A "new science of learning" is fundamental to prospering in the age of information overload.
As teachers and students struggle to master the increasingly complex information, we need a system that teaches them to apply logic and critical thinking to problem solving in literacy.
PhonKnowLedgy, delivered by computer is ideally suited to systematically teach the complexities of making the English language logical.
A.W.A.R.E. -an edu-media company- has developed a problem-solving literacy program that moves reading forward from memorizing words to applied logic by:
- presenting the sounds and shapes of letters in meaningful stories to make the letters' behaviours logical, predictable, and understandable;
- simplifying recalling letters' names, sounds and shapes as the learners identify with the letters' quirks and resulting personalities;
- giving learners the ability to predict relationships between letters based on the personification of the letters;
- encouraging the learners to refer to their own behaviour as a model to make decisions about choice of letters in building unfamiliar words;
- expediting learning by referring the users to their own behaviour to develop a system of self-checking, self-correcting their spelling;
- using the stories which are based on the sound and configuration of the letters to determine the reasons for the letters' placement in words;
- enabling the learners to use knowledge of these stories to reconstruct basic concepts and recall sounds that are difficult to memorize;
- posing key questions that enable the learners to analyze the accuracy of their encoding and decoding of words;
- transferring responsibility for learning to the users by enabling them to generate logical solutions to problems in encoding and decoding words;
- building on the students' ability to reflect and build on their own experience.
Eric’s remarkable story of achievement, chronicled by Dr. Linda Nicol MD (Eric’s mom).
Aware program attendance:
Eric’s age – from 7years old until 9 years old - Grades 1, 2 & 3
Initial assessment - grade 0
Final assessment - grade 9.7
Phonetic spelling grades:
Initial assessment - grade 0
Final assessment – grade 13
Hours of instruction:
Assessments: Initial test –Durrell
Final test: Wrat- (Wide Range Achievement Test)
April 28 1995 (7y 6m)
"Mercer Meyer is getting out of bed"
Eric is a 10 1/2 year old boy currently in grade 4. We delayed his entry into formal education by 1 year because he was a November baby who had a background of learning problems as a preschooler.
Eric contracted infant measles, at the age of 10 months, during which he experienced multiple seizures for the first time. By the age of 18 months he was diagnosed with epilepsy and required medication until he was 3 years of age. His seizures originated in the left temporal lobe, the speech and language centre of the brain, but generally progressed to the classic grand mal seizures. Concurrently Eric had multiple ear infections, necessitating the first of many sets of ear tubes at age 22 months.
He began speech therapy in Halifax at age 3 because his speech was unintelligible. We subsequently moved to Victoria and at age 4 he had a comprehensive evaluation done at the G.R. Pearkes Centre. He then continued speech and language therapy as well as being integrated into a local preschool as special needs. He attended the preschool 5 half-days a week. By the age of 5 he also began occupational therapy to improve his fine motor skills, particularly pen and paper skills. Up until this time period he was midline oriented, changing his pencil from hand to hand as he hit the midline of the paper.
This period of Eric’s life was notable for the many temper tantrums, and irritable behaviour he displayed secondary to his communication problems.
At 4 years of age he had a 5 year-old vocabulary with an 18 month-old ability to use language. It was not uncommon for him to strip naked in the car while enroute to his preschool as a form of protest. As his language skills improved, so did his behaviour. Interestingly, we discovered that things he had difficulty learning were made easier by involving gross motor skills and tactile input. He learned to count only when we wiggled his fingers as we counted. He learned the alphabet after we started tracing it on his back and hand. He learned to control his arm with small weights added to his shoulder. He learned to control his pencil after a 1-ounce hand weight was strapped to his hand.
Although Eric was successful in most areas when he started school, reading was problematic from the start. By grade 1 in Halifax, he was in a Reading Recovery Program. Subsequent to our return to Victoria he was enrolled in a second learning assistance program. Neither was successful for him and by March of his grade 1 year his preschool behaviour re-emerged with irritability, temper tantrums, and fights to get him to school daily. He made frequent comments about his inability to read, and after years of enjoying books that were read to him, suddenly lost all interest in them. It was at this point that we researched private tutors and chose Barb Pringle because her program incorporated the methods that had proven successful for Eric as a preschooler.
He began in May of his grade 1 year and within 3 sessions we could see he had emerging reading skills. Eric was very resistive to the program for the first 6 months having already decided that he couldn’t learn to read. He had temper tantrums prior to going, and managed to sleep 3 sessions away as his form of protest. Once he realized he was encountering success his attitude completely changed. Now he enjoys visiting Barb in summer holidays.
My husband and I are certain that he is only reading because of Barb’s unique program. His grade 2 and 3 teachers have told us that he consistently and exclusively utilized strategies in class that did not come from their multi-modality teaching methods. His grade 2 teacher once commented to me that it was as if she didn’t exist for Eric. She spent 40 hours a week teaching him while Mrs. Pringle spent 1 ½ hours weekly with him, yet every time she asked him how he knew something, his reply was always….”Mrs. Pringle taught me.
From: Linda Nicol
To: Barb Pringle
Date: December 1, 2005
Subject: Eric Nicol
Eric is in grade 12 at the Canadian Boarding School in Italy. He finished grade 11 on the honor roll list. Last year he completed grade 12 English with a 74 percent. He plans on attending Camosun College or UVic next year and will be taking an Arts centered program …psychology, sociology, law etc.
He is taking an additional English writing course to improve his writing skills this year. I have attached a rough draft of his story because I can’ believe this is my son writing!
