By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 11/09/2018
What are the best reading aids for kids?

Reading is a crucial skill for children to master. Not only does it ensure success at school when classroom learning moves from learning to read to reading to learn, but it’s also critical for career success later on in life.

It is through reading that children acquire most of their vocabulary. It’s also an opportunity for parents and teachers to expand a child’s view of the world. Non-fiction introduces them to new subjects and fiction develops social-reasoning skills and empathy.

How a child develops literacy skills depends on a number of factors, including the individual, their early exposure to written text, the frequency with which they read, their vocabulary size, and the presence or lack of certain learning difficulties which can affect language processing – for example dyslexia is one of the main causes of reading difficulties.

What we know is that some kids struggle with reading long after their peers have mastered the skill. In fact, a 2015 Report from the UK Department of Education suggests that 1 in 5 children in England are reading at below grade-level (1). So what can parents do to help?

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 02/19/2018
how to help reluctant readers

Teachers and parents may be familiar with the term “reluctant reader.” It refers to a child or young-adult who isn’t engaged when it comes to reading. These are the kids who tend to put a book down as soon as it’s given to them or pass it back and forth between their hands without ever opening to a page.

When forced to read, reluctant readers often appear demotivated and disinterested. You may see them looking out the window or staring blankly down, as though they are unable to focus on the text in front of them. For some children reluctance to read is due to competing interests such as sports, arts, or another extracurricular activity. For others it’s because reading is difficult and they associate it with frustration and strain.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 11/16/2017
3 Methods for teaching reading to a child who is struggling

Learning how to read is one of the most important things a child will do before the age of 10. That’s because everything from vocabulary growth to performance across all major subjects at school is linked to reading ability. The Phonics Method teaches children to pair sounds with letters and blend them together to master the skill of decoding.

The Whole-word Approach teaches kids to read by sight and relies upon memorization via repeat exposure to the written form of a word paired with an image and an audio. The goal of the Language Experience Method is to teach children to read words that are meaningful to them. Vocabulary can then be combined to create stories that the child relates to. Yet while there are various approaches to reading instruction, some work better than others for children who struggle with learning difficulties. 

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 03/29/2017
A how does a multi-sensory approach to reading work

Traditional approaches to teaching reading rely heavily on visual and auditory stimuli, including workbooks and phonics activities. However, individuals who experience difficulties learning how to read may benefit from a multi-sensory approach that involves physical movements and lets them use their senses to engage on a deeper level.

In particular, dyslexic students who struggle to split words into their component sounds may respond positively to the Orton-Gillingham style of learning. It uses multi-sensory techniques to facilitate acquisition of phonics knowledge, decoding, and sight-reading skills.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 03/08/2017
10 Fluency strategies for struggling readers

Literacy skills are one of the most important areas of ability children develop in their first few years at school. They begin by sounding out words and learning to recognize common vocabulary from books and classroom materials. With sight reading and spelling practice comes greater fluency.

Reading speeds up and comprehension of more complex texts becomes possible as vocabulary knowledge grows exponentially. However, not all students find learning to read such an easy process. Struggling readers can quickly fall behind their peers and may develop low self-esteem and a lack of confidence as a result.

Because reading ability impacts performance across all areas of the curriculum, including writing skills, it’s important to provide adequate strategy training as early as possible. Ideally remediation is tailored to the individual student’s needs, particularly when a learning difficulty is involved.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 01/30/2017
What is child-led learning?

Child-led learning is a term used to describe education programmes in which children are responsible for deciding what to learn. In some cases it extends to kids being in control of how long they spend on a particular lesson and the methods and materials used for study. Quite often it is undertaken in a home-school environment or in a private tutoring context.

While this movement typically stands in opposition to a fixed curriculum, some schools offer individual classes or after-hours programmes that take a more child-led approach. There are also situations in which giving a child a greater role in deciding how much and what to learn is more appropriate, such as sessions for kids who struggle with learning difficulties.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 12/20/2016
Common Reading Problems

Developing strong reading skills in students is one of the key goals of every early education program. It is through reading that students expand their vocabulary and learn about the world. Reading is also the key to success in spelling and writing.

And while 6 and 7 year olds are fluent speakers, they require instruction in how to navigate print. If a student is having problems with literacy skills, it can affect their performance across the school curriculum and have a negative impact on motivation to learn and self-esteem.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 11/21/2016
Orton Gillingham reading instruction

The Orton-Gillingham approach is a multi-sensory way of teaching reading, spelling and writing skills to students who struggle with language-based learning difficulties, including dyslexia. Lessons focus on mastery of the smallest units of language first, including phonemes and graphemes, and then build to whole word, phrase and sentence level instruction.

Many current reading methods and courses are grounded in this approach, including Touch-type Read and Spell, and it can serve as a guide for tutors who offer literacy skills support for individuals with specific learning difficulties.

Because Orton-Gillingham focuses both on enhancing phonological awareness and teaching English language rules, it can also be useful for English Language Learner (ELL) students.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 10/31/2016
teaching phonemic awareness

One of the key skills children must develop before they learn how to read is phonemic awareness— being able to hear and manipulate the sounds that make up words.

Phonemes are the smallest units of sounds that can change meaning -- if you switch the middle vowel sound in hat, everything shifts from definition to part of speech and usage.

A child with phonemic awareness knows that sat is made up of three distinct sounds. They may also realize that sat and bat end in a similar sound and that hat and heart start with the same sound.

It is the recognition that language is made up of these sounds that is so important in reading.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 09/19/2016
How to find a good tutor

When kids lack confidence in the classroom, are struggling to keep up with their peers, need help preparing for exams or are dealing with a learning difficulty, parents may arrange for them to see a private tutor outside of school.

Tutors provide the extra scaffolding that less able students may require and can also encourage gifted children by introducing them to more advanced topics not covered in a school curriculum. By working one-on-one, tutors are able to go over content at a pace that is right for every child.

They can also assist with school assignments and help enforce good study habits, including setting smart targets which are specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant in a given time period.