EDWARDSVILLE – For some students, learning to read is just one of the many steps in their educational process. However, some young children may find some difficulty grasping the subject entirely.
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Luckily for Midway Elementary School students, Mrs. Holly Hampton is there to help.
Splitting her time between Midway and Hamel Elementary, she gets to instill a love and skill for reading within each of the students she teaches.
Hampton received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Inspired by her years of experience teaching middle school students who had begun to struggle academically, Hampton realized that their struggles were directly related to their low reading levels. This caused her to head to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to further her own education and earn a Master’s Degree in Reading.
“I wanted to help kids learn to read better so that it would not only help them academically but also in their life beyond school,” she said. “Strong reading skills are needed in the world we live in and I wanted my students to become the best reader they could be.”
Throughout her career, she had taught nearly every grade except for fourth and sixth grade. Finding her niche at Midway and Hamel, she teaches kindergarten through second grade develop their reading skills.
Hampton has the luxury of being able to work with a small group of children who require assistance in reading, which allows her to tailor her lesson plans directly to her students’ needs.
“I find out what they know and what they need to know and I deliver my lessons to address their deficits,” she said.
This experience allows Hampton to start each year off with a group of non-readers that are transformed into readers.
“The internal reward of knowing that I helped a child to learn is an amazing experience and I am blessed to be able to experience this every day,” she said.
Through hard work, praise and encouragement, Hampton is as happy as her students are when they make progress in their reading by leaps and bounds.
“My job is to help all children learn to read even if that means changing my approach to ensure their learning,” she said.
One of the most rewarding parts of Mrs. Hampton’s careers are experiences where she can see how all of both her own and her students’ hard work has paid off.
“I had a student who became eligible for reading support in kindergarten,” she said. “The student was very deficient. I worked every day with this student in kindergarten, first and second grade.”
At the end of the student’s second grade year, he was released from reading support and was now a fluent reader.”
Little did she know that a couple of years down the road, the student would approach her and ask to read to her.
“He was now a fifth grader and was reading 152 words per minute with no error,” she said. “It brought tears to my eyes. The hard work in his earlier years had paid off. I was feeling very blessed to have been an intricate part of his reading success.”
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