GET YOUR TENTACLES INTO SUPPORTING CHILDREN IN LEARNING TO READ AND WRITE
We are always looking for ways to improve results. There are some basic principles that will improve results in any area. As an example, I am going to use a small remediation group of aged nine and ten children that I take 3 days a week for an hour of reading and writing.
I always talk to the children about why they are in the group and what results we hope to achieve. Initially, the children are unengaged and I suppose when I think about it, all children who come into support, this is why they are here!! They are unengaged because they can’t do the work. I might add, that it is sometimes a battle to move them through this lack of enthusiasm to being totally engaged.
As a parent or a teacher, it is vital that you gain the children’s attention. Yes, total attention. They have to practise being so focussed that they don’t look when someone walks past, they don’t talk, they don’t fidget and they only think about what is being taught. Some of these children have never even tried to pay attention and will have great difficulty in staying focussed initially.
Begin with some rules and demonstrate what is expected. I have the children for three minutes on task to begin with and, our goal is five minutes. I use a stop watch. Once the children have reached the time, they have to participate in animal walks. Then it is straight back to the lesson to begin again. Some children sit on gym balls to help them focus. Of course I have a carrot….. yes, each week, I buy special stickers and the kids love them.
Consistency is an attribute, that, as adults, we can control. I believe that consistency is one of the biggest elements of success. Having well planned lessons that run smoothly each day is essential. In addition, rehearsing and consolidating the taught skills will improve the children’s confidence and ultimately,results. Once results improve the child’s engagement will be noticeably different and they will arrive eager to begin the lesson.
How long does this take
Always begin lessons where the child is at academically and move forward from there. Movement won’t happen straight away, but if you persevere, the improvement will begin slowly and quicken as time passes. Then once the pace improves there is no stopping the child. My group of 10 year olds have flourished on three days a week. On entry to the program, they couldn’t read and had no confidence and were showing huge problems with self -esteem. It was a struggle, for about four weeks, keeping the children’s attention and doing everything to build a relationship with them. I suppose the road to success was turned when the children realised that I really cared about them and their success. I found different ways to help them with a variety of activities.
The treatment of children who have experienced failure is one of understanding and kindness. These children need to be taught explicitly and to be praised for every attempt to read and write. It is sometimes very frustrating for the teacher, but this is nothing, compared to the child’s frustration. Speak with love and kindness and you will reap the rewards.
Each lesson begins with phonological awareness exercises to tune the children’s ears. This is followed with revision of letters and sounds as well as teaching new letters and sounds. Then we complete blending of three, four and five sounds into words. Next we work through some decoding of words; cutting up three and four syllable words. Finally we have a spelling exercise using the skills that we have learnt in the above skill lessons. Then we are ready for reading and writing.
This is exciting work and as well as this I have some new little friends who love learning to read and write.
Ann Foster is a teacher with a unique talent to provide back to basics step by step programs/products and tutoring for students in Australia Her programs and products help children, teachers and parents to achieve extraordinary results quickly. She has a track record of bringinginto action programs that are easy to follow and that achieve results. Ann has been working online teaching students and adults successfully for the last four years and has taken children from average results to well above. Her programs are tried and proven and bring clarity out of chaos.Letter Box staff solve problems and puts wings onto dreams. www.letterboxlearntoread.com