Poor Readers Face Learning Difficulties

Pupil studingPoor readers equal poor learners. How many Grade 12 learners will matriculate in 2014, with their deficient reading background?

The PIRLS 2006 study compared the reading abilities of children in 40 countries. South Africa came last, after Morocco. Only 13% of our Grade 4 learners reached the lowest benchmark compared to 94% of learners internationally; only 1% achieved the advanced benchmark, compared to 7% internationally. The Grade 4 learners who participated in this study are — or are supposed to be — the matriculants of 2014.

“Reading has proven time and time again to be the most important skill that a child must acquire at school, because in order to learn, one must be able to read,” says Susan du Plessis, Director of Educational Programs at Edublox reading and learning clinic. “The unfortunate implication is that a child who is a poor reader will inevitably also be a poor learner.”

Research has proven that in the majority of cases, weak underlying cognitive skills account for the learning difficulties, but these cognitive skills can be developed. Specific brain-training exercises can strengthen these weaknesses, leading to increased reading proficiency and academic performance.

Edublox reading and learning clinic has just launched a multisensory cognitive enhancement program known as Edubrain, which is designed to help learners of all ages and ability levels to overcome reading difficulties in the comfort of their own homes.

The program is based on pedagogical and neurological research, as well as more than 30 years of experience in the field.

“Edubrain is designed as an affordable investment for parents into their children’s futures by developing their reading and therefore also their learning competency,” says Du Plessis. She developed the program in conjunction with Dr Zelda Garcia, a medical doctor whose interest is neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to physically change as a result of learning. The program provides an effective solution that aims to empower parents to teach their young children to read, as well as help both children and adults overcome moderate to severe reading difficulties in the comfort of their own homes.

According to Susan du Plessis, the reason the program is so effective is because it does not just focus on reading; it teaches underlying cognitive skills that are the foundation of good reading. “The program places the emphasis on developing things like form perception, processing speed, visual, auditory, sequential and working memory, and so on,” says Du Plessis. “These underlying skills must function well in order for someone to read efficiently and easily.”

“We’ve been through several different reading program, reading schools, occupational therapists, speech therapists, one-on-one tutoring….name it, and we have tried it, says Dr Anina van der Bijl whose son was seemingly unable to read. “Great was my surprise to stumble upon a proven, much published method of teaching reading. My son now even reads for relaxation — it remains a miracle to me!”

The Edubrain Reading Program is the first in a series of seven programs to be launched by Edublox in the coming months. Others include the Edubrain Spelling Program and Toolkit, as well as Handwriting, Maths and School Readiness Programs.

“We anticipate that the new program and toolkit is going to make a huge difference to literacy levels,” says Du Plessis. “The feedback received about its predecessor has been phenomenal, with reports of children’s general grades improving, children finding enjoyment in reading for the first time in their lives; parents seeing a huge improvement in their child’s self-esteem, and much more wonderful feedback.”

“The new program has been updated and repackaged to makes it more interactive and affordable than before,” says Du Plessis. “The fact that it can be worked through at home, at the child’s own pace is an added bonus”.

Because the Edubrain Reading Program has four levels, with carefully graded activities within each level, it is suitable for all ages and appropriate for children with developmental and special needs, as well as high achievers.


South Africa came last in the PIRLS 2006 Grade 4 Average Reading Score:
Pirls 2006

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