Firefly Tutoring Reading & Writing Program
Explicit & Sequential
Many teaching programs assume that if we drop kids into a reading-rich environment they will pick up the rules of written language without a lot of explicit instruction. It works well enough for some kids - but for many, it just doesn't work. Many kids discover instead that they don't get it. They feel discouraged and begin to feel like giving up. It's heartbreaking, especially since often all that is needed for these kids to thrive is a change in the method of instruction.
We explicitly connect what the student already knows as a speaker to what he or she is trying to learn as a reader and writer. We divide complex tasks into smaller parts and teach them sequentially. We move from the simple to the complex and make sure that the building blocks are solidly in place. It is empowering to a struggling reader to discover that English is not disorganized and random. It has a manageable set of phonograms (just 70) and spelling rules (only 29), which can be learned one small step at a time. It's a code and the student can learn how to break it down and understand it.
Interactive & Diagnostic
Our teachers continually engage students in dialogue and activities. Teachers explain and model new skills and concepts, students explain and repeat them back. Gradually the teacher fades and the students demonstrate their knowledge of concepts with less and less help. Students self-analyze and articulate what they are doing. By observing this process, our teachers informally diagnose the student's level of understanding and adjust instruction accordingly. We also use a full set of research-based diagnostic tests to measure progress.
Our students see, hear, say, and write using all channels to the brain. The stronger channels reinforce the weaker ones and help to forge new pathways in the brain. This reduces the amount of practice required for mastery and helps overcome learning difficulties. It also makes learning more fun and engaging.
The connection between speaking, writing, and reading is constantly taught and reinforced. This enhances learning and helps to make the lessons feel more relevant to the student.