POW. The Superhero Short Story Competition Results Are In

POW and WOW indeed!

We had a phenomenal number of entries for the superhero short story competition.

Each and every story was so imaginative, unique and gripping, and you could see every child’s personality shining through the words they wrote – particularly those with references to poo powers! (Sorry about that…)

We want to say a big well done once again to everyone who entered, and we can’t wait to read more of your stories in any future writing competitions we do.

The stories that will make up our new Easyread library book, Superhero Stories, are:

  • Tornado Man vs Dr Doom by Kevin, aged 9
  • Rocket and the Super Rodent Team by Camden, aged 11 (with illustrations by his sister, Lauren)
  • Blue Flare by Jack, aged 7 
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A sneak peek at Rocket and the Super Rodent Team

You can enjoy these super stories in our Easyread library very soon.

Congratulations once again to all who entered, and if you missed out on sending us your story this time, then do look out for any writing competitions we have in the future.

Keep creating, secret agents.

- Maddie

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She is noticing how the letters go together in certain words (at lesson 45)

“We are happy with progress so far. Rose is still very eager to do her session each day. Decoding is speeding up and she is noticing how the letters go together in certain words… this is new for Rose, so that’s great.”

A happy mum and happy Oxford Learning Solutions team.

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Thomas now tells everyone his favourite subject at school is reading

“I would like to praise this reading system as Thomas is now an avid reader and is 5 reading levels above where he should be at for a Year 4 student (8 years old)! Thomas now tells everyone his favourite subject at school is reading which wouldn’t have been the case a year ago.

Many thanks and all the best of luck.”

Thomas’s mum, Melissa.

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Breakthrough Readers of February

After a very successful beginning of 2016 for our secret agents, February proved to have just as many breakthrough reading moments, if not more!

We couldn’t let the month pass by without celebrating those long-awaited reading breakthroughs. 90 lessons on top of years of struggle seems like a long way away, but once those initial 3 months of lessons have flown by, we guarantee that your child’s decoding will have improved dramatically outside of the programme, and they will be fluently reading words they’ve already decoded and read accurately inside the programme.

So here we are, celebrating all the breakthrough readers of February. There’s quite a few, so here goes…!

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Kevin

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Before Easyread, 9 year-old Kevin didn’t like to read. He tried everyday but stumbled
over sight words, guessing on words and unable to sound them out. His spelling was, for the most part, inaccurate.

His parents had previously tried other reading programmes at the library and at school but none of the methods seemed to be achieving progress. He was two grade levels behind in his reading at school.

Around lesson 90, Kevin’s mum says he is still eager to logon and do a lesson each day. He even wants to read more of the story after each lesson. They are slowly starting to see improvements, and continue to work on eye-tracking.

Great job Kevin! We’re really pleased he’s enjoying reading more now.

Lucas

11 year-old Lucas sometime skipped small words or changed a word and was known to skip a line in when reading before Easyread, which would often affect his reading fluency, accuracy and comprehension.  On joining the programme, his reading was a little below grade level.

Lucas successfully completed our ten days of eye-tracking exercises, and his tracking times are much improved. On a recent Skype lesson with Lucas, I was really impressed with how fluently he was reading, and after only 3 months on the course. Way to go Lucas!

Ellis

7 year-old Ellis is a little later on in the course (lesson 160) but we wanted to celebrate the fact that the boy who was once in tears around reading homework and spelling lists, and in need of a real confidence boost, is now spelling words like “vibrate” correctly!

His reading age is right where it should be at age 8, and he’s now more confident and willing to read, whether that’s non-fiction books or signs out and about. Well done Ellis!

Aliza

When 8 year-old Aliza began Easyread, she hated reading, as it was often a very slow task and she was forced to sound out even simple words in order to progress.

She would therefore often guess at words, sometimes getting them correct, but even those correctly spelled words seem to escape her when she saw them on the next page.

As she was so busy concentrating on spelling and sounding out the word, it was impossible for Aliza to focus any of her attention on understanding and comprehending what she was reading.

At lesson 90, Aliza is now finishing up with the programme as her mum says “she’s reading anything now”. Her phonics have improved tremendously, and they’ll continue to build on fluency with the books Aliza will now be reading outside the programme. Congratulations Aliza! Such amazing progress in the time you were on the programme.  You should feel very proud.

Zidane

Aliza’s younger brother, 6 year-old Zidane, adopted a similar reading technique to his sister.  He would often guess at words and he was slightly behind his peers in reading ability.

