Do you have an older learner struggling to learn how to read? Or a learner who can read but not smoothly or confidently — or who dreads every second of it? Perhaps you’ve heard about the effectiveness of Science of Reading methods (such as phonics) but figured they were just for young kids just starting to read. You may have assumed that it’s too late to use phonics to help your learner.
The Science of Reading – and Phonics – Work for All Ages
There’s been much talk recently about the Science of Reading (SOR), and phonics as one of its main components. Oftentimes, when they are mentioned, it’s within the context of pre-K or elementary school learners. However, the reality is that SOR and phonics are remarkably helpful for learners of any age, including middle schoolers and even high schoolers. This includes older learners who are struggling with reading fundamentals as well as students who could simply benefit from taking their reading abilities to the next level. After all, strong reading skills are central for fully grasping any subject, whether it be middle school science or high school literature.
There’s a demonstrated need for older learners to get real help with reading, and evidence shows that phonics works for them (see sources cited below). As mentioned in a recent New York Times article, “Nationwide, two in three eighth graders are not reading with proficiency, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.” In fact, “Nearly one in three [eighth graders] falls ‘below basic,’ meaning they have not demonstrated even partial mastery of the comprehension and analysis skills expected for their age.” Rev. Althea Greene, chair of the board for Memphis-Shelby County Schools points out that “When you realize that students are missing skills, I don’t care where they are, from ninth to 12th grade, we have to stop and we have to address it.”
Fit Learning’s Method is Based on the Science of Reading
At Fit Learning, the Science of Reading (and the overarching Science of Learning) are at the heart of what we do. Our curriculums are grade-level agnostic, so we meet each learner just where they are, regardless of age or grade level. Before starting tutoring, Fit learners take assessments that pinpoint exactly what knowledge gaps are holding them back. And that’s what the certified learning coaches focus on during learning sessions – through systematic, explicit instruction – before moving on to more advanced material. So, regardless of which literacy “building block” skills your learner didn’t master earlier in their education, we’ll identify them quickly and help the learner get up to speed. And, the 1:1 sessions are done in a way that’s fun, fast-paced, and supportive so learners don’t get bored or discouraged.
Fit’s Individualized Approach Makes it a Great Option for Older Learners
Since Fit’s curriculum is flexible – tailored to fit each learner’s own assessment results – there are many scenarios where a Fit Reading enrollment can benefit older learners. Just one example is a learner who is proficient at reading when they encounter words within the context of sentences and stories. However, they don’t understand the rules of reading (for example, when is a ‘g’ soft or hard in a word) or have mastery of the sounds vowels make when they are short. Lacking this understanding can make it much more difficult for the learner to spell and sound out unfamiliar words. Additionally, Fit’s advanced reading curriculum can support learners whose oral reading is a strength but who need to improve their reading comprehension, learn word meaning, and understand grammar rules.
All Kinds of Learners Can Benefit From Fit Learning
Fit’s unique and customized teaching method is not only effective for any age or grade level, but it also helps learners with diagnoses of dyslexia, ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, and slow processing speed. And, the Fit Reading program delves deep, going beyond just the reading mechanics to actual reading comprehension and fluency. Our curriculums include the study of word meaning through morphograph training, with both a spelling and vocabulary emphasis. Included here is more information on the program’s outcomes.
Even beyond reading per se, Fit’s approach leads to intangible and lasting benefits such as heightened self-confidence, critical thinking, agility, focus, and a love of learning. So, don’t be surprised if, after a Fit enrollment, your once-struggling or reluctant reader ends up actually loving to read!
Wondering where to begin? To learn more about how Fit Learning can help your learner (of any age) improve their reading, contact St. Louis lab director Janice Smith. She can help schedule an intake assessment for your child to kick off the process. Summer’s right around the corner, and it’s a great time for learners to make significant gains that will pay off for years to come.
- “A Systematic Multisensory Phonics Intervention for Older Struggling Readers: Action Research Study” (Elizabeth Henry) – https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1243065.pdf
- “How Schools Can Support Older Students Who Lag in Reading” (Sarah Schwartz, Education Week) — https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/how-schools-can-support-older-students-who-lag-in-reading/2022/01
- “How to reach older struggling readers” (Christine Pitts) – https://www.nwea.org/blog/2020/how-to-reach-older-struggling-readers/
- “In Memphis, the Phonics Movement Comes to High School” (Sarah Mervosh, New York Times –https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/25/us/reading-literacy-memphis-tennessee.html