Melodic Literacy Program

Thursday 13th, February 2014 / 09:14 Published by

I read with great interest in the Wednesday, February 5 edition of The Nassau Guardian’s Education section, an article entitled ‘Tuned in to reading’ which explained an award winning melodic learning program, Tunein to Reading (TiR) that was successfully used as a literacy tool in a pilot study at Columbus Primary School in 2011 and is now being introduced in other public schools with more teachers being trained in its use. The program, its tools and technology has been generously donated to the tune of $250,000.00 by Wendy’s Fast Food Restaurants Ltd.

I would like to commend Chris and Terry Tsavoussis, the owners of this company, for investing in such an important component for the successful future of our children’s education, as well as the Ministry of Education for implementing the programme and look forward to receiving regular updates in the press on its development.

Reading, ‘riting and ‘ritmetic are the building blocks of a sound educational foundation, and without them a society suffers. This is a situation which we can sadly attest to today. I firmly believe that many of the social ills we are experiencing stem from a deficit in our present educational upbringing, particularly in the substandard reading ability that pervades the system. I believe that until we are able to seriously provide proper intervention to assist the growing number of students with their literacy and numeracy deficits, we will continue to falter. This TiR program seems to be a step in the right direction.

Rhythm is the heartbeat of life and as scientific studies of the brain and how we learn are now showing, as in the case of this program that was developed by Carlo Franzblau in conjunction with a literary researcher at the University of South Florida, this methodology can positively affect literacy, reading and comprehension.

Persons of my generation and generations before us can well remember how we started our learning journey at home by being exposed to nursery rhymes and songs. On entering primary school we were properly immersed in the sounds and rhythm of singing our alphabet and times tables in class, reading and reciting poetry and verse, and expertly extending this rhythmic activity to the playground where all students, male and female alike, eagerly engaged in numerous ring plays accompanied by clapping, rhythm and rhyme, and movement. We just took it for granted, enjoyed it, and by extension enjoyed and learned our lessons! Unfortunately we threw the baby out with the bath water, when the ‘old fashioned’ ways of Mrs Mayrona Seymour, Mrs Naomi Blatch and countless other highly trained and dedicated teaching professionals disappeared with them. Happily we have now come full circle!

Several years ago the Ministry of Education attempted to revive ‘ring play and interactive games’ as a means of promoting more positive social intervention within both public and private schools, but unfortunately the programme lost its steam rather quickly. Maybe now is the time to try using it once again to supplement TiR.

Pam Burnside

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