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The Story Of How A Student Overcame Tremendous Odds To Succeed

I first met Carly*, a Grade 2 student, when she came in for her initial assessment at my company Spectrum Tuition back in April. She was bright, looked me in the eye when she answered my questions and spoke with a nice, loud voice. Carly enjoyed drawing, painting and playing on the playground, but found it difficult to read. She wanted to learn but didn’t like going to school because she found it really difficult.

Her parents wanted to initially enrol her because the school she attended did not set any homework, and they felt she needed to do more in order to build up confidence in her studies before doing the NAPLAN test the following year.

We conducted our assessment.

At Grade 2, Carly could not write her name properly.

At Grade 2, Carly could not count to 10.

At Grade 2, Carly did not know how to add or count back from 10.

At Grade 2, Carly could not read or spell simple words such as ‘cat’ and ‘dog’.

At Grade 2, Carly did not know any of her letter sounds.

At Grade 2, Carly could not recognise all the letters of the alphabet.

Our assessment showed that Carly needed to start at the very beginning and we enrolled her into our Prep class. Although Carly recognised that she was behind, she wanted to improve at school.

Her parents informed me that at her parent-teacher interviews, Carly’s parents asked her school teacher whether she thought Carly would be able to improve and catch up to the other students. Carly’s school teacher said ‘No’.

While many school teachers do a fantastic job, it’s important to note that not all teachers and schools are created equal, and there is can be a substantial variation between school leadership, educational policy, curriculum philosophies, and even among teachers within that same school.

Unfortunately, due to this, cases like Carly’s are quite common.

A few weeks ago, Carly’s mum came to see me because she wanted to thank me personally for transforming her child’s attitude towards learning and for helping to build up her confidence. She was so overjoyed that she had tears in her eyes.

I sat down with Carly’s mother and together we looked through her results via our online tracker (myspectrumtuition.com) over the time Carly had been attending classes.

The first few assessments reflected her existing abilities with scores rarely exceeding an E.

After a few weeks, her scores showed a combination of Ds, Cs as well as Es. In week 6, Carly got her first A+ on a spelling test.

After only 7 months…

Carly is consistently scoring perfect marks in spelling tests.

Carly has an excellent grasp of addition.

Carly can now subtract confidently.

Over the past 5 weeks, Carly has been scoring perfect marks in all her maths quizzes. According to her mum, nothing makes her happier than coming to tuition classes.

How did a child go from not knowing how to write her name, with a school teacher who did not believe in her to consistently scoring perfect marks in her weekly quizzes in the space of 7 months?

Carly practised her spelling words night after night. She completed all her homework and when she got questions wrong, she redid them until she got them right. Her confidence blossomed, particularly with her reading and mathematics. The other day, another student in her class needed help with a word, and before the tutor could answer, Carly read out the word ‘responsibility’. This would have been inconceivable only a few short months ago.

While many people (including her own school teacher) would not describe Carly as being a talented student, we discovered that Carly has a talent for working hard, and to us, this is the best predictor of success. She practised when practising wasn’t fun and demonstrated an extraordinary level of grit for a child who is only 8 years old. Believe in your child, encourage them to succeed, praise their achievements and they will come through.

Children want to learn and wired to do so. Research shows that the most crucial time to start teaching children is in the few years before they start school when their brains are still forming and their attitudes are still being shaped.

Unlike speaking, reading and writing are skills that need to be explicitly taught using specific strategies, sequences and techniques.

At this age, children are eager to take on new skills and concepts, and basic skills such as counting and recognising what sounds letters make can be easily introduced to children in a fun and relaxed way.

Arts ‘n Smarts makes it fun, easy and enjoyable for parents and carers to spend quality time with their children, while developing a love of learning. Through our carefully designed program delivered via our monthly boxes, children will create fun craft projects and complete fun activity sheets explicitly designed to bring ideas and themes from the included storybook to life as well as teach children

  • the alphabet
  • letter sounds
  • how to count
  • how to add
  • how to write
  • fine motor skills

and much more even before they step foot in a classroom!

Through the activities, children will also learn important skills such as concentration, communication, teamwork and cooperation. Their confidence will build as a result of being constantly praised, they will produce work they can be proud of and best of all, they get their parents’ undivided attention.

Your child’s education is too important to be left to chance. Cases like Carly’s are common but can be prevented. We provide you with the opportunity to shape your child’s attitude towards learning. Your child will learn all the essential skills in a fun way so they become confident and enthusiastic learners, while spending quality time with you.

No parent wants their child to go through what Carly had to go through. It’s been a tough 7 months to help her get back up to speed but thankfully, Carly now loves school and that’s the best outcome we can hope for.

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