What if MultiLit and MiniLit are NOT helping your student?
The phonics approach has helped many students to read. But what if your student or your child has not only failed to thrive using years of phonics, but is continuously getting further behind the rest of the class?
What if their confidence is at rock-bottom? If they are like my child, they start to feel increasingly anxious, frustrated, stressed – even stupid. They may not say it out loud, but unfortunately this false self-assessment keeps chipping away on their self-esteem more every day.
MultiLit stands for Making Up Lost Time in Literacy and is an intensive reading program designed to increase children’s progress in reading accuracy, fluency, comprehension and spelling.
Being an initiative of the Macquarie University in NSW, it has been hailed as the only research-based literacy recovery program. Unfortunately a one size fits all approach will not apply to some students, as every child is different.
My son was one of many, who didn’t fit the phonics model, evidence-based or not.
More and more children are presenting with a visual learning style, a picture thinking mind, a fast processing pattern with poor working memory and a short attention span.
When I talk to teachers they confirm their challenge to keep the students’ attention on the subject they are trying to present. Focus is short-lived and what they present is often perceived as boring, too wordy, or irrelevant to them. Behaviour management has become a large part of their working day.
I feel for teachers, who are needing to wear more hats every year. Apart from being educators, they need to become administrators, social workers, counsellors, creative and active entertainers, and burdened with excessive paperwork on an increasingly tight time schedule.
There simply is no time to tailor content to a variety of needs of students, needs that teachers get no training to recognise or deal with.
How can a teacher bring the creative teaching strategies into a classroom where approximately half the class will not respond to a neurotypical approach?
Then help comes in the form of a specially trained person, trained in MultiLit to help the children who fall through the net, when it comes to learning to read, write and spell. Teachers can relax, there is one ‘hat’ they can take off. But isn’t it interesting that MultiLit and MiniLit teach reading in more or less the same way that they have done? ‘Just sound it out, Mary!’
Visual learners are very bright – they would have learned it already, if sounding out was the answer.
Sounding out, phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. Students who display skills in phonological awareness are usually competent readers, and auditory learners.
If you are like Jenny, a teacher friend of mine, who is close to a burnout after twelve years of teaching, then you are obviously not alone. Jenny would like to get out of teaching, but what else can she do? Tutoring is one option, but will there be enough students to pay her mortgage?
Jenny has been using the new focusing tools for her classroom management. Every morning she gets her students into small groups and uses the koosh balls I gave her to throw them to different students in a particular sequence. The challenge is that not only are they trying to throw these balls underhand, but also catch them overhand, all while standing on one leg and keeping the proper sequence…until Jenny decides to reverse the sequence of throwing and catching to their peers. This highly focus-oriented task has helped her students to be super-alert, aligned to their own mind and to each other. She introduces the task by teaching them a brief meditation to achieve focus first, talk about why this is so important and how to self-manage their focus. We don’t like using the word ‘concentrate’, as it often applies more effort and contraction, rather than ease and release.
We don’t like using the word ‘concentrate’, as it often applies more effort and contraction, rather than ease and release.
I would like to see teachers take over the job of supporting these students through a program of neurodiversity for innovative learning, adding tools and strategies to empower them step by step, to correct their perception, add concepts as building blocks for a deeper understanding, and an ease of learning. They ought to end up reading only once with 100% comprehension, never needing to sound out.
They will be the students who talk about that one teacher who has really understood them and helped them become the accomplished student, successful entrepreneur, gifted counsellor or whatever they CHOOSE to become.
But I don’t want you to blindly believe that this will be the answer to a student who is currently struggling like crazy, or has already given up hope.
And that is why I am so committed to helping teachers, tutors or homeschooling parents become that one teacher that dyslexic student will never forget.
I’ve created a Free 5-Day Challenge which I will soon be launching which will provide workshops and daily Facebook Lives where I will answer questions and offer valuable insights.
My aim through this challenge is to help you assess if dyslexia is the reason for your students struggles; to identify their learning style; provide tools to develop laser-sharp focus and help build the cornerstones of literacy and eventually start the reading process for full comprehension.
I’ll be announcing details of my Free 5-Day Challenge next week but if you want to make sure you are sent the details to register, contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be placed on our special Priority List for our 5- Day Challenge.