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2023 In Review

This year has been one of diving deeper into some of the waters we explored last year. We've grown as educators, as business owners, and as human beings this year.

Outreach and Education 

Sara conducted another round of her Introduction to Grammar course this past January. Sara received wonderful feedback from participants for this one. Learning how grammar relates to word study and how to accommodate neurodivergent student needs are always highlights of her course. After taking the course one student said,

Being actively engaged somehow makes this abstract concept so tactile, and I love it too.

In March, Literacy Dr had the *<dystinct> privilege of publishing an article in Dystinct Magazine called, “There Are Many Stories”. Summarized by the magazine as, 

Dr Jennifer Petrich, Sara Lee, and Bradley Johnson narrate how they embarked on a journey of structured word inquiry with struggling students, thereby leading them to understand the power of the English writing system, fostering connections in the meaning and structure of words, and empowering them to rewrite their own stories with their newfound confidence and independence.

Founded by Zahra Nawaz, Dystinct Magazine is committed to sharing evidence-based information to support parental advocacy while also allowing dyslexic children to be involved in the production of the magazine. They even produce a gorgeous coffee table book each year to fundraise for Dystinct’s not-for-profit partners. We highly recommend you check them out!

In early April, Jen was slated to present at OG Canada’s Spring Fling on the topic of “Executive Functions: Understanding Deficits, Incorporating New Knowledge into Literacy and Math Instructions”. Shocking everyone (especially Jen), she had to drop out at the last minute due to a freak accident resulting in a collapsed lung! OG Canada was very understanding and arranged for her to provide a recorded version that could be distributed to participants. They also hosted a live Q&A so that participants could engage Jen in discussion on the topic. Despite the hurdles, Jen’s presentation was a great success!

Jen’s speaking engagements continued in April guest lecturing for Dr. Kristen Secora’s special education PhD students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville on the topic of “Scientific Word Inquiry and the Importance of Morphology in Literacy Instruction”. Jen very much enjoyed sharing information with the students about how to scientifically investigate the interrelationship between morphology, etymology, and phonology. This visit was followed up in August with a discussion between the PhD students and a panel of parents of children or young adults with a disability. Jen was a member of the panel and found it at the same time disheartening, enlightening, and inspiring to hear the experiences of the other parents on the panel and their struggles to get their children’s needs met in the educational system. Jen felt it was

so important that this new group of educators hear these experiences.

Rounding out the year, Sara and Jen co-presented at IDA’s DslexiaCon in Columbus, OH this October. On the topic of “Grammar Foundations for Writing", teachers and practitioners took away valuable information with practical activities they could use right away with their students. Sara and Jen were also able to attend some sessions on morphology and writing, as well as connect with colleagues and friends. In Jen and Sara’s words, 

It’s always great to connect with fellow word nerds and engage in uninhibited word nerdery.
Jennifer Petrich and Sara Lee stand in front of a slide that says "Questions" in sticky notes at their presentation of Grammar Fundamentals at IDA Ohio 2023.
International Dyslexia Association's Dyslexiacon 2023

Staff Professional Development

Internally, Literacy Dr therapists participated in four outstanding sessions of professional development this year. 

Michelle Yancich, Pace Academy ‘s Upper School Latin teacher, dove into all of our latin questions this April. Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree in classics from Yale University and a master’s degree in Latin from the University of Georgia. But the best part of Michelle’s resume is they taught seventh-grade Latin in a barn during the COVID pandemic. Maximas gratias tibi agimus, Michelle!

Our very own Dr. Meghan Goldman presented again on “growth mindset”, Dr. Carol Dweck’s famous research familiar to school and university administrators all over the world. Dr. Meghan was uniquely positioned to present on this topic due to her passion for Dr. Dweck’s work and her ability to integrate growth mindset language into her sessions with students. Dr. Meghan originally presented to us on the topic last year, and this year focused on practical applications. Many thanks, Dr. Meghan!

Our most famous provider of professional development to date was Kelsie from the highly popular Facebook page, OccuPLAYtional Therapist, and we were delighted to have her present for us TWICE! The first topic was “Teaching Writing to Kids Who Hate Writing” and the second was “Staying Collaborative with Kids Who Are Used to Being Controlled". Kelsie is an OT ninja with one of the most neurodivergent-affirming approaches we’ve seen. We are mutual fans of Dr. Ross Greene’s Collaborative and Proactive Solutions model, which was the inspiration behind her second presentation. Kelsie is a gifted writer, and we enjoy following her page. Thank you Kelsie for not only presenting to us but to the general public through your writings on Facebook and your website. You’re a gem!

Coming in 2024

Here is a preview of some exciting things coming in 2024. 

  • Online learning

  • The next round of Connecting the D.O.T.S. course begins in January. The class now has a companion workbook and new activities!

  • NEW: Science of Reading webinars

  • YouTube channel

  • History of English Part II video is nearing completion (click here to see Part I) and should be released by early spring 2024. 

  • Speaking engagements

  • IDA

Here's to a new year filled with the joy of learning!

Jen & Sara

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