His phonemic understanding seemed to be much better than his sister’s at that stage, but he often mixed up the letters “b” and “d” and the letter “s” with the number “2”.

Our visual cues and exercises soon sorted out the letter and number reversals for Zidane, and he too is just finishing up the programme at lesson 90 and is reading well. Well done Zidane! We hope he now has the sound foundations of reading to see him through a very successful school life.

Jerett

9 year-old Jerett had been identified as being dyslexic. He received therapy at school and outside of school.  His mum said he struggled with phonics, spelling, writing, and some reading.  He reversed letters when spelling, omitted letters, or omitted a word all together when writing.

He responded very well when asked questions orally, achieving a good result.  His mum said he is “very intelligent, but does not learn in the typical classroom setting as easily as his peers.”

Jerett has now finished the Easyread programme at lesson 70. His mum, a teacher, sent us this message: “I just wanted to update you on my son, Jerett. He is soaring in school! Easyread has certainly been a contributor to that success. Thank you for understanding! I will always refer struggling readers that are in my classroom to the Easyread system! It works!!!

Just amazing.

Camden

Before Easyread, Camden’s mum said he struggled with reading terribly. He has some auditory processing problems and still confuses some sounds. His spelling wasn’t too bad when it came to simple words. Other tutoring they’d tried just wasn’t seeing as quick a rate of progress as they’d liked.

Around lesson 100, the guessing of words has now stopped for 11 year-old Camden. He’s happier to be sounding them out, and he even finds it easy to read some words straight away now. His decoding is improving and transferring to his reading outside the programme, and he’s started reading things in everyday life like posters.

Congratulations Camden! Keep up the great work and we can’t wait to see how far you come over the next couple of months.

Corin

Before Easyread, 8 year-old Corin was overwhelmed by big words. He admitted himself to guessing quite a bit when reading shorter words too.

Spelling was a real struggle, even with short words he’d written seemingly countless times before like “are, you, like” etc. However, when he came to spelling tests, the scores appeared to show that he was doing well, as Corin would practice these words in isolation and they are tested in isolation. But his mother suspected that if he used the same words in a free text within the same week, he would not get them right.

His mum said he’s a sensitive boy who is always keen to please, but shies away from things that he perceives as difficult.

When we did a Skype lesson at lesson 90, Corin read so fluently for me! Corin’s still working on the eye-tracking but his overall reading in the lesson was amazing. A big well done to you Corin!

If you feel like your child has reached the point of reading take-off and we haven’t included them this month, then do let us know, so we can send their badge out to them for this month.

All our Breakthrough Readers have come a long way to get to their breakthrough moment. But for some, they’ve had to overcome just that little bit more. This month, we’ve chosen Ryan as our Breakthrough of the Month.

Ryan

Ryan has had to overcome a lot of anxiety and shyness to get to the point where he is reading on grade level and loves reading. Enrolling on a separate reading programme prior to Easyread had helped Ryan get to the same point as his peers.

However, his mum still noticed that he was making the small mistakes we so often talk about when reading, switching “and” for “the” etc. And when he did read out loud, it was often at a slow and halting speed.

His spelling was also a big concern for his mum.

The fact that Ryan had the confidence to read for me on Skype, and so well, was just incredible. Their focus on decoding every word out loud in the beginning of the programme, and using the characters to help do so, has meant that the guessing of small words is a thing of the past.

Our blending activities have also helped make that decoding process just that bit easier for Ryan. He was also rereading phrases without prompt, which has definitely helped his fluency to excel.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the transition to Ryan’s spelling now, and want to say a big well done to him for all his hard work. I hope he enjoys his celebration.

Congratulations once again to all our Breakthrough Readers, and all those who are working hard to get there. It’s a testimony to your dedication too. And I can’t wait to share your story.

- Maddie

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Headteacher asks for more speech and language support in schools

Has your child previously received speech and language therapy in school and seen good progress, only for the support be withdrawn once their level was deemed to be “okay”?

Primary school headteacher, Jeremy Thompson, says this is a case that he sees far too often.

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South Wales primary school teacher, Jeremy Thompson

Children like one of his school pupils, Sophie, struggle with difficulties like unclear speech. The NHS provide some speech assistance in schools, but Thompson argues that it is not enough.

He says it was “heart-breaking watching Sophie make progress, but then not maintain it when her support was withdrawn. Even worse was trying to explain to her parents, who don’t understand the system, why she still has difficulty after the support has suddenly disappeared.”

