Noreen Battaglia, BFA, B.Ed., Orton-Gillingham Teacher

Our focus is to analyze the structure of words. We look at their meaning, their history, how they are put together, and then at phonemes to understand how words work.

My involvement with public and alternative schools for over twenty-five years led to my departure from the arts and a move from Halifax to Toronto to study education at OISE/UT. Today I combine my knowledge of language and my understanding as an artist to my teaching practice. As part of my training, I observed classrooms with some of the best teachers in practice yet ultimately, some children were still left behind. They were unable to process information quickly enough to keep up with the majority of learners in the classroom. Those were the children I wanted to work with.

After completing my Bachelor of Education, I continued study in Adult Literacy and teaching English as a Second Language. I searched for effective remedial programs and attended numerous learning conferences. I then completed a three-year program in the Orton-Gilingham Approach to language learning. While my students’ reading improved, spelling continued to not make sense.

Further research led me to the fascinating study of linguistics and Structured Word Inquiry. Now, I have a growing understanding about how words work. There is so much to learn about words beyond their sounds. Spelling does make sense; and the stories around words are important. I feel I have my life-long work in place and pass this knowledge of word structure, word origins and their meanings and their phonemes to my to my students and their parents. They delight in being ‘word scientists’ and feel empowered by seeing the mystery of words dissolve.

Children, and their families, relax in just a few lessons because something is changing. I see that the well-organized examples of word structure make sense to them. Currently I work with linguist scholars in North America, Canada and France to ensure I am able to answer my student’s language dilemmas completely.

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