successful and enjoy learning,” said Brown. “Instilling a love of discovery through reading and writing is my goal, and I enjoy every moment of it.”

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