Positive feedback from local schools has encouraged Orewa Freemasons Lodge to continue its support for dyslexic students into a third year.
Lodge Orewa has been helping schools introduce the Lexia software programme to its students, paying half the licence costs.
Currently around 450 pupils at 14 schools – including Wainui and Dairy Flat Schools and Whangaparaoa College – have taken up Lodge Orewa’s offer of assistance and project coordinator Peter Packard says results flowing through from students suggest it is of great benefit.
Ninety-eight percent of the children taking up the programme were two or more years behind their chronological reading age and around 40 percent of them also had behavioural issues, often caused by frustration at falling behind their peers. Peter says most students can gain on their classmates’ reading levels within a six to nine month period.
He says feedback indicates a corresponding improvement in the students’ behaviour.
“Another benefit of Lexia is that teachers and teacher aides need little extra training,” Peter says. “They do not have to stand over a child, but can have several students in a session.”
The success of the programme depends on teachers’ ability to identify children with dyslexic tendencies at an early stage. Peter says there is a very effective team of resource teachers of learning and behaviour, based at Red Beach School under the watchful eye of Cluster Manager David Crickmer.
These teachers regularly visit the schools in the area to identify children who may benefit from reading assistance.
“Lodge Orewa is carefully monitoring the classroom results,” Peter says. “So far they are impressive and most encouraging as students emerge with much improved social skills.”