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Memphis Daily News
Bodine School Helping Dyslexic Students
September 8, 2016
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald

Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain and Jenny Giltner all have something in common … dyslexia, and success. No doubt you heard of the first four, so let me tell you about Jenny Giltner.

Jenny, who recently graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a certification for teaching students with dyslexia, is a first-grade teacher at The Bodine School in Germantown. There are very few schools in the country that are specifically for students with dyslexia, and Jenny was highly recruited.

After struggling to learn to read, Jenny was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was in third grade. There were no schools like Bodine to go to, so she had a tutor who taught her the strategies she needed to learn in a different way and succeed in school.

“I want to help students who struggle like I did,” Jenny said, “and make it safe for them to learn. I didn’t experience that, so I want to change it for them now. Bodine is a school where students master the strategies needed to learn so that they can return to their schools prepared to succeed.”

The Bodine School was founded in 1972 by Richard and Virginia Bodine in memory of their only son, Rick. While attending The Mills School in Florida, due to the lack of resources for learning-disabled students in the Memphis area, Rick had a fatal accident.

Honoring his memory became a mission of the Bodine family, and establishing the school allowed families in the Mid-South area to send their child with dyslexia to a local school. Today, Bodine remains the only school in the Mid-South and in Tennessee that is solely committed to teaching children with dyslexia and other reading-related learning differences to read and succeed.

Teacher training is an essential element in achieving Bodine’s mission, and faculty receive certification by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators.

“The Bodine School is a special place with a vital mission,” said John Murphy, Bodine’s head of school. “The first time I walked into Bodine I felt a loving, accepting and giving school.”

In 2014 Bodine received a grant to establish its Erika Center and expand its educational reach into the urban areas of Memphis. Bodine’s Erika Center provides training and ongoing support to teachers in inner-city schools so that they can implement Orton-Gillingham intervention in their classroom. Dyslexia, derived from a Greek work meaning “difficulty with language,” is genetic and affects about 15 percent of the population. Without intervention many struggle throughout their lives.

A third-grade student described the school as “awesome,” saying that before she came to Bodine she couldn’t read at all. “Now I know how to read!” she proclaimed.

Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit

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