“Eager and enlightened” was how one Jamaican student felt after receiving instruction from teachers trained in the Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V)® and Seeing Stars® programs.
Over the past three years, more than 150 teachers from across the island of Jamaica have received Lindamood-Bell professional development and coaching in V/V and Seeing Stars to increase literacy for struggling readers and students with learning disabilities. The partnership with Creative Language-Based Learning is endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and is in collaboration with the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund and Sandals Foundation.
The introduction of the V/V and Seeing Stars programs to educators on the island was the brainchild of Mandy Melville, the parent of a child with dyslexia. “I used to have to take him away during the holidays to do this type of lesson at (Lindamood-Bell) Centers in Miami. One of the things that hit me was when he said to me, ‘Mummy, why am I the only child that has to go away for extra lessons?’” At that point, Melville was determined to bring the programs to Jamaica where more children could benefit.
This past year, Lindamood-Bell provided V/V and Seeing Stars workshops to an additional cohort of 50 teachers. Participants received job-embedded professional development provided by a Lindamood-Bell consultant in their own schools following the workshop. A large number of the teachers then voluntarily took part in an intensive summer school implementation in which 68 students received six hours daily of small-group instruction.
One such student, 6-year-old Kessanne Woolcook, now dubbed the ‘reading rockstar’, only knew some letters of the alphabet when she entered the program; however, according to Mary MacDonald, who is helping to oversee the project with Creative Language-based Learning, Woolcook is now reading much better.
“She’s going into grade one and has mastered sight-reading and multisyllable words. She is very quick now in identifying words, even if she hasn’t seen them before,” MacDonald said.
Participating teachers received additional support from onsite Lindamood-Bell staff. Student progress was monitored using pre- and post-instruction learning ability evaluations.