Using afterschool time can be an effective way for children to boost academic skills and build a foundation for success. For many children, learning to read and write well can be quite challenging. Our high quality afterschool and holiday programs focus on teaching literacy skills and providing guided practice of the skills. Children learn from excellent instruction tailored to their needs and from ongoing assessment to determine where improvement is needed.
Research indicates that student gains are greatest when literacy-based afterschool programs:
Offer one-on-one and small group instruction
Focus on primary students before literacy problems occur
When students don't master increasingly challenging literacy skills on schedule, they tend to fall farther and farther behind, not only in language arts, but in other subjects as well. To help children attain proficiency in literacy, many parents choose afterschool programs to mitigate holiday learning loss, remediate skill deficiencies, accelerate learning, and prepare children for the intellectual challenges of later schooling and work.
Literacy Workshop Model
The famous journalist Don Murray argued that students need three things to progress in writing—time, choice, and feedback. Our writing workshops give students the opportunity to engage in repeated practice with explicit instruction in narrative, opinion, and informational writing on topics of their choice.
Equally, students also need three things to make progress in reading— time to read, access to books they find interesting, and expert instruction. If children don’t get enough time to read, or don’t have enough books to read, they won’t progress, even with excellent instruction. In the same way, if children have lots of books, but no one teaches them explicitly or confers with them about their reading, they won’t maximize their potential as readers.
The workshops at Whiz Kids make it clear to children that when they apply strategies, work hard, and get help, their reading and writing will get visibly and dramatically better.
Our founder and head teacher, Sara Masson, M.S., CTEFL, was born and raised in the United States. She has a bachelor’s degree in French, a credential to teach English as a foreign language from Georgetown University, and a master’s degree from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. She worked as a behavioral health consultant to primary schools in San Francisco for over ten years, supporting teachers and parents meet the social-emotional needs of children. Additionally, she wrote articles about child development for a local newspaper, served as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and volunteered for the non-profit organization Room-to-Read to promote worldwide literacy. In 2012, Sara moved to France where she started a family support program called Kids' Turn Paris, and also taught English in international primary schools. In 2016, Sara relocated to Mauritius and taught English at Clavis International Primary School and taught Class 1 at Alexandra House School.
Sara is a passionate educator who loves getting children excited about reading and writing. She uses standards to drive her instruction, and uses a workshop model to give her students a voice and a choice in their learning. Currently, Sara conducts literacy workshops for children living in Mauritius and volunteers for the Traveling Library of the U.S. Embassy. She was recently chosen to lead writing workshops for local primary school teachers at the annual English Language Learning and Teaching (ELLT) conference hosted by the U.S. Embassy. Sara also teaches English online to children and adults living in countries in Europe and Asia.