What does the future look like for reading, writing, and spelling in Canada?
I was so happy to learn that a “Future Bus” stop was coming soon to my neighbourhood.
I stopped to think: What DOES the future look like, and where does the “Future Bus” take me?
The Indigo Reading Foundation states that Canada is in a literacy crisis. (Check out #LOVEOFREADING) This certainly fits with my experience in schools, where far too many kids fall behind – and stay behind – in reading, writing, and spelling skills. (To learn more about the shame that these kids take on, click here).
There are many factors – the rise in incidence of Autism and ADHD, low income and under-educated families, screen time, dual-working parents in the home – these factors reduce both the quality and quantity of language interaction that children are exposed to. Interacting with language is important – language exists between people; being exposed to language through videos simply doesn’t cut it.
My experience working with literacy is that it is exceedingly complex. To try to figure out what is happening in the brain, and to adjust and adapt the instruction, coaching, and cueing to CHANGE the brain, is a significant challenge. It takes a lot of research and a lot of experience to effectively teach kids how to read when it doesn’t come naturally. Some researchers say that could include 40-50% of children (Moats, Speech to Print, 2nd Ed.).
My experience working in schools is that there are not enough specialized instructors with the research and experience background to teach reading … especially in a remedial or specialized setting for those students that fall behind. In fact, often there aren’t even enough STAFF to teach children in 1-1 or small group environments. This problem becomes more obvious in smaller school divisions and rural settings.
Ok, that’s the present. It’s not a social commentary or a complaint; nor is it a criticism of the hard-working educators out there in the trenches. I mean schools!
So where does my future bus take me?
I have been working on some ideas to unpack what is in my brain – to find a way to duplicate and replicate the results I am able to produce with children when I work with them. I have some ideas that are really coming together to design a curriculum and/or intervention kit that will give parents, Aides, and educators everything they need to teach reading – and especially to address reading in those that are at-risk or have fallen behind.
The more I think about this future, the more it starts to feel like reality. For every idea I record on paper, 10 more pop into my brain. I am getting excited by the prospect, and have already thought of ways to go bigger! I am envisioning some software that would accompany my intervention package for further training and education.
What does this future make available?
I foresee that “Future Me” will be working in educating others – parents, educators, school board members, school administrators, and other interventionists – resource teachers, special education teachers, Speech – Language Pathologists, and Psychologists. I love the idea of creating instructional videos, webinars, participating in trainings and workshops, and writing books.
I see this significantly impacting under-funded and hard-to-staff locations such as rural schools, outlying areas, and First Nations communities. I see this being advantageous to parents and the home-schooling community. I KNOW first hand the value of high-quality instruction and what it makes available – achievement, potential, self-esteem, confidence – and it is worth the effort. I foresee a future where people will know WHY a student is having trouble with speaking, reading, and writing. They will know HOW to teach speech, language, and literacy skills. And they will know WHERE to find the help, support, and training to make that difference.
Literacy Support Calgary
What is it going to take to see this future come to light?
I need time. I need people. With some Speech – Language Pathologists and Certified Teachers working alongside me, I can provide training and know that my current clients are in good hands. Withdrawing from therapy will allow me to capture all the tools, skills, content and strategies FROM my therapy and make it accessible to the world. Do you know someone who is interested in helping me?
I need money. There will be front-end expenditures to see these products come to life, and that requires an investment. I am interested in pursuing funding from SOMEWHERE – maybe to seek grants, government funding, or to operate as a non-profit. I have no experience with this – do you know someone who is interested in helping me?
I need word of mouth. I need people to recognize that too many children are having trouble with speaking, learning, reading, writing, and spelling. And this is PREVENTALBE and/or REVERSABLE in many cases with high-quality instruction. I need people to recognize that there is so much misinformation out there. There are dozens of programs, tutoring companies, boxed kids, books … people ASSUME that this stuff worthwhile, and they ASSUME that “some kids are just slow to take up literacy”. I need people to recognize when children are struggling, and to point them in the direction of a Speech – Language expert who can deliver the skill training and coaching that a child needs. I need your help to educate parents, educators, policy makers, school board members, and school administrators that there is more we can do.
ALL ABOARD! The Future Bus is leaving the station. Who’s coming with me?
Do you know someone who needs speech support? For more information contact us now!