Andrew, a grade one child, was struggling greatly in many areas of his schooling, especially learning to read. His teacher and the other staff members on the School Based Team met to put together a plan to help Andrew. He would be included with a group to be withdrawn from the classroom for extra help with the Early Literacy Teacher; his classroom teacher would adjust his program in the classroom and parents would be encouraged to help at home. Those at the meeting then considered other supports available to them as a school, because they thought that Andrew needed even more right now to prevent him from giving up as a learner. They decided to also include him in the Strong Start: Letters, Sounds and Words program.
Before the Strong Start program, Andrew could recognize only about 75% of the names of letters of the alphabet and only about 26% of the sounds tested. In the pre-test, he identified only 6 words. This meant he wasn’t yet at the level at which he should have been the year before in Kindergarten. By the end of the program, however, he knew all the letters and sounds tested and had increased his sight vocabulary by 250%. More importantly, he was now reading early grade one level books.
It was not, of course, just the Strong Start program that made the difference for this child. Andrew needed the staff to put together a plan for him that included many elements to address his needs. In the professional judgment of the staff, however, Strong Start was one of the needed elements of the plan, which allowed Andrew to succeed! In the words of the school’s Strong Start Co-ordinator and Andrew’s teacher, “Andrew wouldn’t be where he is today in grade 2 without the Strong Start program being included.”