The school year is in full effect. Things seem to be running smoothly and then you get your preschool calendar and there it is, January conferences. For preschool children this January conference is when you meet with your teachers to determine if your child should be taking the Transitional Kindergarten fork in the road, or sent directly to Kindergarten. My last child at this crossroad was a boy with a late summer birthday – no brainer for TK; but my youngest child is a bright little girl with a November birthday. My gut is telling me that she will be scooted right along to Kindergarten. (Crossing my fingers!)
For parents of these children, you find them in Kindergarten classes with half of the kids attending TK and already reading. My son was this child and it gave me some comfort knowing that he was ahead of where he should be. My daughter will be on the opposite path, or actually right where a Kindergartner “should” be. So to make us feel a little better going into school next fall, we began researching some early reading resources to get the leg up that we wanted for her.
So with that in mind, I found the Ballantyne Reading Academy for the Very Young and the owner, Ms. Lisa Palladino.
I instantly fell in love with Lisa. She immediately made Sophia feel at home and secure. She conducted baseline testing on Sophia’s pre-reading skills. She tested her identification of both upper case and lower case letters as well as the matching sounds. She investigated her print awareness and reading comprehension skills and made notes of areas of improvement. She talked with me about discoveries and the personalized program she wanted to develop based on Sophia’s unique needs.
Since Sophia is very much a “girly-girl,” Lisa’s lesson materials often involved books and activities that appealed to her personality such as “Beatrix Potter’s Appley Dapply Nursery Rhymes” for the short A sound and a “Tea party” for the letter T. “Frozen” was of course used for letter F activities too.
Lisa uses a variety of learning materials to keep Sophia’s attention. She always starts each lesson with an alphabet “rap” to keep the letter sound fresh in her mind. They also play games with matching letters to sounds and build letters and words with blocks and magnets, among other many materials. Each lesson also begins with or ends with a read-aloud book related to the lesson’s objective.
As Sophia’s knowledge each week grew and grew, she began to introduce blending through word families as well as sight words to her. Sophia began using beginning or ending sounds to identify words which was really building her confidence in reading.
I was honestly also interested to see how someone could take my little 5 year old that has the attention span of a gnat and very little patience for sitting still, and turn her into a beacon of reading knowledge. I know that her eagerness to learn would sometimes overtake the lesson. Lisa was so amazing with her and was able to keep her time focused and fun. Each week she would continue to work with her on comprehension skills that required her to focus her attention on the activities at hand for longer stretches of time.
Sophia was working at the Ballantyne Reading Academy once a week for 30 minutes and each week I was seeing HUGE progress. She was picking up books and pointing things out to me, she was singing alphabet songs, she was trying to write words on her own by sounding them out and the best part – SHE LOVES GOING! Every Wednesday she knows she gets quality time with Miss Lisa and can’t wait to learn more from her.
I didn’t even need the updated evaluation that Lisa provided to me, I could see the improvement with my own eyes. The upper case and lower case letter recognition increased dramatically, the number of letter sounds she recognized went from 4 sounds up to 17. She was reading simple picture books and identifying color sight words. All of this was happening in the first 4-6 weeks!
I can’t say enough about Lisa and the Ballantyne Reading Academy for the Very Young. At first I enrolled her to get a leg up on Kindergarten but now I realize that she is learning so much more. She is building confidence each week and developing independence and a love of reading.
She loves it. I love it. I can’t wait to see the progress each month. This is a MUST do for any parent.
Ballantyne Reading Academy for the Very Young offer great programs for your children in 30, 45, and 60 minute sessions such as:
Little Learners (Ages 3-5 years)
– Print awareness and letter formation
– Phonological awareness
– Narrative (storytelling and re-telling)
Ready Readers (Ages 5 years and up)
– Enrichment for gifted students and advanced learners
– Academic remediation and support
– Writing strategies
– Fluency and comprehension
Register before December 31st and pay NO registration fee PLUS get 10% off any literacy class or tutoring session by telling them you’re a Smarty when you register.