I’m very excited to share my conversation with Kelly Kile, Intermediate Reading Teacher at Notre Dame School here in Dallas, Texas. Catherine has been in Kelly’s home room for the past three years and she’s played such an integral part in Catherine’s growth. Because Kelly has walked this journey with her own daughter, I truly treasure her advice. We’ve featured Kelly and her daughter, Grace, in this past article, Catherine’s Teacher Shares Her Unique Experience Raising A Child With Down Syndrome and we’re always happy to have her share with the BTWR family.
Tell our audience a little bit about yourself, how you came to work at Notre Dame and what subject you teach.
My name is Kelly Kile and I am the Reading Teacher for the Intermediate Department (ages 10-15) at the Notre Dame School. I have taught here for 3 years but have 22 years under my belt. I received a Masters degree in special education and for the first 18 years I taught reading and general education classes to students with learning differences. I then found my spot at The Notre Dame School. Although I have taught all subjects, my preference is reading.
What motivates you to teach this particular subject?
Over the years I have used many different reading programs, some I’ve liked, some I’ve loved! The lesson I would say I have learned is that there is no ONE program that fits every student, in fact, I use many parts of many programs each and every day. It is a joy to teach at Notre Dame, the students are able to flourish and work towards becoming productive members of our community.
Can you share activities or special methods used to teach “reading” to students with special needs?
Our lessons vary from functional reading activities, such as learning and understanding signs and words that we see every day in our community, to performing job related tasks, to reading sightwords and working on fluency and comprehension.
What do you consider the best/favorite thing about teaching your students?
I love so much about teaching and working with my students, but my favorite is when I hear from the parents that their student is generalizing a skill we are working on in class at home or in the community! To hear that for the first time their student is wanting to help load the dishwasher, measure ingredients in a recipe for dinner, wants to make their bed, or is finding their size in shirt at Target makes me so proud! No milestone is too small to me, I love celebrating any and all progress with our students because with every victory I get to see glimpses of their full potential. I have never felt such a contagious joy as I do working with our students—they teach me as much as I teach them!
How do you keep your students interested and motivated?
At Notre Dame I have the privilege and ability to combine what I believe will work for each student. I am able to customize activities and lessons to fit their specific learning styles. I use a combination of boxed curriculum, internet, SMART board and iPads, good old fashioned flashcards, file folder games and many, many teacher made materials, I am able to keep things fresh by rotating what we do each day.