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WCLC Newsletter

National Volunteer Recognition Week

The Wellington County Learning Centre would like to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful volunteers. Without the help of over 80 volunteers yearly, we could not begin to meet the needs of the many learners in our community.

The Ontario Literacy Coalition gives this definition of literacy; ”Literacy gives all the foundational skills that people need to achieve their personal and societal goals in our complex and ever changing world. Literacy makes it possible for people from diverse abilities to live with dignity in our communities. Literacy helps reduce the barriers to meaningful participation in society.

We encourage our volunteers to spread the word about becoming a tutor with our agency. Both our youth and adult programs have waiting lists. If you know someone who would make a good tutor, have them call the office. We have training sessions whenever we have a small group of interested participants

Math for Work

In response to requests for a math refresher course, the WCLC has introduced a “Math to Work” class for adults. The new course began in May. The curriculum mainly deals with math related to the manufacturing work place. Anyone interested in upgrading their math skills should contact the office for more information. Tutor/Learner Summer Break Please let the office know if you are going to be taking an extended break for the summer. We would appreciate your summary forms for our records.

Tips for Spelling

Good pronunciation helps when learning to spell. Exaggerate enunciation or try pronouncing words syllable by syllable. Make sure your learner knows how to pronounce each word.

Point out trouble parts of words like silent letters or unusual or non-phonetic parts. Point out regular rules like doubling a consonant.

Discuss meaning and use each word in a sentence.

Vowels cause more trouble then consonants. Stress vowel sounds and the way they are spelled.

Have a little fun. Play some spelling games like scrabble or boggle.

Often, a few words count for a large percentage of spelling errors. Try keeping a personal word list of problem words.

Many students are helped by a visual approach. Have them stop and look very carefully at corrected spellings.

Don’t forget to give some occasional lessons on dictionary use.

Memory devices sometimes help students remember difficult words. E.g. dessert has two s’s because everyone likes a second helping.

Sometimes it helps to study the shape of difficult words. Have your learner draw straight lines around a word with a pencil or pencil crayon.

Finally, don’t let spelling get in the way of good story writing. Let students use invented spelling in first drafts and help them to proofread and correct later. Try underlining only the incorrect part of the word and then have the student attempt the correction on their own.

Duet Reading

A easy but effective reading strategy simply involves reading together. Let me explain… This method works best if the student; has a good sight vocabulary (can easily read those small words and knows more just by looking at them); is a hesitant reader who reads word by word; or is a reader who tends to read in a monotone ignoring punctuation.

This duet reading method enables the student to;
• Increase vocabulary and fluency of reading
• Gain confidence in reading ability
• Learn to read with expression!

The description of this method follows.
1. Choose something that is of interest and a little above the students current level.

2. Begin reading together. Read the book aloud at the same time. Try reading at a normal speed using expression. You may have to adjust your speed a little.

3. Move your finger beneath the lines being read. This helps the student to keep up. It also helps practice reading from left to right and to bring the eye back to the beginning of each new line without losing place.

4. Keep going. Continue to read at a normal pace even if the student hesitates over a word or falls slightly behind. If the student stops completely, you should also stop. Rest, offer the student encouragement and begin again. Try to spend five to ten minutes doing this.

5. No questions. Don’t stop to explain the meaning of a word unless the student requests it. Don’t ask comprehension questions. This is just an oral reading exercise. Keep in mind that if the student keeps up with little effort, you may have to select material that is a little more difficult. Also if the student recognizes few words, choose something easier.

In one study, students with reading difficulties received seven and a half hours of duet reading help over six weeks. Their average reading gain was 2.2 grade levels. This method has also helped students with stuttering problems. It’s worth a try, and allows you to spend time reading together.

How to find the main idea

To find the main idea of a paragraph, find the topic sentence. Usually it’s the first sentence in the paragraph, however, if there is no topic sentence ask;

1. What is the topic of this paragraph?
2. What does the author say about the topic?For example the topic may be flowers.The main idea could be anything from how to plant seeds, to different spring flowers.

Using this two step process should help students identify the main idea which in turn will help them understand and remember what they read.

Think about Learning Styles

There are three main learning styles. Usually people have one preferred style (although everyone uses, and must learn to use, all three styles to some extent). If you learn differently than your learner, you may have to adjust your teaching style to better suit your student.

Visual learners like puzzles, reading, writing and often painting and sketching. They like things neat and orderly. They remember details. Often like to dress attractively. May not speak up in class. They learn through seeing. They make up about 65% of the population.

Auditory learners relate most effectively to the spoken word. They listen to a teacher and then take notes afterwards. Reading aloud helps them to understand. They are often ‘talkers’.

Often have trouble with drawing or handwriting. Memorize easily and often know words to songs. They learn through hearing. Auditory learners make up about 30% of the population.

Tactile/Kinesthetic learners learn best by hands-on and movement. They like to touch everything and find it difficult to sit still. They are usually well-coordinated and good at sports. They enjoy taking things apart and putting things back together. They learn best by doing and make up around 5% of the population.

So, perhaps from this, you have an idea of how your child learns best. Now what do you do? For students who are visual; use flash cards, charts, maps and graphs, use a highlighter, work on tasks one step at a time.

For Auditory learners; talk through the steps and have learner repeat back to you, spell out loud, let them dictate to you, say sounds out loud when attacking words.

Although most of our tutors have this information, it never hurts to have another look at individual learning styles. There are many informative books at the local public library if you are interested in learning more.

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