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Aug 05, 2022

How To Increase Literacy Proficiency Rates: Carrie Thurston Shares Her Findings

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Guest contributor Carrie Thurston holds a Bachelors Degree in Special Education and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Maine. Her company works alongside schools to improve literacy proficiency rates. Learn more about Carrie and her mission of Changing the Status Quo in Schools!

For over a decade, we have supported schools as they increase their literacy proficiency rates while reducing referrals to special education. Our work is based simply on the practice of understanding the profile of the learner and providing instruction that will allow for that child to maximize their potential. Much of our model is based on the understanding that movement and meaning are cornerstones of literacy acquisition.

What impressed me beyond the data was the lasting image of the joy in the spelling lesson for the students.

I often have been asked if I could only have one resource to use in a classroom, what would I grab? My response for over a decade has consistently been the same, "a whiteboard and whiteboard marker." That is no longer the case. In our work with many schools in New England, often we are asked about different resources and what we think of them.  Midway through this year, we were asked about Child1st's Right-Brained Phonics & Spelling Kit. Not being familiar with the product, we reached out to the company and asked if they might share a sample for us to use in a 2nd grade classroom with a group of significantly behind learners. This group of 2nd graders were still working to secure fluid letter sound fluency. Child1st responded immediately and shipped us out a kit. In addition, they shared the "why" behind their design and approach, which is that resources and curriculum designed by and for left hemisphere thinkers too often fail right hemisphere learners.  

Using the Right-Brained Phonics and Spelling Kit, we began to see immediate results in decoding and encoding for our learners.

In addition, we saw the transference of the skills to text and writing samples and retention of these skills over time. Students moved from inconsistent letter sound knowledge to spelling words like "Launch" and "Caution" with ease! While the resources can cause an educator to take pause and consider the approach to sound acquisition, the design is exactly what makes it so effective for students who are not auditory sequential learners. What impressed me beyond the data was the lasting image of the joy in the spelling lesson for the students  Typically, literacy for these students met with a feeling of struggle and failure, not the joy and success that they experienced day after day. We immediately recommended the resource for all of our schools, and teachers consistently ask the same question, "Where has this resource been?!"

We are beyond excited to begin the 2022 school year and see the growth with a full school year to utilize the resources that Child1st offers!

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