At the Listen And Learn Centre the Literacy Programs are designed and delivered to meet the specific needs of the child. The programs are established based on psychoeducational pre-assessments and client relevant information with the intent to help children build and reinforce critical skills. Qualified teachers supervise the programs.
These Programs also involve the teaching of various reading and writing strategies that are aligned with current literacy-based research.
At the Listen And Learn Centre, there are three styles of Literacy Programs:
1. Literacy Acceleration Program
Research has made great strides in identifying critical skills that consistently relate to reading success. Based on a comprehensive review of reading research, the Report of the National Reading Panel (2000) concluded that it is essential for low-achieving readers to receive intense, systematic and explicit instruction in the following areas of reading: (1) phonemic awareness; (2) phonics; (3) fluency; (4) vocabulary; and (5) comprehension. Considered core element for successful reading instruction, these five areas are a fundamental part of any reading initiative.
Particularly in the early primary grades, most reading instruction focuses on phonological processes, and include phonemic manipulation, phonics and print processing until recognizing words becomes a procedural, automatic process. Unfortunately, not all children learn at the same rate, there will be those that will fall behind in class and become at-risk learners.
At the Listen And Learn Centre, we understand the importance of incorporating the five core elements for successful literacy-based instruction into our Literacy Acceleration Programs, which are offered to clients as individualized reading and writing programs that seek to improve, and further extend children’s literacy skills and abilities.
The Literacy Acceleration Program (Independent Reading Program) is made up of weekly 1 hour individual session over 10 weeks; however, this may vary depending on the age of the child.
2. The Reading Program with Auditory Training
The Reading Program is only offered to clients who are undergoing the Auditory Training Program, which assists with re-educating the brain to become more efficient and effective at processing auditory information, and in the process strengthening other neural connections to improve performance.
Educators are often surprised to learn that in an fMRI or PET scan (which depicts activity levels in the brain) the auditory cortex is active even when a person is reading silently. This occurs because the brain is busy processing all the “sounds” associated with reading through an activity called subvocalization, just as it would be if the person were listening to someone speak (Bookheimer, Zeffiro, Blaxton, Gaillard & Theodore, 1995). It is not surprising, then, that difficulty within the auditory processing areas of the brain affects one’s ability to learn to read.
Much research has shown that poor readers do not necessarily process various sounds of the alphabet quickly enough. This means that a person with an auditory processing difficulty would not be able to clearly distinguish the difference between consonant sounds such as the ‘b’ and ‘p’ sounds.
By combining the auditory training program with a systematic and intense literacy program, this allows one to work on specific neural pathways responsible for the development and extension of speech and language, ultimately improving the child’s ability to develop the skills necessary for reading.
Literacy assessment & follow-up
At the Listen and Learn Centre, we will assess children’s learning during the intensive listening sessions (includes areas such as reading, writing, spelling, speaking, listening; and/or mathematics) liaise with parents, schools, teachers and other education professionals to discuss and determine measurable objectives and strategies for achieving improved outcomes in literacy (and mathematics) design an individualised literacy program that seeks to improve academic achievement of children determine the roles and responsibilities of those involved in implementing the literacy program monitor and assess children’s literacy achievement, ensuring that the program is effective
Examples of how the Literacy Program can assist individuals
Speech or Language Impairment
Speech and language impairments may occur separately in an individual, or the individual may demonstrate both types of impairments; to further complicate matters, this distinction is usually not easy to make.
Children with a Speech Impairment will exhibit problems in the actual pronunciation and production of words beyond the usual immaturities or irregularities that occur during the normal process of speech development.
Examples of this include:
- stuttering (repeating syllables or words, prolonging sounds, or “blocking” on a word or sound) phonological or articulation disorders (inability to say sounds properly);
- speech in the hearing impaired (speech may be difficult to understand, nasal-sounding, unusual in pitch or rhythm);
- apraxia (facial grimaces or unusual movements may accompany speech, such as groping to produce sounds, syllables, and words);
- difficulty planning and sequencing movements for speech within the brain;
- speech may be unintelligible
On the other hand, children with Language Impairment may speak very clearly but will have a disorder in the way they understand spoken and written language (receptive language) or in the way they produce their own language (expressive language). Children with Language Impairment will have difficulties processing the grammar or syntax of spoken or written language. They may misunderstand complex sentence structures and have to guess at what is being said.
Suggested Action Plan for Children with Speech or Language Impairment:
Arrange for a comprehensive assessment to diagnose the exact nature of the Language Impairment and to eliminate other possible causes for the student’s language difficulties. Consider the possibility that a child with a significant Language Impairment may find continuous processing of language very challenging.
Ensure that information and instructions given to the child are given in short, clear sentences, with accompanied practical demonstration if possible. Avoid long, complex verbal explanations for a child. Allow plenty of time and offer support when talking to the child. For instance, if the child has a word-finding difficulty, first allow them plenty of unpressured time, and then give support by offering them a couple of possibilities.
Specific Learning Disability
A Specific Learning Disability is marked by significant difficulties in the acquisition of basic skills in reading, written language, or mathematics. These difficulties occur despite adequate instruction and normal intelligence. This disability occurs due to a dysfunction in the way the child processes and retains information. This disorder often means that the child’s response to appropriate intervention may be slow and inconsistent in comparison with other children who are experiencing learning difficulties due to other reasons, such as missed schooling or inadequate instruction. Children with a Specific Learning Disability may often become very frustrated and lose motivation because of their continual struggles with learning.
Action Plan for Children with a Specific Learning Disability
Assess the child’s particular pattern of difficulties to establish a basis for the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Note any special strengths as well as areas of particular difficulty.
- Develop the child’s individualized learning program in consultation with the child, the child’s parents, and other professionals who are involved with the child.
- Provide modified curriculum materials, so that the child can read and understand the information provided.
- Alter time frames so that the child has a fair chance of completing tasks.
- Teach parents and the child specific learning strategies that can be applied to cope with the disability.
- Consider ways in which the child’s motivation and confidence can be maintained, despite the fact that he or she is experiencing difficulties learning basic skills. Provide short, achievable goals, celebrate successes, and provide continuing instruction.
Attention-Deficit Disorder & Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention-Deficit Disorder comes in two main forms, which may overlap, so that the same child may have some characteristics of both forms of the disorder or one form may be strongly predominant.
Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) can be in an inattentive form. These are some characteristics of children with ADD:
- They may often seem to be in a daydream.
- They work very slowly and seldom finish work in the allotted time.
- They have substantial difficulties with their learning because they fail to pay attention and have difficulties in sustaining effort.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is the impulsive-hyperactive form. These are some characteristics of children with ADHD:
- They often become restless, impulsive and loud.
- They find it hard to keep still or constantly touching, and fiddling with things.
- They find it difficult to sustain concentration, and often behave in an impulsive way.
They are easily excited and may not know when to stop.
Suggested Action Plan for ADD/ADHD
Consider using cognitive – behavioural strategies to teach the child how to use self-monitoring to improve their own concentration and application.
- Provide more reminders and more help with organizational tasks.
- Use positive encouragements and rewards to encourage controlled, on-task behaviour.
- Tasks should be short, goal focused, and active.
- Structure the learning environment so that the child can attain success despite his or her difficulties.
Acknowledge episodes of appropriate concentration, even if these are brief and very occasional.
Assessment & more information
In order to recommend the most appropriate intervention it is necessary to attend an assessment at the centre.
Contact us to learn more or book and assessment.