Academic Specialist - Kay L. Smith M. Ed.

Rusty is ready to learn!

Kay Smith is a certified special educator with a Masters inCurriculum and Instruction in Reading from Grand Canyon Universitywith teaching experience in public/private schools and is now in private practice. She maintains a current Washington State teaching certification for K-12 Special Education, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington. Kay is a member of theInternational Dyslexia Association (IDA).

Academic Servicesspecializes in helping students who demonstrate difficulty in learning to read, write and spell. Students with characteristics of dyslexia andrelatedlearningdisabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dysgraphia, receptive/expressive language learning disability benefit from explicit instruction that is systematic, integrated, and multi-sensory.

The structure of the English language is complex andrequires a well-trained, experienced teacher who can provide screenings, educationaldiagnostic assessments,explicit/sequential instruction, and effective treatment; leading to the student’s success in learning to read, write, and spell.

Kay Smith has special interest and expertise in evaluations and interventions for language learning disorders in reading and written language. She has training and experience with several programs which incorporate the teaching principles of Orton Gillingham such as theSlingerland multisensory approach,Wilson Reading System,Language!, How to Spell, REWARDS, and Bartons Reading System. Other researched-based programs includeScientific Research Association (SRA), Reading Naturally, and The Power of Print (Blosser Institute).

Effective teaching for reading require these five components:
  1. Phonemic Awareness (sounds in language)
  2. Phonics (letter/sound associations, syllables, decoding)
  3. Vocabulary (meaning of words, morphology)
  4. Comprehension (syntax, understanding, strategies)
  5. Fluency

Kay Smith has training and experience in teaching writing to students with and without learning disabilities using researched methods and materials from Excellence in Writing, Six Traits of Writing, Slingerland, Expressive Writing (SRA), How to Spell,Conquering CursiveHandwriting, TheFour-Square Writing Process,Writing Skills (Diana Hanbury King), cursive and manuscript handwriting.

Writing can be challenging for students of all ages, but for those with learning challenges it can be especially laborious and daunting. Language processing, reading, and written expression involve several processes that are cognitively demanding and simultaneous.

The student must recognize the speech sound (phonological processing), print the associated letter/sound symbol (orthographic), create meaning (semantic) with complete simple or complex sentence structure (syntactic), and connecting the text with clear ideas and organization (discourse). These processes require working memory, the ability to remember several steps in sequence, maintain attention, executive functioning skills, processing speed, and graphomotor control.

My goal when teaching reading and writing is to provide students with strategies to work independently and with confidence. Every student has their own learning style and potential to be successful in their educational journey.

Kay Smith believes the development of executive functions in every student is critical to their academic and life success.

"Executive functions are the cognitive processes occurring in the frontal lobe area of the brain that allow one to plan, organize, make decisions, pay attention, regulate behavior, solve problems, and evaluatedecisions" (Premier).

How Does Executive Function Affect Learning? In school, at home, or in the workplace, were called on all day, every day, to self-regulate behavior. Executive function allows us to:
  • Make plans
  • Keep track of time and finish work on time
  • Keep track of more than one thing at once
  • Meaningfully include past knowledge in discussions
  • Evaluate ideas and reflect on our work
  • Ask for help or seek more information when we need it
  • Engage in group dynamics
  • Wait to speak until were called on

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