Welcome to Thoughts From My Notebook

Welcome to Thoughts From My Notebook

Looking back at my life I never imagined I would be here, talking to you now. I am quite sure none of my teachers would have predicted this either. I hated school, and it felt like school hated me back. Lucky for me I went to high school in the 70’s when Home Economics was still a thing. I became a domestic goddess. I immersed myself in all things creative. It was only natural that I would go on to apparel design. As good as I was at that, it was not my passion.

I became a mom to four wonderful boys, all with different strengths and weaknesses. The youngest struggled with reading. His teacher recommended Orton Gillingham tutoring. She directed me to a teacher training course that needed students. I signed him up. In two short weeks I saw a difference in his confidence. That was enough for me to know there was more to this and I needed to know everything possible. I had him tested and the diagnosis was dyslexia and ADHD. More trips to the library, more questions left unanswered. The school he was attending was hiring para-professionals and I made a career change.

I was trained in the Sonday System. This was game-changing. I proudly strolled down the halls of the school pulling out my little groups. I loved it. However, it wasn’t enough. I went on to get a job at Sonday Reading Center, (now Orton Gillingham Reading Specialists) in Edina, Minnesota. I was a bit star struck when I realized Karen Sonday, my new boss, was the daughter of Arlene Sonday, the author of my beloved Sonday System. I went on to take Orton Gillingham training through Orton Gillingham of Minnesota. I had two of the most amazing mentors a girl could want, both Fellows of the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners. I was never short of questions. I kept a notebook at my table; any questions big or small went into my notebook. I needed answers to everything. Staff meetings were full of lively discussions formed from the tattered notebooks I always carried around. I researched online and read voraciously anything about the English language I could. As the years went by I found myself answering the questions of others and I was even able to lecture. I found my passion, or rather it found me.

Looking back, I now know why school was so hard. I too have dyslexia. I may not have gotten to where I am on the same course many of you have taken. I formed my own path, through observation, discovery and the need to help others who  struggle as I did. No child should feel dumb or not good enough. All children deserve to read and spell.

My intent is to choose a weekly topic for my blog, I’ll share my insights and opinions. My hope is we can start our own lively conversations on these weekly topics.

In spite of my bad experiences, I do fondly remember my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Culnane. In my head floats her voice saying, “aster means stars”. Little did I know I would become the word nerd I am.  As I’m reflecting back, perhaps it was in the stars I would be here talking to you now.

Thanks for reading, I’m excited to start this journey.

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kay - March 12, 2019


Cathy P. - February 20, 2019

Thanks for sharing your story and your passion with us, Pam!! It’s inspiring.

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