Learning to read and write are the two most critical skills a young learner needs to master. Their entire education depends on them being skilled and confident readers and writers. Research shows that young children who attend language enrichment experiences beyond regular school will advance beyond their peers, and stay ahead through their entire schooling (Hirsh-Pasek & Galinkoff pp 101-102).
In life, we often say that it’s not what you know but who you know that gets you ahead. In education we say it’s not just what you do but how you do it that makes all the difference.
In education the ‘how’ is the strategy you use to learn something. MindChamps is renowned for developing the advanced learning strategies in the world.
MindChamps Reading is the brainchild of the expert team at MindChamps led by Brian Caswell. Brian has over 35 years of success in the areas of education and literacy and is expert at developing learning, literacy and creativity programs globally.
Brian is a highly-respected international author, who has written over 100 books including The Art of Communicating With Your Child and The 3-Mind Revolution.
We know that to become a proficient English language user, your child needs rich experiences in listening, speaking, reading and writing – the key components are:
We get your child excited about reading by motivating them to want to read. The more you do anything, the better you become at it.
We focus on language parts – with our specifically formulated Integrated Phonics approach. We explicitly teach word sounds, blends graphemes and phonemes within the context of text because this has been proven to be the most powerful way to master language. Be wary of any program that teaches Phonics in isolation – they simply teach children to make sounds, but have no idea what they are reading.
“Phonics is an important part of any balanced reading program – but it is only one part. It is necessary, but not sufficient! Children need to be reading and writing, to be read to, and to be taught how to comprehend what they read. A balanced reading program has some of all the necessary components that turn children into avid, thoughtful readers and writers.” Cunningham (2009, pg 8)
We focus on meaning - making - using a whole spectrum of written and oral comprehension techniques – from basic understanding questioning right up to high order creative thinking. Our students don’t just ‘bark at the text’ – they gain real meaning and learning from what they read – and what’s more, they can tell you about it too.
“Meaning comes from children’s life experiences. Meaning is represented in their memories and in the language they use to talk about that meaning. This means that reading has to “make sense”. As Holdaway (1979) says, if children have heard stories read aloud, they have formed high expectations of written language. They expect it to make sense and they expect to be intrigued by aspect of the text” Fountas & Pinnell (1996, pg 5)
We balance the need to learn the ‘mechanics’ of language with the need to focus on the meaning of the texts we are reading. Some programs focus exclusively on phonics and produce students who can read words but don’t understand them. Other programs focus so much on the information that they forget to teach the child the basic skills.
“The opposite of learning within context is learning meaningless, disembodied facts. The motivation for this type of learning becomes pleasing the parent or teacher. The children who have to memorise and perform do more learning for love than loving to learn. Children want to please you. They will try to do as you ask. And they will try to act excited about an activity if you think it is important. But a deeper, more lasting education will take place if they have a context in which to place the newly acquired information. Learning within context is real, authentic learning.” Hirsh-Pasek & Michnic Golinkoff (2003 Pg257)
This is done through formal literacy assessments at the beginning and end of each program, and through weekly record taking. Students and their parents know how well they are progressing. This empowers our students, and motivates them to achieve more.
“Carefully recorded observations…of individual children..can lead us to modify our instruction to meet the learning needs of particular children in the formative stages of new learning” Clay (2005, pg 4)
This means that we give our students opportunities to practise their skills at home, through our world leading e-stories, and we know how powerful this is in advancing a child through literacy. Our parents also attend a workshop to learn the best strategies to support their child’s reading at home.
“Home and family involvement enhances the work in the classroom and helps children
use their literacy learning in different contexts” Fountas & Pinnell (1996, pg39)
“..if every parent understood the huge educational benefits and intense happiness brought about by reading aloud to their children, and if every parent – and every adult caring for a child – read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could possibly wipe out illiteracy within one generation” Fox (2001, pg 12)