It is now an irrefutable fact that regular reading not only helps in making one smarter, but it can actually increase an individual’s brain power. Many studies show that reading at a young age affects the brain activity of children and may just give them that boost they need to support and promote early reading skills.
In such an endeavor, Northeastern University recently hosted a month-long reading camp for second, third, and fourth-grade students in the Boston area.
“We finally found the treasure this week,” exclaimed Sebastian Beattie,
an eight-year-old boy, who was deciphering clues from handwritten letters and maps to locate buried treasure that a fictional band of pirates had stolen.
Word Detectives is run by faculty and graduate students in Northeastern’s Speech-Language and Hearing Center. It helped more than two-dozen elementary school children from Greater Boston improve their literacy skills with intensive phonics lessons and reading workshops.
“There’s a great need in the Boston area for these kinds of services,” said Sarah Young-Hong, the clinic director of speech and language services at the Speech-Language and Hearing Center.
The program targets the needs of participants by providing them a blend of reading instruction and language-based teaching. The children in the program learned to read by breaking down words one sound at a time by using two different techniques— the RAVE-O reading intervention and Wilson Reading Training.
Elyssa Brand, the co-director of the reading camp said that mispronouncing words helped the children normalize mistakes without discouraging them. She said that the program built confidence in the students, who were constantly growing their reading muscles.
Laura McBride, one of six graduate students in speech language pathology helped to tutor the students. McBride said the students made impressively measurable differences with their reading with just one month of instruction.
“Students who once looked like they were going to cry while reading started to come to camp excited to read chapter books,” she said. She also said she learned just as much as her pupils and the questions that the kids asked her gave her a new perspective of thinking and tested her knowledge.