Who Am I? I'm Rene Armbruster, a reading specialist and this is my story.
I grew up as a "military brat!" My family made their home in Topeka, Kansas when my father was stationed in the United States. However, I did live in Florida and California. We also lived in Taiwan and Panama.
I have a brother who is mentally handicapped. When I was growing up he was referred to as "retarded." He was in a self-contained classroom with other mentally handicapped children.
I can remember many times other kids making fun of me because of the way my brother acted. I became a very shy person around those I didn't know. I had a hard time trusting that they wouldn't make fun of me.
I also have a sister. She had eye problems and had to wear very thick glasses. Kids were cruel to her also and called her "four eyes" or "bug eyes". She withdrew into herself and ate her way into depression.
I learned to ignore the "bullies". I focused on school work and my friends, those kids that accepted me no matter what! I grew up with the dream of going to college but I never thought I would become a reading specialist!
Many years went by before I made it to college. I did go part time when I worked for AT&T because they paid for certain classes. I have over 30 hours of classes that didn't apply to my major.
I finally settled on becoming an elementary teacher. I wanted to be a math teacher. During my student teaching in 5th grade, I saw how several students struggled with reading. I didn't know how to help them. I was told that some kids "never get it." I knew in my heart that wasn't so, but I couldn't do anything else at the time.
Then as a 1st grade teacher in 1990, I saw the need to find a way to teach reading to struggling readers. I found out about a class that was to be held at the college that would help me teach reading to students who had learning disabilities. This was the first step in becoming a reading specialist.
In 1991, I was trained as an educational therapist by the once renowned Menninger Foundation in Topeka, one of the world’s foremost psychiatric hospitals. I have also been trained in special teaching techniques for the learning disabled at the National Institute for Learning Disabilities.
My teaching sessions are based on the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory method of teaching reading. Other techniques that I use are Let’s Read, rhythmic writing, a Morse Code activity and other tactile activities designed to help the struggling reader.
I received my master’s degree in special education from the University of Kansas fulfilling my goal of becoming a Reading Specialist. My advising professor was world renowned speaker, author, and researcher Brenda Smith Myles, an authority on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Asperger's Syndrome.
From January, 2014 to September, 2015, I was asked to start a literacy program at the local Boys and Girls Club. This was a very rewarding challenge as 60% of the children were considered "at risk." This means that a child is at risk of getting left behind academically when compared with their peers.
When I left the Boys and Girls Club, 80% of the children DIDN'T have a summer learning loss, also known as the summer slide, due to the literacy program. This was HUGE as ALL children show some summer learning loss when they are not engaged in some type of educational activities.
In the summer of 2018, I coordinated a summer reading program at an inner city community center. This program included preschool through 12 grade. Many students found the joy of literature during this summer program.
I love helping students learn how to read. I have helped hundreds of students improve their reading skills. These students have included ones that were diagnosed with some type of learning disability such as Asperger syndrome, Autism, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia.
Other students have had learning disabilities caused by a brain injury, premature birth, or some other ailment during pregnancy. Some of the students I taught were those that were just caught between the cracks; not bad enough to receive the extra help at school, but not skilled enough to succeed on their own.
Early in 2010, I decided I needed to do more than wait for students to come to me. I wanted to be available to them, Anytime, Anywhere!
So I created this website. For my SBI story, click here.
WHO AM I? I am a person who wants to see every child and adult reading successfully so they can have a successful life!
Parents who thought their children wouldn’t even get to college, are now watching their children graduate with business and teaching degrees. Some of the students are involved with the family business. Others have gone to a trade school instead of college.
The point is that all of these students learned to read and READING IS THE CORNERSTONE TO SUCCESS!
If you have any questions about my credentials or have any questions about reading, fill in the form below.
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