That is why Jeremy Thompson is now starting a movement, encouraging all schools to employ their own speech and language therapist individually. Where this is not possible, he suggests that schools “club together and share a therapist, dividing their time up depending on school size and the needs of the pupils and staff.”

If you have experienced something similar with your child’s school, then do share your story in the comments section below.

You can read Jeremy’s full article on the TES website here. We wish him all the best in his endeavour and hope that many more children can benefit from speech and language help, from the beginning right through to the very end.

- Maddie

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Easyread and our homeschool routine

Here at Oxford Learning Solutions HQ, we are often asked about what other reading and spelling work we’d recommend to use alongside the programme in a homeschool environment.

So we thought we’d have a chat with some of the homeshooling parents who are currently using our programme alongside other methods and curriculum, and see what tips and tricks they have to share with you.

Tanya, a homeschooling mum from the USA, uses Easyread with her two twin boys alongside their language arts school programme.

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Easyread is part of Tanya and her boys’ daily homeschool routine

 

“We are a homeschool family that uses Easyread on a daily basis for two of our children.

I’m trying hard to find adjectives other than “easy,” but that’s what it is.

We are continuing on with the language arts program we were already using and it was no problem to add Easyread to our routine. Fifteen minutes per student is very “doable.”

I am very appreciative of the Easyread staff who tell me what’s reasonable and when I can expect to see improvement. For example, the program teaches that spelling will be addressed later on once the foundation of reading has been laid. So in light of that, we’re continuing through the spelling lists in our curriculum, but not stressing out about it at all.

Typically, this is the time of year when I’d be shopping (yet again) for a new spelling curriculum.

Not this year.

It’s been exciting to see all the testimonials on the blog and I’m looking forward to seeing how my boys progress.”

If you use the Easyread programme alongside your homeschooling curriculum then do get in touch to share your stories with our other homeschool parents.

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I’m excited for her…

“I wanted to let you know that Abiella is thoroughly enjoying Easyread. She hates to miss a day and in fact has only missed one since she restarted. Her reading has improved and she now enjoys going to the library and is choosing chapter books. She is also decoding more rather than searching for clues. I’m excited for her and happy to see her a lot less stressed about reading or when she encounters an unfamiliar word.”

Amazing progress for 8 year-old Abiella at lesson 40, congratulations! Confidence is key to reading success.

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Call for all Superhero Story fans

After speaking with one of our young secret agents last week, it was brought to our attention that what our Easyread library needs is… a superhero story!

I’ll be the first person to admit that I know nothing about the world of Marvel.

So, who could do a superhero story justice?

Why, our super secret agents of course!

If you’ve been inspired by the latest Batman v Superman movie, and you have a burning idea for an all new superhero, then we want to read all about it.

Send us your superhero stories by the 10th of April, midnight (UK time) and we’ll be announcing the winning superhero stories on Monday the 11th of April at 4pm (UK time).

The winning stories will appear in our Easyread library for all Easyread Marvel fans to read, and we’ll also send you some Superhero-inspired Lego to say well done.

Send your entries to support@easyreadsystem.com.

Please note: you must be either a current or past learner on the Easyread programme to enter.

Please also note that it’s fine to get a bit of help from your parent/guardian when it comes to spelling and writing the story.

Click here for tips on how to create a superhero to get your imagination going.

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Good luck!

- Maddie

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I am thrilled with the progress he has made so far at lesson 126

“His reading is continuing to progress outside the program. He has actually turned into a voracious reader. On the advice of your blog, he has started The 13-Story Treehouse Series and he loves it. Other books/series that are hits with him are the Captain Underpants series, the Space Taxi series, the Desmond Pucket Series and Suddenly the Milk. He is also starting to read our Roald Dahl collection on his own.

As well, he had to write an essay for school recently. He asked his teacher if he could type his good copy. He is becoming a more confident writer requiring less assistance from me and his teacher. His spelling mistakes are becoming better mistakes meaning they make sense to me; for example, spelling “what” as “wut”. His developing keyboarding skills are also due to Easyread.

When he started the program in November I was desperate and rather disheartened. Nothing I had tried previously was working and I had only succeeded in adding to his and my frustration. I am thrilled with the progress he has made so far at lesson 126.

Thanks,
Rebecca (Evan’s mum)”

We can’t wait to see how the spelling comes along for 9 year-old Evan over the next month or so. Congratulations on all the progress you’ve already seen!

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