New “Accelerated Literacy” Program Targets Australia’s Child Literacy Challenges
Amid Education Budget Freezes and Declining OECD Educational Achievement Rankings, Innovative New Approach to Boosting Child Literacy Gains Traction in Perth
The “Accelerated Literacy Blueprint” – an innovative child literacy program – is garnering adherents among educators, praise from parents, and remarkable results among literacy-challenged students.
The Accelerated Literacy Blueprint offers an individualized approach to improving reading and writing skills that most classrooms cannot. It taps cognitive science principles to identify the specific obstacles in each child's path to full literacy and addresses where the learning process breaks down. The program then leverages the child's personal and academic strengths to accelerate their progress with reading and writing.
Created by noted speech pathologist Adele Jane, the Accelerated Literacy Blueprint is the product of more than a decade of her experiences in both counseling and as mother of a reading-challenged child.
“Our program takes the 'hit and miss' out of addressing literacy challenges” says Jane. “The individualised approach is key – and unfortunately something that fewer and fewer public classrooms are in a position to provide.”
For many parents, the Accelerated Literacy Blueprint could not have come at a better time. A growing perception that Australian schools are failing students in basics such as reading and writing was corroborated recently by data from the international Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The latest OECD report highlights a worrisome trend: assessment tests of mathematics, reading and science show Australian students being outperformed by more and more countries, particularly their East Asian neighbors. Australia's rank fell in all subjects since 2009 – from 9th all the way to 14th in reading.
In the meanwhile, a controversial new schools funding model from the federal government threatens to squeeze education budgets. “Ironically, as budgets shrink and fewer resources are devoted to children's literacy, the science behind improving children’s reading and writing is advancing at lightspeed,”
She offers the Accelerated Literacy Blueprint to parents and students in Perth. Far from a “therapy” in which the session leader holds all the keys to success, Jane's program provides parents and children tools that they can apply themselves. The idea, she says, is to equip them with learning mechanisms they can use over the student's entire academic career.
Though based on a solid framework of cognitive science (with particular focus on high level “executive functions) Accelerated Literacy solutions are as individual as each student. Once the principles are mastered, parents and educators can apply them to students with learning difficulties, ESL students, as well as in general teaching. From kindy to high school, the program helps youngsters improve their comprehension and composition skills, as well as master essential related skills such as focus, multitasking, and processing of new concepts.
“The value of helping students realize their full potential and not fall further behind cannot be overstated,”
“Failure to intervene, on the other hand, can invite a cumulative effect with lifelong consequences.”
The program has helped more than 1000 students & parents thus far. Jane has focused her efforts on helping students in Perth, though the enthusiastic response to her program has inspired plans to offer workshops beyond the city.Parent and teacher Jo De Boni recounts a typical experience: “My son Declan went from being a non-reader in year 2, to an avid reader two years later, reading novels like 'The Hobbit.' My younger son went to Adele unable to score on reading comprehension when tested. In 12 weeks this improved to percentile rank 61. It’s been an absolute joy to watch his face light up as he reads.”
“It's becoming clear that parents and students will have to take a more active role in addressing challenges in education,” says Jane. “If current trends continue, tools like the Accelerated Literacy Blueprint are likely to become more common and more prominent.”
For more information on the Accelerated Literacy Program, visit www.acceleratedliteracy.com.
About Speech Pathologist Adele Jane
Adele Jane holds an Honours Degree from Curtin University in Western Australia. With more than a decade of experience, she has successfully treated a wide range of speech disorders and other learning challenges. Adele currently spends much of her time working with literacy, particularly with children who are having difficulty acquiring literacy on a par with their other thinking skills. She works extensively with executive functions, the higher level cognitive skills that control and regulate the other thinking processes. Adele Jane is based in Perth, Western Australia.