If You Can Do This You Can Do More

September 10, 2014 - 9:44am

If you haven’t learnt anything else in school, make sure that you leave with the most important skill of all. Learn the code: Reading.

If you ain’t reading, you ain’t writing; if you ain’t writing, you ain’t spelling. If you ain't doing those things, you ain't gonna learn too much.

Ultimately, your level of understanding and comprehension can be highly affected. You need strong, solid reading skills to write, understand, spell, speak with knowledge, and maneuver through this world of technology. Now some people like Scout, in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ will read whether she’s taught or not. Others will learn to read with exposure to language and instruction in phonics.

Some students face challenges learning a code or learning to decode, and reading is a code. This often takes patience and dedicated time to teach these students to read.

The important thing to remember is to not fall behind. There is so much to grasp in the first few years of learning to read that falling behind can be discouraging to students.

Students who put in significant effort with a lot of help trying to read might very well be diagnosed with a learning disability called Dyslexia. This does not mean that they will not be able to read. It means that specialized, intensive, structured, systematic, multi-sensory, one-on-one intervention might be needed to break down the code in its minutest of parts to learn to read. This is a skill that can be broken down to a fine art. It starts with sounds, blending, segmenting, and phoneme manipulation.

Not all teachers can teach specialized reading. It takes clinical skills acquired through specialized reading programs. Teachers trained to teach at the elementary level are specialists in teaching Reading. Despite that, there are many students falling through the cracks with the fundamental skills of Reading. This simply means that a student can graduate with a Grade 12 with low reading levels and this is common knowledge by all organizations working with adult upgrading.

What is important to remember is that once a problem with Reading is detected, specialized help is required. Specialized testing to ascertain the kinds of reading problems the child is having will determine the level and duration of intervention needed. Diagnosis of the problem and appropriate intervention is the key. Effective intervention also includes motivation and encouragement, engaging the learner in a way that allows him or her to overcome anxiety and negative feelings related to Reading.

A crucial component of Reading intervention is reinforcement and practice. This means that parents and caregivers are important components of a child’s success in learning to read and mastering Reading. It is not always without some sweat, pain and tears but schooling means little if a student graduates with a Grade 12 with low reading levels. Life itself can be compromised.

The bottom line is to get the appropriate help needed as soon as a Reading problem is detected.


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