About

About the author of Open Source Phonics

A former public school teacher, Katie Spurlock is a mom, tutor, advocate, and writer. 

Katie studied English at the University of California at Davis and got her Ph.D. in Literature at the University of Virginia. She taught high school English in Westchester County, New York.

When her own daughter struggled to read, Katie learned about the science of reading and structured literacy methods from the private tutors she found to help her daughter. After her daughter became a successful reader, Katie wanted to help other families. She served on the Maryland State Dyslexia Task Force, advocated for legislation to help struggling readers, and wrote about equity issues involving reading in Answer Sheet and The Washington Post Magazine.  

Wanting to learn more about the science of reading and the interventions she had been advocating for, she took an Orton Gillingham course from Dr. Fran Bowman. Katie then tutored older elementary school and middle school students, who blossomed when given the chance to practice phonics with high-quality materials.

Seeing the dramatic improvement students made week-by-week when they practiced with phonics materials convinced Katie that parents and community members needed more resources. She created a set of materials that can be freely used, shared, and expanded. She hopes that in the future all families will be provided with free materials to support their children in mastering phonics, and that schools and communities will direct more funds toward training and employing tutors and educating parents.

Katie would like to thank Fran Bowman, Ed.D.; the authors of www.freereading.net; and the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture at Texas A&M University, in particular Emily Binks-Cantrell, Ph.D., R. Malatesha Joshi, Ph.D., Karol Ann Moore, M.Ed., and Alida Hudson, M.Ed., for reviewing the sequence and lessons and providing valuable feedback. Additional thanks to her husband, Paul Schindler, and her mother, Betsy Wheeler, for their enthusiasm and support.