Entry # 1: Intro to the Darwin Remedial Reading Program – Part 1/2

– The aim here is to provide teachers, tutors and parents with the guidance and support that will allow them to implement the Program with comfort and confidence.

To stimulate confidence in this work, testimonials are being presented. The first one is upcoming while the others can be viewed by going to www.abcofreading.com, and then referring to Examples of Effectiveness and Letters of Acknowledgement.

Before going any further I would like to mention that not only am I a special education teacher (retired), but much more significantly, I am dyslexic myself. In other words, it was the insight I acquired from my own struggles that has allowed me to develop a program that is producing truly exciting results.

Testimonial

When I first met a severely dyslexic 12 year old, she could not read words such as log, hut and tap. However, within 15 minutes of her first session she was applying the Program’s unique decoding techniques and was independently reading words of this nature.

Her resource teacher had sat in on the session and was so impressed that she bought the Program then and there. She was using it within a couple of days and continued to do so until she retired. She later mentioned that within the two years she had used the Program she didn’t encounter a single child who didn’t benefit from it.

Side Note: To avoid excessive pronoun clutter (e.g. he/she), the masculine pronoun is used when a student is being referred to as this reflects the prevalence of males to females with learning difficulties.

 

Intro to the Darwin Remedial Reading Program – Part 2/2

The prime focus of the Program is on the vowels. The rationale here is that since they lack consistency of sound, they are the most difficult part of a word/syllable to decode. The other major points of concentration are on comprehension and syllabication.

It is important to keep the focus of a remedial approach narrow, especially in its early stages, as too much information tends to overwhelm and frustrate struggling students.

The Program’s simple nature allows students to experience success relatively quickly. This is significant because it develops the student’s confidence as it is the powerful forces of progress and faith in one’s ability that fosters further growth.

Re the Program’s Recommendations: In order to best address your students’/child’s needs, don’t hesitate to adjust them.

Remedial Reading – Syllabication

Remedial Reading  – Syllabication

Syllabication is the process of dividing a word into its parts. This process makes it easier to read challenging multi-syllable words.

A syllable is a word or part of a word that has a vowel that can be heard. For instance:

  • pet has one vowel and therefore is a one syllable word;
  • boat has two vowels but as only the ‘o’ is sounded, it is a one syllable word;
  • contain has three vowels but as only the ‘o’ and ‘a’ are sounded, it is a two syllable word – con/tain.

Syllabication tends to be the bane of weak readers be they 8 or 80.

As there are many exceptions to the syllabication patterns, the objective is to teach the concept that words that can be divided into parts rather than stressing particular patterns.

For exercises that allow students to grasp the concept of syllabication, you can refer to the Darwin the Dragon Reading Program or prepare your own.

Syllabication should be introduced when the student starts to encounter multisyllable words.

Side Note: As the Program also accommodates adults, it has two sets of teaching instructions as well as two titles – the one mentioned above and the Vowel First Method.

Remedial Reading: Parental Participation – Help or Hindrance

  • Parental tutoring should only be carried out if the sessions rarely result in unduly stress and frustration for either the child or parent. The reasoning here is that negative emotions not only inhibit learning but, more significantly, they can also affect the child/parent relationship.

    Therefore, if parental tutoring isn’t going well an alternative approach should be considered. For instance, parents could:

    • hire a tutor – see blog entry 10 for tips on choosing a tutor;
    • look into having a trained school volunteer assist their child;
    • use the services of a reputable learning centre;
    • consider linking up with parents whose child also has a learning problem and tutor each other’s children.

Parents as tutors

 

Incidentally, a child’s limited progress doesn’t rest on his shoulders but on the shoulders of the teaching system. A system where far too many teachers graduate from university without sufficient knowledge on how to assist students with persistent learning problems and where the some teachers aren’t keeping up with their professional development..

The next posting will address tips on choosing a tutor.