The teaching programme

The programme is designed for children and adults with literacy difficulties.  Each tuition session is carefully designed based on the specific needs of the student.

 

Assessments

The teaching programme starts with assessments.  These assessments help me to find out the student's general level of ability plus their skills in specific aspects of reading, writing and spelling.  I also carry out tests to look at the their underlying skills in areas such as;

  • phonology (how well they are able to hear and blend sounds),
  • speed of processing information,
  • auditory or verbal (hearing) memory,
  • visual (seeing) memory. 

Individuals with dyslexia have problems in one or more of these areas, good literacy and school skills are dependent on their success in these areas.

I can also assess for visual stress which often goes unnoticed but can cause major difficulties when reading.  The treatment for this is very simple - the use of a coloured overlay or reading ruler to put over the text, or if preferred, coloured reading glasses.  Read more about visual stress here.

I am not in a position to be able to state categorically that a student does or does not have dyslexia (for that you ought to see an Educational Psychologist and have a full IQ test carried out).  Nor can I assess in order make a case for having extra time in exams.  However, I will be able to state if the student appears to have dyslexia and the severity of the problem along with the specific areas of underlying difficulty.  From these results I can then draw up an appropriate teaching programme to assist you, I can also advise parents and their child’s teachers on how best to support him or her.

 

Using multisensory teaching to build on strengths and weaknesses

The results from the assessments will show me the student's strengths and weakness.  Then by using teaching which makes the most of his or her strengths, we can remediate the weaknesses.  For example, if a child has a good auditory memory but a poor visual memory, we can use his good auditory memory to help him learn his spellings but combine this with methods which will help to develop his visual memory.  In order to do this I use multisensory teaching, this means that as much as possible is taught using sight, sound and touch, allowing the pupil to make sense of language through what he is hearing, seeing, saying or feeling and to make connections between them.
 

Alpha to Omega teaching programme

The teaching sessions are based on the Alpha to Omega programme by Professor Beve Hornsby.  First published in the seventies but continually updated, revised and used in specialist dyslexia schools, it was the first complete programme to take children through from the earliest stages of reading to being highly competent readers, writers and spellers.  The programme allows a student to start at an appropriate level based on their proven ability and builds gradually in a logical order.  Spelling rules are taught explicitly rather than implicitly with words being introduced in their family groups so that words with similar spellings are taught together.  From an early age children are expected to write down what their teacher says so the programme always includes dictation practice, along with other writing practice.  Punctuation and grammar are also included at appropriate points.
 

Other aspects included during tuition sessions

If the student has problems with any of the underlying skills necessary for succeeding at literacy and at school then we will also work on these during the sessions.  For example, we might have some sound sorting tasks or memory games.

Older students may also need time to work on their study skills, being shown how to take notes, revise or plan essays.

Homework may sometimes be given but only with the prior agreement.
 

Enjoying learning

Everyone learns better if they are enjoying themselves, so every session is designed to be interesting, entertaining and fun.  The student knows he is expected to try hard and concentrate to the best of his abilities but the tasks will be made as enjoyable as possible.  A task which could be done in a boring way on paper is made much more interesting if it involves props which can be handled and altered.  We always end on a game reinforcing what has been learnt during the session – these games may be competitive – I can’t guarantee a student will always win! 
 

A typical teaching session

The following is a rough outline of what may be included in a typical teaching session.  None of the activities lasts for very long so the student does not get bored but the constant revision using a variety of methods results in maintaining interest and learning.
  • Meeting and greeting pupil
  • A couple of minutes of physical activity to stimulate readiness for learning.
  • Revision of the previous session including looking at the homework together.
  • Introduction of a new spelling pattern.
  • Dictation.
  • Practice of an underlying skill (e.g. practice of syllable division).
  • Reading practice.
  • Free writing.
  • Reinforcement of new spelling pattern using different methods.
  • Work on underlying skills (such as an auditory discrimination task).
  • Spellings (new ones introduced and old ones practiced)
  •  Game
  • Handover to parents if appropriate.
 

 If you would like to know more, follow this link to arrange tuition or learn more about dyslexia.