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Haley Buss

Cheryl Vanick, the Reading Support Teacher at Meadows Elementary School, has been

in the education field for 21 years. Cheryl earned her Multi-Subject credential and just two years

ago earned her Reading Credential. She was a classroom teacher for four years before leaving the

profession for another career for 12 years. She returned to education when the principal of her

children’s school asked if any mothers with a teaching credential would be willing to help assist

students with phonics instruction. She volunteered with a handful of other moms and after a

couple years and a few changes, she was promoted to the official reading specialist of the school.

Although her official title is “Reading Support Teacher,” she is usually referred to as a “Reading

Specialist.”

Cheryl has a very structured and organized daily schedule. She begins 5 minutes before

the regular school bell rings with her first group of pull-out students. Starting 5 minutes early

helps kick start the day and keeps all the groups on track. She meets with each group for 30

minutes a day. Cheryl teaches intervention groups from all grade levels and meets with them four

times a week. She is a huge fan of the Leveled Literacy Intervention program from Fountas &

Pinnell and has seen great improvement with it over the years. Meadows Elementary is very

focused on creating strong phonics skills within their students so Cheryl focuses more on

comprehension within her intervention groups. Her intervention program is split into three cycles

of about 10-12 weeks. Each cycle has a theme and focuses on the needed area of improvement.

The students are assessed at the beginning and the end of each cycle and are determined if they

need to remain in the intervention group or can be released. She works closely with the teachers

and monitors the students’ progress after they have been released from the intervention group.
Haley Buss
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Cheryl explained she is very grateful for the positive support from both her principal and

assistant principal. Her principal is very flexible and tries to help with purchasing new resources

whenever she can. This current school year, they were able to complete the Fountas & Pinnell kit

for grades Kinder through Fifth. Cheryl is hoping to be able to purchase the Sixth grade kit next

year. The parents of the students in her intervention groups are also great supporters of her

program and her work with the students. They attend the introductory meeting at the beginning

of the year and continue communication throughout the year. Cheryl also collaborates with the

other four literacy specialists in the district. Once a month they all come together for a meeting to

evaluate the district-wide program and discuss any changes that may be needed. The meetings

with the specialists in the district help keep continuity and provide support. Cheryl stated she

used to be very involved with SSTs and IEPs, but has started to release some of that

responsibility since her schedule is so busy. Now, the new Special Ed teacher is more involved

with the IEPs and Cheryl writes up a progress report for SSTs if she is asked.

It was so great to interview Cheryl and understand her viewpoint of being a Reading

Specialist. I learned different aspects of her duties that I might not have learned without

completing this interview assignment.