Letter Box

Would you like to see your child learn easily, step by step with the support of a team of people who really care and know how to help? Would you like your child to be excited and confident about learning once again? When your child works with Letter Box we find the problem areas and work together to close the gaps, your child’s self- esteem and confidence improves as knowledge and understanding develops. Would you like to know more?

Reading Tuition:

Are you frustrated with trying to help your child read? Do you think that there may be more problems that aren’t being addressed? Are you worried about dyslexia? Is the relationship between you and your child deteriorating because of this pressure? Are you stressed with worry about what to do? Or…… maybe you are worried that your child is not being extended? It is probably time to talk to an expert about these issues. Maybe it is time for you to leave the work of teaching reading to someone who can isolate the problems and then program for your child’s success. It is time to seek help. Would you like all of this to change?

Teaching Kids to Spell:

Are you finding that your child is trying to remember spelling for Friday’s test but, doesn’t use the spelling rules in writing every day? Did you know that memory isn’t the only component of  spelling?

English  spelling is based on an alphabet system that relies on sounds. The first step in teaching kids to spell is to develop sounding skills without letters. I am passionate about ears being tuned before the "music" of spelling can begin. Let’s look at an example. If I was a Prep child and wanted to spell, cat, the best way is to stretch the word into its individual sounds, /c/   /a/   /t/. Then to spell cat, all I’d have to do is look at my alphabet chart and match the sounds to the letters and then, write the word. How cool and easy is that. Imagine how successful your child could be if he was an expert at sounding out and manipulating sounds. In teaching kids to spell, we use a warm up session to tune their ears at the beginning of each lesson. That is why our students are so successful.

The next magical clue about successfully teaching kids to spell is to practice the letters and their corresponding sounds so well that they can be remembered quickly. This is what is called phonics. This stage doesn’t stop at knowing the alphabet sounds. There are about six levels of phonics that need to be learnt in this way.

In this next step I have a secret method to make certain that the child’s spelling is correct, or, if not, what to do to correct it. I developed this step because I was tired of children using their memory only to spell. I was also tired of seeing children nearly correct with spelling and not knowing how to make their word perfect. I can’t tell you the clue, it is like the secret ingredients of Kentucky Fried Chicken, BUT what I can tell you is that it is in the visual stage of spelling. This is when the child looks at the word and uses his eye memory, to work out if it is right or wrong.

Step four in teaching kids to spell is the study of prefixes and suffixes which are the beginnings and endings to words.This stage adds a whole new dimension to the journey of spelling. The meanings of words are explored and the serious road of spelling is in progress. The exciting thing is, if the previous steps have been taught well, the child will be engaged and excited about spelling and will want to know more.

 Finally, if the child is in a higher grade he will learn Greek and Latin roots which will help him spell and work out the meaning of words.This gives him a tool that can be used to write a basic word and if needed add prefixes and suffixes if needed.

BUT we don’t stop there. Spelling is only relevant when it is in writing. So in teaching kids to spell we make certain that they are able to recognise incorrect spelling in their writing and are able to correct it. There are many steps in learning how to recognise and correct spelling in writing. Teaching children how to do this step by step, takes the pressure off, increases confidence and ultimately, improves spelling.

Teaching kids to spell is a step by step journey into the world of spelling complexities. Children  learn the skills and rules bit by bit and then systematically revise to consolidate their learning so that they  move to automaticity. Your child will feel  inside satisfaction and joy of learning and achieving, at his own pace. Give us the chance to help your child be a successful  speller, you won’t be disappointed. Contact Ann for a FREE  spelling lesson TODAY       info@letterboxlearntoread.com

TEACHING KIDS TO WRITE Teaching kids to write is one of the most enjoyable lessons throughout the school day. BUT unfortunately, there are people who aren’t as passionate about writing as I am. In this article we will look at one trait of writing, Ideas. Teaching kids to write begins with great ideas. Too often we see perfect writing that is technically correct BUT oh, so boring. Writing is not boring if it starts out with a great idea that can be explored with specific, colourful and interesting words. There is constant thinking that children have enough experiences to come up with an idea that will delight the reader. This is a myth. As teachers and parents we have to continuously develop the skills that make up the IDEAS trait of writing. One of the best ways of exposing children to new ideas is to read great books to them on a daily basis. However, there is more to this topic than what meets the eye. One of the biggest mistakes that children make after they choose an idea is that they just write about that idea in a general and uninteresting way. What teaching kids to write needs, is for teachers to demonstrate and then model how to search for the diamond in the idea. An idea is too big for the students to manage; it turns on itself and kills the essence of the writing. Digging for the diamonds in an idea can take us on a journey through rocks, stones and soil, until; with excitement we glimpse the sparkle of the jewel and delight in its beauty. The message here is to practice digging for diamonds and practice some more. A child in Year Three decided to write about a day at the beach. Now, this can become a really boring story if the idea isn’t narrowed and the writing focused .Let loose with his own devices the child wrote about everything that he saw and did at the beach. The family had been to a penthouse, they had been to the beach and also some other adventures. This child’s writing was just words put into sentences. How did we change it? We talked to the class about what they would like to know more about in the writing. Unanimously, they wanted to know more about the penthouse. And so did I. The focus on the penthouse was elaborated and the details were explored. We were fascinated. This writer told us things that we didn’t know and things that we found really interesting; not only about the penthouse but about how the rich live. These were the details. This boring story had become the talk of the classroom. There is one more thing I need to say is students have to be honoured for the struggle NOT the outcome. As the battles are fought and the struggles are won the writing will improve and the diamonds will shine in their full glory. Ann Foster Ann Foster is a talented teacher who is able to produce and deliver programs that motivate children to success. Ann has spent thirty years in education and during this time she has been a classroom teacher, learning support teacher and a guidance officer. Her love of children and a passionate love of teaching has been the driving force that has helped children achieve results that seemed beyond their reach. Email Ann at info@letterboxlearntoread.com  to place a time for a FREE writing session. www.letterboxlearntoread.com


Debbie & Shaun Welsh – Dalby

 I think it was through word of mouth that we chose Letter Box and the main reason that we have stayed with it is the service is excellent. Sam also gets tested regularly and the tuition is tailored to his needs. Sam would not be where he is today if it was not for Letter Box and your amazing help.

Jacinta Cribb – Brisbane

From Grade 3, I noticed discrepancies in my son’s thought process, completion of sentences and explanations. Teachers did not respond to these concerns as they felt he was progressing well and to some extent the concerns were dismissed due to his high ability in other areas such as maths and spelling. Teachers thought that improvements would come with maturity. Comprehension does not come easily and his development requires continual commitment. Nevertheless my child now has the tools and methods to learn and he continues to improve and shine. Ann Foster is an exceptional teacher, who continually revises and introduces different learning paths to keep the children interested and find the best method of learning for each individual child.   I will always be indebted to her and Letterbox for their commitment and the exceptional educational support provided.

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