Writers Craft ISU Story
The Garden of Life
There was a nice little town named Trailly. Since Trailly was so small the whole population know who everyone was. It was filled with nice people who would always say, “Hello.” The grass was bright green’ it was a beautiful place to be. There was one wooden house on Pleasant Drive number 62 that had been there since the town was first built. This is where an old man and woman, Mr. and Mrs. Shemins lived. They would dance together while listening to music on their record player. On their property, because of the wonderful care of Mrs. Shemins, they had the most astonishing garden. Looking at the garden could make the most dejected people blissful, some said the garden was what caused the sun to rise. Everyone in the town respected the Shemins tremendously, and significantly appreciated the wonderful garden they bestowed upon the town.
Unfortunately, they were old and, because no one lives forever, on one melancholy night, Mr. Shemins past away leaving Mrs. Shemins with only her garden to attend to. This came as quite a shock to Mrs. Shemins because Rob, Mr. Shemins was the only other thing she had other than her garden. The people of Trailly felt her loss and an impressive funeral was held for Mr. Shemins. The whole population of Trailly went to the funeral. This was the first time the entire population of Trailly had gotten together.
Mrs. Shemins’ life went on as usual. She still got up ever day the same except had one less meal to make to. Her garden was as beautiful as it had ever been but it still was not the same as having her loving husband. She planted an extra rose as red as blood for her dead husband. The garden was the only thing now left close to her heart. One day, a group of kids decided to have some fun with poor Mrs. Shemins garden. They trampled some of her beautiful flowers and left the garden in terrible shape. Mrs. Shemins came out as quickly as she could to the brutality that the youngsters were bestowing upon her. She wept in sadness as the children ran away in laughter. One tear rolled down her cheek and dropped on the red rose she had newly bought and planted. Although this had happened, she was not mad with the kids; rather, she was slightly glad for it gave her something to do. One of the parents of the children found out what they had done and bought them over to apologize to Mrs. Shemins. The Kids were frightened that they were about to get into trouble but were amazed by what Mrs. Shemins did; she backed them up by saying she told them to stomp on her garden because it needed some redoing. The amiability she showed made the kids resent what they had done. The kids’ later express regret for what they had done and helped her make up a new and better garden. The kids would then drop by every now and then to make sure the garden and the old lady were doing fine.
The hot season in Trailly was finally dying down although it is fairly hot throughout the year there. There were a lot more storms occurring constantly, which did not do Mrs. Shemins’ garden any good. One dark night, with the sky being lit up by bright shocks of lightening and the wind howling as if it were a monster, the garden was destroyed. The wild wind would wind around and swoop in as if an eagle diving for its prey and slowly, one after the other, the flowers in the garden would crumble. Then, finally, the violent storm stopped, and, as if to look at what it had ruined, on last tiny breeze flew by the garden. The garden had been obliterated with the remains of only a few tiny flowers, which include that red rose she had planted in representation of her late beloved husband. In the morning, she went outside to find her garden spread out all over her yard. She saw the red rose, which brought a smile to her face that could light up anyone’s day. The yard took a while for her to clean up but even in the gardens epitome of having only a few flowers, it was still able to sparkle.
This wonderful Saturday afternoon, Mrs. Shemins did not make it out to look after her garden. The kids playing hop scotch outside noticed she had not checked on her garden, which was very unusual. They went over to her house and knocked on the door. There was no answer so they decided to hop in through a window. Once inside, they slowly crept around with the floorboards squeaking like a mouse. They went upstairs to her bedroom where they found her on the ground of the room. The fastest child out of them ran quickly to go get help from an adult. Medics showed up shortly after that with a stretcher to carry her away. She had been trying to reach an old photo book that was up high on a shelf when the chair she was standing on became unstable causing her to fall over. She had broken her arm and some ribs by the way she landed causing her to lie in a hospital bed. The people were worried about her because she was 89 years old and the fall she had just experience was extraordinarily bad for someone of that age. They were unsure if she would be able to properly heal. Her garden was not being attended to now, so, as she got progressively worse so did her beloved garden. In her last day of living, she was in a lot of pain; all that was left of her garden was the lovely red rose. She died that night. In the morning her garden was gone, her red rose had died at the same time she did.
The town was shocked at her death and at the gardens desertion. A lovely funeral was held for her and the town got together and make Mrs. Shemins house into a memorial. From then on a few people attended the new garden the town had created, making sure there were always flowers blooming. Two red roses were planted together and when any breeze went by it was if they danced together.
Eric A. Nicol
From: Linda Nicol
To: Barb Pringle
Date: Jun 11, 2006
Subject: Eric graduates
Eric just graduated from grade 12 on the “A” honor roll. If he had stayed on stage long enough you would have heard his principal say he finished with and 84.2 average; the boy who wasn’t going to be able to read!
Eric will stay the summer in Naples working to earn money for post-secondary education. He was accepted at both U. Victoria and Camosun College. He has elected to take the University Transfer Program at Camosun College and will begin psychology and business courses there in the fall. He will choose his major and transfer to UVic in his 3rd year.
He will return to Victoria in August and will be saying at his Aunt Lorraine’s home.
To whom it may concern,
Barb Pringle is an extraordinary woman and without the help of her program I would not be where I am today. Currently I a attending Camosun College and will be transferring to University of Victoria in two years. The only reason I have made it this far is because of Barb Pringle. It was thought I would never be able to read or write. Attending Barb Pringle’s program however, I was able to learn to do both. Not only did I learn to read and write, I learned to do them with such skill allowing me to graduate from high school on the honor role. Barb Pringle’s program has opened many doors for my future. Without her help I cannot even imagine where I would be today. I cannot stress enough how much she has helped me. There is nothing I can do to repay her for the opportunities I now have.
Sincerely Eric Nicol