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Spotlight: Jennifer Nickel – Reading Specialist

Spotlight:  Jennifer Nickel – Reading Specialist

Jennifer Nickel (Ms Nickel) is the Reading Specialist at Crocker.  Reading Specialist support through Ms Nickel, as well as many other programs, only exist at Crocker because of your PTA donations.  Please support Annual Giving to keep these programs running.

Q:  How many hours do you work at Crocker and how do you spend that time?  

Ms Nickel: 20-25 hours a week

Q:  What is your background in this role (education/experience/number of years):  

Ms Nickel:  I am trained as an Educational Therapist, and in Orton-Gillingham based reading interventions, including the Lindamood-Bell Seeing Stars and Visualizing and Verbalizing programs.  In addition to my work at Crocker I have worked as a Learning Specialist at a local independent school. I also have a private Educational Therapy practice.  

Q:  Please give an overview of what you do in your role for and how it differs by grade.  What are you covering now or plan to cover by end of year?  

Ms Nickel:  I provide reading support and intervention for students in grades K-5.  I push into Kindergarten classes to provide differentiated literacy instruction in the context of centers, as well as providing opportunities for students to build foundational skills such as phonological awareness, small motor control, and visual memory. I also work with first and second graders in small groups, using multi-sensory instruction such as the Lindamood Bell Seeing Stars curriculum to build phonics and fluency skills.  I provide individualized, one-on-one support to third through fifth graders who are working towards grade level decoding and/or reading comprehension.  In addition, I consult with parents on ways to support their students at home.  

Q:  What do you like about what you do?  

Ms Nickel:  Everyday is different! There is so much room for creativity and improvisation in my role.  A big part of my job is figuring out how best to engage my students to effect meaningful change, and I find that process so interesting and rewarding.  I’m grateful for the incredible support I receive from the Crocker teachers, staff, and families.  

Q: Can you give an example of how what you do has made an impact on a kid or kids at Crocker?  

Ms Nickel:  I have seen such wonderful growth not only in students’ reading abilities, but in their confidence and willingness to take risks in an academic setting.  I also work hard to help students and their families understand and accept their unique ways of learning.   

The Reading Specialist program is one of the many programs paid for by the Crocker PTA.  Please donate to Annual Giving to continue to keep this and our other programs running!

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