Banner Literacy shares every parent’s desire to improve their child’s reading and writing skills.
It is our goal for each child to become a proficient reader and writer. To accomplish this goal our team will use, among other resources, online observations, outside evaluations, and informal diagnostic assessments to design an intervention plan to meet your child’s literacy needs. The intervention plan will integrate reading, writing, word study, spelling, and other aspects of language use and development. Each plan will be individualized to reflect your child’s unique needs.
Your child’s clinician will continually reevaluate and adjust this initial plan by using information from diagnostic teaching sessions with your child. The clinician will guide you and your child through this process and carefully choose materials that will be used during each session. These materials, whether they are books or word study games, will be specifically selected to align with your child’s literacy stage. Research and experience indicates that a balanced, individualized approach, which is often not available through commercial programs, obtains the best results for literacy growth.
To begin, we will meet with your child to assess their literacy level. Our clinicians will schedule time with you after your child's initial assessment to review the results and discuss our preliminary instructional plan. Once we begin working with your child, we keep in close contact through regular updates on your child’s progress.
Word Study and Decoding Instruction
In order for a child to comprehend text, they must first attain the skill of decoding, or reading words. To address difficulties in decoding, Banner Literacy uses a balanced approach to phonics instruction that is structured, systematic, and explicit.
In this case, Banner Literacy does not believe that “more of the same” is an effective approach to remediating your child’s difficulties with decoding. Rather, subsequent interventions should first determine the reasons why the decoding process has been disrupted in your child and continue by developing an intervention plan that is specific to your child’s needs.
A strong intervention program must begin with an understanding of the processes by which children learn to read words. Research suggests that these processes can be impeded for various reasons. Because the source of decoding problems varies among children, instructional flexibility is essential. Unfortunately, commercial phonics programs can be limiting in this respect and, as such, may not be suited for all students.
When a child reads, their main goal is to comprehend. At Banner Literacy, reading comprehension is a priority. Often, reading interventions treat comprehension as secondary; however, this approach can be misguided as there is a reciprocal relationship between comprehension and decoding and instruction in either skill can bolster the other. We believe that decoding instruction and comprehension instruction go hand in hand.
We will present your child with various metacognitive strategies to help them self-monitor their comprehension while they read. Your child will learn and practice these as well as other comprehension strategies and will work towards applying them independently.
Whether your child is an emerging reader who is just learning to decode or an older struggling reader, Banner Literacy believes that individualized instruction focusing on multiple strategies is essential to progress in reading.
During the initial stages of remediation, Banner Literacy looks to build a diagnostic relationship with your child, in order to determine their strengths and weaknesses in the area of reading. This information helps us initiate a unique, personal reading program to use with your child.
Throughout the process, our expert clinicians will continually assess your child to understand which reading strategies they have mastered and which strategies they need additional instruction and support with. Finally, your child’s program will contain a balance of both fiction and non-fiction text.
Spelling and Word Study
Spelling instruction in conjunction with word study can be immensely valuable in fostering literacy development. Effective implementation takes advantage of the inherent connections between spelling, reading, and writing. Indeed, research has shown that effective instruction in spelling supports the development of reading and writing.
Banner Literacy strongly agrees with research and expert opinion that reading and writing are intimately connected. Thus, we suggest that practice in writing can help children build their reading skills and vice versa. For example, younger children who are working to develop phonemic skills may benefit from writing instruction as phonemic and phonological awareness grows as children both read and write new words. Similarly, the ability to blend sounds together to construct words is reinforced when children read and write these same words.
When prescribed, spelling and word study will be stressed in both isolated activities and reinforced while reading natural language texts. Therefore, teaching letter-sound correspondences is not only explicit, systematic and extensive, but also contextually embedded and meaningful.
Through assessment and diagnostic teaching, we develop a hypothesis approximating your child’s developmental word knowledge. Working within this framework, your child commences a sequence of word study and spelling activities to help them discover reliable spelling patterns and generalizations. These spelling principles are taught directly in an organized and logical manner and instruction remains systematic and developmental.
Writing difficulties can arise from multiple sources, however, as with reading instruction, there are some core elements to our approach. Because we believe writing is, in large part, a social act, we place a heavy emphasis on ongoing interaction between the clinician and your child. Clinician modeling, scaffolding, and problem solving throughout the writing process will help move your child forward as a writer.
We also approach writing as a process that can be broken down into various manageable stages. Research has shown that several elements of writing including planning, drafting, and revising are difficult even among skilled writers. Support in these areas can be mitigated with visual supports, diagnostic teaching, dedicated writing technology, and software.
Your child will have the opportunity to write various narrative and expository texts. Writing and reading will necessarily be coupled as your child is introduced to new text structures and is required to identify critical attributes that can be transferred to their own writing.
Finally, writing instruction may include exercises in areas such as grammar, sentence structure, and word choice. These tasks will always be done within the context of your child’s writing as the primary goal is learning to communicate through the written word.