Michal Gendron Ricca, M.Ed. founded the Academic Associates Center here in Williston, VT in 2008 when she moved here with her family.  She holds an Advanced Teaching Masters of Education from Northwestern University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education, and has over ten years experience working with students with all types of learning styles and differences.

Michal has two great loves in her life.  She loves being with her family and loves teaching a child not only how to read, but also to enjoy reading and love learning.  Michal has had a rich array of experiences in education ranging from Classroom Teaching (K-8) to working as a Reading Specialist (K-8), Curriculum Developer, Title I Teacher, Staff Developer, Literacy Coach, and Title I Coordinator. 

 Michal has been trained in Wilson, Orton-Gillingham, Academic Associates, and many other techniques, while also having studied at Columbia University with Lucy Calkins herself.  Michal is a literacy addict and sees herself as a lifelong learner, staying current with best practice through journals, collegiate discussions, and professional development.

Michal pulls from many sources in order to individualize instruction, but her foundation is the Orton-Gillingham technique.  This is a multi-sensory program that enables students, by using direct instruction, to review, learn new concepts, practice, and to apply what they are learning.  Orton-Gillingham has been utilized for over 50 years and is multi-sensory, systematic, structured, sequential, cumulative, and success-oriented.

Our English language has two components:  phonetic words, which can be sounded out, and non-phonetic words, which are considered sight words and must be memorized through multi-sensory techniques.  Michal teaches phonetic concepts each week in a sequential, relevant manner.  Once concepts are taught, students will apply them in words, sentences, and stories.  Every week, she will then review, teach new concepts, discover, apply, and assess for mastery.  Mastery, NOT memorization is always Michal's goal.  

Research states that the effectiveness of quality literacy instruction has less to do with the program used, and more to do with the efficacy of the teacher and the intensiveness of the student’s engagement.  During her thesis research, Michal discovered that the art of teaching cannot be taught.  Rather it is often a result of a natural gift that has been fostered by continuous study, best practice, education, and a pure love of learning.

Michal does not force contracts. Her initial consultation is always free and there is no obligation to continue her program. She believes that every child has the right to read well and enjoy the act of reading.  Quite simply put, she loves what she does.

Over the past 10 years, Michal has taught over 250 students how to read well without the need for repeat instruction.

Michal G. Ricca, M.Ed.