Thursday 25th of July 2024

from the mouths of babes .....

from the mouths of babes .....

Howard to pitch for family vote 

The Federal Coalition will unveil measures to improve housing affordability and give extra support for carers in a range of family-friendly policies at its official campaign launch in Brisbane today. 

The policy package is expected to focus on the economy and helping ease cost-of-living pressures. 

"[They will be] sensible and very affordable measures to help Australian families," Prime Minister John Howard told Channel Nine this morning. 

He said the announcement would also include help for first-time homebuyers. 

Howard To Pitch For Family Vote

an oldie from Sydney Uni...

A revolution in teaching promises the solution to dyslexia
By Richard Garner, Education Editor
Published: 13 November 2007

A ground-breaking project which has had extraordinary success in helping hundreds of dyslexic children and others struggling to read and write at primary school is poised for a major expansion across Britain.

Springboard for Children, an education charity which now has the enthusiastic backing of the British Dyslexia Association, has achieved a 90 per cent success rate in returning children with severe literacy problems to mainstream classrooms. The revolutionary scheme is being used in a dozen schools in Manchester and London, and the plan is now to set the scheme up in 10 other inner-city areas – bringing a lifeline to around 10,000 children suffering from dyslexia and other difficulties with reading and writing.

Experts say there would be no shortage of volunteers for the programme, with estimates putting the number of dyslexic pupils in state schools at more than 300,000. In addition, national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds show around 120,000 youngsters a year leave primary school failing to reach the required standard in English. A recent survey by the National Union of Teachers showed the majority of teachers (77 per cent) believe they are not well enough trained to teach dyslexic pupils.

The secret of the scheme's success is getting immediate help to youngsters once a reading problem is identified in their first term in primary school. Pupils helped by the unit are normally selected by their schools by the end of their first term.

Dyslexia is thought to be neurological in origin although there is also growing evidence of a genetic link. Tens of thousands of parents have only realised that their child may suffer from the condition when he or she falls behind in school. The Springboard project, which has also transformed the reading and writing skills of non-dyslexic children suffering severe literacy problems, relies on intense one-on-one tuition for up to two years, during which a host of innovative techniques are employed to improve the child's skills.

Volunteers are recruited to read and work with the children. Springboard also uses a mixture of games and quizzes as well as reading to children to encourage a love of learning among the pupils it helps.

In one session, children take part in a card game – matching up the names of animals and objects on a dozen cards with those on a tray. If they get them all right, the tray flips over to form a perfect pattern.

It works because pupils like eight-year-old Rachel Lomas, who has dyslexia, finally get a sense of joy from reading if they succeed in making the pattern after years of frustration and anguish in the classroom, experiencing at last a sense of progress.

One of the reasons for the success story has been the setting up of the Springboard unit in the school – which now provides a guaranteed 70 hours of one-to-one reading a year for 75 pupils singled out by the school as being in need of special help.

Gus: I don't know about this "particular" system but it seems very VERY similar to a teaching system for dyslexic children, providing one-to-one tuition "using a mixture of games and quizzes as well as reading to children to encourage a love of learning among the pupils" which was developed, tested and used successfully at Sydney University, at least 30 years ago... The "Rat Pack" as it was known then worked wonders. It used cards, books and single sheets with fun games, simple puzzles, easy stories and associations with words. It was developed by a Canadian, Doctor Butler, a woman who was lecturing there at the time, if my memory is correct, for about ten years...
It seems that the system used in England is either the same programme renamed or is strongly based on the study made here at Sydney Uni... No two ways about it. Apart from the games, one-to-one tuition was a major key to the success. One of the other keys was fun in learning... I followed the development of this programme very closely... and if my memory is correct, the good Doctor had a similar success rate, above 90 per cent...

One of my nephews in Europe was strongly dyslexic and had a stutter until he started to learn another language. Within a few days, his problems vanished, as if the challenge of learning something that is not part of the habits formed since childhood removed the blocks in the brain.

I know that if I get tired, my "English" language becomes blurred and accented despite my efforts to minimise the problem. If I have a rest of twenty minutes, I come back to speed...