February is truly a month for love…
On Thursday, February 11th, just days before Valentine’s Day, Kindergarten students at Greenwood Elementary in Toledo, Ohio learned about one of the most enduring bonds in the alphabet: the one between the letters /Q/ and /U/.
Students Macey Samson and Marvelle Baldwin—acting as /Q/, i.e. the ‘bride,’ and /U/, the ‘groom’—participated in a wedding ceremony for the two letters. For the kids, it was a good time, complete with wedding cake and dancing.
For Greenwood teachers, the wedding of /Q/ and /U/ was a rich multi-senory experience that caps off a year of introducing IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham methods in their classrooms. “IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham lessons are exactly what our students need: they are kinesthetic, there’s reinforcing repetition and all the scaffolding that’s built in when introducing new information. Structure is something our children don’t always have and it’s been good for them to work in a system that offers a lot of structure and reliability,” said Molly Henry, Greenwood Elementary’s literacy coach.
The idea of having a wedding for these two lovebird letters has been around for a while, according to IMSE trainer, Helen Brandon. “Years ago, I was at a school where the Kindergarten class was holding a wedding. It always stayed with me and it’s just the kind of active, multi-sensory thing that kids will always remember. They’ll remember the wedding and, more importantly, that /Q/ and /U/ always go together,” Helen said.
There are even a few /Q/ and /U/ weddings on Youtube from other schools across the country, Helen notes.
Greenwood Elementary is part of the Washington Local District in Toledo, Ohio. Teachers from grades K, 1 and 2 took the Orton-Gillingham training starting in August 2015 and since, many teachers have completed the 30 Hour Training and additional hours of training, according to Helen. District teachers in the upper grades, 5 and 6, have also taken training.
“The commitment of Greenwood Elementary and all teachers from the Washington Local District has been great. And I think the District has done a really great job of bringing in any teachers from throughout the system, not just from Greenwood, who maybe had heard about our Orton-Gillingham trainings and wanted to learn more. That says to me that they are interested in helping all children, regardless of which school in the District they attend,” Helen said.
“In less than a year, we’ve seen a huge jump in our reading benchmarks,” says Greenwood literacy coach, Molly Henry. “At the beginning of this school year, only 34% of our students were testing at benchmark for literacy skills. By implementing IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham methods in our lessons, that number jumped to 84% by January of this year. So, we’ve seen great gains in a very short amount of time,” Molly said.
Greenwood Kindergarten teacher Desiree Wright says that students have really taken to IMSE’s OG methods. “I see children tapping out syllables, their spelling has improved and their reading has improved, too. Now, they can tell me the difference between a vowel and a consonant. You can tell it’s really made an impact on them and that they are using what they’ve learned,” Desiree says.
It was reported in the local press that the while the bride may have experienced some cold feet before the nuptials, the groom was in fine form, enjoying his candy ring and grinning widely during the ceremony.
You can read more about Greenwood Elementary’s wedding of /Q/ and /U/ at the Toledo Blade, here:
If you’re interested in holding a /Q/ and /U/ wedding in your school, check out Denise Dillon-Hreha’s 2007 book, “The Wedding of Q & U.” The book is available as part of IMSE’s Comprehensive Literature Collection: https://www.orton-gillingham.com/products/2309/