Mason started attending sessions at Halifax Learning the summer before he began grade Primary. He took part in the Early Readers Program they offer. Our intention with this was to give Mason the reading and writing tools necessary to help him approach Primary with confidence. Mason was always a smart, outgoing boy but he sometimes felt unsure of himself when engaged in tasks that provided a bit of a challenge. We wanted him to feel he could accomplish anything he set his mind to and be able to do so independently.
The instruction Mason received was exactly what we had hoped for. His teacher was extremely flexible and tailored a program to meet his individual needs. She also worked closely with us to provide homework that supported and enhanced his learning. This partnership between Halifax Learning and home was the key to Mason’s success. Through open lines of communication, we were always aware of what his goals were, his progress to date, and what the next phase of his learning would entail.
During his sessions, Mason worked on his reading and spelling skills but he also received instruction on how to correctly form his letters when writing. So often children print but do so in an inefficient manner. Because of this focus, Mason’s handwriting looks amazing! One would look at his penmanship and think it was a much older child who did the work. Not only is it neat but the length and complexity of his sentences is much more advanced than we could have imagined. His ideas can now be expressed freely because his actual ability to physically write the words down is now so quick and effortless. He began at Halifax Learning being able to write a few common words and would often ask how to spell the word he wanted to write. Now he independently writes more detailed sentences and stories. In fact, Mason writes every chance he can get. He writes letters and notes to us at home, likes to label and write little stories to accompany his drawings, and he even wrote out the invitations to his birthday party! He simply loves to write and does so with ease.
I should mention Mason made significant gains in his reading skills as well. He approached this program with a few sight words and no decoding skills. Now, he has a large bank of known words but more importantly knows how to break words down and read them. This is a skill we believe isn’t given enough focus at the Primary level. We didn’t want Mason to just memorize words by reading the same book over and over. Using repetition as the only strategy will not lead to success when words become more complex. Mason now knows the individual sounds within words and can use this knowledge to read many unknown words. Mason reads with such confidence now. You should hear how expressive he is when he reads a story aloud to us. We have a future actor in the making. He looks forward to reading before bedtime each night and reminds us if we forget. When the Scholastic Book order comes home from school, Mason can’t wait to place an order. He even enjoys working on his homework!
Thank you, Halifax Learning, for all you’ve done to help Mason be the best he can be!