Senior elementary education major Lauren Floyd didn’t always love reading. In fact, there was a time when it was the hardest thing in the world for her. It took a few years for parents and teachers to discover this wasn’t a typical challenge Floyd was facing.
“It wasn’t until second grade when my family and teachers discovered that I was struggling with reading because of how my eyes would not work together,” Floyd said.
Floyd, her family and teachers got their answer soon after.
Answers to unknown questions
“My left eye was six-times worse than my right eye,” Floyd explained. “When I read, my eyes do not want to work together. They will pick and pull words from sentences around the sentence I am trying to read.”
This posed significant challenges for Floyd during her elementary schooling. She participated in a Title I reading program to try and help her get back on track.
“I was often discouraged and did not see potential in myself,” Floyd said.
Over time, she continued to persevere. Even though her disability posed challenges, she pushed through.
Fast-forwarding several years, Floyd graduated high school as an A+ scholarship student.
When considering her future career, she looked toward her past.
Floyd entered her secondary education career at Ozark Technical Community College (OTC) where she earned her associate degree in teaching. After her two years at OTC, she transferred in fall 2018 to Missouri State University.
Turning life-long challenge into life-long passion
She ultimately chose elementary education for her future career. She also chose to pursue an accelerated master’s degree in literacy.
“My family and I still laugh at the fact that for someone who hated reading as a child and still struggles to read for pleasure, I am working so hard to obtain a degree in literacy,” Floyd said.
The literacy program at Missouri State offers comprehensive guidance on becoming a reading professional, to help teach reading and identify challenges kids like Floyd might face.
“Although literacy entails culture, phonemic awareness, composition, and many more important aspects, I would like to simplify the focus on literacy as the makeup of students’ comprehension, writing skills and overall communications skills,” Floyd said. “When learning about the different barriers that are faced for students who struggle with literacy, I recognize that these are issues that are so commonly seen.”
Floyd expressed her thanks to her instructors for continuing to support and guide her through the accelerated program.
“Not only are these courses preparing me for a future as a special reading teacher, but they are also preparing me to be aware and mindful as a teacher in the everyday classroom setting,” Floyd said.