New initiative improves critical thinking skills of future minds …Creative Language-based Learning Camp reaching students at all levels
When students have trouble reading, it can affect their performance in practically all subject areas. Poor reading skills and comprehension can lead to frustration, low self-confidence, and poor grades.
However, difficulty with reading and comprehension can be improved with regular practice.
Eleven-year-old Monique Daley is a perfect example of this.
The young lady, who participated in the Creative Language-based Learning Camp, held over two weeks at Reach Academy in St Andrew, has now improved her skills, which has helped to enhance her reading and comprehension abilities.
Daley, who will be moving into grade six in September, was up to three years below her grade level following an initial assessment. She was also unable to read past the level of a grade-two student, while her comprehension skills were at a grade-three level.
Antoinette Wyatt, one of the volunteer teachers and the person who recommended Daley for the camp, said they had to plan a special programme that helped the young lady attain the level where she is now able to adequately cope when she returns to school in September.
“On average, as part of the programme, she was given 1,000 words, and initially she wasn’t going past 300 words. Now she has completed 1,000 words, and is now on to a supplemental list,” Wyatt told The Sunday Gleaner.
According to the senior specialist teacher, a number of the students who participated in the camp were at different stages. In fact, some were at a level of being able to recite even the alphabet song, but were unable to identify the letters when they saw them.
“They know the song but they are not able to identify the letters shown to them. They don’t have an image for it; they can’t tell you what the letter is, and they can’t make the sounds,” she said.
Wyatt indicated that the students were also unable to understand what they read.
“They will call the words, but when they are done, there is no comprehension. At some levels, they understand what they read, but they are unable to explain or tell you what they have read,” she said.
However, the team was able to change that.
From the assessment, evaluation and teaching at the Creative Language-based Learning Camp, Wyatt said the students are now able to read and comprehend independently. She said they are also able to think critically, and make self-assessments that will help them in other subject areas.
… Collaborative programme equips teachers with special skills
Creative Language-based Learning, with the endorsement of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and in collaboration with the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund and Sandals Foundation, has facilitated two Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes® Professional Development Workshops this year.
The specialised teachers who participated in the initiative are now equipped with skills to diagnose sensory cognitive deficits that impact learning ability, and to develop and implement programmes that maximise students’ ability to learn, allowing these students to be reintegrated into a regular classroom.
The project has also expanded instructional leadership development, thereby giving the programme a greater reach through creating local instructional leaders and so ensuring its sustainability. At the same time, the workshops incorporate professional development that caters to a cadre of teachers from across the island.
The process-based instructional model of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes programmes has been proven to improve the lives of students and others with language-based difficulties.
Six-year-old Kessanne Woolcook, now dubbed the ‘reading rockstar’, only knew some letters of the alphabet when she entered the programme; however, according to Mary MacDonald, who has had over 15 years’ experience working with the Lindamood-Bell Learning Centre, Woolcook is now reading much better.
“She’s going into grade one and has mastered sight-reading and multisyllable words. She is very quick now in identifying words, even if she hasn’t seen them before,” MacDonald said.
Morant Morgan-Williams, a trained teacher at the Disciples of Christ Basic School in Portland, who was trained in the programme, said she has been implementing it in her school.
“Since coming to the summer camp, we have gleaned more information and knowledge that we can impart to the students and the other teachers. Based on the outline, you have to assess the students and get a better understanding of where your students are, making you better able to teach and implement the techniques you are taught,” Morgan-Williams told The Sunday Gleaner.
“Following this process, we do an assessment afterwards to see how the students have improved and help them to improve on the areas they are weak in. I believe it’s a great programme that will enhance the performance of the students.”
This year, close to 80 students participated in the Creative Language-based Learning Camp, with assistance from a number of volunteers, including members of the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston, teachers, students from the Immaculate Conception High School, and a number of corporate entities.