Helping struggling readers at KFPL

Photo by Josh Applegate.

Do you know a child who is struggling to read? Join Jan MacLean, a Structured Literacy/Dyslexia Specialist, at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL), and learn some important steps for teaching young children to read.

When I asked Jan to share more about her presentation, she had a lot to say:

“Watching your child struggle to learn to read is very painful.  I know from personal experience. You have been reading to your child like other parents and are doing everything you are told – and more – and yet reading is tears, sadness and frustration for your child while the other children are excited and eager as they learn this magical new skill. As a parent you feel powerless to help your child, and I expect your child’s teacher is feeling that way too. I believe that knowledge is power, and that parents and teachers need to know the basics about what decades of research is teaching us about how the brain learns to read, why some children struggle and how our way of teaching reading, especially in Kindergarten and the primary grades, needs to be modified so that all children learn to read. I hope that I can provide some of this powerful knowledge, and the knowledge that we know how to teach struggling readers, we just have to do it.”

“So should parents of struggling readers expect to have to pay for private help in order for their child to learn to read and those who can’t pay be left to fail? The Ontario Human Rights Commission doesn’t think so. It believes that even children with reading disabilities can learn to read with early appropriate help in school. However it has had so many complaints from families of struggling readers that it has launched an inquiry called Right to Read. So far, they have had over a thousand families respond to their online questionnaire, and their townhall meetings have been full. While the inquiry will look at a number of issues, one of them is whether current classroom reading instruction is of ‘universal design,’ meaning that all children can be taught to read with this approach.”

“The time is past when we just accept that there will always be those 4 or 5 students in every class who just can’t learn to read well. We know what we have to do to help them – we just need to start doing it.”

This hour-long presentation will explain why some children struggle while learning to read, and will show participants some of the critical steps in teaching children to read. The focus of the presentation will be on Kindergarten and primary students, but the information will be applicable to older students, as well.

“We are very pleased to have Jan MacLean joining us for her talk about helping children who are struggling with reading,” said Kristen Lemay, a Librarian with Children’s Service of KFPL. “Jan has expertise in helping children with dyslexia reach their literacy goals. Parents can expect to hear great tips about how they can support their children.”

The Helping Struggling Readers presentation will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Isabel Turner Branch, located at 935 Gardiners Rd. Register now with your library card as seating is limited.

Jan MacLean B.Sc.(O.T.), M.Sc. is the founder of The Reading Clinic in Kingston.  Since 2001, the centre’s YES! Reading, YES! Writing and YES! Math programs have helped hundreds of students in the Kingston area achieve success. 

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