Virtual learning has been hard on our youngest students. They’re in the middle of their most formative years, and many parents are worried their students will fall behind in their fundamental reading and math skills. That’s why we created our enrichment groups, and these groups have been so powerful that each family involved has asked us to continue them. These groups provide in-person, quality learning in the presence of a tutor and other students. While teachers are doing everything they possibly can to make virtual learning hands-on, it’s just not the same experience. Because our young reader’s enrichment group has been so successful, we are looking into starting a young mathematician’s group as well. This would provide a place for our youngest students to get hands-on work with their math skills.
What’s the Difference?
In person learning gives students the opportunity to be active participants in their education. Students learn from each other, just like they learn from a teacher or textbook. If you watch one of our enrichment groups, you’ll notice students talking, reading, and writing together. This piece of these young students’ education is crucial because it develops their social skills. There’s so much executive functioning and development that goes on within small groups. Students learn different roles, how to take turns, flexible thinking, and how to be kind to each other. These soft skills are a point of emphasis in these groups just as much as the hard skills. We believe in growing the whole student, not just their academic skills.
For reading, we focus on the Big Five: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension. For students who lack phonics skills, we utilize Orton Gillingham on an individual basis. We encourage students to write things out and pursue social interaction in group learning.
We see many students are struggling with foundational math skills. Often, math skills don’t come to life for young students without the use of physical manipulatives. Manipulatives (physical objects used to represent concepts), help students touch, see, and engage with the concepts they are learning virtually. Often, this helps students to understand math in a quicker and deeper way. With virtual learning, teachers will often send students a link to virtual manipulatives, but even virtual manipulatives are not enough to give students the hands-on experience their young minds need.
Group Sizes & COVID
For our younger students, we have a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 6 students per group. We are adhering to COVID-19 restrictions, and we’ve been impressed with how resilient some of our youngest learners have been and continue to be. Our young learners have no trouble keeping their masks on, washing their hands, or wiping down their workspaces.
The best part about these groups? Seeing students’ eyes light up when working with others! They really do miss being around other kids and developing a connection with their teacher. That’s why we take connection so seriously around here at Wright Academics. Our tutors need to connect with our students, no matter what age!
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About Evelyn Wright
Evelyn Wright is the Director of Wright Academics, a tutoring business created to target kids’ specific needs. Her passion is helping students and families succeed so that they achieve their maximum potential in and out of the classroom.
With over 25 years of experience working with children and their families in public and private schools, as well as in private practice, Evelyn’s focus is understanding the individual’s learning profile, guiding families of children with learning differences and matching students to the tutor or coach that best fits the student. She believes in not only matching educational needs to the right tutor’s skills, but matching a student to the tutor with the right personality.