The Minipreneur Book Workshop

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OH dear! I should have posted this about a month ago. The minipreneur book workshop I attended was awesome and a must share. 

Despite the pouring rain and scary rain reviews, I was able to get to the venue a bit late and not so much was missed. 

Lanre, the lovely lady and author of the both was so easy to flow with as she explained what being an entrepreneur was and how to get our children to bring out the entrepreneurial spirit in them

She has a unique style of teaching that is easy for children and adults to follow. I can tell you I jotted down notes, plenty lines were filled in my notebook as I scribbled on like an effico. 

Then we had the fun part, our group discussions: Primary teachers and secondary teachers. We were to come up with a business plan based on what children loved. Sort of what we could build from a habit that children loved doing. 

Of course, I was in the primary group 😁. So we chose TV because children would do anything to watch TV. Very interesting session, we were actually able to come up with lots of professions. 

It was kind of like taking a bad habit and squeezing out the positive side, and nurturing it without actually killing the creativity, talent and imagination the child might have. 

The secondary school group below👇

After the discussion, then came the group presentations… I liked my group’s presentation, it was obvious we won. But the day wasn’t about winning, it was about helping the future leaders of tomorrow to think outside the box because the future will definitely be more challenging than we have it now. 

I definitely recommend this book to parents and schools. It’s so easy to read and understand, and the children will love the activities Lanre discussed. Even adult would pick one or two things to help build their business ideas. We are definitely going to add it to our bookstore list👌. 

The Steps To Reading Series

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STRS……teaching a child to read, one letter at a time.

As a teacher with a background in physiology, I flowed while some of my colleagues had difficulties in understanding children who had difficulty in learning and (unfortunately) were put in “normal” classrooms in an otherwise, hostile, Nigerian educational environment. Don’t get me wrong, I worked in a good environment but my colleagues in other schools didn’t. And despite my own good environment, we were still incapable of providing for children who were below a certain level of intellectual ability.

Nursery is a good place to start when going into the teaching profession, and soon enough, I fell in love with my job and the children (ages 2-5 on average). I am a very creative person in a lot of areas so I  easily adapted my lessons to themes (back then – as I am no more in the classroom). One area that struck a chord in me was Language, and especially getting children to read. Maybe it was because I was fresh from learning Montessori or because the transition you see a child go through from non-reader to fluent reader is just magical! And I had somehow stumbled on some neurophysiology articles that had to do with cognition – now that had my juices running!

Fast forward 5 years later, I had this urge to train teachers to teach reading properly. So I birthed the Steps To Reading Series (been on it over a year). Through endless research and self-study, I was able to come up with a material that was technical but not too technical for the average Nigerian teacher to comprehend (as long as the teacher is qualified enough to be able to read the material).

WHAT IS THE Steps To Reading Series?

It is a mini-course I developed from a compilation of different works (mostly international because we still depend more on diaspora curriculum in schools here) based on the curriculum we use here in Nigeria. It is divided into 4 phases: Preparatory, Pre-Phonics, Phonics, and Post-Phonics Phases.

Preparatory has 2 module: Neuro 101 & Teachology 101

Pre-Phonics has 4 modules: Alphabetic Principle, Literacy & its stages, Print Awareness & Concept of Word, and Phonological Awareness.

Phonics has 3 modules: Phonics, Phonics the Jolly Way & Phonics the Montessori Way.

Post Phonics has 4 modules: Fluency, Vocabulary, Comprehension 1 and Comprehension 2.

Each module is meant to explain the topics thoroughly so as to ease a lot of headaches for the typical Nigerian teacher.

WHAT PROBLEM DOES THE STRSeries ADDRESS?

Plenty!!!!

Neuro 101 gives a simple insight into how the brain works in learning.  Hopefully that will make it easier for teachers to easily recognize that children with learning difficulties shouldn’t be labelled as dull.

Teachology 101: address our attitudes to teaching as a profession. Basically, if God willed that you are a teacher, accept it and make the best of it. Learn to love it, it’s a noble profession! We can always talk about the salary later……

As for the remaining set of modules, it is meant to highlight aspects of teaching reading that is highly overlooked in training schools. The first four modules are usually clumped under phonics….and there is this never-ending war between Jolly Phonics & Montessori Phonics. Then of course, fluency is skipped, Vocabulary is just a normal daily act of living and comprehension?!?!? O dear! Don’t get me started.

I hope to keep developing the series each year, adding and subtracting as appropriate. I hope that sometime in the future, even a secondary school certificate holder would be able to use it to learn to teach reading (with some internships). This is Africa after all, not everyone has the “luxury” of getting into a good university. 

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Reading is a prelude to so many things, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, and all other analytical sciences. If they don’t read it properly, they would never understand it enough to solve the problems.

If we can just teach our children to read properly and to actually love the act of reading, we would have a nation of happy, literate, and empowered youths to steer the nation into a naturally positive course.

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DYSLEXIA – A DEFINED AND LEARNING DIFFICULTY

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This is a lovely article I read on Kathy Kiefer’s blog on dyslexia. Worth the read. For those that have been asking…….

How hard is it to learn with Dyslexia?Can it be overcome?With dyslexia can you be successful?What are they symptoms and causes (if any) of   dyslexia?

