Online Literacy Therapy: In Schools & Abroad

Guest Post by Laura Sargent, M.Ed., Lexercise Teletherapy Partner

 

Mustique3I joined Lexercise as a clinician one year ago when searching for an alternative program for students I was leaving behind at Mustique Primary School in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. However, instead of having to leave my students behind after moving from the area, I was able to continue my work with them through Lexercise’s online teletherapy platform and the results have been outstanding.

I can now reach twice as many students in Mustique and have added other students internationally and across the U.S. In one year, the Mustique students have become more engaged in taking responsibility for their learning. My latest assessment of their performance shows an average of 89% improvement in reading and writing. The students enjoy the online classes and practice games, and the parents have become much more involved, as well. Without the complete support of the teachers, parents and Lexercise, none of this would have been possible.

In Mustique, land-based support is essential. Computers and internet are not readily available in every home so most of our students meet with me online at the Community Centre Computer Lab where I have a wonderful teaching partner, Natasha Joseph. Natasha provides supervision, scheduling and assists with students’ login. She also teaches one-on-one extra practice with the material covered in each level. She is an essential part of the Mustique Lexercise Reading Programme.

Mustique1When working with students in cultures where different forms of English are used, much has to be considered. Standard English is the same the world around; however, concessions must be made for British English spelling and local language variations. In spelling, I must be aware of International English spelling variations such as centre, colour and programme and adjust the lessons as necessary.

Earlier in the year I had the challenging pleasure of teaching a young, energetic boy from the Middle East. My initial goal was to gain his trust as a new teacher leveraging an online learning platform. He quickly became engaged in the lessons, excited about his successes, and proud of his progress. He has since graduated from the program and seems to be doing very well in his new school. In the words of his mother:

“There are HUGE differences in my son. I came home last night and he started reading to me, and he is starting to write more and it’s just wonderful. I have never seen this in him and he is thrilled.”

Summary

Mustique2Lexercise’s technology and content gave me the tools needed to continue to help these students despite being geographically separated, and the Mustique Education Trust (MET) offered generous financial support to make the entire initiative possible.

MET reviews our quarterly reports describing attendance and performance and has continued to support the program after observing the tremendously positive results.

It’s very exciting to work with students across the U.S. and around the world without ever leaving my desk. Students in my classes are working hard, enjoying the process and gaining confidence in their reading skills. As a result, they have added confidence in the classroom, as well. Parents are thrilled and teachers give Lexercise a nod of approval. As one kindergarten teacher described, “Lexercise is great, I am really seeing improvements in the children’s reading.”

A Thank You Letter From One of My Mustique Parents

Dear Dianne,

I just wanted to say a huge heart felt THANK YOU…. for believing in the remedial reading program. ox

Mustique6-editedMichael likes when you read to him but he has struggled with decoding. He is a visual child and likes to work with engines, cars and boats! A hands-on type of little guy 🙂

I initially had Michael tested with Lexercise to see if he was dyslexic after discussing his reading/spelling with his teacher Ms. Thompson. She said he is a well-behaved bright little boy but…..the reading. We were perplexed.

I found the Lexercise program and the clinicians to be very professional and helpful. After an extensive 90 minute online test, We were later told he is dyslexic and they suggested working with him for at least 6 months. He already was in the remedial program with Laura. I was prepared to enroll Michael in Lexercise as well to give him all the help I could.

…..Thank you for helping Mr. Very Good to hopefully be Mr. Very Good in Reading.

Truly, Thank you. We are grateful to you and MET..

 

Mustique5

 

 

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Laura Sargent

Laura Sargent, M.Ed.

Laura Sargent is a graduate of Harvard University with a Masters of Education. She also has training in the Orton-Gillingham approach and RAVE-O (Dr. Maryanne Wolfe's Tufts University structured language approach). Multisensory teaching and learning has been a life long passion. Laura Sargent has been a remedial reading teacher for the past 10 years, working with children and adults in the Caribbean and U.S. Born in Missoula, Montana, Laura grew up enjoying the beautiful mountains. She started her teaching career in Montana, and replaced the mountains with the ocean to sail the world. Throughout her travels she visited local schools to learn and share her passion for teaching and learning. This extended venture included raising her two children aboard her sailboat, where she home schooled them from kindergarten through high school. Laura's education and experience have helped her develop a broad-minded approach, a sensitivity and a love for teaching and learning across cultures.