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Celebrating 20 Years of Evidence-Based Education and SpellRead

The journey of a Reading Rockstar.

By Halifax Learning on Thu, Oct 20, 2022 @ 02:33 PM

 

Welcome to Halifax Learning.

We are so excited to begin this journey with you and your child. At Halifax Learning, we are leaders in evidence-driven, science of reading program delivery and teacher training.  

Our goal is your child’s literacy success. At the end of their time with us, students are confident, efficient readers! Collectively, we have worked with thousands of children, youth, and adults to achieve this outcome. Ensuring equity in literacy skill acquisition is very important to us and it's our privilege to be working with your child. 

We pride ourselves on delivering a program that is responsive and inclusive, and an in-person or online classroom experience that is collaborative, kind, and confidence-building. 

So how do we start?

Let’s start with an assessment

Our free, in-depth literacy skills assessment helps us understand your child’s needs and allows us to place them in a class with other students their age and skill level. We also use this assessment as a benchmark, as your child will be re-assessed at the halfway point and at the end of the program. 

The battery of tests we use is well-known and highly regarded in the academic world. We encourage you to share these with your child’s teacher at school, and we’re available to meet with additional school professionals to share more information.  

 

If you are keen to skip ahead and have an assessment and consult - please click here! 

 

What to expect when you start a class?

Whether you are working with one of our teachers in person or online, our goal is to make sure your child is coming into a welcoming and encouraging space.                                                                

  • All of our teachers have post-secondary education, but most importantly, they are excellent coaches, mentors, and cheerleaders! They all participate in SpellRead’s teacher training program and there is a support team behind them all the way to make sure your child is progressing. 

  • You will have brief communication with your child’s instructor at the end of each class, either in person or by way of email. The goal of this communication is to make sure you understand the homework assigned and also to give you any highlights of this class - new sounds learned or how active reading and writing connections went. 

  • Because our teachers are heavily supported by Halifax Learning support specialists, if we feel as though we’re encountering a hiccup, a member of our support team will reach out and set up a time to connect. 

  • You will hear from our Admissions Director a few times within their first month of classes to make sure things are going smoothly, but feel free to reach out to her if you have questions.

Want to see inside a classroom? Take a peek with us now:)

 

What does the class flow look like?

  • Our classes are typically 60-90 minutes long. During that time, students spend about 55% of the class on linguistic foundations and 45% of the class on active reading and writing connections.   We work in small groups and group students based on age/grade and skill level.  The goal is that one child is never held back or pushed forward before they are ready. 

  • There are three phases to the SpellRead program: A, B, C. All students start in Phase A; depending on the initial assessment and age of a student, sometimes Phase A can take just a few months to complete, or sometimes it takes the better part of a year. 

  • When we meet to discuss your child’s progress assessment, we will be able to talk more about whether or not they will complete all three phases during their full-year program with us and if not, whether or not they need to.

    Age and grade have a lot to do with it - but don’t worry. Our most important goal is to make sure your child is closing their gap and working towards ensuring literacy skills are at or above grade level. 

 

What are our touchpoints? You can put these on your calendar! 

  • Two-week mark - homework/calendar of events information is sent 
  • Two-month mark - you will receive a note from us with more detail on what you should be expecting to see from your child two months in, how time with us is impacting their self-confidence and school work
  • Five-month mark - your child will have their interim assessment followed by a meeting time with our support team to review the results and programming in general 
  • Eight-month mark - you will receive a note from us with more detail on what you should be expecting to see from your child eight months in, how time with us is impacting their self-confidence and school work
  • Completing the program - most students complete the program in about a year.  At this point you will be contacted about their exit -assessment, a time to review their progress and a time to go over the maintenance package we will be sending home 

 

Communication:

  • Parents have direct contact with our support team at any time.  
  • Consistent communication with the instructor. 
  • Upon request - we can facilitate a meeting with a child’s school and meet with a school team to talk about all programming and ways to provide some wrap-around.

 

Would you like to schedule a 15-minute conversation and just chat? Click here. We would love to talk. 

 

 

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Linking Early Speech to Reading

By Natalie Corbett Sampson, MSc, SLP(C) on Thu, Aug 19, 2021 @ 04:01 PM

Children typically start reading in the first years of elementary school, but building foundational skills to do so starts several years before they start sounding out words. Words of any language are made by mixing up and combining individual sounds. As babies learn to create words to speak, they do so by gaining phonological awareness; the ability to hear individual sounds and manipulate sounds to create and change the meaning. For example, by three a child knows that for most nouns, you add a /s/ sound to the end to mean more than one (cat to cats).writing connections

As children learn to speak, they often go through a period of time where their use of sounds is inaccurate. They may drop sounds from words, use the wrong sounds in the wrong places, leave out whole syllables. Examples of these common errors are:‘top!’ for ‘stop!’, ‘tat’ for ‘cat’ and ‘nana’ for ‘banana’. Speech errors are part of the learning process, as with crawling and walking, researchers have developed a timetable of milestones to mark expected ages by which children will use each sound accurately. 

