I had the awesome opportunity to attend a workshop which talked about different reading strategies, the importance of phonemic awareness and that children with learning “differences” (she likes to refer to them as differences rather than difficulties which I just loved!) need more exposure to these things and help learning the skills and processes involved with reading.
Jenny has her own consultancy company in which she works along side schools in educating their staff and parents in the different reading programs so it’s a community approach.
The reading approach was quite interesting too. It’s done in 3 stages. The first is an introduction to the book being read – going through the book but instead of reading the book you use 4 statements and one question, these being descriptive information about the text that is age appropriate. The second stage is reading the book – before doing this any difficult words etc. can be explored. Finally, the child is to retell the story, you can ask questions starting off with lower order such as who, where and when. Followed by using higher order questions that may require inferring – such as how and why. You can read more about the program here.
I’ll leave you with an interesting fact that blew me away – for most learners when it comes to over-learning and repetition it takes around 7 times, for those who have learning differences it can take ……… get this …… I was thinking it would be double MAYBE triple………….. 49 times!!!!! That is a lot. Jenny began her workshop explaining that everyday teachers cannot possibly do this in classroom time which is why it’s so important that parents are involved as well to do the extra repetition that is required for these children.