Case Study: Literacy

Image of footballer I particularly like Lexia for phonological training where literacy problems require it…..
When Jamie was assessed last year at the end of fifth class I think all of us who had taught him felt some guilt. Not so much for his lack of attainment; we all knew about that and could, to some degree, put it down to poor attendance and inattentiveness when he was present. What got me and, I think, my colleagues were the indications of very low self-esteem. He is a very talented athlete and I had always tried to build on that but the psychologists’ report made it plain that he still saw himself as a failure at school and a disappointment to his teachers and family. We all realised that Jamie had been one of those children who dealt with his learning difficulties by keeping his head down and avoiding notice where more troublesome peers got more attention and whatever help was going.

Image of Light Bulb I decided to focus first on reading and, although the indications had been that he would never manage a phonological approach to reading, I believe that Lexia has brought considerable improvement. Much more significantly, however, I discovered that he had an interest in electricity and I set him up with a free program which I had downloaded from the ‘net which he could use to set up virtual circuit boards with switches, bulbs, motors, buzzers etc. Pretty soon the child who had spent his school life silently avoiding any contact with classroom activity was asking permission to bring friends into the resource classroom to show what he was doing. On the day of the Christmas holidays we had a small party in the room for all the “resource kids” and they were given a range of games and toys to play with. Jamie only wanted to go to the computer with a friend to continue a project he had been working on.

At the end of that day, I happened to be in his classroom when he was leaving. He went out then stuck his head back in and shouted “Happy Christmas, everybody!” There would have been nothing remarkable about this from another child but the class teacher and I just looked at each other. We both knew that there was no way that last year’s Jamie would have done the like in a century of Christmases. Jamie’s progress in academic areas continues to be slow but definite. I am convinced that the change in his self image has everything to do with his progress in other areas.