But what if they don’t?

When speech errors persist beyond the age they are expected to be corrected, a Speech Language Pathologist may recommend intervention to improve the child’s use of sounds in words, phrases and sentences. Speech therapy will help a child improve intelligibility which in turn boosts confidence and communication skills and reduces frustration and negative behaviour. 

And strengthens a shaky foundation for reading. 

The sounds the child is struggling within speaking are the same ones she will need to use to read. Having a strong enough understanding of ‘t’ and ‘k’ so she can hear the difference and produce them differently helps when learning the letters that represent the sounds. 

English is hard. It has 44 sounds but only 26 letters, spelling rules and exceptions to rules, words that look the same and sound different, words that sound the same and look different. It’s important that all early readers have as many tools in their toolbox as possible including intelligible speech, strong phonological skills and the confidence to tackle reading head-on that comes with being a competent, assured communicator.

Are you wondering if your child is developing age-appropriate phonological skills?  We offer a complimentary Speech and Language screening to help you determine if your child is meeting communication milestones by gaining and using skills as expected for their age.  Simply click below to learn more and sign up.

Speech Language Screener

 

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February Means Primary Registration!

By Natalie Corbett Sampson, MSc, SLP(C) on Thu, Feb 11, 2021 @ 01:08 PM

creative_writing_workshop_-328986-editedSchool entry is a huge step for kids. They are introduced to new settings and new people who don’t know them well enough to anticipate their needs and wants. They learn new rules and routines as well as new facts and concepts. What if they don’t have the tools necessary to understand what is being said around them? Or the skills to make themselves understood? Making sure they have solid communication skills as they venture into all that newness is essential to optimising their school entry experience. 

Pre-primary and Primary kids should be able to:

  • Speak in full sentences, using a variety of words such as action words, labels or nouns, attributes (colour and size), prepositions (in, on, under) and pronouns (he, she, I, you) correctly.
  • Follow complex directions
  • Answer questions that ask Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
  • Speak clearly enough to be understood by unfamiliar people the majority of the time.

Some children have difficulty with language learning or trouble learning to pronounce the sounds of English well enough to be understood. If a child is having difficulty learning language and speech skills, it may be necessary to consult a speech-language pathologist (SLP). That professional will assess the child’s skills, identify any specific areas that need some intervention and provide therapy to address these weaknesses.

Sign up for your free Speech Language Screener today.

Speech Language Screener

 

 

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A New Library!

By Britt P. Curran on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 @ 03:24 PM

 

The Halifax Central Library is set to open this year and the buzzboth locally and internationallyis off the charts. Or, shall we say, off the shelves?

Official construction for the HCL started in 2012 but progress is picking up quickly! The architects behind this project are Fowler Bauld & Mitchell, and schmidt hammer lassen. Both firms have blended concepts to create an innovative and sustainable five-story complex with panoramic views of Citadel Hill, Dartmouth and the water. The building is also cloaked in glass—a feature to “bring the outdoors, in." 

The new library will be "A Place for Everyone" to "learn new ideas, share knowledge, network with others, grow and explore." The space also provides a top-of-the-line information hub, which will combine new technology with trusted, traditional library techniques.

Eager to know what's planned for each level? Here's the breakdown:

  • The 1st floor is the building's main entrance for "Customer Services" and "Holds/Pickups." Also on this level is bestsellers, newspapers, magazines, and the highly-anticipated Paul O'Regan Hall for performances and programs!

  • Right up the sculptural staircase is the 2nd level, a space designed for children, teens and families. A Media Room and Book Tree are among this floor's extremely modern and cool aspects.

  • The 3rd floor is devoted to adult learning and certainly pays homage to our province's heritage! A First Nations Circle and a section on languages stand out as this level's top features.

  • The 4th floor is a jam-packed spot! Aside from the main reference library as well as adult non-fiction, this level features a nod to our country's war history with a memorial and books of remembrance.

  • Finally, the 5th floor! Deemed as "Halifax's Living Room," this level features a café, rooftop terrace, and a vast fiction collection! 

With amenities such as WiFi, an atrium creating natural light, and the coziest of reading corners, the Halifax Central Library is sure to be a communal, comfortable, inspiring and educational place for locals and tourists alike.

Halifax is known for being a historic metropolis. Here’s hoping the HCL makes its mark on the county's literary culture—and creates a new kind of beautiful history for our coastal city!

library

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