A Revolutionary Approach to Reading

A revolutionary approach to reading
Posted on 10/07/2019
Girl at BoardA revolutionary approach to reading is front and center at San Gabriel Academy Elementary. Teachers have been implementing a new reading program based on the extensive brain research collected for learning how to read. Unlocking the Code, is a program developed by Trish Martin, a speech pathologist. Martin based her techniques of how to teach reading and writing on the understanding that she gained by working closely for several years with the researchers at the University of Michigan to transform the life of a high school student. He was not expected to
complete school or have a normal adult life; yet he went on to complete high school and college, get married, and become a stockbroker on Wall Street. 

Unlocking the Code explains and outlines the systematic and sequential steps involved in learning to read and write. Based on the research, Martin’s program intentionally targets building the neural pathways in the brain while engaging both hemispheres to optimally create a fluent reader and writer. Much of what is
currently being taught in schools is actually counter-productive to the research accumulated over decades. This program is all-encompassing, teaching the students phonics, orthography (the origin of words), spelling, grammar, and writing so that students are provided with a deep understanding of the English language – knowing
how it is spoken, written, and spelled.

A key to this program is engaging both hemispheres of the brain. Written symbols are located and managed in the left hemisphere of the brain; however, the right hemisphere is stronger. In this program, all of the syllable structures, grammar structures, parts of speech, etc. are linked to a simple picture that activates the right hemisphere of the brain in order to maximize learning.

The teachers at San Gabriel Academy Elementary are in the third year of a three-year training and implementation of this program. One of the things in which SGA’s elementary students participate is “fish-hooking.” This requires the breaking up of a word into syllable chunks so that students can identify the correct vowel sounds and decode the word. In Kindergarten, students begin learning the parts of speech and acquiring the skills to decode even four-syllable words; first-grade students can identify prepositions, subject pronouns, object pronouns, and prepositional phrases that are used as adjectives; second graders can explain the meaning of grammatical concepts and are introduced to the twelve active tenses, such as present continuous
perfect tense, so that they can determine whether they are writing sentences that are correctly composed. Because the program is sequential, the skills continue to build in each grade in order to create strong readers and writers with an in depth knowledge of the language and its usage.

When prospective parents tour the classrooms and see what is written on the boards regarding language instruction, they are amazed and impressed. A special education administrator and teacher recommended that parents keep their child at SGAE because of the quality of the  instruction. Since this program was initiated,
parents and faculty have noticed a significant improvement in the language skills of their students and look forward to even greater results as the training is completed and students gain more instruction time throughout their elementary education.