Intervene early with specialist teaching - waiting can be costly.
Have you been told not to worry? That Jimmy will catch up given time and encouragement? Perhaps you've been told to read more bedtime stories or to involve Sienna in the weekly supermarket shopping.
Many parents regret that they have acted on a 'wait and see' approach. Parents know when their child is struggling with foundational skills. While important, no amount of bedtime stories will create a reader and no amount of shopping trips will address poor number sense. Early support is critically important - the best antidote for poor skill level is targeted teaching, often specialist teaching, to empower students with the skills to learn, to participate, to feel confident and happy in the classroom. Don't wait!
Skilled up for secondary school?
Sadly, it is too common for students to have spent five, six or seven years of school learning and lack basic reading, writing or maths skills so that anxiety and poor motivation result and can block further learning. Transitioning to secondary school with low academic skills can be quite daunting for students, and understandably so.
All students can and will learn given the appropriate educational programs. However, it is mostly beyond the capacity of middle years teachers to fill the gaps of foundational skills for students who have missed out on learning in younger years.
Classroom teachers have great demands on their time so that it can be very difficult to provide focussed, specific support to meet the learning needs of all. Specialist teaching in one on one sessions offers the most efficient and effective way forward.
The demands of senior writing and reading can be overwhelming for many students. Very commonly, it is not a matter of not having the ideas and content to write, but it is knowing where to start and how to structure a piece of text. This can cause great anxiety for students. In response, I run a writing/language skills group session for older students which addresses vocabulary, oral language, spelling, and writing skills at the sentence, paragraph and essay level. Content is based on shared readings, mostly from daily news sites. Students develop confidence to contribute to everyday conversations by just knowing more about the world. It feels good to know about current affairs. Background knowledge also grows and reading comprehension improves.
Currently this session runs on Thursdays, 4pm and there are current vacancies.