Institute offers reading help

In 1710, Richard Steele wrote that
reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

The new Language and Literacy
Institute in George Town abides by this concept, offering private lessons from
reading experts who use research-based instruction to resolve children’s
reading issues.

“The centrepiece of the institute
is the Reading Clinic, where students receive specialised support in reading
and writing,” said Tanya Samuels, the director and lead teacher. “The major
difference is that we’re looking at authentic literacy engagement designed by
experts in the Reading Clinic, so it’s not just workbooks. We engage in
authentic language activities before and after reading and writing. The
Institute is equipped with technology, materials, and resources which help us
make learning fun and meaningful for students.”

Ms Samuels worked for the Cayman
Islands Department of Education for four years as the head of professional
development.

She led the design and
implementation of the national literacy strategy that is being used now.

Her doctoral studies were in
literacy, specifically reading education. And her master’s degree is in educational
technology leadership – the science of learning.

For areas that aren’t her
speciality – like speech and language pathology – she has specialists that she
brings in by contract. Educational psychologists are also contracted when
needed.

“Whereas I can support a child with
dyslexia, I’m not qualified to diagnose that person. I do, however, have
qualified specialist on call who are able to do so.”

The programme is a six-week
session. And they’re following specific methodologies – they do guided reading
and a writer’s workshop, so they follow proven models.

 

Content based on the child

“But the content and methods, other
than the basic cognitive model for reading, are based on the child,” she said.

“We’re doing some oral language
development classes with toddlers, so just beginning sounds, oral motor skill
development with the tongue and the mouth,” she added. “If you’re coming here,
you’re either not interested in reading, haven’t been successful as a reader,
or have some social or emotional difficulty surrounding reading. So my job is
to not make it more difficult.”

Toddler classes have a maximum of
10 kids, who attend with parents. For tutoring, the maximum is six students.
And adult literacy and ESL classes have roughly 10 to 15 students.

One of her goals is to develop the
student’s love of reading.

“I had a parent that signed their
kids up ask if after the first six weeks, there will be another six weeks. And
I said ‘no.’ My goal is that in six weeks and you’ve learned enough from what
I’ve done that you can read with your child, you point out signs and sounds,
and support their learning so that you don’t have to come back,” she said. “I
don’t want to become a social necessity. I want people to be empowered.”

The first set of sessions for
classes will start 14 March, and registration is going on now.

For more information, contact Ms
Samuels at 917-5555 or by email at [email protected]com