Last week Dyslexia SA sponsored the airfare for Dr Mary Dahlgren, who is a prominent reading specialist, educational consultant and National Literacy Consultant in the USA, to conduct the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) Modules 4, 5 and 6 at Trinity College, Evanston South.
The workshop was the second part of the LETRS training and the first time Modules 4, 5 and 6 have been conducted in Australia. 33 participants, who included speech pathologists, teachers, private tutors and two student teachers, were inspired by Dr Dahlgren’s knowledge and expertise.
The training brought the pinnacle of research-based knowledge to South Australia. Module 4 covered oral language, word building and vocabulary focusing on structure, word use and relationships. Module 5 focussed on developing fluency, but participants were asked to bear in mind that reading comprehension is the key and it requires fluent decoding skills. Fluency exercises included rapid phonological awareness tasks and phonics tasks. Module 6 centred on text comprehension, looking at phrase, sentence, paragraph and passage levels and incorporated a superb lesson planning strategy guided by a video link of Dr Louisa Moats.
Dr Dahlgren, who knows the research in detail, led participants and explained the evidence based research underpinning the skills and strategies that were presented. It was a phenomenal opportunity for the participants to be able to raise many questions and have their answers met with an informed reply which consisted of the names of the researchers and information from their latest research papers.
The event was sponsored by Dyslexia SA, Dyslexia SA Northern Adelaide and Barossa Branch, Dyslexia SA Lower Light and Mid North Branch and Trinity College, Evanston South.