Category Archives: Reading Proficiency

Bridging the gap in reading

 

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Bridging the gap in reading

Our marketing team recently showed a reading specialist of 20 years the UCanConnect Reading program, and she got very excited. “These are the exact activities we have always needed in our toolbox to help students master reading, especially since they can be done at home.”  She went on to say that it is essential that children increase their visual and auditory processing skills in order to improve reading fluency, sight word recognition and phonological awareness.

She needed to be peeled away from the games. “These are so much fun!” She added, “And the low price is something every family can afford, especially when you look at the cost of outside tutoring.”

The UCanConnect Reading Program was developed to address the findings of current literacy research, for example, studies from Expert Perspectives on Interventions for Reading, published by the International Dyslexia Association, 2012, and The International Handbook of Research in Children’s Literacy, May 2013, Wiley-Blackerll.

Current findings state:

  •     Poor word-recognition skill is a main factor in limited reading comprehension.

—-> UCanConnect exposes the reader to over 2000 sight words at each level, both through the visual and auditory modalities.

  •     Children with reading weaknesses cannot be treated alike. Instruction needs to be intensive, structured, but dynamic, and must address all the learning processes involved in reading.

—-> UCanConnect works on 12 areas of visual and auditory processing skills, gradually increasing the difficulty as the child progresses through 4 tiers of difficulty in each game.

  •     The home is the smallest school. Reading problems in a classroom can be minimized when parents become a part of the reading team.

—–>  UCanConnect is web-base and takes approximately 30-35 minutes to play. Whether the practice is 3 or 5 times a week, this intensive, yet minimal amount of time, fits into the home’s time-crunched schedule.

Some scary facts on literacy!

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Some scary facts about literacy in America:

  • Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will never catch up. Most will end up in jail or on welfare. Over 70 percent of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.
  • 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.
  • As of 2011, America was the only well-developed country where the current generation was not as well educated than their parents.
  • Literacy is a learned skill. Illiteracy is passed down from parents who can neither read nor write.
  • 53 percent of 4th graders admitted to reading recreationally “almost every day,” while only 20 percent of 8th graders could say the same. (2009 study)
  • Reading at school is critical, but increasing reading skills outside of school is essential to fostering school success. Research indicates that without outside practice, students lose reading skills. 55% of children do not engage in programs that can enhance their processing and reading ability. The main reasons stated for not seeking these alternative programs were the cost of outside help, the time it takes to attend these programs and the child’s lack of motivation because the programs were seen as “boring.”

U CAN CONNECT Reading program: it’s web-based, has a low monthly cost for daily access to the dynamically changing programs, and it fits into your family’s busy time schedule!

Skills we needs before we read…

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Question: Why did we a build a reading program that put a strong emphasis on visual processing skills?

Answer: Visual processing skills are the fundamental skills needed to become a proficient reader. In learning centers and schools across the world, visual processing tests are administered to determine a child’s abilities, yet there were no structured programs that helped train a child if the scores turned out to be low.

Voila! U CAN CONNECT was born!

Unfortunately children don’t begin reading by instantly decoding sounds and acquiring sight vocabulary.  They move through predictable phases of recognizing letters, recalling their sounds, and then understanding that when the sounds are blended together, these are words. Words carry meaning and when combined into sentences, a story is build.

But, there are other areas that silently play into being a good reader – visual processing skills that we take for granted because they just seem to happen for most of us.

There are many visual processing skills that affect reading and all of the learning situations.

Visual Discrimination uses the sense of sight to notice and compare the features of different items to distinguish one item from another as in letters and then words in a sentence. Children with poor visual discrimination have a hard time seeing the difference between two similar letters, shapes or objects. This affects the speed to learn new words and spelling skills.

Visual processing speed is the ability to recognize numbers, letters and words quickly, an important factor in good reading fluency. Research shows that children with high visual processing speeds are faster readers than children with low processing speeds.

Visual sequential memory ability is the ability to determine or remember the order of symbols, words, or objects.  This skill is particularly important for spelling.  A child who struggles with visual sequencing may leave out, add or switch around letters within words.  Recognizing and remembering patterns may also prove difficult.

Visual memory means that students must be able to look at a word, form an image of that word in their minds, and be able to recall the appearance of the word later. Once the word is erased or out of sight, students with good visual memory will recognize that same word later in their readers or other texts and will be able to recall the appearance of the word to spell it.

Visual closure is the ability to visualize a complete whole when given incomplete information or a partial picture. This skill helps children read and comprehend quickly. Children with poor visual closure also may have difficulty completing a thought or making an accurate judgment from partial information. In reading, they may confuse similar objects or words, especially words with close beginning or endings. This skill is an essential skill for fluency and speed in reading and spelling.

And that’s why we decided to build a visual and auditory processing reading program!