Reading Team


District 401 provides reading specialists at the Early Childhood CenterElmwood Elementary School and John Mills Elementary School to help improve reading achievement among students who need extra assistance.

The District's reading specialists are authorized to teach reading, oversee direct supplemental instructional programs and services, and provide support to general education staff for Tier 1-level classroom interventions.


Early Childhood Center | Penny Dahmer


Ms. Penny Dahmer is the reading specialist at the Early Childhood Center. This is her 30th year in District 401 and her first at the ECC.

Ms. Dahmer began her career in the District as a 1st-grade classroom teacher at Elmwood Elementary, where she taught for 15 years.

She then accepted the position of reading specialist at John Mills Elementary. She worked at John Mills for 14 years before moving to the ECC, where she is enjoying her final year before retiring.

A National Board Certified teacher, Ms. Dahmer has a master's degree in reading from Northeastern Illinois University. Her desire to meet the needs of her students also led her to obtain endorsements in ELL and gifted education.  

She has trained in various literacy interventions, most notably the rigorous Reading Recovery program.

Ms. Dahmer's goal and passion is for all students to meet their potential and to love reading and learning for a lifetime!


Elmwood Elementary School | Domenica Maione


Ms. Domenica Maione is the reading specialist at Elmwood Elementary School. Ms. Maione has a been a reading specialist at Elmwood for the past 14 years.

Before joining the Elmwood staff, she taught kindergarten students as well as 1st and 2nd graders in Maywood School District 89 for six years.

Trained in multiple interventions to support student learning and growth, Ms. Maione has a master's degree in reading education from Concordia University and a master's in school leadership & administration from Dominican University.

Ms. Maione's goal is to be a positive role model and instill a love of reading in her students!


John Mills Elementary School | Tracey Laskowski


Ms. Tracey Laskowski is the reading specialist at John Mills Elementary School. She has taught in District 401 for 19 years.

Prior to becoming a reading specialist, Ms. Laskowski was a classroom teacher for 10 years at John Mills, where she taught 2nd- and 3rd-grade students.

This is her ninth year as a reading specialist. Ms. Laskowski served in that role at Elmwood Elementary for the previous eight years. This is her first year as the John Mills reading specialist.

Ms. Laskowski has a master's degree in curriculum & instruction from National Louis University as well as a master's degree in reading education from Concordia University.

Every day she hopes to be the best teacher she can for her students, and she always wants her students to be the best students that they can be!