Phonics (or word study) is an important component of literacy instruction. During the phonics workshop children are directly taught about letters, words, and spelling patterns, and they apply their knowledge to reading (decoding) and writing (encoding) words. Children learn to master letter sounds and word patterns in a predictable order (beginning with initial consonants, then final consonants, then short vowels, digraphs, blends, long vowels, etc.). Even when students develop at different rates, their progress still follows this predictable order – they just move through the stages at different times.
A spelling inventory is used to assess each learners' ability to write the letters that represent the sounds they hear, so that phonics instruction matches the specific level of each learner. Children are grouped based on their abilities, and instruction is differentiated for maximum results. Purposeful activities, that involve rhyming, syllable-clapping, and blending and segmenting words, focus on word pattern learning and application, rather than on rote copying.
Children cultivate a curiosity about words by discovering common spelling features and by using critical thinking to categorize words. They develop accurate recognition and production of words, and children realize that phonics instruction matters because it enables them to read and write.
Reading aloud is the best way we have to immerse children in the joys of reading, showing them both how and why one reads. For this reason, well-planned, engaging stories are read aloud at times to provide children with opportunities to talk about and respond to texts, and to foster a love of reading. It also provides the teacher with opportunities to demonstrate thinking out loud, and the strategies and habits of proficient readers. Interactive read-alouds are one of the key avenues for supporting young children’s language for thinking about and understanding texts. Studies have shown that allowing students to converse with each other and their teacher during read-alouds resulted in more advanced literary understanding.
In addition, children need to read a high volume of texts in order to progress and move up levels. Thus, our reading workshops are structured to allow for children to read and practice strategies with guidance. Whiz Kids Mauritius supports the research that shows that students should be reading texts that they can read with at least 96% fluency, accuracy and comprehension. Therefore, reading levels are assessed and children are matched to texts that support their growth in reading. In order for children to become proficient readers, they must read texts at their levels.
The reading workshop is designed to inspire enthusiasm for books and stories, and teach the practices and skills of reading comprehension. Children develop a repertoire of strategies that they can draw on whenever they are reading in order to successfully understand the text, which supports learning and school achievement.
In order for children to improve as writers, and build stamina, it is important for them to have time to practice. However, practice is not enough. They need instruction to learn skills and strategies for planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing their texts. When children are taught specific knowledge the overall quality of their writing improves. Many of the children who participate in our writing workshops produce work eligible for publication in L'Express Junior.
Workshops are offered for narrative, opinion, and informational writing, and lessons at any given moment are tailored to the learner or small group. The teachers take their cues from the learners and plan instruction according to their needs.
The programs at Whiz Kids
cultivate the literacy skills that
create a lifetime of academic advantages.