“I have learned you must connect to students with your heart. They are either trying their hardest or scared out of their minds. Either way, they want to read and be successful. When they know you care, they are no longer afraid to try to do the thing that is hardest for them…master reading.”Heidi Kroner, Executive Director, Aspire Academy
Direct, One-on-One Instruction
At Aspire Academy, we provide one-on-one, direct instruction between tutor and student. We do not use iPads or computer programs to instruct children during any part of the lesson. Children receive the same tutor each time, and a trusting relationship is built. Students are directly instructed on letter-sound knowledge, and how to use that knowledge to sound out and spell words. Children practice these skills till fluency and automaticity are achieved. Children are taught at their pace and each lesson is customized to them.
Our programs are designed around the science of reading
We use the Wilson Reading System, and each instructor receives training from the Wilson Language Company, certified Wilson practitioners, plus lots of intensive self-study through the Wilson website and with Wilson materials. The Wilson Reading System is based on the Orton-Gillingham method.
The Wilson System was designed in the 1980s, but is updated regularly. It is in its fourth edition. All techniques used in the system are supported by 60 years of reading, writing and spelling research summarized in the book: Structured Literacy Interventions by Louise Spear-Swerling. The system’s methods are also supported by the research detailed in the book, How the Brain Learns to Read by Stanislaw DeHaene.
Reading and spelling are an interconnected discipline
Research shows spelling and reading are interconnected. Better spellers are more fluent and accomplished readers. In the Wilson system, every concept taught for reading is also taught for spelling. Both reading and spelling are practiced for an equal amount of time using multi-sensory techniques. Handwriting (either print or cursive) are practiced during the spelling portion of the lesson.
Good Handwriting Also Supports Reading
Properly formed letters also support accurate and fluent identification of letters and letter sounds. Associating the letter sounds when writing the letters is also extremely important for spelling fluency, and improves reading. Although many students at Aspire Academy have dysgraphia (trouble with writing), we work with students on proper letter formation in every lesson, and handwriting improves over time.
Engaging, Relaxed Atmosphere
At Aspire, everything we do is based on solid, proven research, and research also supports that children who are relaxed, comfortable and engaged in the learning experience retain what they are taught longer. We incorporate large, gross motor games during our lessons and pet therapy. Students receive rewards for completing tasks that are hard for them, and the rewards can include playing games while reading sentences, sitting by a dog and reading them a story, writing their spelling words in chalk on the sidewalk, or having a snack and hot chocolate.
Wilson is a 12-book system, and most of our students stay till they graduate. Click here to see the results students make on the standard bell curve during their time at Aspire Academy.