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OVERCOMING DYSLEXIA, ONE CHILD AT A TIME written by ED KEMMICK photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

THERE ARE TIMES, apparently, when good sermons need to be delivered more than once. About 10 years ago, TerraBeth Jochems’ pastor at Harvest Church, the Rev. Vern Streeter, first preached on the importance of finding what you were meant to do in life. His message, she says, was: “Stop doing good things so you can do one great thing.” After hearing versions of that sermon over the years, “One day it was like this brick just hit me over the head,” TerraBeth says. “It was like: You need to stop being in the classroom and you need to help kids with this particular problem.”

helping kids,” TerraBeth says. “I know what it feels like to not be able to read. Every chance that I could get, I wanted to reach as many kids as I could.” In 2016, she stepped away from everything that was “comfortable” to her — a district she knew, her colleagues that were also close friends, a stable full-time job — and retired. “It was always in the back of my head that I needed to start a literacy ministry,” she says.

I KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO NOT BE ABLE TO READ. EVERY CHANCE THAT I COULD GET, I WANTED TO REACH AS MANY KIDS AS I COULD.

The ministry was launched at Harvest Church. TerraBeth became a full-time tutor, devoting herself to work with people who didn’t just need to become better readers, but in many cases had to learn how to read. Before the pandemic changed everything, TerraBeth and her four trained tutors were coaching 48 people through the literacy program.

That particular problem was dyslexia, a reading disorder that affects one in — TerraBeth Jochems five people, and which TerraBeth herself had struggled to overcome as a child. When Streeter’s message finally hit home, she’d been Chuck Barthuly, executive director of the Better with Billings Public Schools for 25 years, teaching Billings Foundation, which was founded in 2005 by reading and English in grade school and high school. She leaders at Harvest Church, says members of the foundation are worked as a reading tutor for years, helping elementary-age proud of having partnered with TerraBeth in her work. children and teens after school and during the summer. “As I taught, the more I kept seeing this possibility of really

“Ultimately, it was her desire to want to help kids, and her passion and contagious, infectious commitment to helping kids that led NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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Profile for yellowstonevalleywoman

Yellowstone Valley Woman  

Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine was started in 2001 as a 40-page free publication in Yellowstone County. Over the years, thanks to your re...

Yellowstone Valley Woman  

Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine was started in 2001 as a 40-page free publication in Yellowstone County. Over the years, thanks to your re...