Source: DYSLEXIA – A DEFINED AND LEARNING DIFFICULTY

Why do some people have reading challenges?

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I’m doing a self study on children with slow learning abilities, actually, delayed reading ability. The more I read, the more captivating it is. One good thing, though, is that I now know that

if a child can’t read at age 7, it doesn’t mean the child is lazy, dumb or has no hope of ever making it in life.

It just means that both parents and school will need to intensify all efforts in intervention to  assist  the child or teen to read. Now if there is a biological issue involved, that’s another story, otherwise everything is OK. Even children with down syndrome read well if not better than their peers.
A point I must bring to your attention is that

there is a difference between reading and comprehending.

The child with down syndrome, for example, might be very good at reading but will not be able to comprehend what he or she is reading. So if we decide to intervene, we need to focus on both and take it from a simple to complex level.
A study done in the United States, years back, showed that there is a part of the brain that makes no contribution to intellect and is not measured in intelligence test. This area, allows children to distinguish between the tiniest sounds in words. If this area is not properly developed, then the child is likely to have difficulty in reading. Research is still going on in this area.

How can we help this area to develop?
We start very early at home. Children who enter school with a large vocabulary base have a very high probability of excelling in both reading and comprehension. Between birth and the age of 12mths, babies are able to replicate any sound they hear. After 12mths, they loose this ability and will only replicate, perfectly, sounds they have already heard. An example of this is the ‘r’ issue in Japanese language, there is no ‘r’ in the language so a typical Japanese adult won’t hear it in a word. So ‘rice’ becomes ‘lice’.
When mothers use baby talk with their babies, it helps unconsciously to accentuate sounds and rhythm in d native language. Please note, television can never be a substitute for this.

Dyslexia is a common term used to describe difficulty in reading. There are arguments about it being a myth or not.  Some argue that there is really no such thing as Dyslexia, and that you can’t tell between a dyslexic or normal child – see what I mean – it’s placing the child in a ‘special’ group,  and that is quite unnecessary. Others say, No, they need to be in a special group.
I kinda agree with the first group, if there were circumstances that affected a child in the foundational stages of growth, then it is only right to plan out some form of remedial and intervention strategy to assist that child to close the gap between him and his peers.  He is only a poor reader, not a special child. Labelling him might lead to unnecessary stigmatization amongst his peers. It has worked, still works, and will keep working as long as there is a determined and dedicated team, and of course no underlying medical issue.

Next article, we will talk more about dyslexia, God willing. See you!

Children and Creativity

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The need for creativity in the education of a child is: obvious, necessary, important, under-valued, and essential.

Learning to read and write is an essential experience that every child should be given but it’s more important for the child to be seen as an  individual, who expresses himself/herself in different ways, peculiar to his/her personality traits.

  • We emphasize the learning of numeracy and literacy by children, and forget the inherently beautiful nature of the artistic expression of that knowledge.
  • Take for instance, in literacy where words if properly crafted could have lasting impressions on a child’s (he)ART, or in numeracy where if a child sees the beauty in numbers like the forms of 0, 1, 2….9, then, maybe maths will not be dreadful to the child anymore.

Today,when I look at the gifts in the natural environment from the landscape view, I see art, I see literacy, I see numeracy, I see things I long to understand but seem not to be able to fully comprehend because after-all I am a mortal-being.

  • Education to a child should be both enlightening and liberating in the midst of other things. So, how would you achieve these lofty educational goals in a child if you leave the (he)ART of education itself out.

My appeal to you as a parent/teacher/adult … responsible for the education of a child is……….

Don’t leave out the ART at the (he)ART of education

 

 

Contributor:

Abdul Ghaniy Otukogbe. He is married with 3 kids, a Learning Instructor with Adult Education of ERYC, UK – with special interest in Literacy, Numeracy and Learning Disabilities.

READ ALOUD BASICS: Making children book lovers and not haters (Part 2)

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A book contains the same content be it new or used and regardless of the reader or listener, so far as it is the same title.

Civilizations have survived on reading with few writers because reading is an integral part of the human existence, just think about the enormous effects scriptural books have played in the history of mankind even at times when most of mankind could neither read nor write but had few of them reading these scriptures to them.

This tells us that reading is not just very important but reading aloud is very essential for the survival of the human race as this has always been the means by which those that know are able to inform those that do not know. This lead one to say that: in the process of building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading, reading aloud to children is the key.

      When we read aloud to children we are helping the children’s brain to get accustomed to words, proper sentences, and grammar rules and above all we are helping them to develop the love for reading. Continue reading

READ ALOUD BASICS: Making children book lovers and not haters.

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This is a write-up by a parent, turned teacher, as he unravels his discovery of reading aloud and its immense benefit to the child. Follow us as we learn about an interest turned into a passion.

Introduction:

” I think story telling was my life. I was very curious about story telling. Even attempting to remember the first one is like trying to remember the day you were born. I’m not sure you can”.

         Chinua Achebe (on CNN). The Author of the classic novel: “Things Fall Apart”.

In retrospection of a typical childhood in the part of the world where I grew up, reading has always been a thing of discomfort than comfort because when an adult sees children playing, the typical words that will come out of such an adult’s mouth is “e lo gbe iwe yin” (yoruba) emotively meaning “go and read your books” and for children, this spelt doom. Continue reading