The 2012 Mentor Teacher selected to win the top prize, an iPad, is Sallie Spencer! Sallie is a middle school Special Education Teacher at Olivet Middle School, in Olivet, Michigan. As a Mentor Teacher, she met with district special education staff both in groups and individually, and walked them step-by-step through the process of finding and downloading Bookshare books for their students. She also worked one-to-one with general education staff with Bookshare-qualified students in their classes. Sally believes that Bookshare “is not used enough so I truly want to put the word out!” Sallie adds that she regularly promotes Read2Go for the iPad or iPod Touch, because it’s so easy, and she’s glad for the recent arrival of Go Read for the Android platform.
During the year, Sallie described how Bookshare changed the life of several of her students. For example, an 8th grade student with dyslexia could listen and retain information, but he couldn’t remember short vowel sounds. This hindered his reading and as a result his self-esteem was low. However, when he started reading with Bookshare, he read four books right away and began to feel like his peers! She gave him an individual membership so he could read at home as well. In addition to this student, others were coming into her Reading Resource Room and asking to read. These students felt as if they could read books that their peers were reading and that made them feel so good. They gained vocabulary because they could see the words and hear them at the same time.
Besides full-time teaching, Sallie is an adjunct professor at Olivet College where she teaches a variety of classes, including Technology in Education (both undergrad and Master’s level), The Responsive Classroom, Collaboration in the Classroom, and others. She also presents Professional Development Sessions in the summer incorporating technology in the classroom. The primary focus of her training is to include as much technology for the classroom as possible, to help kids advance in English/Language Arts, both in an inclusive classroom and a resource room.
Over 370 Mentor Teachers are actively working in their schools and districts; a number of them submitted forms, reporting about their work as Mentors. The complete list of winners is posted on the Bookshare website.