Welcome! My name is Mrs. Diane K. Engler. Each school day I work as one of the two Literacy Interventionists serving first and second graders at Clinton Elementary School. As a Reading Recovery-trained specialist, I work daily with identified first grade students in their individualized and very intense early intervention Reading Recovery lessons. Reading Recovery is intended to serve identified first graders, one student at a time each school day, for thirty minute lessons lasting up to twenty weeks. About mid-year, the first round series of lessons is completed and a second series of Reading Recovery lessons begins for the next prioritized first graders. I also work with second grade students in small Guided Reading Plus groups, offering literacy support to them. When scheduling allows, I serve some of these students individually.
Daily Reading Recovery Lessons Include:
Reading several familiar books
Reading a story that was read for the first time the day before, after I introduced it
Working with letters and/or words using magnetic letters
Writing a sentence or two
Assembling a cut-up sentence
Reading a new book right after it has been introduced
Guided Reading Plus groups in first grade look a lot like Reading Recovery,
except in a group setting. Second grade groups work with higher level texts, developing comprehension strategies and strengthening reading and writing skills.
First graders bring home a bag of a few books they have read during their lessons. Parents are asked to listen to their children read daily and to support them with their literacy learning. Second graders also have books to practice with their families.
Communication With Families:
I send notes home daily to parents of Reading Recovery students. Reports of progress are sent home each ranking period. I meet with parents at conference time to discuss each child's progress. I also invite parents of Reading Recovery students to come to observe their child in a lesson with me, to help them better understand learning expectations and ways that they can help their child at home. Clinton Elementary School's Title 1 team offers a variety of events during the school year to help parents support literacy and math within their home.
A fall information night is our first annual event. This year, parents met to discuss and update our Title 1 School-Parent Compact, and interacted with math activities, spelling, and grade level high frequency word games for use at home. Other topics included ways to support children's reading at home, parent advisory board volunteers and incentives for summertime reading. Students enjoyed a presentation on Maine's Beautiful Birds, provided by the L.C. Bates Museum. Each child was then given their own copy of OWLS, by author Gail Gibbons, to take home.
Our next event will be held in March. In a scavenger hunt format, students, parents and siblings will all 'find' books that they would like to keep, from tables prepared for different levels of ability. Math activities, parent resources and snacks will be available for all who attend.
Finally, a summer kick-off program will be held in early June. Parents will leave with activities and resources to use at home to help their children avoid the 'summer slide".
My Bachelor of Science Degree (Early Childhood Concentration), was received from the University of Maine, Farmington, after student teaching in second grade and kindergarten. At that time I became the Title 1 Reading Teacher K-6 at Clinton Elementary School and Baker Street School in Clinton. While continuing in that position, I began to take graduate courses in literacy starting first at the University of Maine, Gorham, then completing my Master of Education (Literacy Concentration) Degree at University of Maine, Orono, after three successive summers and fall and spring semesters of traveling to those campuses to increase my knowledge in the field of literacy and best practices for teaching young learners at risk. I have earned the Maine Department of Education Administrator Certificate: Curriculum Coordinator/Supervisor, Educational Specialist Certificate K-12: Literacy Specialist and Teacher Endorsement: General Elementary K-8, which are all current certifications.
I was Coordinator of the SAD#49 Title 1/Chapter 1 Program for several years, after having co-directed it with close friends and esteemed colleagues Faye Fuller, then Lorene Hinckley-Gordon. I also co-directed the Title 1 Summer School with those same professionals for many years. For a dedicated number of years, I was an active member of the Maine Reading Association, holding leadership positions on its Board of Directors, including that of president. I have presented literacy related sessions at MRA conferences as well as at the International Reading Association Conference level. In the fall of 1992, just after the Soviet Union’s collapse, I was asked to be the educator representative on a trip to Inta, Russia, in the Ural Mountains, along with Skowhegan’s then Police Chief Larry Jones and then Bingham’s Health Center physician, Dr. Cynthia Robertson and her young son Jamie, in pursuit of a sister community connection with Skowhegan. In terms of literacy across the world, it was an eye opening and enriching experience for me that I was able to share both with those Russian elementary teachers I met as well as the diverse groups of adults and students who I was able to share this with upon my return to Maine.
When the new Benton Elementary School opened in 1990, I worked there for three years and then moved back to Clinton Elementary School just as a new chapter in my teaching career was opening. I was fortunate to have been chosen, through a lengthy application, interview and selection process, to be one of the first two literacy specialists from MSAD #49 to be part of the highly intense year-long graduate level Reading Recovery training program at University of Maine, Orono, along with Lorene Hinckley-Gordon, my dear friend and respected colleague. Thus it was that in 1993-1994 we became officially trained Reading Recovery teachers. The learning did not end there; we have on-going Reading Recovery professional development sessions at Benton Elementary School with Teacher Leader Whendy Smith, several times each year, including Behind- the-Glass lessons with a student that each of us is responsible to provide to help our similarly trained Reading Recovery peers from our district and neighboring school systems continue to learn with and from each other and from our students. For five years I served as an adjunct faculty member of University of Maine, Orono, having co-taught with Lorene Hinckley-Gordon, the graduate level course ‘Observing Young Learners to Inform Instruction’. This course was provided to elementary teachers in our district as well as educators from neighboring school systems, including classroom teachers, special education teachers and administrators. Federal and Maine Highly Qualified teaching status for the Language Arts content area was recognized in June 2004. A further year- long graduate level course in literacy resulted in 2010 with successful completion of the UMO requirements to become a Comprehensive Literacy Intervention Specialist. Since I view myself as a lifelong learner, I have continued to actively seek out and attend literacy workshops and conferences, including annual Reading Recovery state conferences and also ongoing professional development opportunities within our district through the expertise of Lisa Hume, our Maine Partnership Comprehensive Literacy Coach for grades K-6 at Clinton.
Waterville is the city I grew up in, where my mother was an elementary school principal and my father was a chiropractor. I always knew as I grew up that I wanted to become an educator. Following our graduations from UMF, I married Bruce, a Lawrence High School graduate and my high school sweetheart. We have lived in Skowhegan since 1978 and have two wonderful sons, one a 9th and 10th grade humanities educator at Maine Academy of Natural Sciences and the other an architect in Falmouth. We also enjoy having a 7 1/2 year old granddaughter and an 8 month old grandson!
Working with first and second graders to assist them with their learning to read and write is both challenging and rewarding. I learn with, as well as from students, each and every school day! I miss them when we have an early release, storm day, long weekend or vacation weeks. Parents, your children are gifts in so many ways! I had a mother and a father and grandparents who read to me and I encourage each of you to read to your children on a regular basis, just as I urge you to listen to them read to you. Talk with them about what they have read to help with their comprehension. When children realize personal success with reading, it opens endless doors of opportunity for them and brings them happiness and increased self-confidence that translates into other successes. As I have often said and strongly believe, it takes a real team effort to bring about successful literacy experiences. The team includes the student, parents, grandparents, other sincerely interested and involved family members, classroom teacher, administrator, literacy specialist and any other specialists who are involved, to scaffold the child onward from the strong literacy base that we are building for each of our young learners and upward to where the sky is the limit as far as possibilities, once a child feels and believes he or she is a reader and writer. The ultimate goal is for each of them to be an independent, competent, strategic problem solving reader, reading for enjoyment as well as for further knowledge!
I do enjoy hearing from former students and their families!
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