Port St. Joe Reading Specialist Wins Golden Apple Award

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PORT ST. JOE- This week's Golden Apple winner is an Intensive Reading Specialist at Port St. Joe Elementary. Donna Thompson was nominated by a grandmother who writes: "Mrs. Thompson is a loving, unselfish teacher. My grandson reads really well now, but without her he would not be able to read. She is the most dedicated teacher I have ever known."

When it comes to learning, the ability to read is simply crucial. "You can't do anything if you can't read so it's very important for kids to get a good basis early on when they are young," said Port St. Joe Elementary Principal Susan Gannon. That is where Donna Thompson's passion lies: identifying why a student is struggling and helping them overcome those obstacles.

"Most of the children I have, have failed to read in a regular classroom setting. They have fallen behind either one or two grade levels so I have to use hands-on strategies. I have to use a lot of singing and music. We do a lot of just practice of reading, anything that gets them into the print and as excited about reading as I am," said Mrs.Thompson. "My teacher is fun!" said Bryce Forston.

"She has a knack for figuring out what is wrong, why the child can't read, what they need to work on and developing ways that she can help those children be better readers," said Principal Gannon. "It's fun when she calls out the words and we write it. It's fun," said student Chasity Moore.

Mrs.Thompson's personal experience helps her relate to these students on a whole different level, since she is mom to a 4th grader with Aspergers Syndrome. "I really do feel like getting to be Sara Beth's mom made me a better teacher than all my years at college and all of my training and professional development. Nothing has impacted my teaching as much as becoming a mom to Sara Beth and Cara."

Congratulations to Mrs. Thompson, this week's Golden Apple Award winning teacher.