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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The Silver Lining…..ย 

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Think of all the hours, weeks, months and years of pounding the tracks, ย through thick and thin, ย in rain and in sunshine, of living a regimented life, of sustaining injuries that won’t heal fast enough, of depriving oneself of ordinary comforts, of combining school with sports. It is a tough call and only ย few ever stay the course and succeed in the end.

Foreword by Chief Olusegun Odegbamiย 

And that’s how I became hooked on a great book, a good book, a motivational read. It takes a good author to write a book, making sure he obeys all the rules that come with creative writing and journaling. But it takes a genius to put together a literary masterpiece despite not having the necessary literary training to show for it.

From the foreward, you know you have a book to look forward to finishing without taking a break to go do something else.

I had been looking for a book to do a reading session with and I mentioned it to a dear friend. She made some recommendations and sent me two books to choose from.

Yes, one might argue that the cover isn’t captivating but that can easily be rectified in subsequent editions, it was the content I needed. Something to keep both book lovers and poor readers motivated. And yes, I was thrilled it was by a Nigerian.. .. Actually The two books sent were by indigenous writers.

The Silver Lining ย is an autobiography,and definitely not a boring one. I will try my best to give a short but concise summary.

It is a book about drive, determination, courage, ambition, and the will to keep striving to succeed.

From age three, Enefiok tells us about his ย thirst for success, to be the winner in whatever he competed in. Second best wasn’t good enough,… . No, he had to be the best.

We read about his childhood, his parents, his education, his love for his mother, the tragedy of her death, and other personal details… All this, without him having to tell us more than we needed to know.

Chapter four. … Oh! What CAN’T I say about chapter 4?!?! The whole of chapter four is dedicated to Goals! Goals! Goals! How to achieve your goals! How to maintain your goals! Everything you need to know. It doesn’t even tie it to the sport he was talking about.ย 

I think the second best part, ย apart from chapter four, ย is the final chapter where we get to go into his head at that critical point, on the last lap of his anchor leg position in the relay team. We discover what actually happened to earn him the Gold medal he didn’t even think he could get.

And that’s where I will stop, if you want to know more, get yourself a copy….lol.

It is definitely a good read that cuts across a wide age range. Very good for the youths and people that are having it tough, especially in this recession. It send a message of hope to anyone who reads it. That’s why we will be taking it to secondary schools for our Schools Get Reading Initiative. Stay tuned for that info.

Today, Enee is a fulfilled family man. Humble, soft spoken and very down to earth. He is retired from active athletics but hasn’t relegated himself to the background. He is trying g to make it easier for newer athletes to enjoy better options than what he had as a young athlete.

Then we have the fact that he is probably the only athlete in the world, most definitely in Nigeria, to hold the record of being a 3-in-1 success as an athlete, a graduate and an author. He read anatomy and still teaches anatomy an physiology at his Fitness centre in Surulere, Lagos.

And yes, we had a successful reading session dominated by teens. … And Yes I actually held an Olympic GOLD medal in my hands!

I would love to hear your comments below, or send me a message for enquiries. Thanks

UKF Reading Program

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Tope & United for Kids Foundation: Doing a GREAT JOB!

Those who know about Edustuff Inc. know that we generally opt for the “train the trainer” style with the low income schools we work with, but on the 12th of March, 2014, we tried the other option (which has been nagging me but I always thought it impossible).

With some ladies — Aisha Bint Ibrahim, Bash Balogun, Oluwa To Yin, Aminat Gbaja, Temitope Y-a (kudos to you guys, I really admire your enthusiasm and courage), we decided to try out a new challenge. Continue reading